The first leg of our trip was in Boulder, where everyone commutes by longboard and adults lay in the grass and read books by the river on a Tuesday. The highlights play out like this: we saw a vegetarian stuff himself into a box, took a couple of runs through the campus of my alma mater (go Buffs!), ate at the same crappy Chinese place that I used to eat at daily while I was in graduate school (a big shout out to Tra Ling’s, where the food comes by the scoop, and the scoops are only a dollar), scrambled to the top of Red Rocks using a climbing technique I call, “shit, I hope this works.”
From there, we were lucky enough to hit Vail just in time to catch a piece of the Go Pro Mountain Games. If you’re not familiar with this festival, just imagine every Abercrombie and Fitch model descending upon one of the most expensive towns in America to compete in professional mountain sports like kayaking, slack lining, and mountain biking. It’s intense. Lots of people with tattoos who are “spiritual, but not religious.” Our minivan was the only vehicle that didn’t have a kayak on top.
We got to watch a bit of the kayaking action and a little bit of the slacklining. We ate PBJ’s while watching a couple hundred people do a massive yoga class in the middle of the village. They were all very bendy.
After stuffing our backpacks with free samples of beef jerky and organic energy drinks, the kids were psyched to try ziplining for the first time, climb the fake rock wall, and ride the gondola to the top of the mountain where we had a mid-June snowball fight. After pushing our kids beyond the point of exhaustion, we averted a massive tantrum at 10,000 feet above sea level by plying them with M&M’s. It’s comforting to know that even in strange locals, where social status depends largely on body mass index, old tricks still work. My kids will do anything if there’s the promise of hard chocolate on the other end of the deal.
The family is at the precipice of the Great American Road Trip: Three weeks, one minivan, two four-year olds, half a dozen national parks, and 2,000 pounds of luggage. There is no event or catastrophe that we don’t have supplies for tucked away in one of our purple suitcases. Lantern, check; snow mittens, check; malaria pills, check; snow chains, check.
We’re hitting the big sites between Colorado and California (Las Vegas!, Pikes Peak!, L.A.!) but also hoping to tackle some classic American adventures like panning for gold and maybe starting a small forest fire with an illegal fireworks display.
So far, we’re only a couple of days into the trip, so we’re still in the honeymoon phase. I haven’t even started drinking liquor yet. Okay, I’ve had a little liquor. But not during daylight hours, so that’s good.
A couple of questions I’m curious about answering as we make our way further West:
1) How will my kids react to all of the free porn that litters the sidewalks of Las Vegas?
2) How do you get busy with your hot wife in a tent with two kids sleeping between you?
We’ve learned so much already in just a couple of short days. For instance, flying with two four-year-olds is fun if let your wife sit with them while you sit in a completely separate row and drink beers and play Transformers. Also, the cup-holder of a child’s safety seat is not a good place to store a handful of smashed turkey for two days. And this is interesting: if you buy hundreds of dollars worth of food and camping gear at Target, the check out guy will ask if you’re a doomsday prepper.
Feel free to write that info down.
Optimus Prime likes cheap beer.
This is just one of the carts we needed.
How cute are these kids?