Road Trip, Day 4 (Hiatus)

Today, the fourth day of my cross-country road trip, was spent in Boulder (no traveling).

I stopped into the town early in the morning to pick up some camping gear. That’s right, folks—at least one of the following nights will be spent in a campsite! Got my tent, butane stove and flashlight all ready; now I just need some marshmallows (and a camp buddy—that’ll be the only disappointing part). The folks at REI were surprisingly helpful; Smudge and Vinny knew their stuff, and pointed me in the right direction for stoves that aren’t going to burn me and my tent down. (I may not even need a stove, but it’s fun to burn stuff.) I also stopped in to say hi to the folk in the Boulder Apple Store, and may possibly have picked up a new band for my watch.

  Later in the day I went for a bike ride with my father, which ended up being perhaps the most exercise I’ve had in nine years. My watch told me I’d burned nearly 700 calories during the ride alone, which is three times more than I usually do in a whole day (never mind when I’m driving for eleven hours a day). There’s some interesting stuff to see around here; some of you might remember Boulder was hit pretty hard with flooding a few years ago, and some of the bike trails north of Boulder are only just being repaired now. There’s a point where a bridge crosses the (now very low) Left Hand Creek, and there’s an old truck stuck in the mud there that was just simply washed away.

The rest of the evening I think will be a little more relaxing, while I pack for a 6:00 AM start tomorrow and tend to my sunburn. I figured I’d get this post up earlier today, so I can sit on my ass and forget the ache in my legs for the remainder of the night!

Additionally, I can’t promise I’ll be able to post tomorrow or the night after; I’m going into canyon land, and may be out of cell service for a while. I promise to take lots of pictures, however, and they will find their way here as soon as I’m able.

Thank you, and good night!

   
    
   

Road Trip, Day 3

I ended up getting into Boulder a little late last night, so yesterday’s trip is going to be recounted this morning. Having said that, there’s not much to tell; it turns out Kansas City to Boulder is one of the most desolate parts of the United States I’ve ever seen.

  I started out with a brief walk in Shawnee Mission Park just outside of Kansas City, which was actually pretty pleasant; most of the trees were still leafless, but there were a few buds and blooms coming up here and there, and the weather (for once) was gorgeous. There are a lot of nice walking trails around that area, and it’s almost a shame I had to get going to soon; I would have liked to spend a bit longer checking it all out.

  Around 10:00 AM, though, it was time to go, so I hit I70 and headed west. And west. And west. For over 500 miles, there’s literally nothing but grass, fields and grain silos. I did manage to find an old windmill (there are some new, fancy-ass windmills too, blighting the landscape) to take pictures of, but I’m actually kicking myself because there were at least two or three photo opportunities along the highway that I didn’t stop for. I was just a little too nervous about pulling over on the side of the highway and hopping a fence to take pictures of a graveyard and an abandoned farmhouse, although in hindsight I really, really should have.

In the end, there wasn’t much else to relate; I passed into Colorado around 3:00 PM, stopped to take a picture, and didn’t stop again until I hit Boulder. Below are what photos I was able to get, but I promise more will come as I travel west into the canyon lands!

Side note, I finally picked up a GPS tagger for my Nikon camera, so I’ll be able to track where I’ve been with better accuracy from now on. Yay!

   
  

This is what the midwest is made out of.

  
    

Welcome to Colorado!

 

Road Trip, Day 2

Today started out with dreadful rain; it had clearly rained throughout the night in Indianapolis, and hadn’t relented by the time I had to hit the road. The first few hours were dreadful driving, but as I got further west it slowly began to clear up. It was still a drizzle when I hit St. Louis, but light enough that I could wander about.

 

Sun Cafe, St. Louis

 My first stop was the Hyde Park district, for no other reason that I had found a cafe on the map that promised good coffee. I was really in the mood for a beignet, but I don’t know St. Louis or where to find them. It turns out the Hyde Park district is nearly derelict, but the Sun Ministries non-profit group are trying to reinvigorate the area. I spoke at length with (Terry?) and his wife, who’ve been in the area for a few years now, about their vision. They goal was to create a few businesses, and employ folk who would otherwise be considered unemployable: felons, addicts, and others who would have difficulty getting job opportunities. By giving these folk something to work and to live for, they hope to inspire pride in the community, and get people back on their feet.

By all accounts, this seems to be working. The people in the Sun Cafe where I breakfasted were lovely, and the food was delicious. They were gracious enough to let me take some photos of the cafe, which is furnished entirely out of what the community has built—reclaimed wood, furniture, and lumber all went into the tables and chairs of the cafe. I was truly impressed with what these people are doing in one of the most uninvested areas of the city. I truly had no intention of going into such an area, and had I known, I might have missed out on a wonderful opportunity to meet kind, wonderful people.

 

Entrance to Bellefontaine Cemetery

 By the time my breakfast was done the rain had finally let up, and I drove a few minutes across town to the Bellefontaine Cemetery, which was my intended destination in St. Louis in the first place. You might not be surprised to learn that I have rather a penchant for graveyards, and this was no disappointment. Apparently there are something in the region of 80,000 graves there, and remarkably nearly every one was well-tended. This actually made for some less-than-ideal photo opportunities (I prefer rot and decay), but it was utterly beautiful nonetheless.

Ultimately I sent around two to three hours in St. Louis, and I’m heartily glad I did. It was hardly a tourist trip, but it was well worth it. I’ll be looking forward to seeing more on my trip back in September.

Then it was back on the road for another few hours, on my way to Kansas City to spend the night with my cousin and aunt. Tomorrow I head out for Boulder!