Idaho Springs

I woke up this morning at the edge of a small cliff with the mountains all around me.  I saw my breath rise in the air like smokes while I starting packing up my gear.  The condensation between my sleeping bag and bivy sack almost soaked through to my clothing.  I should have brought the tent Neil gave me.  At least I’ll know for next time.

I left around 3:30 AM and pedaled down the dark roads with just the tiny light from my headlamp.  I stopped when I reached the local bank to charge my phone.  I hung out there in the blistering cold weather waiting for the stores on main street to open up.

It hit 7:30 AM and I strolled over to Jiggies Cafe with my bike.  I opened the door and sat down at the counter.  The Canadian woman who worked there gave me a cup of coffee and I ate the recommended breakfast platter, a breakfast burrito, cheese exploding out of the sides, smoked sausage, crispy bacon, fried potatoes, and pouched eggs all wrapped inside a soft burrito shell.  While eating I told my story to the waitress and the couple sitting across the room.  They didn’t seem all too thrilled, but as I continued on into more detail there eyes widened and heads turned towards the direction of my voice.  The wild camping, people I’d met and houses I’d stayed at all caught their attention.  They wound up buying my breakfast and I stayed around the restaurant to socialize until the stores opened up at 10 AM.

I stopped at Clear Creek Outdoors and grabbed some cold gear for camping.  I picked up e-vent, waterproof snow pants, smart wool socks, paracord, a dry bag, postcards, and waterproof gloves.  The owner hooked me up with a discount because we agreed on living life day by day and having fun.  His expression of envy showed through his demeanor.  I thanked him and we chatted about the trip and parted ways.

I walked down the street further and stopped at Mountain and Road Bike Repair.  The shop did not know much about bicycles.  In fact, I went back because the guy sold me the wrong tubes.  They barely fit in the new front tire.  He insisted they worked and fit the tube in, pumped it up and within an hour it popped, like the sound of a gunshot going off, in the motel I ended up sleeping.  I bought a better bike pump, new brakes and a new 28 tire.  I wanted something wider for the rest of the trip.

I’m going to end up going back there tomorrow to see if he has the right tubes in stock.

I ended up drying my bivy sack and sleeping bag in the sunny weather.  Then headed down the road towards Idaho Springs Motel.  I wanted a rest day indoors to avoid the snow.  I called and buzzed the doorbell, but no staff entered.

“Yo man you looking for a spot to stay?”

I turned and said, “Yeah man, you know when they’ll be back?”

“Nah, but you can chill at my place for a while…got any weed?”

I snickered, “Nah man…(thinking he’s the one with a weed plant in his apartment?)”

At that point I met Theo.  A man with epileptic seizures won a court case for disability.  He, like myself, a road dog.  The only difference being he spent ten years on the streets due to felonies from burglary, grand theft auto, harassment, trespassing, which left him homeless.  His plan is to give up citizenship and move to Amsterdam where he will grow and sell weed.  He actually set up a grow station in his apartment and this is the progress of his plant after a week.

He decided to let me crash on the floor next to his dog Ataca.  He bought me dinner, mountain dews, taquitos, Philly cheese steak, nos, and danish.  He gave me some road tips for the condensation with my sleeping bag.  Put cardboard, then plastic, then cardboard and wrap that around your sleeping bag.  Put it in your bivy sack and presto!

He told me to apply for ski jobs at some resorts in Aspen and Copper Mountain where I could work for a decent wage and be a ski bum with lodging.  I applied to a few ski jobs and a temporary Engineering Intern job with the City of Boulder.  He offered me work moving furniture tomorrow for forty bucks.  I am going to have my bike looked at and head over to the bbq restaurant down the street, which two people have recommended already.

Looks like I’ll be here another day or two.  I may end up staying here for the ski season and vagabond for a bit.  Then continue the trip in the spring.  I will write yesterday’s entry with free-climbing and hiking with Trevor in Hells Hole tomorrow.

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Brian Cray is not a cyclist. He’s not a hitchhiker. He’s not a train hopper or an adrenaline junkie. He’s just an ordinary man with gypsy blood in his veins, who can’t seem to settle down. Nothing defines him. He goes wherever this world takes him on this journey we call life, roaming the world, at will, by any means. He aspires for a life of indefinite travel, a tiny home in the woods for him and his wife, and any work that keeps him wanderin’. Brian Cray is a travel writer at heart, sharing his stories with the world one keystroke at a time.

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