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After 12 years in Colorado, the time has come for a change. The only problem is...I don't know where I want to live! Come with me (virtually, of course) across the country as I travel along all the rural roads, small towns, coastal regions, scrub-filled deserts, and damp, dark forests in Anywhere Else, America in search of a new home.
Recent posts

Motors and Muscles

My primary reason for going to Silverton was to hike a bunch of 14ers and other trails that I never had time for while living in Colorado. But there's other playtime to be had in this part of Colorado, especially on those endless trails. Many are better explored on 4x4s than foot, as long as you have the stomach to handle narrowly scooting by other vehicles on a strip of road between a rock wall and a steep drop-offs.  I had a blast renting ATVs with friends last summer and whipping around groomed trails in a recreation area where the biggest danger was a blind corner or two. While the mountain passes around Silverton are slower, they are more technical and offer instant death if you aren't careful. So, of course, I had to join the fun. I didn't take any videos on Imogene Pass  but it's a rowdy time for sure. The best part was charging through streams. I can't believe I did that pass years ago in a stock Jeep Wrangler when I had almost no off-roading experience. T

Small Town Politics

I've been staying in a lot of small towns on this extended road trip. Largely that's been due to coronavirus but also, since cities are easy to get to, it makes sense to take advantage of this road-trip by going to the off-the-wall places I wouldn't visit otherwise.  As charming and unique as these places have been , I could never actually live in a small town. I need gyms and culture and entertainment and lots of people to meet and accessibility to other great places.  Then there's small town politics...too much drama. And Silverton is small. Not only is the town small, but Silverton is almost the only municipality in all of San Juan county. In 2019, there were 534 Silverton residents and 589 county residents total. This article from the Colorado Sun states: "Because Silverton is so small, there is an unusually incestuous employment and town-official pool." There's a lot of conflict of interest in the multiple positions people hold. And as soon as I arri

All The Peaks I'll Never Summit

The San Juans have a way of thwarting my plans. Three years ago, my friends and I failed to find Handies Peak , one of the easiest 14ers you can do. We ended up roaming around the Alpine Loop with all the people on OHVs looking at us like we were crazy for hiking there. The year after, I almost failed again because I went around the wrong side of the Alpine Loop and took many more hours to reach the Handies trailhead than I should have. Fortunately, the weather cooperated and I was able to summit Handies even with the late start. But that drive gave me experience getting over Engineer Pass, one of the most terrifying 4x4 roads in Colorado. And that previous experience was the only reason I dared attempt it again last month, as demolished as it was because of the monsoon rains. There were two spots I had to stop, breathe deeply, slow my heartbeat, and try a few different angles to get over the rocks in my amateur-rank SUV, but I made it.  I had to, otherwise I wouldn't have been ab

To Pole or Not To Pole

Okay, I confess. My friends and I are (were) hiking pole snobs. For many years, we've always had some snarky, under-the-breath comment when we see someone who isn't of a certain age or visibly out of shape or injured using hiking poles. We've prided ourselves on our toughness and speed up 14ers. Several years ago, I was dating someone who my feelings were already waning for and he used poles on a hike we did. It drove me insane. The little tap tap tap for hours on end. That sound bored into my brain relentlessly. I had to hike ahead of him on the way up and run down the last few miles alone to get away before I grabbed a pole and drove it through his heart.  Then I signed up for a crazy ultramarathon this year (which I'm not running after all, but that's a different post) and from the message boards, it was clear that everyone runs it with poles. I have an acquaintance who is super-fit and always uses poles. She swears by them and gave me some recommendations. So,

Welcome to Seattle!

Wait, no, not Seattle. I'm in Silverton, Colorado now. But it has rained for 24 out of my 28 days here so far. I only have 6 days left...and guess what's in the forecast? So yeah, remember that post about getting up early? Still doing that here because the mornings are quite beautiful. The rain doesn't roll in until around 2 PM, but then it's game over for the day because it's not just rain; it's thunder and lightning too. At 9,300 feet elevation, Silverton is already pretty close to the clouds, so you really don't want to get stuck out in the mountains in a thunderstorm. Silverton is chaotic, kind of like a junkyard, really. And it makes me happy. It's a good antidote to the super corporate, big-box feel of Redding , and to the glitzy, hyper-planned mountain towns in Colorado like Aspen and Vail. There are no laws here. The streets are filled with OHVs, there are no parking laws, and only the main street has stop signs. In every other four-way intersect

Lonely Doesn't Equal Nothing

If you need to travel across the middle of Nevada from California to Utah, chances are, you might spend 350 miles on the loneliest road in America, Route 50 . You can drive 60, 70, or 80 mile stretches without seeing anything or anyone. You might be as nuts as I am and do it in an almost-12-year-old car, but that's not really recommended. (I did have the Nitro checked over thoroughly in California before I left.) Or you might be a bit smarter about your choice of vehicle, but either way, you'll find a surprising number of things to do despite the desolation. First up, the wild horses of  Lagomarsino Canyon . I love wild horses. I've seen them several times in Wyoming and couldn't pass up the chance for a hike in a canyon where I was almost guaranteed to see them. I passed a few beautiful ones clopping along the road on my way to the trailhead. Given it was mid-day, I wasn't sure I'd see any horses out, so I was already happy. When I got to the trail, I was even

Early Bird Really Does

I learned a lot about hiking during my time in Colorado, and among those lessons is that you've got to get up early. This is a hard one for me because I'm not a morning person, but the lack of traffic on the road at 5:30 AM and the lack of people on the trail makes rising early worthwhile. Most importantly, I appreciate getting to the trailhead parking in time to get a spot. Nothing ruins the experience of a hike like arriving back at the trailhead but having another two miles to walk down on a hot road. In Colorado, however, it's often impossible to get up early enough, especially for the popular trails. I have arrived at trailheads at 4:30 AM and found the lot full already. It's awful. But in the rest of the world, the early rising habit I learned has served me well. In Maine, people start hiking really, really late, after 9 AM even. But even in sweltering hot Arizona and Northern California, at 6 AM you're often the first one at the trail. It's fantastic. And