Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Buena Vista, CO!!

Last week, Jenny and I went out to what I consider one of my most favorite places in the world.

No joke, Buena Vista is the world's best kept secret. In college I'd move out there and live in a little two man tent, working as a raft guide.

This shot brings back memories. I remember these customers. When I first met them, I was nervous because they looked like a bunch of nerdy old timers. Then when I got them in the river they would paddle like maniacs. That's me in the back with the blue life jacket... yelling at my paying customers, "FORWARD HARD!!!!". I don't yell at my wedding clients.

Some of the best memories in my life are in BV. My typical day for about 6 months of my life was: Wake Up at 6:00AM. Brush teeth, rinse from whatever water I had on me. Drive out to Bongo Billy's for some coffee and a pastry of some sort. Drive to work, American Adventure Expeditions. I'd then look to see what kind of group I had signed up (5-load from Kansas, paddle boat or ore rig). Then I'd pray that my group of customers were in good shape. A college group would be nice!

Then I'd head out to the boat shed where all the other guides were and I'd grab my favorite SOTAR, which is a brand of raft. Some people say it stands for "Swim Over To Another Raft", but whatever. I'd roll it out, pump it up, strap on a spare paddle, pack rain gear, clip my Nalgene bottle that was most likely filled up with TANG! and I'd then wait for my customers. When they arrived, I'd give them a "paddle talk", teaching them (hopefully) my paddle commands. We'd get on the water, hit some good class 4 rapids, have lunch, finish it off and head back on one of our school busses.

I was so poor that I actually bounced a check for Ramen Noodles and had a warrant put on for my arrest because of it. (Don't worry mom, dad... it's been taken care of). So I would PRAY for a good tip, which was like, $40 bucks! Then I'd meet my friends for some evening paddling in our kayaks down the narrows or Brown's Canyon.

The sunsets were warm and beautiful. Buena Vista is surrounded by some of the most spectacular Colorado 14'ers, the Collegiate Peaks. We'd grab a beer at the El Duran and FREE chips and salsa for dinner! And soon it was back to our tents. Sometimes I'd just sleep under the stars. Because there are no cities nearby, the stars shine incredibly!

Anyway, Jenny and I went out to BV for a day and it was awesome. I had so much fun showing Jenny my special spots. We even drove out to where my camp site was for the 3 seasons that I lived out there.

Right next door to American Adventure Expeditions was this old truck stop... THE GUNSMOKE. I used to go there for snacks and to gas up my old Ford Ranger. When I didn't have to work, I'd go to the diner and order a "Mr. Ed", which was a plate full of hash browns, snausages, green chili, three eggs, cheese and I think country gravy too! It looked like a pile of something you'd never want to eat, but we LOVED the Ed! I wanted to buy a Mr. Ed for Jenny but it wasn't splurge day. They also have awesome cinnamon rolls!

Here's a shot of some aspen trees off of County Line Road 311. If I ever got sick of my permanent camp site, I'd head out here for a night to "get away". ha!

This is the actual County Road 311. Purdy, huh?

And one more shot of some cool looking clounds on our way back home.


Skibumjt said...

Finally, someone that understands the true value of an "Ed" from the Gunsmoke. Thanks for your beautiful work on B.V. I often find it hard to describe the beauty of the collegiates and still do it justice, but your pictures more than accomplish this. I love your work and can't wait to see more pics of Colorado

pb50265 said...

Just wanted to say that I'm really enjoying your work. I started looking at your work for my wedding, but now I'm reading for your stories. My folks have a house in Mesa Antero, just outside BV, CO, so I know these rapids. I'm looking forward to my next summer trip there.