Destination Unknown

Almost unimaginable, but the original 4 month commitment to WWOOFing on the XK Bar Ranch is almost half way over and it’s time to start thinking of what the next destination might be.  Our stay here has the potential to be extended based on the needs of our hosts and my man’s and my own goals for learning and growing in this next phase of our adventure, but at some point between April and July we must find a home, responsibilities, and income of our own.

Map of Colorado

Colorado certainly has a particular charm about it, invisible clearly to the creator of this map, but evident nonetheless from my window.  The peace and quiet and the friendliness of its residents are a balm to my soul, if not my skin (this dry air is the sick joke of my own personal devil I am sure).  So Colorado is a place to stay awhile, despite my previous decade’s claims.

The state is gigantic though, and the landscape and “vibes” of its towns and cities are as varied as my resume.  So where to land is by no means an easy decision.

Without enough information to choose a town/city, or even truly a region, the narrowing down process has begun with 2 simple ideas.

1) Figure out what we know

2) Go explore

What We Know 

a)The “front range” (that great big stretch of flat east of the Rockies) is dirty, ugly, and crowded… in other words NO.

Denver smog - blech NOT why we moved to the mountains.
Denver smog – blech, NOT why we moved to the mountains.

b)The far northwest is like Wyoming – flat, windy.  No thanks.

c) Grand Junction (far west, only major city not on the front range) is dirty, flat, and ugly. Again, resounding No.

(Seeing a pattern?  Move to mountains = want to live in mountains)

d) Am in utter panic over possibility of “moving back home,” but can’t deny the fact the Roaring Fork Valley (Glenwood, Carbondale, Basalt, Snowmass, Aspen) is seriously beautiful and full of activity and charm.

e)There are some super cool towns up up in the rocky peaks between Glenwood and the dreaded front range.

f) Only a handful of these towns are currently convenient to get to  (convenient being a relative term of course, the nearest grocery store to the ranch is 2 towns away, 30 minutes in good weather).

So next step, take this information and Go Explore!!  Road trip time.  Our hosts are awesome and said they would feed the cats, dogs, chickens, cows, mules and horses and keep our house from quite literally freezing if we wanted to go away for a few days.

On a limited budget, with limited time, we decided on a pretty basic loop that would cover the largest number of potentially acceptable destination towns and off we went.

(Google maps only allows a certain number of stops when giving directions it seems, so just know that when we left Nederland, we headed “straight” south up through Rollinsville and down to Black Hawk and back onto West I-70 where-after we followed our own trail of breadcrumbs back to the ranch.)

Colorado Destination Planning trip #2
Colorado Destination Planning trip #2 -click to see full size with details. Starting point Crawford, way at the bottom.

This counted as trip #2 because we visited and considered Pagosa Springs and Durango on the original trip north from Florida.  There are a few more places to visit yet that just couldn’t easily be flitted past in a 4 day round trip – Telluride, Crested Butte, Salida and Manitou Springs on a southern slash of the state and Steamboat Springs all by itself up north.  They will have to wait for a future run, or three.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… we are happy to go back to our little quiet ways for a bit longer.  Odd, this appreciating cows thing.

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