Tag Archives: Beer

Rocky Mountain Low

I’m guessing if you’re bored then you’re not looking to read about someone moping about life and it’s multiple issues; I wouldn’t be either. But since there is a kevinkelly before the .wordpress up there in the address bar, I can type whatever the hell I want. I will try to eke out a positive ending but let’s get real – life doesn’t always have positive endings neatly wrapped up with a sunset and serenade. I remember some author or creative person talking about how much american storytelling has effed up the public conscience by unwittingly stating that there is a nice, tasty conclusion to all of life’s problems. I wholeheartedly agree.

So ya, I got sick for a few days out here. No worries, I tend to have an affinity to sickness when I travel and jump into multiple physical activities without much sleep. That is common sense. The odd part about this trip was that I started missing home within the first week. This was good for I hadn’t really missed home since I was 18 and had been away for a month overseas, steadily worrying about the social circle happenings I was missing out on that seemed so incredibly important at the time (but which in retrospect were silly and retarded. Ahh, youth.) This was bad because I had just left barely a week ago and I was missing what; life in a basement, over-beered nights, inconsistent people, an overwhelming feel of stasis? I was in Colorado dammit, in the land of ice and snow from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow! Yea I was. But it wasn’t hitting me yet.

I started to gently fit in to a semi-cycle of climbing, laptop working in the library or coffee shop, dinner parties, red wine, more climbing, nature, 12:30 bedtimes (super early for me) and new friends. This was good, I liked this – first week in Colorado is awesome and fun, yaay! The second monday is when things began to shift from lightness to areyoukiddingmeness? It started off very subtle. My facebook account had been jacked up for a few days and now I couldn’t log into it at all. This perturbed me at this instance for I had multiple conversations going on thru the book of faces on my future travel plans and, if you’re anything like 95% of the average 15-35 year old, facebook is a regular part of your day as much as a lightning-fast morning bowel movement greased up with a good night’s sleep, a new food-layer of cereal and some strong coffee. Ah well, what’s a couple days without it. I can quit cold-turkey as I have before in dark lands with no wifi. I kept clicking around idly, heavily procrastinating on work and other demands of my life when I noticed that the clicking was taking much longer than usual. I’m gonna go ahead and sacrifice the play by play of computer malfunction and get straight to the point. After a matrix like pattern of binary code appeared on my screen, my hard drive bit the dust. Luckily i had an inkling that this was occurring and backed up some important things while overlooking other important things (SHIT).

Amid a myriad of other smaller and more personal things I dare not divulge on a public forum, I decided it was time to leave estes and see more of the mountain range. Luckily, I have good friends in Colorado Springs who decided to take me up on this. I made the drive down in the morning as a huge winter storm was nipping at my heels which would ultimately extend my trip by another day. Thru Boulder, Thru Denver, Thru the other mountain range towns I traveled marveling at some new American landscape I had never seen. First stop, Mac Store. No Luck. They didn’t have the hard drive and would take 3-5 Days to get it. Thank goodness I was able to sit there for 2 hours while they were able to figure this out! Luckily I was coming up to the house of some very quality people Jake & Kim. Kim was at work so Jake and I headed out to do the ‘little’ manitou incline hike at the base of Pike’s Peak. This hike turned out to be the steepest, most breath-raping mother****er I had ever set foot upon. Picture in your head (or here) a 1 mile hike in which you cover over 2,000 vertical feet with the aid of thousands of railroad ties and busted rusty pipes as footholds. Imagine starting this hike in nice 55 deg weather and ending in freezing snow covered ties in THE worst possible outdoor shoes (currently described as “A bit heavy, with no traction on slick, or wet terrain.” and they aren’t kidding). I was wheezing like an 80 year old grandmother as this chick glides up past us with her little puppy. Luckily, altitude hasn’t kicked my ass this trip and jake and I were able to finish somewhat respectfully before sundown, even taking the scenic route back to the parking area. My barely-there ass cheeks continued to ache for the next 3 days.

Seeing as how Jake & Kim are originally from St. Louis, we decided to hit the bars that night. After ordering obscene amounts of Thai food, we headed off to the Bristol Brewing Co. for some insanely dark beer and that sand & metal disc shuffleboard game that I can never remember the real name for. A word about altitude & alcohol – They are awesome together. One micro beer to buzz and you feel like you just finished a 6 pack of Bud Light. (Also new in altitude, much more methane production.) Kim had to work in the morning so Jake and I dropped her off before heading out on a little pub crawl via ten-speed in the frigid night air.

The night eventually ended around 2:30 a.m. after many, many dark beers, many rounds of darts, and some of the most inspired farting I have ever had the pleasure of smelling all due to the digestive effects of heavily americanized Pad Thai.

This trip to Co. Springs definitely helped avert some down&outness. Over the course of the next few snowed in days, we watched multiple documentaries, ate much food, read alot, booked tickets for the rest of my walkabout, and played some intense Mexican Train Dominoes, also entering a great new phrase into our vocabulary, ‘The Bone Zone’. Also, I just need to say, that the local Colorado Springs 9 o’clock news may be the most unintentionally funniest and crappiest news program I have ever seen. Real life came whipping back at us on friday when Jake had to return to work and I had to return back to estes.

Before I could make it back, I had a 5 hour wait in the Flatirons shopping mall outside of Boulder so that I could tell the Apple Store employees the exact same story I had just told to Co. Springs employees a few days earlier. I made the most of the time by solidifying my severe hate of malls, eating some long fasted from McDonalds, and watching Zombieland in the mall cineplex for the cheap matinee price of 8 BUCKS! I thought matinee equals cheap?

Amid all of these minor little things that happened and the addition of more personal shit, the missing of a free Tapes n’ Tapes concert at CU in Boulder, the weary drive back to Estes and the continual feeling of losing control over my STL life I was/am feeling less and less of a good/greatful/happy/upbeat/purposeful/unlimited potential vibe than I thought I would as I’ve made my adventure out west…

(How’s that for ending on a happy note? Sorry – this is the truth though. No sense in sugar coating a true account of travels. If there is anything positive to eke from this bleak post it’s that my St. Louis pride continues to swell everyday and I have never felt more connected to my hometown. I actually want to wear a cardinals hat.)

Italy, Germany, Germany, London, DC, DC… Home. (Part One)

A few more days in Germany…

Goodbye Italy. Hello 11 Hour drive back thru beautiful Brenner Pass. Gas stations are closed on saturdays. Car driving on fumes. Sister freaks, nephew screams. McDonalds in Garmisch. Taste of fatty foods and america. They must have some weird standardization in the cooking of their fries at Mcdonalds because they taste the exact same worldwide. These were pretty good I remember. Finally we arrive back at my sister’s home in sleepy Seubersdorf. Face plant into pillow. Commence stillness for nine hours. 

It was definitely a shell shock being back in a real bed, in germany and without a camera always in my hand. This was the first of many shell shocks on my way back to St. Louis. The next day I ventured out to Regensburg with 3 of the camp counselors who had come from Germany. It was the championship game between Germany and Spain and I did just happen to be in Germany for that one day — awesome. Regensburg was electric and dead all at the same time. The streets were completely empty untill you passed a bar where 150 people would be sitting outside watching the game with a projector shooting on a sheet. It was a great experience, everytime there was a goal or a good play, the crowd would erupt in cheers and start to chant like they were at the game. We hit up a few of these bars before ending at a bar with a small tv on the roof and about a hundred people staring skywards. And then… Germany lost. But you really couldn’t tell. We walked to the city square where people were celebrating regardless of the loss and happy to be drunk and German. There was the occasional spanish crowd that was taunting and cheering but instead of acts of hooliganism and violence breaking out, the Germans just kind of smiled and congratulated the Spaniards. Very civil. You’d get beat up in St. Louis for sure if the Cardinals had just lost to the Cubs and a bunch of Chicagoans went parading around downtown.

After this fun spectacle, we ended up in and Irish pub where we met three irish friends who bought us endless beers all night. Pretty soon, one of them whipped out a harmonica and we were all singing irish folk songs with big, splashing beers in hand. I felt like I was having multiple cultural disorder.

Two more quiet restful days in Germany before the madness of traveling would become altogether real for me, for maybe the first time ever.

How it took me 3 days to get home ~or~ Why United Airlines Sucks More Ass Than Enemas…

The day started off peacefully. Peacefully packing. Afternoon flight. No rush. La-de-da-dee, who want’s to pahdee? Quick wonderful flight to Frankfurt from Nuremburg via Lufthansa (the best airline ever). Casual stroll to the next gate about half a mile way. No worries, no stress. I had finally made it through the 2 or 3 security checkpoints and was walking the final leg to my gate when I heard over the loudspeakers “Flight 933 to Washington D.C. has been canceled, There are no more flights to the United States today”. I don’t know if it was my sublime, blissful feeling or the mimosa from the previous flight but something didn’t click inside my head when I heard this and I thought nothing of it besides “Man, that’s gotta suck for those people”. The reality became clear when I walked to my gate and from the faces of the first few people I saw it seemed as if their children had been kidnapped by United Airlines. People were freaking the hell out. 

I walked in and looked around before finding a little nook up by one of the information desks and just started to listen. People would all come up with the same story, “No, you don’t understand I like realllly have to get back to the states”, and “I DEMAND to talk to your MANAGER and GET ME A FLIGHT OUT OF HERE NOW”! If not for the amazing patience of the people working the tables it would’ve been insanity bordering on hilarious. I learned from perching in my nook that there was in fact no way to leave Frankfurt and I would be here for the night. This was rather annoying as I had my own reasons for returning, mainly Black River Lodge.

We were shuttled like sheep to the hotels. I overheard someone telling their friend to wait and not get on the first bus for it was headed to the airport hotel whereas the second bus was headed for the nicer Downtown Hotel. This is really not a fair comparison but I always think of Schindler’s list and those types of movies where families are being split up by trains and which one will be better than the other. Luckily, I chose right. We ended up at the 5 Star Reichenberg Hotel (I Think?) in a fairly nice room with huge ceilings. There was no plan to any of this, we learned everything from speculation and overhearing things from other travelers. I mean, there was a rather large squad of us, two Tour Busses full in the downtown hotel alone. Dinner was served shortly later and here’s where I met my friends for the night.

Walking into the dinner room, you kind of eye everyone at each table and quickly, mentally decide – “Who will be the most fun/interesting/worth sitting next to while I eat” in a devious Seinfeldian manner. I chose the table with 3 young multicultural travelers that looked like they had done this before. They were Van from Laos, a grad student that has probably been to over 1/2 of the countries in the world, Jonathan, an american of Indian heritage who had been living in Turkey for the past 5 months, and some girl who I can’t remember her name who was turning 21 at midnight and was annoying as hell. She was a mix of a bunch of cultures that she kept reminding us about all night along and now I can’t remember what it was. We ate dinner with a funny family from Boston and then headed out to find some adventure in the evening. 

Just, except, it didn’t really happen. I mean, we found a great rowing club and had a few beers while watching the sun set on the river and it was beautiful and magical and everything that meeting new people should be and then… we got lost in the residential areas for probably 90 minutes. The annoying girls hopes for getting fabulously drunk in germany on her 21st birthday began to fade as her back, and then her feet, and then everything started hurting. We rounded back up to the hotel and happily unloaded her before heading back into the Frankfurt night. Still no news had arrived from United. We came upon this awesome looking corner bar that seemed as if the door would shut at any moments, blinds noisily clattering over the windows and the 4 locals inside would stab, kick, and beat the shit out of us if we said anything negative about Germany at all. We didn’t care. We were having good conversation and people-watching out of the corner of our eyes and it was fun all around. Finally we head back to the hotel around 2 a.m. Stilll, no news from United.

By now, my clothes were starting to gain a little funk. I mean, theorhetically, I should have almost been back in St. Louis by now. And here I was, in a hotel room in Germany, by myself. I stripped down to my birthday and through on the terry cloth robe and laid down – feeling fairly alone for the first time in a month. Normally I like being alone quite a bit but this was unsettling for some reason. I slept for 3 hours. Woke up, showered, through on my slightly less stank clothes and headed to breakfast. Still, no news from United.

After a 40 Euro (free) breakfast and tons of coffee, I was ready to get the hell out of dodge. Finally there was a sign in the lobby ‘PASSENGERS OF FLIGHT 933 – MEET HERE AT 10 AM’. Finally. Some proof of life. An hour later, we were back on the busses headed not to the airport. Wait. WTF!? We were being shuttled to the airport hotel! No! This can’t be true! The Horror! I talked to my friend Van and the lucky dog said that he had called United and booked a flight out to Chicago. That was all I needed. I checked in to the hotel, just to be safe, and booked it right back out the door to the shuttle that was headed for the airport. Van and I scurried up to the Lufthansa desk and were treated like we were the victims of genocide, in a good way. They asked us “OH, your the passengers from flight 933?? Where have you been, we’ve been waiting for you??” Van and I looked at each other and laughed. The desk clerk, who looked like Ali G, was awesome and booked me on a flight to London, DC, then STL racing around behind his desk like he was in an action movie. Van and I hugged and were on our own separate ways. I still to this day think that some of the 933 passengers are still stuck in Frankfurt.

Unfortunately the story doesn’t end there (just like this entry which is rivaling the Talmud in length).
To be continued…