Guest Post from Benno the Second

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So the start of #2 will start with the previous Monday as I forgot a very major detail. On the way out into the rocky mountain Np, I stopped to grab some sunscreen from a small town servo. An older couple from Texas were in there, the big old bloke was waiting for the toilet. The Native Indian clerk proceeds with, “is it ones or twos sir?” With the old bloke a little stunned the keep says, “well where we come from, you take it from the earth, you put it back. Nobody will look at you for stopping on the side of the road to relieve yourself.”

Spot on…

So onwards with the epic tales of Denver, through guest post #2.

Seems to be a theme that I’m sitting at LAX in a bar having a beer while writing and already reminiscing.

For the tune of Friday, we wake up relatively early, and well…Ben gets to drive Red….. Rhiannon having skipped out on work and having to catch up on her homework, is happy to sit in the co-pilot seat typing away while we rocket south West on 285. More hills and crazy canyons etc.

With the weather the way it has been we have been keeping good on our sunscreen from first thing in the morning. It’s not really hot, but the sun’s got a good bit of sting to it from very early!

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Made it into Buena Vista, had a stop at a bakery for Rhiannon to join a conference call while in phone reception. So Ben was let loose…. Little organics shop next door had some weird and wonderful snacks. I’ve now gotten Rhiannon hooked on Gin Gins. Super potent, tough and chewy ginger lollies. Not a huge fan, but she swiftly ordered more packs on Amazon!! Haha.

Lady at the shops was all talkative and when I said we were staying in Alamosa, she was a bit puzzled why we “wanted” to stay there. Well it wasn’t the worst, but the brewery was the best! (tbc.)

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Boys at boneshaker cycles. What a pisser. Walked into this hip little bike shop (well, why wouldn’t I!?) and immediately took a photo of their full sized skeleton with top hat on a bike. Well that didn’t fly. The first guy came out and was all, why are you photographing that? I said because it’s mad and you have a funky ass little bike shops. Well that was it. When he knew I was aussie, he was all cool, and had other stories of people trying to copy the whole Boneshaker Cycles thing in MELBOURNE of all places, but it failed dismally, so they were all happy. So scored a half price cap and a heap of stickers and an invite on a guide for next time I was up there! Bonus

After more wandering, and sunny driving through the lower canyon lands, we hit Alamosa, university town! However we had an ace up our sleeves and didn’t know about it. O E of Rhiannons mates had told her about this crazy green chilli beer that was made by this small brew Co in Alamosa. Well San Luis brewery. Great food, great beer. 100% highly recommend them! Food was great, service was good, and we both enjoyed the beer! Cool little brewery…

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Day two start, Saturday, with 24hr, volunteer only (because we were up and going so early), “wake and bake” dirty hippy coffee and chicken and biscuits. Better than Starbucks. Bit of an eclectic collection of some clever painting for sale. This place was setup to keep their hemp farm running!

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Quick run out to Zapata falls after our dirty coffee. Short walk up to Bloody cold water. We Didn’t see falls, as the water was a bit high and we didn’t have the hours to spend wandering up with numb feet or over the cliffs above it. A definite if you are there on warmer days though!

Then after a quick stop back at the motel for a shower and we were on the road again. After some amazing hills and flats including hills like Switzerland. And following a pretty cool old railway that ran from Alamosa, to.our next destination…. Chama in New Mexico! Tasty lunch at a well Yelp credited Mexican JV’s, random little trailer restaurant. Food was great. I just wasn’t hungry enough to finish the whole lot!

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From Chama we headed to Durango for a quick beer at another Colorado Brewery. Then onto Mancos for the night.

Sunday morning we were up early and headed to Mesa Verde with no success getting into anything. Bloody Americans love their sleep in!! We could get into the park, but only a few other small exhibits were accessible.

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With the million dollar hwy in mind, we headed back to Durango, then up north through the hills. More passes and snow slivered hills. All incredible still!

Silverton, very tourist town. But not bad old school mining vibe. Nestled in the valley it was quite a cool spot. Be great for ski season.

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Through more of the mountain passes. More north on million dollar hwy to Ouray. A lot of tight roads and crazy steep rock slide hills both sides of the road. But it’s ok. Red kept us real safe…

After many water falls, old mine sites, rock slide tunnels and unreal canyon style scenery, we made it to our next brewery just in time for lunch. The Ouray Brewery. Great setup. Three levels with open air rooftop bar and dining. Right in the main street with great views all around to look up at the surrounding hills. Beer…not bad at all.

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Blast off from Ouray, all the way to Gunnison. Few town in-between, but Red made 65mph seem like a cruise.

Quick nap for Rhi, short run for me. Then a short drive up to Crested Butte. Aim; Monterey distillery. RUM!! Tasting went well. All three were tasty and we’ll produced. Then we ordered, and it took a while, but we got there. My choice a (fairly girls, but kinda hot) mango, lime added jalepeno martini. Not bad drink. Good bar people, but bloody rude when we had paid and went to leave…basically ignored us! Wtf…

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Monday morning was a bagel on the run with the plan to get a good feed along the way.

Quick pee stop resulted in meeting the guys from rock n roll Rafting. Guides were your typical surfer bum/hippy types keen on taking this one couple down the Arkansas River. It was pretty full, flowing fast, and as we found out later, the rapids got BIG by the time we got close to royal canyon. The guides driver was funny.  Told us about a Big set of rapids rapids about 20minutes down. But it was too long to wait for them to watch and it had started raining heavily. But definitely get on the Arkansas river for some Rafting next time.

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Royal canyon was pretty decently grand. And since it cost just to walk the bridge! Grey nomads everywhere and it just wasn’t worth it to go across, but was definitely worth going to see the bridge.

Red Robin burger for lunch just out of Colorado Springs. We were getting hungry and wouldn’t have made it back.

Home for shopping for dinner and a good clean for our faithful steed, Red. All sparkly now…

We had Anna over for steak, beer and a laugh. Then we were well ready to crash for the night.

Up early to make Rhiannon some pancakes for breaky.. Then I lazed around for a bit and mostly packed up.

Thought I hadn’t actually looked around Denver city very much so hopped on the train and had a wander around.

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So three things you see alot of in Denver before 10am…

Bums, Starbucks, And pot smoking hippies packing the capitol hill parks. Crazy.

Back home and headed up to say goodbye to the Greek boys. Quick beer and back to finish packing.

Got to the plane in good time at Denver.

Had a bit of time at LAX, hence the beer!

Usual kids screaming on the plane. Useless inconsiderate people elbowing me every 20mins. So didn’t sleep much. But I made it home in one piece and had a bloody good time.

So a massive thanks to my sister for hosting me, showing me around.

My whole family for shipping me out. Awesome birthday present and surprise Thankyou all…

To all of Rhiannons friends for coming and having a beer and being so welcoming.

And last but absolutely not least, to Leanne for organising everything so sneakily. You made it all happen so easily!!

You are all awesome..

Thankyou

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