Adventures in Colorado: Liberation in Shadow Canyon

Today’s run is a tough one to put into words. Ya kinda “had to be there.”

But if I were to sum it up in a few words, it was powerful and liberating.

Powerful, because of the mighty winds that whipped through the canyon on my way up.

Liberating on the way back down, as I let gravity not only solidify my connection with the Earth, but control my descent back down to the trailhead. There’s something about rocky, technical downhills that make me feel as close to a bird as I might ever experience.

Instead of more words, I’ll just leave you with a few pictures that, believe me, don’t do it justice at all. But they’ll at least start to paint the picture…

The Cost of a 3-day, Cross-country Moving Trip

It’s far faster & cheaper to fly, but driving allows you the opportunity to see so much more.

Those who know me well know that I’m a big fan of the following:

  • documentation
  • seeing just how far I can make a dollar go

I realize not everything in life needs to be documented, but for those who are financially conscious, you might find this useful. Or perhaps you’ve just wondered if it would be cheaper to drive somewhere instead of fly.

In this article, I’m going to break down every dollar I spent while driving 1,680 miles from Richmond, VA to Boulder, CO.

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Adventures in Colorado: Wide Open Space

Wide open space, howling wind and dogs. Lots and lots of dogs.

I got a lot of work done this morning, so it was time for a break. It’s been 3 days since my last run, so I looked up an area close by on Google Maps. It looked like a trail, and I’m more interested in exploring than I am a workout right now, so let’s give it a go.

About 6 blocks from my house, there’s a quaint, suburban neighborhood with beautiful Summit Middle School tucked in the center. At the end of Tantra road, a wide dirt trail continues towards a small parking lot. The entrance clearly had my name on it.

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Adventures in Colorado: Running with Livestock

I’ve spent the first few days in Boulder unpacking, getting to know my roommates, grocery shopping, and picking up a few things that just didn’t quite make the cut for my road trip. Today, it was time to explore.

After driving through, and arriving in, crappy conditions, the weather has been beautiful all weekend. Upper-40s to mid-50s during the day, with the golden Colorado sun shiny all day long.

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Traveling Stream of Consciousness – Siesta Keys

Dude, why are you sprinting down the moving walkway, with your wheely bag, only to stop abruptly right behind that woman? Not cool, bro.

There’s a woman on the plane drinking a diet Coke. 10 years ago, I’d see this as normal. Today, I want to grab her arm before the bottle reaches her lips, and yell, “Stop! It’s been poisoned.”

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Off The Grid

It’s been 5+ years since I took an entire week’s vacation. I mean a true vacation, not thinking about or doing any work the entire time. I’m doing something a little unconventional (but if you know me, you shouldn’t be that surprised).

Started with 2 Things

Two things that I haven’t done in a   l o n g   t i m e:

  • stopped at a McDonald’s
  • went through the drive thru

I almost forgot how those things worked. Both of them.

I wanted a coffee for my drive to Wintergreen. I wanted it fast so I could get on with my vacation. McDonalds happened to be right there (seems like they’re everywhere, doesn’t it?!).

As much as I despise McDonalds for — well, almost everything, really — I’m actually glad I chose this one. Before your head flies off in sheer amazement, let me explain.

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Boone, NC Mountain Trip

A beautiful week in the mountains with some of the most awesome people on the planet. This one is more personal, for me, because I know I’ll want to reminisce on it again soon. But if you like the mountains and/or interesting headlines that suck you in… you might enjoy it, too.

My friend Janice, the videographer in Durham who organized the trip, put together a short video recap of the week. It’s also perfectly titled, “Mountain Love,” which both together & separately, are really powerful words.

Suzy Goes Bananas

Janice runs into the store real quick to pick up some notebooks. She’s a teacher, OK, so don’t judge. Well… unless they were wide-ruled. Then you can definitely judge.

While waiting, Dave decides to take a little stroll through the parking lot. You know, just to stretch his legs for the lonnnnng, 10-minute drive.

Little did he know, Suzy needed to “stretch her legs”, too. And evil Suzy had a little something up her sleeve.

After an old-fashioned, western-movie staredown—and some shaky camera work by sister Karen—Suzy took aim.

And I’ll let the video tell you the rest…

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway Sign - Group Shot

Just for the record, we’re all incredible karaoke singers. And we’re even better when Janice has her volume set to “I can’t really hear much else around me.”

And Suzy graduated from bananas and moved on to mix tapes. Girl makes a mean compact disc for a road trip.

Surfing & Searching

We stopped at a scenic overlook on the Parkway. However, seeing as there was no scenery to look over (stupid clouds), Suzy & I decided to make it an action-shot overlook. Suzy did the surfing. I did the searching. And we both did it on top picnic tables.

Hey Karen, can we get those pictures off your phone, please?

Grandfather Mountain Hike

Boone NC Grandfather Mountain Hike

4 friends, 2 dogs & one common Grandfather. We love ya, pops.

OK, so he’s not really our “pops.” But he was the perfect going away present to culminate an awesome trip.

Grandfather Mountain profile trailWe hiked Grandfather Mountain on our last day in Boone. Toby (that innocent-looking, golden-brown chow pictured above) tackled his first true mountain hike… like a champ. Murph dog & I got some quality bonding time in. I even let him sprint his way down the trail for a minute or two. The little guy was itching to let loose the whole hike, so I had to run with him for at least a 1/4 mile or so.

Nothing too out-of-the-ordinary. Just peaceful flowing water, mud beneath our feet, fresh mountain air, beautiful views, lush greenery & light conversation. The simple things in life…

The Grandview Restaurant

The Grandview was the morning breakfast spot. A 5-minute walk from the house, and a “grand view” of Grandfather Mountain. And they accommodated our request for a “plate of hash browns topped with whatever vegetables you have.” Hey, it’s a diner & there were 2 vegans in the house. Sometimes you gotta get creative.

Mountain Grounds Coffee Shop

Mountain Grounds coffee shop in Banner Elk was homebase for getting work done. Peaceful little place with great service. A good energy for being productive. Ha… too bad I played way more Candy Crush than I did work.

The Vegan Threesome

One night we went out to dinner in Boone. Forget the name of the place, but it was a build-your-own-burrito kind of joint. And build one, I did. A mighty tasty one.

All your typical stuff to start with… rice, beans, lettuce, onion, etc. And then I added in the real flavor. Pineapple, corn & guacamole… seriously, it’s an orgy in your mouth.

They should name this thing after me. And I’d like to call it the: Vegan Threesome

I would show you pictures, but the things I did to this burrito are illegal in all 50 states… and Mexico.

Seven Devils

I’m not sure why they call them devils, or why there are seven of them, but this was the town I did my first run through. Did I say town? I’m sorry, I meant mountain. This is the mountain I did my run up, not through.

I was on the hunt for some mountain trails, but had trouble finding some near the house. I was running along the main road when I saw a giant yellow sign. It said “Warning” in huge letters at the top.

“OK, sign, you have my attention. What’s that all about?” I asked.

“Steep grade & sharp curves ahead.”

Done. Sold. Say no more. This wasn’t a sign, but an invitation. “Welcome to Seven Devils, Dave. Please come in, and come up. You won’t regret it.”

The next 2.5 miles consisted of the most elevation I’ve ever climbed in a 2 mile stretch. Up, up & up, as the road kept winding back-and-forth in each direction. And although I know I would be gassed if I ran the whole thing… I kept running. I was determined to meet the devils… all seven of ’em.

Seven Devils, NC Mountain Run

1,100 ft. of climbing & 2 miles later, I reached the [Rocky] Top. I had a brief spiritual moment when I looked down into the valley on the other side of the mountain. There’s something so powerful, yet so humble, about ascending mountains on your own two feet.

The run back down wasn’t quite as fun, but I was more than happy to pay that price for my experience at the top.

Price Lake

While driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, we stop at Price Lake. The girls walked the dogs & took pictures. We bumped into a family walking the other direction on the trail, and asked them how long the trail was. 2.3 miles. I asked the girls if they would mind if I ran around it real quick, and met them back at the car. They were fine with it, as long as I made it back in 20 minutes.

What a FUN twenty minutes!

Slippin’ & slidin’ on mud, ducking under tree branches, splashing in mud puddles, leaping over water barriers, flashing across wooden bridges… halfway point I stopped for a beautiful view and some O2… continued through a campground, past an amphitheater, back onto the Parkway for a brief stretch, and let the trail take me back home. 21 minutes of muddy, awesome, trail running. Ahhh 🙂

Dave at Price Lake Sign, Blue Ridge Parkway

Soooo… when are we going back?

2013 Bike Virginia Photo Gallery

All the photos from Bike Virginia 2013, a 3-day (or 6-day) bike tour of Virginia that took place in the mountains of Buena Vista, VA.

Day 1 recapDay 2 recap

Click on any image to open up a slideshow.