Out of Ft. Collins and into the Forest

I planned to leave Fort Collins on Saturday. I got up and wrote and charged my (literal, not figurative) batteries at a coffee house. It was nearly one when I left. I headed to REI on the way out of town.

I stopped at a liquor store on the way. I really wanted some of New Belgium’s La Folie. It seemed prudent to buy a couple other 22 ounce bottles of their beers while I was there.

At the coffee shop I’d heard that REI was having a “garage sale,” in which they sell stuff that’s been returned for bargain prices. The coffee shop folks, apparently in town for some religious conference reported that when they arrived they felt foolish, as there was a long line of outdoorsey people who’d been in line for hours before opening, as one might to see a concert. The Jesus Freaks, even less aware of the REI culture than I, simply left in bemusement.

By the time I arrived, however, the in-crowd had left. I don’t know what treasures I missed, but I didn’t mind being left with the dregs. I found a pack big enough to suit me (and small enough that it doesn’t need to be sized) for less than half price. I also bought some stuff-bags that I hope will make dealing with forty-plus iLiveInMyVan.com t-shirts easier to manage. The cardboard box that they’ve been in is really starting to wear on me. In an effort to save space, I rolled all of the shirts and put each size in a separate stuff sack. I really would have liked to have had rubber bands to keep each shirt rolled up, but I didn’t have them when I was rolling, so I had to make do without.

I also bought a first aid kit, apparently forgetting about the two in the glove box.

On the way out of town, I stopped at the Bellview Bean, where a guy I’d met the night before was going to be playing his violin, or perhaps fiddle. It was a cool little place. Well, it wasn’t really cool since the air conditioner wasn’t working. The guitarist he was going to be playing with left because it was too hot, or because I was there and was nowhere near as good as he is at playing jazz.

I am still kicking myself for not taking a real camera, but my fiddle-playing friend took me out behind this place to check out this guy’s house. He’s apparently a master welder and has use all kinds of found objects to build a really cool space. Sadly, I have neither the words nor the pictures to do it justice. Here I am sitting at this cool merry-go-round on the roof deck.


This pile of horse shoes and cannon balls starts to give you an idea of how this guy has used stuff in cool ways, though the stuff inside (where it was too dark for my crappy phone-camera) has both more interesting artifacts and incredible craftsmanship.


I had a great afternoon playing guitar with my fiddle-friend. There was also a beautiful woman who came to sing with them. I told her about living in a van and she said “Let me guess. You’re single, right?”

Yes, my good woman. I live in a van. Alone. Did I mention that my dog died?

Around 4PM it was time to head out, so I headed toward Roosevelt National Forest. I rolled on out looking for cool places to stay. There were a couple of little bars not too far out that advertised live music, and, in retrospect, might have been places that I could have managed to sit in with the players, but I cruised on up into the mountains. It was still pretty hot where those places were.

Check this cool tunnel.

Here’s where we finally ended up.

When I arrived at the camp site, I took my new solar shower, this black plastic bag with a hose on it, over to the creek to try to fill it up. In doing so, the little hose fell off and started floating down the stream. I dove in to save it. I’d hate to lose an essential part of my new $25 shower. As I walked back to the camper, I realized that my phone, wallet, and new bluetooth headset were all soaking wet. (Ed. Note: As it turned out, after they dried out, they were all still functional, though I was worried for a good part of the next day.)

I poured a beer from New Belgium Brewery into this glass from Funkwerks.

Here’s my view from the camper at dinner. At the bottom right you can see the fancy vault toilet.

Here’s another view from dinner.

I considered going and trying to talk to some of the neighbors, but instead, watched half a dozen episodes of How I Met Your Mother.

All in all, this was a good day.

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