Thursday, December 31, 2020


2020, get the fuck out of here.  '21 is the jersey number of The Great One Roberto Clemente so this is guaranteed to be a fantastic year.

The final numbers:

run - 289 runs, 1611 miles, 314 hours.  73 days of run commuting.  I did get two marathons in, Salida and Pikes, and an ultra, Cheyenne Mountain.

ride - 289 rides, 2633 miles, 265 hours.  91 days of bike commutering.  And finally crossed the Alpine Loop of the bucket list.

hike - 487 hikes, 1204 miles, 460.5 hours.  Got way ahead of my 1000 mile goal back in March/April when CityRock closed down and I used those lunch hours to hump out some miles.  

To-do for 2021:

-I'm signed up for the CMC Alpine Climbing School which runs from March through mid-May.  That was a fairly significant cost ($600) so I'll devote a lot of time to learning and doing everything that throws at me.

-Climbing: 71 trips to CityRock on the year.  I'll continue to push on with last years goal of getting to 5.9/V4 in the gym.  I'm pretty much there with 5.9, and have a long way to go for the V4.  CityRock is a bit wonky right now with the COVID restrictions so I'll just keep plugging away at whatever gym time I can get.  We'll see where the CMC class takes my outdoor climbing, which was mostly absent in '20.

-As far as races, if they happen, I'll do Salida, the Garden to Peak Challenge with the Pikes Double, and the Rut.  And Chicago.  Goal for Chicago will be to run a BQ, which I happily found out is no longer 3:10 for me, but 3:20.  Not opposed to jumping into some local races but I'm not going to put them on the calendar to give me more time to explore some parts of Pikes I have yet to visit and to continue to work on that 14er list of mine which I should have finished a decade ago.

-On the guitar front, Jan 1 was my nine month mark.  I shoot to practice half an hour, five days a week, and I almost always play more.  Songs I can currently play: Bad Moon Rising by CCR, and Mad World by Tears For Fears.  Songs I am getting close to being able to play: Norwegian Wood by the Beatles and Ooh La La by Faces.  I am starting to work on the F chord, which will be super difficult and take a lot of time to nail down, but I think it will really open up some shit for me.  My guitar playing is bad, but my singing is on another level of terrible as I have a pretty monotone voice.  Will never rise above campfire playing for $100 and the dog and I'm fine with that as I'm having fun learning, and it has made the live music I've been watching even more enjoyable.  $100 has green lighted an electric guitar once I hit the year mark and I've been squirreling away some cash, and I'm starting to get pretty psyched for that.  Look for some kind of Fender strat to make an appearance in '21.

-Vanlife: the big trip will be based around the Rut.  Shoot up to Montana and get the race out of the way, then meander our way back home.  No route set yet, but some highlights will include the Mint Bar, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and Lander city park.  Other than that, lots of Fremont County, and some more exploring of the San Luis Valley.

And then just some other shit I've been bouncing around: the Ten Mile Traverse, my house to Living The Dream via Rampart Range Road, and Rumdoodle Ridge to name a few.

Monday, December 28, 2020

xmas in the valley

$100 and I found ourselves with a long weekend so we packed up and took off to the San Luis Valley. 

Left early Thursday at a strategic time that put us at Moonlight Pizza just as they opened.  Then it was up and over Poncha Pass to the Zapata Falls campground.  I expected the place to be completely empty but to my surprise there were two other people there!  Hiked over to Zapata Falls before holing up in the van for the night.

Temps were frigid.  The temp in the morning when I woke up each day was never over -3F, and it was cold enough inside the van to freeze our water bottles each night.  Dog spent a lot of time covered in down.

On Christmas day we went down to the Sand Dunes for one of our favorite hikes.  We head out Medano Pass Road for 2.5 miles, then cross the frozen creek over to the Dunes.  The scenery is unbeatable.

The hike is a tad bit sketchy when entering the Dunes (for humans, anyways, the dog crushed it).  You can see $100 in the upper left corner here, crossing a steep face of sand on her way to level ground.

Once that initial climb and traverse is out of the way, it's just fun hiking.

After the Dunes we headed in to Alamosa.  Nothing was open except the gas station.  My xmas feast:

From the gas station it's a straight shot up highway 17 to our next campsite, the UFO watchtower.  We love this place and visit often, but we hadn't spent the night since we were on our way to Vegas to get married.

Had a few beers on the sketchy but stable patio while looking for aliens, then it was back to the van to escape the chilly temps.

On Saturday we headed over to Monte Vista and hiked the wildlife refuge.  a nice 3.5 mile dirt road mosey around some wetlands.  Then it was off to Del Norte for pizza and brews at Three Barrel.  Rio Grande County has less restrictive COVID rules right now than El Paso County (where Colorado Springs is) or Alamosa County (where the Dunes are) and it was nice to be able to eat inside.  It's still easy to do the social distance thing in the Valley as there just aren't very many people there.  FYI, Chaffee County (Salida) was open and our Moonlight lunch was the first time eating inside in a long time.

After Del Norte it was off to the Sand Dunes Hot Springs for the night.  We enjoyed a two hour block in the grown up room, drinking some Eddyline beers while soaking in the hot pools.  Early night to bed, then it was back home the next day.

We did try a new burger joint on the way back.  Had seen this place for years, but had never stopped in.  Located on HWY 50 as you're entering Canon City.  Super good.

Of course, we ended the trip in style, dropping by Florence Brewing to day hello.  Just over 600 miles on the weekend.

Monday, December 21, 2020


Marc and I made the trek up Red Mountain to bring celebrate the winter solstice by sleeping on top of a hill.  Great night for it as the temps didn't drop below 30F.

Hopped on the bus near my house and got out at Manitou Brewing.

Then the quick hike up to the summit in the dark.  Few beers up there before crashing for the night.

Hoping to get out again next week for the Good Night 2020 overnighter.

Heading down to the San Luis Valley for the long weekend.  Canon City on Wednesday after work, Zapata Falls/Sand Dunes on Thursday to Saturday, hot springs on Saturday evening, then back home on Sunday.  Could be some serious low temps but we'll be prepared.

Sunday, December 20, 2020


Fri - run commute 73.  4.2 miles to work.  Ended up taking the bus home as I didn't feel like dealing with the cold.

Sat - six miles over in Red Rock Canyon.  Then we hosted one of the booze checks for the Kimchi hash 12 down downs of x-mas.  Good times.

For the week:

run - 46 miles, 7.5 hours

ride - a big fat zero - too cold

hike - 24.5 miles, just under ten hours

Sun - nursing a hangover but got out for an easy four miler on the Garden trails.  Towards the end of the run I hit my '20 running mileage goal of 1600 miles.  Done with my distance goals for the year.  1000 miles hiking, 2600 on the bike, and now the run.  Will probably keep the same goals for next year as the distances keep me in decent shape and allow time for other stuff.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

run commute 72

Tues - 7.5 mile run on the Garden runs sandwiched between some good dog hikes.  

Wed - run commute 71.  4.1 miles there, 3.5 miles home.  

Thurs - run commute 42.  4.1 miles there.  If nothing else, this lower mileage I've been doing during the darkest time of the year has cemented my local legend iron grip on the 21st to 8th street portion of the Midland Trail.

It has been unseasonably cold in the mornings here.  20F or lower every day for what seems like decades but is probably closer to a week.  Somehow the dog can sense this and it's getting harder and harder to get her out of bed in the temp is below 25F.  

Really digging the new Sancho's shirts:

Monday, December 14, 2020

incline 23

Another early morning trip up the Incline on Saturday.  If you go before 6AM you don't need a reservation.  Super cold, with recent snow, but as usual it was a good day to be on the mountain.

On Saturday evening we all jumped in the van, dog included, and went to the annual 12 beers of x-mas party at Marc & Amanda's.  Hardly any people this year, but we still wrapped a ton of brews for people.  Drank way too much and slept in the van out in front of their house.  Good times.

Hungover on Sunday but I managed to get out the door for 4.2 miles around the neighborhood.  Roads and sidewalks are a hot mess right now.  Not nearly the hot mess my beloved Steelers have been lately though.

Monday - run commute 70.  42 more miles to go to meet my '20 distance goal (1600 miles) and I'm gonna try to knock that out during this current arctic chill.

Thinking of heading down to the Sand Dunes over x-mas this year.

Thursday, December 10, 2020


Tues - bike commute 87.  6.7 miles through Sondermann there, 11.5 back home on the COVID loop.  CityRock 65 at lunch.

Wed - run commute 68.  4.4 miles  there. 4.1 back home.  CityRock 66 at lunch.  My usual run commute will be undergoing a major route change in early '21.  Once this pedestrian walkway is complete, I'll jump on it at America The Beautiful park and cross the railroad tracks over to the new Olympic museum.

Guitar lesson in the PM.  My cadet's boyfriend left some of his stuff at our house while they are all home on winter break.  Including his Taylor mini.  So that's what I'll be playing for the next few weeks.

Thurs - bike commure 88.  10.7 there, 11 back home.  Went over my 2020 bike mileage goal of 2600 miles on the way back home. 

Monday, December 07, 2020

incline 22?

Sat - my first incline in over two months.  Think it was my 22nd time this year.  Very slow as I am not in climbing shape.  But I'm starting to work on that.  Later in the afternoon I once again tested the defective bike tire by riding from Fossil to Goat Patch.  Tire still going strong.

Pretty decent week.

run - 30 miles/six hours

ride - 75 miles/8:20

hike - 20 miles/eight hours

Sun - signed in with the Incline Club, then headed up Barr Trail to No Name Creek.  Did I mention I was not in climbing shape?  Quite a bit of hiking to keep my HR below MAF.  Which for me is 140 bpm.  After the run $100, hollydog, and I headed up to Teller County to cut down our Charlie Brown christmas tree.

Mon - up early for a four mile dog hike followed by a seven mile run on the Garden roads.

New political movement happening here in Old Colorado City.  I'm behind it 100%.

Friday, December 04, 2020


Thurs - bike commute 85.  Started down the alley on the Mariachi and noticed the alley was really, really bumpy.  Looked down, and I found that it wasn't the alley but my tire.

This has happened before, and the tire is shot, so I just changed out bikes and got to work.  Seven there through Sonderman, eleven back home via the COVID loop.  CityRock 63 at lunch.

Fri - awesome early morning family hike over in the Garden.  Heard a bunch of coyotes howling, first time I've heard that in the 'hood in a while.  Later, as I went out to grab a bike and head to work, I noticed the bubble on the Mariachi tire was magically gone!  I know I'm on borrowed time until that tire explodes but I did make it the quick four miles to the office.  If it blows going to/from work I can just jump on the bus to finish the trip.  CityRock 64 at lunch.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Wednesday early afternoon football

Mon - good step back in the right direction.  Sixty minute run in Red Rock Canyon in the AM, ten mile ride in RRC for lunch, Red Mountain after work.  Due to current code red restrictions Manitou Brewing closed at 6PM so I was unable to get my weekly pint of High Ground IPA.

Tues - bike commute 84.  Ten miles there, a quick four miles back home as the temperature plummeted during the day.  CityRock, now reservation only and only allowing twenty folks in at a time, for lunch.  Got in a good garage workout after getting home.

Run commute 67 on Wednesday morning.  4.4 miles in 37 minutes.  Wanted to go further but it was still below 20F when I left.  Will run straight home after work in order to get to guitar practice on time.  No Benny's tonight as they are closed down due to COVID restrictions.

In case 2020 wasn't weird enough I will get to watch my beloved Steelers this afternoon at work.

Monday, November 30, 2020


The month of the sloth continues.  I'm getting out to get outside, but not much else.  A few miles via foot and bike as the end-of-the-year goal numbers are due soon.

But, as usual, the annual "the incline club will start this week" e-mail has reminded me that I cannot be a drunk, fat slob all year long.  So I'll probably start getting back on a regular workout schedule from now until the winter solstice, and then I'll increase the mileage as daylight slowly sticks around longer.

Colorado Springs went to some bizarre new level on our COVID color dial on Friday.  I spent Thanksgiving night at the Royal Tavern, and they are now closed until our Gov decides to turn the dial to some other color.  Benny's is closed as well.  Breweries are currently able to serve you if you drink outside, somewhat challenging in Colorado this time of year, or get your beer to go.  Made a quick ride over to Cerberus on Sunday to pick up some crowlers, and they have a big tent set up.  Which is apparently different than being inside as tent was pretty crowded.

On Saturday afternoon we grabbed Moose and took the dogs down to the Shelf Road camping area in Canon City.  Just a quick overnight to get out.  Good hike on Sunday morning before returning back.

I am in for the '21 Chicago Marathon if it happens.  So right now the race schedule is:

March - Salida

June - Garden Ten Miler

July - Barr Trail Mountain Race

Aug - Pikes

Sept - The Rut

Will probably keep it at that as there are some local bike/hike/run routes I want to do in '21, as well as a few more 14ers.  The big van trip will be based around The Rut.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Kindergarten Rock

A while ago I made a silent goal of leaving my house, getting to the summit of Kindergarten Rock, and hiking back home.  Most of the routes up that rock are technical climbing routes, but there was an exposed scramble.  I didn't want to try it myself, but on Sunday I got an opportunity to join some more advanced climbers on a route.  

And it was fantastic!  It's definitely a scramble, not a climb, but there's some exposure and a fall at certain places wouldn't be very good.  Incredible scramble with some great view of the Garden and Pikes.  Posted some stuff on my Pikes blog, and here are some others (a few of which were stolen from my climber buddy Mike):


Sunday, November 22, 2020

the major announcement... nothing.

We drove out to the Ark Valley Humane Society in Buena Vista on Saturday to meet an Australian Cattle Dog mix.  It did not go well and it was decided that he needs to be an only dog.  He seems like a great dog if anyone is looking, he just needs a home to himself.

We are now 0-4 in our search for a second dog.  We've decided to remain a one dog family for now.  Holly is cool with that.

Friday, November 20, 2020


Monday - evening run up Red Mountain.  Took forever to get down as Marc lost his key and we had to find it.  Manitou Brewing after the run.

Tues - 5.6 mile run in Red Rock Canyon in the AM, followed by bike commute 80.  6.7 miles to work through Sondermann, eleven miles back via the COVID loop.  

Wed - run commute 65.  Four there, 3.5 back.  Guitar lesson in the evening, I'm currently learning a very watered down version of Blackbird.  Weekly PRB at Benny's after the lesson.

Thurs - bike commute 81.  Four miles there, 3.5 back.  We all dodged a bullet here on the Westside as a fire broke out over near the Bear Creek Dog Park.  Could have been disastrous to the Cheyenne Canon and Red Rock Canyon areas.  Luckily the CSFD was able to get it under control pretty quickly.

Fri - bike commute 82.  

Right now I'm just getting out to get out.  Easy efforts all around, and I'll probably keep it that way until the end of the year.  Did get an e-mail about Chicago and $100 and I are gonna sign up to run that in October '21.

Could possibly be a major announcement about the family in the next day or two...

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Air Power!

This thing flew right over my house on Monday afternoon.  First time I've ever seen one (insert joke about how you're not supposed to see a stealth jet here).

Monday, November 16, 2020

Phantom Canyon

Another quick van trip down to Fremont County.  

Left Friday after work and went straight to Oil Well Flats.  Already dark when we parked, so it was a quick hike with the dog followed by some beers in the van before turning in early.  Windy AF, which would be a theme for the weekend.

Up early Saturday for a good 90 minute dog hike, then I went for an hour run.  It was already pretty warm and sunny for 8AM when $100 and I tagged off on dog duty and she took off on her bike.  I made some coffee and got out the guitar.  Not sure how long I had been playing, but I looked out the window and it was snowing.

$100 had planned on getting in some fishing on the Arkansas, but the wind made that difficult so we just went to The Owl for lunch.  So damn good.

Hung out in Canon City for a bit before heading over to Florence Brewing to waste some time.  Canon seemed dead, I guess everyone had gone to the million MAGA march.

Fremont County really nailed my current opinion on the whole mask thing:

We decided to head straight up the road to Phantom Canyon to spend the night.  We've both biked that road but never slept there.  Great place with lots of campsites.  Some more dog hiking, some more beers, and retreated to the van pretty early as the wind was still nuts.  

Up early on Sunday, drove up Phantom Canyon to Victor and returned through Woodland Park, stopping for a healthy breakfast at The Donut Mill.  Hard to see in this pic, but on the way up the Canyon we saw a bobcat.  He seemed just as curious about us as we were towards him.

Another quick weekender trip in the books.  Lots more of these shorter trips coming up.

Thursday, November 12, 2020


Wed - run commute 64.  Four miles there, 3.5 miles back.  Our cadet turned 21 on this veterans day.  USAFA kids are currently not allowed off base, but they are letting folks onto base.  So we took her dinner and, for her first legal alcohol ever, a Wild Weasel IPA from Red Leg.

Thurs - it's been cold as balls in the morning.  19F to walk the dog and still that cold to bike to work.  Bike commute 79.  Four miles to the office, eleven back home.

The commutes will fall off the rest of the year, as my office has had a COVID issue and I will be mostly working from home until at least January 1.  The dog is stoked.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

ramble on

2020 just rolling right along.

The period between the time change (November 1st) and the shortest day of the year (December 23rd) is by far my least favorite time of the year.  The lack of darkness and the introduction of cold weather always saps the motivation.  Then, starting around Wednesday, I came down with some crazy non-COVID sickness that left me physically weak.  And we had to watch Moose for four days.  And the election and ongoing debacle afterwards.  And some issues at work that have left us short staffed.  And Fossil and Benny's having to close down for a few days.  And the Pueblo Half going to a virtual only format this year.

OK life isn't that bad if this is the worst it gets for me this year.  I'm sure there are others out there who have it much worse.  But I have allowed all that shit to basically put an end to the workouts.  Which is weak as fuck, but I guess if there's ever gonna be a good time to sit on my duff and drink beer and get fat it's now.

Did get out to Red Mountain on Monday night.  Forgot how great a run/hike that route is.  I hadn't been to Manitou in a LONG time - I've had no reason to go there ever since Manitou and COS started punishing incline climbers in their pissing match.  But after being reminded how delicious the High Ground IPA from Manitou Brewing is, I'll probably start returning on Monday evenings for the Red climb.

COVID seems to be blowing up here in the Springs.  I thought it was super weird the last time the thing exploded, maybe March through late October, I didn't know a single person personally who tested positive.  This time seems a lot different.  In the past week a whole bunch of peeps I know have officially come down with the 'VID.  

Bike commute 78 this morning on the fattie.  Four miles straight to work as it was pretty cold out.  It's been warming up all day so hopefully I can take the longer route home.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

still here

Haven't been doing a whole lot since Cheyenne Mountain, besides drinking a lot of beer.  During the week after the race I ran once and made a few very short trips via bike.  The following weekend we took the van down to Canon City after work on Friday and hung out there until Saturday afternoon.  Great time hanging out at Oil Well Flats.  We came back on Saturday due to Fall Series III on Sunday AM, which we ended up missing because I completely spaced the new starting location.

As of today I do have the Rock Canyon half down in Pueblo coming up in a month and I'll start training for that.  Thinking 1:35 would be good.  Enough to make me sweat, but not enough to have to completely commit to painful training.  Of course, these parts are seeing some major COVID issues, so who knows if there'll even be a race.

2020 has been quite the shit show, but at least the election BS gets put behind us after today(ish).

Monday, October 26, 2020

Cheyenne Mountain 50k


Sun - Fall Series II at Monument Valley Park.  4.1 miles in 27:33, not too shabby after the annual Brewery Marathon the evening before.  

Mon - 8 x 200m up at the Holmes track in the AM, easy 13.8 mile ride in the evening.

Tues - bike commute 73.  10k there through Sondermann, eleven back home.  CityRock 56 at lunch.

Wed - 7.4 mile Garden trail run at dawn, 10 mile bike loop in Red Rock Canyon at dusk.

Thurs - bike commute 74.  6.7 miles there, 4.1 back.  CityRock 57 for lunch.

Fri - run commute 62.  4.3 miles in 39 minutes down the Midland Trail.  The beginning of a weird stretch of weather that will take us between 8F and 70F over the next few days.  The temp dropped significantly by 5PM and I just took the bus home.

Sat - Cheyenne Mountain 50k.  Went pretty well all things considered.  For Salida I correctly predicted I'd get to mile 17ish before shit start to hurt, and for this one I figured I'd make it about 22 miles.  And that was spot on.  At least in Salida I had Rick to push me, but I was in no man's land at CM and my pace really suffered over the final few miles.  Thankfully, due to the COVID, the course was changed and ended up being significantly short, my garmin clocked it at 26.8 miles.  5:22:46 for me, well short of the five hours I was hoping for.  Freezing cold at the start but it was pretty hot during the second half of the run.  Celebrated after the run over at Fossil, who turned six years old today.

Sun - body was a hot mess from the run, but I still got the dog out for a nice 5k hike before the truly shitty weather came to visit.  Spent the rest of the day vegging out, eating junk food, and watching football, including my undefeated Steelers.  Notice I'm not really talking about Pitt Panther football much these days.  The temp continued to drop all day and by the time I left the house at 6PM to meet Marc and Amanda at Fossil it was 13F and snowing.

Mon - got up at 4:20AM to shovel sidewalks and it was 7F.  I do four houses now, ours and three of our older neighbors, which isn't hard as snow in the Springs is light and fluffy, but it does take me a good hour to knock it all out.  At six the temp had gone up a whole degree, and when I tried to take the dog out she almost immediately developed her fake limp that she pulls whenever it's too cold to walk.  That will probably be it as the high today is 14F.  Back to the mid 60s by the weekend though.

Sunday, October 18, 2020


The last 90 or so minutes of Salida really put a hurtin' on the body as I was still feeling it on Friday.  So most of this week was spent recovering.

Mon - the legs and the liver were wrecked.  Easy four mile hike in Salida with the dog.

Tues - bike commute 71.  Four there, eleven back.

Wed - run commute 60.  Three there, four back.  

Thurs - bike commute 72.  6.5 miles through Sondermann to work, 10.5 on the COVID loop back home.

Fri - run commute 61.  Four miles to the office.  After work I jumped on a PikeRide and met $100 at Smiling Toad.

Sat - easy ride around town then over to watch the state cross country championship races.  Great stuff watching those kids get after it.

For the week:

run - 40 miles

ride - 45 miles

hike - 21 miles

Thursday, October 15, 2020


Pretty good run down at the Salida marathon.  As with Pikes, I just missed my goal time, running 5:02:26, but I had fun and pushed pretty hard over the last 10k so I was happy.  Started hurting around mile 17, then Rick H caught up to me (I think I had a two minute head start on him due to the wave starts) around mile 20 and I pushed hard to stay with him.  I knew if I could be with him at mile 25 I'd have a shot to take him down.  But at the mile 24 aid station I had been out of water for a while so I had to stop, while he had a pack on and ran through.  I wouldn't see him again until the finish line.  

The rest of the weekend was a blast as well.  Soulcraft, Benson's, Wood's, Tres Litros, lots of hiking with the dog, a good ride with $100.  Also saw a ton of peeps I hadn't seen in a while and it's good to see everyone surviving the shitshow of 2020.

Friday, October 09, 2020


Mon - pretty sore from all the racing over the weekend, and maybe a bit hungover.  But I still got to the track for 8 x 200m.  Got out in the evening for a nice ten mile loop on the bike in Red Rock Canyon.

Tues - bike commute 70.  Straight to work, 3.8 miles, eleven back home.

Wed - Early long hike on the Garden roads to celebrate the motorless morning, followed by run commute 58.  Four there, four back.  Guitar lesson in the evening followed by the weekly trip to Benny's.  

Thurs - run commute 59.  Five miles there, 5.5 back through Sondermann.  Coming down off the Mesa I spotted a fire over near the Incline.  Luckily it seems they have it under control.

Fri - another early hike to take the dog up on the Mesa  to see if we could spot the fire.  We didn't.  So hopefully it's out.  Jumped on a PikeRide to head to work, leaving in a few hours for Salida.

In Salida Friday through Monday.  The marathon is on Sunday, which will mess up the normal pub crawl schedule but somehow I'll survive.  Also going to make a quick trip to Crestone on Saturday as we're thinking about buying land there.  Originally, when the year began, I planned on running a sub 3:10 on October 11th, but now I'll be shooting for my usual five hour Salida slog.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

road trip

Man alive, what a great trip!  

We started off Thursday after work, heading over to the Wayfarer World HQ in Colorado Springs.  Then it was a quick drive down to Florence Brewing before heading out to the Royal Gorge for the first night.  One of the themes for the trip: smoke.  We were getting smoke in Colorado from some fires in California, so driving towards CA wasn't going to make things better.

The next morning we got up and went for a nice run on the Gorge trails.  Then it was off to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

The plan was to get to Fruita for the night, and by the time we got to Montrose the breweries were open.  We hit Horsefly and 2 Rascals.  Horsefly provided the first of another theme for the trip - bacon cheeseburgers.

Also dropped by Monumental Beer Works on the way, good stuff there.  Then it was Hot Tomato, waiting at Copper Club Brewing while the pizza was cooked.  Love me some Fruita time.  We camped way out at 18 Road.  Dinner, short hike with the dog, some guitar playing, and then we hit the hay early.

Up super early for a good desert dog hike in the pitch dark, then we shot off across Utah.  Weren't looking to stop at all there, but as we were approaching Delta, UT, we noticed this place:

And holy hell did they have a good bacon cheeseburger!

We got to Great Basin National Park in the early afternoon.  The place, as is the case for most national parks, isn't very dog friendly so we took a driving tour and then headed out to Sacramento Pass, some BLM land not far from the park entrance.  Lots of OHV folks, but we took the dog on a nice 5k singletrack loop near the campsite and didn't see a single person on the trail.  Did that same loop again early the next morning with the pup.

We were now driving highway 50 through Nevada.  Lots of interesting places.  Like this place, the International Cafe in Austin, NV.  They will not serve you if you have a mask on.  Of course we went in and grabbed a beer.

Hit another gem along the way, Middlegate Station.  Another fantastic burger.

We finally pulled into Reno around 6PM.  Stayed at the very dog friendly Whitney Peak Hotel.  They even have a dog park across the street.

And it's located right by this famous sign.

The dog was happy to have some AC as it had been hot outside, so she was alright with us humans heading out to explore Reno.  Found some solid places.  Ended up not hiking Boundary Peak due to logistics (van couldn't have made the road to the trailhead, so would have had to rent a car), so I plan on visiting Reno again in the future.

The next day we visited Wayfarer Vans in Reno, then headed south on 395.  I drove that highway back in 2011 and it was fantastic.  Unfortunately we wouldn't see very much this time as the smoke greatly limited visibility.
But hey, we did get to go to The Mobil.  We've been wanting to go to that gas station since 2012 when the podcast came out.  And despite the high expectations the place didn't disappoint.

Not your typical gas station food.

And we continued south.  One of the Wayfarer Reno guys recommended the June Lake Scenic Loop, so we took it, and discovered a sweet brewery along the way, June Lake Brewing.

And of course we stopped by Mammoth Brewing Company, home of the 395 IPA.  The smoke was so bad here I swear we were about to be burned alive, but the bartender assured me the fires were actually nowhere near Mammoth.

We ended the day sleeping in a casino parking lot in Bishop.  Home of Mountain Rambler Brewing.

Next day was off to Death Valley.  Passed through some quality trail towns like Independence and Lone Pine before turning off 395 and heading east.  I think Death Valley is technically a little more dog friendly than most national parks, but they can be that way as the heat regulates dog activities pretty well.  We drove down to Badwater Basin, and there must have been a cold front blowing through as it was only 104F.  On the way back from the Basin we took the Artist's Drive loop and I highly recommend it.

Dog was happy to chill in the van.

Once we exited Death Valley on the east side we were now in alien country.  The route we were going to take would skirt the perimeter of Area 51, you know, if Area 51 actually existed.  North up to Tonopah and then over to Rachel, NV, home of the world famous Little Ale Inn, which is where we spent the night.

On the road again the next day, we headed south towards Vegas.  Stopped to check out Valley of Fire State Park, very dog friendly but again we had to be wary of the heat.

Went down the Lake Mead Scenic Highway towards Vegas.  Decided to pull off to try to get near some water.  You know that oft quoted line along the lines of "it ain't an adventure 'till something goes wrong..."?  Well shit went wrong here.  I hit some kind of vehicle sand trap and got stuck.  We dug for a good hour in the Vegas heat and completely spent ourselves, to no avail.  Luckily we have roadside assistance on our insurance and it was easy to call for a tow, though super embarasing.

While waiting for the tow truck, covered in a gross mixture of sweat and sand, we decided that a hotel next door to the Double Down Saloon would be pretty cool.  Dog could get some AC and the adults could get some copious amounts of cheap booze.

The next morning I took the dog for a nice walk around the UNLV campus and we finally found the Tark statue.  College hoops back in the mid 90s sure was something else.

Then it was off to Flagstaff.  We were really hurting for a laundromat by this point in the trip, and luckily there's one right across the street from Beaver Street Brewing.

Also hit Dark Sky BrewingHistoric Brewing, and Wanderlust Brewing.  Special thanks to $100 for driving this portion of the trip, as I obviously wasn't in any shape to operate a big vehicle.  Dark Sky was fantastic, the best beer I'd had since leaving Colorado.

Found some forest land not far outside of Flag and called it a night.  The next day took us to Durango, where again we found some hidden campsite on BLM land.  

Next morning was Pagosa, where $100 did some fishing, and then we finished the day at a regular-for-us campsite just outside of Salida.  By Sunday afternoon we were back home in COS and my friends were over mooching all the beer we brought back.

3104 total miles.  $429.42 total in gas money, though that included a fill up in Woodland Park to leave us with a full tank next time we head out.  Great trip and we can't wait to head out again!