A Road Trip: Onward to Colorado

Jesus in the wheat

So picking up from Saturday’s post: (which you can read here if you’re behind) Camp Daddy, The Rival, and I took off relatively early after enjoying some coffee brewed over an open flame. This portion of the trip felt somewhat long and painful due to the lack of scenery stretching through Kansas, however there was one bright spot since it was The Rival’s birthday and we had plans to celebrate at the next camp location.

To give you an idea of how this part of the drive went, let me give you one example of the conversations we had or as I like to call it: how The Rival and I broke Camp Daddy.

The argument was simple: Grass is useless because if humans were to try and live on only grass they would die. Camp Daddy disagreed with the statement, saying we could live on it as long as we ate other things as well and it was a source of fiber.

Somewhere along the way, The Rival and I determined that grass was inedible because if you would die eating only that, you shouldn’t eat it. This began getting Camp Daddy riled up so The Rival went for the finishing blow.

The Rival: Really, cyanide and grass are basically the same thing.

Camp Daddy: No they’re not! Cyanide would kill you instantly, you can’t even ingest it.

The Rival: Yeah, and eating just grass would also kill you, so it’s basically the same thing.

Me: I agree. If they both can kill you while eating it, then clearly they’re the same thing.

It was then when we started hearing a pain scream and as I turned I saw Camp Daddy falling into the luggage next to him and go “Fuck you! You’re just trying to rile me up!”

And with that, it took him a good 15-20 minutes to engage in a conversation with us again. But that’s just how Kansas was, there was a whole lot of nothing to do besides stare at the countryside, count the miles to Colby, KS which was advertised for miles, and search for Jesus. Which by the way, did you know Kansas wasn’t part of the Bible Belt?

Bible belt according to Wikipedia

The reason I bring this up is because it felt as though most of Kansas was having us play hide and seek with Jesus through the countryside. Now don’t take how I’m wording this the wrong way, but for real, all across I-70 west was billboards of Jesus, a lot of which were like the image posted at the beginning of this post. It was also very bizarre because none of them gave advertising for a church nearby.

But anyway, that is how we spent most of our day. We took one break in Kansas at a rest stop, where we chowed down on pb&j’s and chips. When we finally got out of the state, we had a hard time believing we had actually left. We knew that Colorado was more than just the Rockies, but it was kind of jarring to spend the first hour or two driving through the area and getting the same view as we did in Kansas.

However, we kept pushing forward. There was a small break with a bathroom and supply stop at a small town off the highway. The only fun thing to happen there was watching The Rival get mad and pee in a field next to a gas station since they didn’t have a restroom and then crossing the street for supplies at a place that did have one.

After this break, we quickly pushed through Denver and found our camping spot for the evening, a location in the mountains near Bold called O.C. Mugrage Campground. It was another free and gorgeous location about 20 minutes off the main highway. I’d love to tell you more about it, but this is a great stopping point, as the campsite itself was an adventure to get to, along with the camping that took place after.

One view headed towards camp

So that’s it for this week! Subscribe, follow my social media accounts, do what you have to so you don’t miss out on the next post in this series! Until next time, have a good one.

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!

Road Trip: First Stop, Kansas

What most of Kansas looked like. Photo by Robert D. Brozek

Welcome back to the exciting story of my road trip across the southwest! As much as I would love to give a summary of what happened last time (I image “The Road So Far…” popping up from a Supernatural season finale while Carry On Wayward Son plays) but instead, I’ll just insist that you explore my webpage and read what I wrote before.

Anyway, back to the story. So we had just left Champaign, Illinois and began our long trek west. It was an exciting time for me because as far as I can recall, the farthest west I’ve ever been is somewhere in Arkansas. (I suspect I may be wrong on this account and will be getting a call from my parents stating otherwise).

As for Camp Daddy and The Rival, both of them had been west several times before so they didn’t seem as eager to see everything as I was. However, our first destination was one that none of us had been to before: Arches National Park in Utah.

In case you don’t want to click the link. Photo by Christopher Janda

Over the course of our day, we drove for about 8 hours that day, driving through Illinois, Missouri, and stopping a little ways past Kansas City.

During that drive, nothing too crazy had happened. We spoke about our usual passions like Dungeons and Dragons, our friends, and what we were expecting to get out of this road trip.

Our camp was chosen for two reasons and these two reasons would be the guiding principles as to how sites were chosen: First it had to be free and decently rated on the Campendium app. Second was that we had to be able to reach it and have camp set up and dinner cooking before it got dark. We didn’t always follow that second rule as things went on, but I’ll explain more on that later.

On our way to camp, we passed through this awesome town called Wamego. This was one of those hidden treasure areas that you don’t really hear too much about. As we drove through the town, we found that it was mainly covered in Wizard of Oz things. It was fun to drive through and see all of the different themed places they had and if we hadn’t been on a time crunch, we would have probably spent the day there.

Downtown Wamego, KS

It was a shame to pass through this town, but we were on a budget and so we eventually made our way to Pottawatomie State Fishing Lake No. 2. Don’t ask me what happened to the first lake, because none of us knew and we were too scared to ask.

The site itself was beautiful. After leaving the luxury of black top roads behind, we traveled up and down some hills on gravel roads until we eventually came down into a wooded area with a gorgeous lake smacked in the middle. We slowly followed the road around, checking out the various other tents setup back in the woods and close to the lake.

Although I was slightly envious of the campers that were able to get spots away from the road, we were able to snag a nice campsite next to the lake that was equipped with both a picnic table and fire pit. In no time at all, we were unpacked and beginning to set up camp.

That’s it for today! Come back to the blog tomorrow, as I’m going to change things up and do a back to back road trip posting and in the meantime, enjoy your weekend.