I no longer look on events in my life as good or bad. They may be defining, and they may be enlightening, but ultimately it is up to me to decide how to feel about what happened and what to do with that once they are over. Each opportunity, whether failed or succeeded by my personal standards, is never the end. Life, time, everything else continues – even the opportunity itself rumbles on in the background through my newly-gained experiences. I learned what I needed to at the animal sanctuary, and it will still be a possibility for me if I ever want to go back, it’s just not where I have to be right now. I have to be where I am, and where I am is pursuing more learning opportunities to better round my skills out. But I didn’t get to where I am now because I planned it or set a schedule to stick by or because I have unlimited amounts of money and time. I have what I have, I’m just utilizing my resources to the best of my ability to continue my journey. And my journey will last the rest of my life, so I want to enjoy it.
When I reached the other side of Grand Teton National Park, I noticed some antelope on the side of the road and pulled over to watch them. There was a small herd of bison grazing in the background, and a pair of eagles floating overhead. I know to a lot of people out west that these animals are no big thing, but even in all of my driving back and forth across the country, I’ve only seen a handful of antelope in the distant hills of northern New Mexico, and bison have only existed in zoos (also a safari park in Flagstaff) and history books as a dilapidated species trying to make a comeback with the wolves. I seriously had never seen a wild buffalo…mission accomplished.
About 2 weeks before I decided to peruse the high plains in search of my next adventure, I had met a guy online. We had been texting and video chatting up until this point, and part of the reason I was making my way across Wyoming was to get to Laramie to meet him during my trip. I planned a nice big loop through Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and into the Four Corners so that I could return to Kanab eventually, and Laramie fit in there nicely. Like I said, I’m a big advocate for taking every possible opportunity, and this one would just make my trip more interesting, if nothing else. I texted this guy the photo above and exclaimed that my life was complete because I had now seen the last great migrating mammals of North America in the flesh. He texted back two words that I will forever use to refer to antelopes: Speed goats! I ignored the rest of the message, because I didn’t care if they were everywhere, they were freaking awesome. Side note: fields of horses are also amazing (basically my field of dreams).
I pulled back onto the road to begin my detour towards Douglas, Wyoming, because I wanted to meet this guy earlier than we originally discussed, and because it was a more public place than his house. And because he went to school there, so I could meet him around some of his friends/colleagues. To be safe. My final reason is because his roommate called me a wimp when I complained about the distance adding two extra hours to my trip when I would already have been on the road for more than 12 hours total at that point. I have a problem with turning down dares sometimes, especially when they’re road trip related. To end this little digression, I headed to Douglas and made it into town with enough time to change into pants and freshen up a bit before I met this guy.
Long story (that I will get to in the next post) short, we had an awesome long weekend filled with lots of new things and getting to know each other. When I left on Monday morning to go to Denver, I was much more distraught than I thought I would be. I only figured that we would meet (according to my mom, this was a “super secret sex trip,” which is where I had left that conversation), have a good time, and then part ways. Again, more on this later. For now, my favorite city was on the horizon, and a few of my favorite friends were ready to hang out with me.
I’ve been to Denver quite a bit. At least once a year, sometimes twice – I just like it that much. In all my times of visiting Denver, I usually only hit up bars, breweries, and good restaurants that serve craft beer. Three of the last five times I’ve been there was for Great American Beer Festival. And every time I’m there, I hear how cool this thing called “high tea” is at this place called “The Brown Palace,” so I arrived for a late lunch (aka: high tea), and thoroughly enjoyed myself among all of the rich decor and fancy people. The Alchemist was a great companion and didn’t eat any of my little sandwiches. I can describe the experience as the best $50 I’ve ever spent on flavored water and hors d’oeuvres. Another life goal down, it was time to stroll the city and take a nap before a night in with my good friends. What wasn’t expected was the phone conversation I had with the guy I had just left that morning…but I’ll write about that later.
Not so bright and early the next morning, I enjoyed a little shopping spree – little being the operative word there – to pick up some clothes that actually fit me, since I had lost almost 35 pounds in the last six months. After, I looked up the closest brewery to me and parked for a flight at Lowdown Brewery and Kitchen and bought a $75 growler that’ll last through the apocalypse, or I want my money back. The bartender was just getting off his shift and asked if he could stay and have a pint with me, so of course I obliged – because who would turn down a tall, handsome, bearded bartender? I knocked another item off my list of firsts, since prior to this event, I had never really had a beer with a bartender after his shift, you know, like a normal person. We got to talking and I mentioned that I was just passing through town on my travels through the west and southwest, but that I wanted to get to at least five breweries while I was in Denver. This was stop number one. He escorted me to stop number two, TRVE Brewing, and I’m grateful he did…because I am so not metal.
TRVE was really cool, and they had some delicious beers, but it was definitely better encountered with someone who knew what the hell was going on there. He asked what I was doing with the rest of my afternoon, I said I was going to dinner with my friend at Wynkoop, and that if he wanted, he could probably come with. I usually try to make it to one meal at Wynkoop when I’m in Denver, because it’s such a fun place; dinner was fantastic as always, and my new friend thoroughly entertained my old friend and then I seriously started questioning what the hell was going on in my life. Tall, handsome, bearded bartender needed a ride home, since I drove us to dinner, so my old friend headed home (she’s not old, obviously, she’s just a really awesome friend I’ve known for a while) and THBB and I headed to his place so he could get ready for his hockey game. Which I was then invited to. And I went. That was my Tuesday night. I made a new friend, I tried some new breweries, I saw a hockey game, I drank a little more…but “What the hell is my life?” came up more than once.
Day three in Denver, I met up with my friend for lunch, we reminisced a little, caught up a lot, and talked about how cool it would be if I moved closer so we could see each other more. We talked about me starting another relationship after my divorce, and about her stepping up in the law world with her new job. We talked about big life decisions and taking chances and I love her for all of the things we can talk about candidly. I walked her back to work and we said our goodbyes. On my way out of town, I visited Jagged Mountain and Ratio Beerworks, absolutely stoked that I made it to five breweries, thus completing my goal for this trip. I didn’t make it to six breweries, I didn’t hang out with any more random people, and I didn’t end up buying any weed legally, but where I was headed next didn’t require those things be fulfilled. Because I wasn’t headed south to the Four Corners anymore.
I was headed back up to Laramie.
To be continued even more…