The Savage Woody Creek Tavern, The Trek Across Nebraska, Broken Cables, Finally Sitting at a Fire in Iowa and More!...
I can't believe it's 7 days into this journey and I've only been able to upload one blog entry. That goes to show a bit of adjustment was needed to take care of the 'bumps in the road' that we've encountered, as well as getting adjusted to life on the minimal. Right now I'm getting some much needed relaxation in front of a fire in Iowa at Prairie Flower Campground. It's quiet except for a million bugs and a few owls talking to each other, and of course the neighboring campers dogs screaming when something is stirring in the woods which they are doing now...sounds like a pack of something is getting ready for a hunt. They come near me though, they've got a savage fight in store, as I have a shovel, a knife, an axe some hot flaming logs, whiskey and my attitude to fight back with...plus a fresh meal would be nice:P
So, where to begin. I guess when I last left you eager public licking your lips for the juice on what it is like to go on a 15000 mile tour across the U.S. in a camper, I was in Colorado still stirring from flat tires, no A/C and bounced checks. Well, the 2nd night I was in Colorado was one of the coolest I've spent in a long time because I got to make my pilgrimage to the legendary Woody Creek Tavern, more famously known as the hangout of Hunter S. Thompson. I made the 55 minute journey from Glenwood Springs to Woody Creek and arrived just in time to snag one of the remaining spots at the bar, as the tavern was stil FULL of tourists (yeah, me included) eating dinner. The burger is fantastic by the way...followed by a Bud and a shot of Jameson. I met the bartender, Tim, through some small talk, establishing why I was there and the fact that I was on tour and not some bumbling idiot that was there to drool over the place that Thompson hung out at. I quietly finished my food while staring at the walls, which are covered in pics, picking out the one's of Thompson or something related to him--campaign posters for his run for Sheriff, oil paintings from fans etc. As the crowd died down and the bar became much more comfortable, due to either the whiskey setting in or the fact that the tourists were thinning, I finally got to have an in depth conversation with Tim. He pointed to the stool at the end of the bar (of course, where else do geniuses sit but at the end of the bar), and poured out stories of how the divots in the bar where from Hunter slamming his shots down, and how the phone jack on the bar was used by him, with his own phone, to conduct business. I asked if I could get a pic of myself in the legendary chair, and by the time he was finished snapping off the last shot of my dying cam, I was already moving my drinks down to the seat. Yes, the SEAT. Now, if you know me, you know I'm not one to be star struck because I really don't care, unless a famous person wants to buy my art, but sitting in that seat definitely brought full circle a respect and fascination with an incredible author.
The best part of the night though, was when I finally got to meet the locals. Jeff and Cliff the one they called 'Big Pants' and a slew of others brought the true color of that tavern at the end of a windy road to life. Some were transplants from New Orleans after Katrina, and some knew Thompson when he was still alive and drinking, but all were incredible people to throw back drinks with--several offering me a place to stay in case I didn't feel like driving all the way back to Glenwood Springs. I also met Biff the Cat--a local legend, the cat has been there for years and years, and even wears an electronic door opener on it's neck to be able to open the pet door on the building next door during the winter when it gets too cold. I'll definitely be back to this gem in the Rockies...this haven that is so much more than a tourist destination, or a pilgrimage, but an ever evolving tavern that just happen to have a famous writer call a barstool home.
I made the trek back to Glenwood Springs alright, without any elk mutilation or major storms coming down on me, although when I got back to camp, my wife and child evidently had to endure a huge storm that shook the trailer like Wall St. dry humping the well done cash cow. The air was fresh and clean though--a clean I've not experienced in San Diego. Colorado is an amazing place, but it was time to cash in and get some sleep--I knew it was going to be a long day, and a long drive tomorrow to Nebraska through the Rockies. Alright, I'm going to turn in for now...I'll fill you in on Nebraska and Iowa tomorrow.