A Road Trip: Rocky Mountain High

Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Hello, Hello! Sorry for the long delay in this story. Between starting my new job in and being in a constant flux of healthy and sick (who would have thought elementary schools would cause that) I’ve struggled with getting any new posts written.

However, after feeling near 100% once again and finally settling into my new job, I’m ready to continue telling the story of our road trip. I mean after all, there is still plenty of things that happened in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, so let’s get back to it!

For those that don’t recall or are just jumping into this story, the last place I had left Camp Daddy, The Rival, and myself was in the car on our way to the campsite. The location was fairly remote, and when I say remote, I mean some of the roads were no longer paved and we went dangerously close to the edge on a few occasions.

However, when we finally got to the campsite, we could not have asked for a better location. It was slightly off the main road and although it had a few campers scattered in tents around it, we were getting to set up shop in the middle of the Rockies.

Campsite at O.C. Mugrage Campground

Behind our tent and to the side of it we had a creek that I would say was more roaring over yelling. We weren’t sure if the area had gotten a lot of rain or what the case really was with it, but it was definitely above the noise level of “babbling.”

If you look behind our tent you can get a slight idea of how far other campers were. We called that one and another farther back the “Kyle” area. We aren’t sure whether or not any of them were actually named Kyle, but the way they were chugging Mountain Dew from a two liter while doing vape tricks just lined up too nicely with the popular meme.

Camp Daddy taking a photo of me taking a photo of him

The setup of our tent took no time at all and soon we were pulling out some drinks to help celebrate The Rival’s birthday. It was at this time our “cook,” aka Camp Daddy, decided to pull out all the works for The Rival’s birthday. He wanted to eat like a cowboy, and so a ton of burgers, beans, and corn were soon made.

Camp Daddy making The Rival’s birthday feast

Soon after we finished eating, we made sure that all leftover food was washed down the creek. With this area being remote, there was no area for garbage cans to throw things away, and with the threat of bears, we didn’t want to take the chance. Once everything was cleaned and safely locked in the car, we took some seats around the fire and relaxed.

Overall, it was a relatively relaxing night. We had drove for a full day and were tired by the time we hunkered down to rest. I had called it an earlier night than Camp Daddy and The Rival after my stomach took a bad turn on me. I could hear them from the tent though, talking about Dungeons and Dragons and how two trees across the creek from us looked like they were going to open a portal to the Feywild.

That evening was not as eventful as our first in Kansas, but a few notable things had happened for some of us. I had woken up once to the sounds of animal moving off in the tall grass across the street from our camp. I ended up waking The Rival to step outside with me to use the restroom, since I was still rendered blind with my contacts out and glasses sitting at home.

For The Rival, he had two different things happen to him in the night. The first was him getting attack by Camp Daddy. A fun fact that had been touched on before is that The Rival often likes to pester Camp Daddy by touching him, which is something he hates. Well, when The Rival rolled over in his sleep, apparently Camp Daddy went into ninja mode in his sleep and grasped his arm tightly, scaring The Rival awake.

The other thing that happened to The Rival is he swore up and down that he heard someone whisper his name outside of the tent. Although we had all said it a few times, neither Camp Daddy or myself had woken up to hear this phantom voice pestering The Rival. Since he was the one sleeping closest to the roaring creek, we did our best to chalk it up that.

And that’s it for this post! Come back later this week to read about our next day, which includes a trek to a hot spring that was cold and a long drive to Moab, Utah. Don’t forget to follow me on social media or to just follow this blog if you’ve enjoyed the content!

A Road Trip: Camping in KS

Camp Daddy and me messing with food and tent stuff

Picking up where I left off yesterday, we had just chosen our spot to camp for the night and were quickly getting things laid out for the evening. At first, there was what seemed to be a lot of things working against us.

To start, the tent I had brought had never been put together by any of us. In addition, our grill still needed to be assembled, food still needed to be cooked, AND a fire started. Now granted, all of these should seem like easy tasks, but the three of us are very hit and miss on making things happen.

Thankfully, that night was one where we didn’t have much issues. The Rival and I found a way to work together and had the tent set up in little to no time at all. Camp Daddy did Camp Daddy things and managed to find tools to get the grill quickly assembled (which I didn’t even know we had tools), lit a fire, and was cooking before we completely had the tent set up.

By the time the dust settled we had a beautiful campsite set up and were on our way to relaxation, or so we thought. But more on that later. In the meantime, we chowed down on a mix of spicy sausage, red beans, and rice while admiring the beautiful view we would have from our tent tomorrow.

A picture of our tent with what we referred to as the “sacrificial stone” in front of it

The rest of the evening was spent doing our favorite past time: Dungeons and Dragons. While we were driving, Camp Daddy had written a session for The Rival and I to play in. As much as I would love to give all the juicy details of that session, that would take up an entire post on its own.

So instead I will give you the gist of it. The Rival and I each played a dwarf characters that were trying to find an old dwarven temple. While we were there, we ran into some goblins and spent the remainder of the time threatening and killing them before finding an awesome underground area.

So as we closed down on the session, we began packing up and calling it a night. Everything seemed fine until I made one startling discovery: I had forgotten to pack my glasses. This began a fun new game to play the rest of the trip for Camp Daddy and The Rival: protect me from anything I couldn’t see at night.

The first thing they had to do for me? Identify the flashing lights and bangs I was hearing. Throughout the night while we played Dungeons and Dragons, we heard a constant barrage of explosions along with flashing lights in the distance. For awhile we assumed that it was nothing more than thunderstorms, after all the wind kept picking up and dying and occasionally some light rain would fall.

The rain also made things fun, because it led to us making a mad scramble to put the rain tarp on in the dark, something, as I said before, we had never done. But anyway, back to what was happening in the air around us.

We had went to bed assuming that it was a thunderstorm rolling through. As we laid there, we listened to the constant explosions, adjusting our bodies to deal with the inconsistencies of the ground going from hard to soft. After awhile we dozed off looking out the front of our tent watching the lake and the lightning flashing over it.

image by Frank Cone

It was around 3:00 a.m. that I was awoken by two things simultaneously. The first was the explosions starting up again with absolutely no storms around us. The second was the sound of what I thought were people outside the tent.

I laid silently and stiff as a corpse, in part because I didn’t want anyone to hear I was awake and because my body was that stiff from lying on the ground. After a few minutes I started to believe I was going crazy when I saw headlights.

I positioned myself to look out the window and saw a small red car trolling across the road. Me, being a paranoid person, worried that they were going to stop and come up on our tent. I whispered to The Rival and Camp Daddy, but if they were awake, they didn’t say anything. I watched as the taillights fade into the distance.

Next came another bang. It was at this point that I no longer believed that it was just thunder and so I decided to try and find out what was happening. Naturally, I did what any survivalist would do and googled “what are the explosions near me” on my iPhone.

Surprisingly, a hit came up. Apparently there was a military base called Fort Riley nearby and they tested weapons and equipment at all hours. It would take up too much room to write everything it said, so I’ll give a link to their description here.

After finding out what the noise was, I still was unable to sleep and so I spent the rest of the night waking up and drifting off again until the sun came up. Once this happened, Camp Daddy, The Rival, and I worked together to quickly pack up camp and hit the road again. While we tore down the tent, Camp Daddy was nice enough to even make us coffee over an open flame.

That concluded our first night of camping and although it was a beautiful location, it was nowhere near as perfect where we camped the next evening. But, if you want to know more about that and see double the images from it, you’ll have to follow my pages to see when the next part of the story drops!

How the Road Trip Began

So recently I had the pleasure of taking a road trip around the southwestern part of the United States. It was a great week of exploration and boondocking (a new term I learned for what we were doing) and I had a blast doing all of it.

However, for a lot of people that have been following me on social media, I never did share why I went on this trip or how it even came together. This post will clear all of that up.

Originally, this trip was a plan to help move a friend from Chicago to Las Vegas. We were going to make it a week long adventure in his car that would conclude with leaving him in Vegas while I flew back to Illinois and returned to everyday life.

Well as things moved forward, my buddy had his boss become sketchy with the contracting job in Vegas and so he decided to pull out of the move before it became too late. However, at this point, it was already too late for myself and another friend that took a week off work to help him move.

For the sake of this story, and possibly ones published after, I’m going to give both of these friends nicknames. This isn’t because we necessarily did anything wrong, I just don’t know if they want to appear by name in multiple posts. So the one moving to Vegas we’ll call The Rival and the buddy that took off a week we’ll call Camp Daddy (he was the only one prepared for camping on this trip).

Back to the story. So Camp Daddy and I were prepared for a big adventure and decided with the time off we still needed to do something. Que the road trip. We had already mapped out a route we wanted to originally take to Vegas so we could explore the southwest before leaving The Rival in Vegas forever.

We decided to follow that path and instead of hitting Vegas we would just loop back around to Illinois. It was a simple plan that mostly worked out well. We rented a vehicle, gathered supplies, and set the date to leave for July 30.

I should note that the weekend before we were going to leave, we did get cold feet about the trip. Looking back at it now, I feel we would have fully regretted skipping out on this trip if that would have happened. Thankfully, I was on a bachelor party that weekend and the contract we signed with Hertz said we couldn’t cancel the vehicle rental, which kept us locked in.

Oh! Also, don’t trust Hertz. When I booked our vehicle, I requested a mid-size SUV with a ski rack and built in navigation system. Now I may be wrong and/or crazy, but I don’t think a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport with no ski rack and built in GPS is the same. That car also sucked and I don’t care that it was a 2019. Seriously, gas pedal on the ground and still can’t accelerate kind of sucked.

But anyway, that’s how this trip began. What started as a nice gesture to move The Rival out to Vegas ended in the three of us going out road tripping for a week, camping in random locations, and repeatedly deciding that water is best used for drinking and not showers. Yeah that’s right, we didn’t shower for a week.

That’s it for now, make sure to follow the blog or any of my social media to keep an eye out on the road trip adventure of 2019.