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: 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.

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.

A Road Trip: The Battle to Leave Champaign

Who’s ready for another installment of my road trip story? Doesn’t matter, because I’m ready to tell it!

So if you recall from last week’s post, my friends The Rival, Camp Daddy, and myself had decided to take a road trip around the southwestern United States after The Rival had a job fall through in Las Vegas. UPDATE: He’s now taking the same job and going at the end of the month so now he has to travel on his own.

But anyway, this story isn’t just about him, it’s about all three of us. So the morning of July 30th we were all awoken by The Rival and pushed to shower and get ready to leave by 9.

To say we did well at this would be a joke. There was a lot of fumbling around with showering and getting ready and a reluctance to go shopping for groceries since we had put that off. However, in the end we finally got moving.

We first went to McDonald’s for a breakfast that can only be described as “cheap.” For real, I don’t think any of us spent over $5.00 before we headed over to ValuCheck, where we loaded up on what we believed to be all the supplies we needed.

After what seemed like an eternity, which was only 20 minutes in real time, we finally had all our groceries and were headed back to the house to begin packing our “midsize” SUV. I cannot stress enough how much Hertz sucks for giving us the vehicle we didn’t want.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t call and complain either, trust me I did. The few times I called and questioned if I had the right car, they insisted I did and would hang up. Don’t book with them.

Back to the story. Once we came home the true battle was on. A full week’s worth of groceries. Sleeping bags. A tent. Coolers. Random assortment of camping supplies. All of this was to be wrestled into a compact SUV and we still had to get a small charcoal grill to add later on.

It was a long, uphill battle but after some wizarding moves by Camp Daddy (something he’d continue to do the whole trip) we got everything to fit with just enough room for the three of us to sit comfortably. Sadly, we did have to leave behind camp chairs, which would bite us in the ass later on.

Once the car was loaded, there was just one last stop before we hit the road: a pickup at Walmart. It only took us 10 minutes to get there and while Camp Daddy and The Rival went to go snacks and drinks for the trip, I was charged with grabbing the charcoal grill.

The pickup experience at Walmart is what I would call “bizarre.” You essentially enter your information either on their app or a screen near a desk and just wait until someone shows up with your items. There really wasn’t any indication that it worked until someone came out with my product.

Once I had the grill, I decided to sit and wait on a bench for a few minutes as the guys wrapped up shopping. However, this did not last long as I learned a lot of people do not have a concept of personal space, as multiple people about ran into me while I sat looking like a lost child clutching the small grill I picked up.

I eventually went out to the car and waited for Camp Daddy and The Rival to find me. After cranking some pop hits on the radio and blasting the AC they finally arrived. I was given the Kyle Juice I requested and we were on our way to our first camp location, which was found with the help of the Campendium app.

That’s it for today! If you haven’t followed this blog or any of my social media pages, make sure to click the links at the bottom of the page to do so! Also, check out Camp Daddy’s and The Rival’s Instagram pages. Both are well traveled men and have some great content to check out.