I hadn’t been on a plane, a boat or train for almost a year. I hadn’t been more than two hours from home for damn near 365 days and I could feel it rising up in me for months now. I could feel the winds of change trying to blow me along while I’ve held steadfastly to the Missouri soil that I cherish so much. And before I knew it, the soil that I had clung to so fervently started to turn me into soil; I was becoming a St. Louis fixture – a mobile landmark well known among the 20-somethings in the city area. The things that I loved about St. Louis were starting to suffocate me. I had become too familiar with how everything works and where everything was that I was not moved by life and it’s little eccentricities any further. This wanderlust has been building up in me for awhile and finally it took it’s huge weathered mallet and knocked me off of my moorings; ass deep into the Rocky Mountains.
I landed in a crevasse of civilization called Estes Park around 10:45 p.m. last Friday night. This was after having left Thursday at 5 p.m. Three and a half hours drive to Kansas City followed by 10+ hours to Boulder. And as luck would have it, I got sick right before leaving town. I didn’t have any going away parties because it would have felt retarded. I’m only headed out here to Colorado for the two months before Christmas and then safely nestled back into the loving love of holiday-family-time-warmth in the mighty midwest. It’s almost like an extended vacation. Which almost feels kinda selfish. Which almost feels like I’m a wandering youth with no direction or goals… well, that last one was a bit harsh.
So ya, here I am, Kevin Kelly, twenty-six years of age typing out my thoughts on this adventure in a small resort town in Colorado. This is how alot of my personal journal entries start as well; kind of like trying to remind myself that I do in fact exist and I am at an age where I could easily be painting the fence as my wife and kids play on the Fisher-Price swingset on the background. —- Okay this is getting ridiculous, you’re reading this because A.) You are bored or B.) You feel an obligation to humor me and tell me that you read my blog post. Not because C.) You’re not sure what you’re doing in life either but you’re doing it and you don’t need to hear some peer bitch and moan about the same feelings you are familiar with. YOU ARE HERE FOR THE STORIES ABOUT POOPING IN THE OCEAN AND COUGHING UP NASTY CRAP. Well friend, you are at the right place.
I basically packed for two weeks. I used this trip as a chance to rid my life of tons and tons of shit that I would never normally throw away. I’ve been living in the confines of my parents rat cellar that stays nicely dank and cold with the occurrence of either a random cockroach or large ball-bodied cricket with huge back legs; both of which I’ve annihilated on a weekly basis. It was a total chick magnet. Really though, I figured there was a reason that all my roommate options had fell thru after leaving Kingsbury Manor and that helped point me towards CO in the end.
With the jetta packed to the gills, I peaced out to my mother and father and gave some hugs to last minute meetups with some friends. It was a totally shitty night to drive but I made it safe and sound to the Homewood Suites on the Kansas side of Kansas City. My Uncle Bob just happened to be there for the night and let me sleep on the pullout couch. After some Family Guy, popcorn and cookies, I headed to bed to try and rest for the next day. I think I slept like 4 hours.
Uncle Bobbers and I shared a huge breakfast of waffles, cereal, fruit, coffee and some square pizza. I ate like a holocaust survivor and stuffed some fruit into my pockets for the trip. I walked outside with my backpack hoping that my car hadn’t been broken in to and realized that it was still dark. It’s been awhile since I’ve been up that early. After replenishing my gas tanks, I headed out into the most beautiful place in the world – Kansas. Doesn’t ‘Kansas’ even sound nasty? It’s like melding two nasty words (Cancer & Ass) into one nastier word and using it to name an extremely flat and bleak looking place where people are supposed to live. No one I met in Kansas seemed very happy. I think this is because they subconsciously realize that their state sounds like ‘CancerAss’.
Speaking of life and living – you really start to think about life and death and happiness while driving across extremely flat expanses of land. Maybe that’s the benefit of Kansas; it’s devoid of anything too interesting so you can start thinking about your life without any beautiful landscapes to distract. While the blood in my body slowly started to pool in my butt I delved into fairly deep thoughts about what I am doing with my life, my current situation, wtf am I doing driving to Colorado, people that I care about, people that I don’t care about, girls, boys, friends, family, legacy, honor and everything in between. I can’t really say that I came to any earth-shattering conclusions but just a better understanding of what/who Kevin Kelly really is.
Finally, I crossed into Colorado. I decided to stop at the visitors center because it looked nice and welcoming and I had to urinate intensely. Inside I met the kindest old couple who offered me coffee and conversation. I don’t remember their names but the man told me that he had worked as a volunteer there for 20 years and had been a farmer before that. He married his wife 60 years earlier. He had lived 8 minutes away his entire life and seemed fairly happy (I wasn’t in Kansas anymore). He exclaimed to me that I need to find a woman while I’m here.
A few more hours and I finally arrived at the Boulder Rock Club and promptly fell asleep on the bench outside waiting for my friends. Boulder had suprisingly warm weather that quickly dissipated after the sun went down. Luckily, Patrick (Friend I am living with here) showed up with his girlfriend Katie and college friend Becca ready to get our climb on. For $20 bucks, we were able to climb and compete and enter a gear raffle party complete with pizza and beer. I was completely out of it but managed to climb okay and meet some more Estes Parkians who had traveled down the mountain to compete. The kids that were competing were amazing. One kid had an indians had cocked to the side and scrambled effortlessly up this route that I tried twice (on top rope!) and failed at. He was like a little hairless monkey.
After the comp, we headed up for some pizza and bitter IPA that made my lips purse. Patrick won a hat, Katie won a hat, Becca and Kevin won zilch. Wearily, I plopped into the passenger seat of my own car as Patrick drove us up the mountain to another new experience in Estes Park, Colorado.