Friday, October 30, 2015

Hemmele-Olson Brewery/Biking Tour of the West

Well, the 10 day road trip celebrating our 5 years of marriage came to close yesterday, on 10/29.  We arrived home after a long day of driving from Park City, UT through some pretty gnarly downpours courtesy of the Godzilla El Nino this year.
Neither of us quite remember what redirected our vacation plans from a tropical destination to a big tour of the western US, but in the end, we both agreed that it was one of our best.

Day 1, rolling through 4 Corners...not sure why the Olson has chose UT and NM to put her feet...


Ahh, that's better... that's where we're going...



Some very angry travelers getting photobombed by PBR


Finally, a dry afternoon in Durango and I put some tires to the CO dirt...no longer a CO mtb virgin!


Good beer spots in Durango...(mountain town + beer = WIN)


Deep, angry thoughts about life, marriage, biking, and beer.  Here is where I wish I had a pipe.


No angry thoughts here on the Olson.


Time to leave Durango...driving north towards Silverton


Getting snowy as we head north from Durango.


Molas pass...quite beautiful and snowy...the Colorado Trail is down there somewhere...


Leaving Breckenridge after one night...the start of our near death experience on I-70 eastbound.


Made it to Fort Collins that night... time for beer (or 3) after all that driving stress.


So, Colorado left me more angry than when I started...  One freaking hour of riding in that state is all!....too wet, cold and snowy...  I'll be back!

Left Fort Collins after one night and drove to Jackson, WY...Got in a nice little ride that afternoon on the Snow King trails.  (Finally....ahhhhhhhhh)


Too many juice boxes consumed...


Some cool mountains... The Tetons that is...


A big elk...we waited him out since he was slowly coming our way.  I don't think my pellet gun would have been enough.


Why did the elk cross the road?



Tough to take a bad pic up here...


Gotta love Jenny...Jenny Lake that is with a little Tetons for a background.


Back in Jackson that afternoon, I got another ride in...so NICE.  (Tetons in the background)


Really nice singletrack in Jackson...


That's a SH*T-TON of elk antlers...holy crap.


The Olson in the antlers...


Celebrating 5 years with the Olson.  :)


Old Faithful...we arrived just in time to see it blow...


Looks like a nice hot tub...


This one didn't seem to care.  


Beautiful colors in this hot tub...


My favorite part of this feature was the Asian tourist that jumped off the walkway to put her hand in the acidic water...  I hope it ate her hand off.  Note that there were many signs that said to STAY ON THE WALKWAY...  In about EVER Language you could imagine.


So many cool colors...


Gurgling mud...


Personally, knowing that heat from the inside of the earth was escaping here was a little weird...


Yellowstone river...a whole lotta water moving there.


Yogi...maybe looking for Boo Boo?


Well, it was time to head south and find some slightly warmer weather. We 'd hoped to drive further north into Yellowstone to see wolves in the Lamar Valley, but the weather was getting ugly...Park City, UT here we come!

Park City, UT trail...so fun.


Dreamy MTB trail in PC...


View of Park City from the Armstrong trail


Some grunting on the SS to get up here on the Pinecone Ridge Trail.


Fun descending through the spent Aspens...


More descending through matchsticks...


Fun, fun...


Trail from Guardsman pass...high up.


Shadow Lake...fun 6.5 mile hike with the Olson


Another pic of Shadow Lake.


Awesome view looking west from Guardsman Pass


Did some great riding on the Round Valley Trails...flatter, but way fun.


Someone shot up my car...so pissed.


Mooses...err, is that moose...err is that meese?


Fall in the high country is almost over!... so much fun.


There you have it...10 days, 2750 miles of driving...here is what I learned...
1. To really appreciate the West, you HAVE to drive through it.  The open expanses of land can never be fully felt by flying over...  AMAZING... Do. It. Now.
2. Spending many hours in a car with your spouse is AWESOME...deep conversations, laughing, joking, are super fun...sure there were a few moments in the 10 days that were not all unicorns and rainbows, but 99.548% were pretty darn close.
3. Tons of Marriott points rock...we stayed in some sweet places for free along the way thanks to all the points I've accrued from traveling for my work....so nice.



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