Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Day 19- Fort Carson

My phone ended up falling in between the wall and the bed at some point last night, waking me up from finally falling asleep. It was a restless night battling with the warmth, and not being able to fall asleep. I woke up at 3:00am to check the time, way too early. Shane left for work around 7:30-7:45am and I got up to go to the bathroom. His suitemate was still in his room since I could see his light on from under the door, I went to the bathroom and got back in the room as quietly as possible; Shane says he's a dick. I laid back down for awhile and decided to get up before my 8:30 alarm went off. The suitemate left by now so I opened the door to the common area so I wasn't so boxed in, and then it sounded like he had come back and I quickly, and quietly, got up to shut shane's door and lock it. He must have forgotten something because after a little while he was out the door again. I had a cup of grapefruits from Shane's mini fridge in his room and pulled out a  granola bar from my backpack. I knew today would be a sit inside, and catch up on the blog day. Not to mention I was kind of scared to leave the room by myself without Shane around (though he did make me my own key.) I sat on the bed and began to write from four days ago, time flew by and in no time I was nearly caught up. Shane texted me saying he would be at the range today and would be home around 4:00pm, I suggested we go climbing tonight if he was up for it and he agreed. It was around noon time and I was growing hungry, I decided to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the kitchen. It sure is quiet and lonely here during the day, but I am sure it is rarely like this for Shane since he goes to work during the day. I caught up on yesterday's blog while talking with Blake for our daily hour or so conversation with the huge time difference. After, I FaceTimed with Mom and Hunter and before I knew it, Shane was back. He was out of uniform before I could even think of turning on the camera, tomorrow I will yell at him and make him let me take a photo. His phone only had a 2% charge so we sat and waited for it to take on at least 20%. Shortly thereafter, we left the room I was in all day and it was a beautiful day! We headed to downtown Colorado Springs to City Rock the indoor gym. I had to watch a sweet quick video, sign a waver, and only pay $5 for shoes since Shane had guest passes for me to get in free with. The gym was massive; there was a bar inside, three floors of climbing, slack lines, and weight training area. I started on V0 in the boulder section and it was higher than I had done in the past, and it topped out so once I got to the top; I climbed over the wall, and went down the stairs. I worked my way up some V1 routes, and a couple V2's but my skill level currently is in-between the two. I can make V1 with no problem, but get hung up on a lot of the V2's. It was fun watching Shane do some of the more difficult ones, he volunteers here one day a week so they know him pretty well. We stuck to just bouldering since I didn't want to test out my knowledge on belaying, and Shane offered to brush up with me but I didn't want to waste time. Though I do enjoy climbing with ropes. We had fun, and my arms and fingers sure got a workout. We stayed for just under two hours and decided to go grab dinner. He had asked if I had ever been to PitaPit, and I had never even heard of it. Apparently it is like a Subway, or Moe's but with pitas and gyros. We went down the road to check it out; Shane usually orders the cheesesteak with peppers, onions, and mushrooms, so I followed suite. Inside I put chopped tomatoes, banana peppers, Ancho sauce, with a bag of salt and vinegar chips; it was really good! The sun would be setting soon, so we decided to drive up Old Stage Road which would give a nice view of Colorado Springs below. The drive up was through a really nice part of town, there was a huge golf course, and mansions on either side of the road. The smell by the golf course was very unique; it was a faint smell of fresh cut grass, with a stronger scent of holiday spices, maybe what you mull cider with. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but it was amazing. Once we reached the dirt road, Shane blew the Subaru around the corner and up we went. The views were really nice, and I wished i brought my camera with me. We stopped at some pull offs to take some photos with my cell phone, and continued up the winding rutted dirt road. We saw a few passing vehicles here and there and then decided to turn around and head back to base. When we got to gate 4, they started to scan our ID's and we heard, "watch out he may have a hatchet in his vehicle." We looked over to find the kid that was really cool with us yesterday and had talked to us most, saying how ridiculous the other guy was being. We laughed and told the guy checking our IDs to ask him after what he was talking about, it was a good story. We both gave him a wave as we passed by, the shifts always change but what are the chances. It was pretty funny running into him again. Back at the barracks, we saw Shane's friend; Tristan in the parking lot pulling in. We waited and talked to him for a few minutes before heading in so we could shower. I knew Shane would only take a few minutes, so I let him get in first so he could start packing after. I jumped in after and he began packing. He heads to a month long live in training starting Friday at 4am so he has to gather all of the requirements they ask of him. According to him, most of the things are useless. After he packed all that he could, I began to blog and he sewed the massive hole in my running shorts from the tear the other night. The rest of the night was spent eating grapes, playing online, and talking before heading to bed. Tomorrow I will actually leave the room, and try to explore Garden of the Gods, and Pikes Peak if the road is open which I am hoping it is!

Day 18- Golden/Colorado Springs

I woke up wide awake to check the time, 7:00am; no way too early, I rolled over and went back to sleep. Between now and 9:30am, Ziplock had gotten up and headed to class; I woke up to my alarm. I decided to get up, throw in some laundry, and chisel away at my backed up blogposts. I packed up my bedding, folded the laundry, and wrote at least one post before remembering Ziplock had made fried rice the other night. I warmed up some of that and put on a record, enjoying lunch before Ziplock came home and did the same in about 15-20 minutes. We decided to make a half-day out of this finally blue skied Colorado day. Red Rocks Amphitheater is a geological phenomenon, the only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world and I wanted to visit it. Though there wouldn't be any concerts going on, it was still something I wanted to see for myself. We passed through a cute little town of Morrison and I asked Ziplock if Jim lived there, her blondeness must have kicked in because she had no idea what I was talking about. I then said, Jim Morrison...and still nothing. A minute later she got it, oh well I tired. We parked and hiked up to the amphitheater, there were a lot of people exercising and running up, and across the rows of seating. I could just picture the Beatles preforming here, and a giant party rushing through the audience. I would love to come back some time to see an actual concert there one day. We walked all around, through the visitor center, and took some photos for some people while I asked one of them to take ours. (Maybe I could start charging and get a job up there taking photos for people!) On our way down, I saw a little boy about the age of 3 or 4 years old. He was on top of a stone overhang and we were walking down the stairs, it seemed like no one was watching him so I paused there a moment. A man and a woman came up behind me and noticed my concern of where this child's parents are, the man asked the boy, "where is your mommy and daddy?" A minute later a woman came up the stairs and claimed him, with the man joking that he will be a good rock climber one day. Some people just shouldn't have children if they can't keep an eye on them, if he fell it would be a good 4 or 5 feet fall onto the cement. We finally reached the road after a long stair descent, but we were parked on the other side. It took us maybe 5-10 minutes to walk to our car and we decided to stop in Morrison and check out the shops. We stopped in a couple stores where I loved a lot of the clothing however it ranged from $45-$65 on average, no thank you. Outside one of the stores, a man asked if he could take a photo with us; sure he was either drunk or high and it made both of our days I am sure. We finished our walk on the other side of the street where there was a bike path over a creek. On the bridge was a bell named the 22 bell (my favorite number) from an old school house. We decided to head back to the house since it was around 2:30pm and I would be heading to Colorado Springs soon. When I first got to Golden I noticed a gas station called Sinclair, their logo is a green Brachiosaurus. A little back story on why this is relevant. On the Appalachian Trail, there was a town called Glasgow. My Nana and Papa picked myself, Ziplock, and Rockman up from the trail, and brought them into town. In town, there was a giant Brachiosaurus statue for no apparent reason, but we all took a photo in front of it. Now, Ziplock and I needed one with this dinosaur. We stopped at the station near her house, and took a quick selfie; I sent a text message to my Papa and he asked if she bought the dinosaur-he had remembered. Back at the house Kelly and Matt were hanging out on the couch, and Ziplock made us a delicious snack. It was a corn tortilla, melted cheese, spinach, avocado, a fried egg, and hot sauce; so good. I remembered I had three beers left in the fridge so I drank one with my second lunch, we ate out on the front stairs and it was so nice out. I wanted to just pitch my hammock and chill all day in it, but Colorado Springs was calling my name. I left later than I had told Shane to begin with, so I had to be on my way. A huge thank you goes out to not only Ziplock for taking me under her wing, but also her friends and roommates for making me feel like part of the gang. I've never lived with roommates before, and staying here gave me that experience of free range over the apartment as though it were my own, I am forever grateful for my time in Golden. I hope one day Ziplock comes and visits me on the East Coast and I can show her a good time as well. I got in the rental, and headed for the gas station letting Shane know I should be there around 4:45. The highway was full of traffic, and people driving slow in the left lane (the fast, passing lane.) I was finally within 10 minutes of base, and Shane had already warned me I would have to go through a gate of customs where they would have me open up all of my doors and present them with my license and registration. I got to the booth, and he asked where I was going; I didn't really know I explained. I had a friend who I was coming to visit, he advised me I needed to turn around and visit gate 1. I called Shane since the address he gave me brought me there and he tried to verbally get me to gate 1. I hopped on 115 and was on the right track, until I passed the entrance on my left. There was no where to turn around so I kept driving until there was a spot. Shane was waiting in the parking lot for me just before the check point. He would be able to just drive through without being checked, but I would need my car checked. He drove through and pulled off to the right side of the road, I pulled up; handed him the paperwork, popped the hood and trunk, and opened all of the doors standing off to the side. First, let me back up to a conversation between Shane and I earlier that day; which went as follows:
"Is there anything I can't have?" He responded, "Drugs, explosives, and guns...but they don't check that good anyways hahaha." So I joked and said, "Perfect I've got all three stashed away in a secret location." Now lets fast forward back to present time, I failed to remember that I had a small camping hatchet stored right out in the open when you opened the back door on the driver's side for easy access. This was going to be a problem, they put a cone behind my car and lowered the arm. Shane saw from afar what was going on and realized something wasn't right. The guard asked me if I was moving to Colorado, I said no; I was taking a cross country road trip. He then asked if I knew which hatchet he was referring to; I agreed I did, that I had been camping along the way. He called it in, and I called Shane. Shane grew very frustrated with how they were handling this, it was not a weapon, it was a tool that even the army was issued. He walked over to ask what the problem was, while the guard who called it in had walked inside. All of the other guys came over and were laughing and apologizing for this guy being a dick, they all said had I been in their lane; they wouldn't have thought twice about it. Shane joked with the guys saying, does this look like a face of a killer? The hatchet murderer from Connecticut? We all waited and talked about it while Mr. Macho was nowhere in sight, dispatch was called and a cruiser pulled up behind me. Shane joked with the guys saying watch out the hatchet may be boobie trapped and they would have to called EOD. Finally after wasting about a half hour, the decision was made; they were denying my access until I no longer had the hatchet. Shane and I left the gates, returned back to the parking lot, and decided to go to dinner to give it some time. We left my car at a nearby parking lot with the post office, put the hatchet in the trunk of his car in the wheel well, and headed to Colorado Mountain Brewery. All daylight was wasted earlier, so we sat outside and enjoyed what we had left over dinner. Seems the last time I had seen Shane was over food in Connecticut as well, once at Plan B (burgers, bourbon, and beer; not babies) and the other time for Pho. He has now been in the Army for about 2 years now, and was a huge support for me while on the trail last year. I ordered a beer, and a bison burger with pastrami and Russian dressing, and he got a reuben. We sat and talked for awhile about the Army, his tenative plans for the future, how much he loves Colorado, and what my plans are. After dinner we picked up my car, and headed back to the gates. He made it through no problem and pulled off to the side once again, I pulled to the lane to the left of the hardass I had last time and smiled at the guys. I handed them the paperwork, popped the hood, and opened all of the doors. He briefly looked around, but didn't even check under the hood, and said I was all set. I got out, closed all of the doors, and struggled with opening the hood to close it. He helped me and after a few seconds we were able to get it open where he said, "well guess I'll take a look in here quick" and chuckled slamming it shut. There was no one in the lane of my previous inspector, and I am sure he was pretty furious I chose not to go to him, and that the check was not as thorough as his was before. I thanked the guys, and drove off. We drove through the barracks which was like a small town; they have their own grocery store, police, fire department, gyms, pools, and other stores all available. We pulled into where Shane lived and it looked like a jail, the building was very bland, and uniform. He was on the first floor so we walked through the door and it was like a college dorm. He had a room, with a closet which was joined by a door to a common area with his suitemate which had a kitchen sink, table, microwave, and mini fridge. Then there was a bathroom sink, and a door to the bathroom with a toilet and shower. This trip has not only showed me how it is to live with roommates, but it has also showed me how dorm life would be since I never lived on campus at school. Shane showed me a bunch of his gear, and gave me an EOD pin which I pinned to my backpack, and also a patch. I know how the military works, and how offended and defensive people get as soon as they see anything like that. Me not being in the service, or EOD, asked if I would have a problem with anyone questioning me. He told me people may ask and if they do, just tell them your best friend is in the Army, I stepped it up a notch saying I'd say my husband was. I don't want to disrespect anyone of course, but I also shouldn't be ridiculed for supporting a friend of nearly 15 years who has always been there, and supported me. He showed me all of his coins which acted as a thank you and recognition of things done well. They were all so different and unique in their own way. After hanging out and talking for awhile there was a knock at the door and it was Shane's friend Brett. Brett is hopefully on his way out, but used to work with Shane. We talked with him for awhile about some funny stories he had out in the desert, and how much he loved being stationed in Korea. He is now ready to go back to Oregon to be with his girlfriend. They mentioned MRE meals and I questioned if it was like Mountain House Meals, Shane got a kick out of that and brought one out. Meatballs in Marinara Sauce is the one he had on hand and we opened it up, inside was a spoon, fat free mayonnaise, lemonade powder, candy toffee rolls (aka Tootsie Rolls), gum, salt, moist towelette, cookies with "pan coated chocolate discs" (aka M&M's), tortillas, cherry blueberry cobbler, vanilla milkshake, and the main meatball meal. Thankfully we had just eaten but the guys made me try the milkshake, Brett put water in the pouch and shook it up, Shane poured in a mug for me. I took one sip and it was extremely sweet, and on the warm side; needless to say, I wouldn't be drinking the whole thing. Shane opened up the Tootsie Rolls and ate one of them. Brett stayed a little longer, and then headed out since Shane had work in the morning. When he shut his laptop, I noticed my thank you card from the trail hanging on his cork board. There were a small hand full of friends who I kept contact with, and they kept contact with me on trail, and he was one of them. Shane gave me his bed, and he blew up an air mattress for the floor, seems it had a hole though so he put down his yoga mat as well. I told him I don't mind sleeping on it since I am lighter than him, and sleep on the ground daily; but he insisted. I didn't get much sleep, between it being really hot in the room, and being concerned about Shane getting enough sleep on the floor. Maybe tomorrow night we can work out a better arrangement.