After our day getting re-settled after New Mexico, I finally left Golden for good (well, for the pandemic extended imposition) and headed north for a change. I stopped off in Boulder to read for a bit in a park that turned out to be filled that day with a mix of yuppies and druggies, get lunch at a cool tea house Kevin’s roommate told me about- I guess it was disassembled in Tajikistan, sent to Boulder as a gift, and reassembled in it’s full glory. So pretty, and yummy food and tea! It was almost like being back at the teahouses in Hong Kong and Taiwan aside from no chopsticks, tea ceremony, and these giant portions. After I went to load up my cooler with beverages from Avery Brewery, then continued onward to another town full of breweries, Fort Collins.

I’d never been here before and ended up stopping at one place where I chatted with a friendly local, and decided to stay the night in Poudre Canyon. The road through the canyon along the river was beautiful and I had to restrain myself from stopping every 5 minutes to take photos or jump in the water. It looks like a lot of people raft, kayak, and fish here, as well as climb. I found a spot for the night well into the canyon up a hill, and awoke to spend the 4th of July beginning with breakfast and books by the river, where I chatted with a fellow van guy, before heading back into town to check out a few more places.

In very American fashion I packed my day by visiting New Belgium, Odell, and some place I forget the name of but had a beer called sad panda which made me intent to visit just to send my friend Grant a picture. Oh dear. Anyway, I had some great mac and cheese at one place, read a bunch, and finally hit the road again in late afternoon with Laramie, WY as my chosen destination for fireworks watching. They were just the right driving distance away and were doing a fireworks celebration visible from a few city parks, so I picked one and parked myself on the soccer field early enough to make and eat a salad while watching Hamilton on my phone until the show began at (the very late thanks to norther summer) twilight hour. It was no DC show, but being able to pack up and be at the car and ready for bed in 15 minutes instead of battling either a packed Metro or walking an hour plus at home made the trade off okay.

In the morning I wandered through Laramie’s downtown and saw a statue commemorating the first female voter in the United States- she just went in to vote and no one stopped her despite it not yet being legal, many cool mainly fish related murals, and yet another library themed bar? Maybe this is a sign I need to switch gears and open one of these somewhere. What a trend!

After departing Laramie I crossed through southwestern Wyoming, passing a cabin made of dinosaur bones (?!?), stopping at Little America, which is like a western and much tamer version of South of the Border based on the variety of ‘attractions’ and number and spacing of billboards, and

Later in the day I passed into Idaho, a new state for me! I did a short hike up a canyon where, at a later time in summer, there is a spring that “breathes” by stopping and starting every few minutes, but alas it wasn’t the right time to see the phenomenon. Later I found a beautiful camp spot in the forest not far from a gorgeous terraced travertine waterfall on the river- Fall Creek Falls- which I had to myself. If I’d been with someone else I would have plopped on my bathing suit and hopped in to one of the upper falls pools, but didn’y want to risk it alone.

Awoke to frost on the windshield for a change, and some cows swimming in the creek. Those cows had the right idea! People had told me Idaho was surprisingly beautiful, and if this was any initial indication they were so right. The rest of the state would have to wait, because next stop was the Tetons! On the way, though, I did get the most stereotypical Idaho roadside attraction of a giant potato sculpture at a drive in movie theater. Of course.

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