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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

FoCo

USA | Saturday, 22 June 2013 | Views [1413]

Jace was unable to pick me up after flying into Denver, so this provided me with an opportune time to add more distance to my "hitchhiking CV." First I was picked up by a young man from Saudi Arabia who stocked me up with snacks for my journey, and then I was picked up by a man named Dean who once hitched from Denver to Mexico City and back! A fill of classic cars awaited me then as I was picked by my a Sioux man whose son works at a shop refurbishing classic cars. After all, I always compare my travels to that of a classic car collection and its collector. My final ride into Fort Collins was by some young, tough-looking Mexican immigrants but I have no fear! Whilst I haven't hitchhiked much in the US you're bound to meet people of all ethnic backgrounds from all walks of life. Remember my mantra: "the world is my temple and its people are my family." As I feasted on some Chinese Food with a "Fort Collins twist" at the exceptionally quiet shopping mall, Jace showed up but I hardly recognized him. His hair is shaggy and he has his trademark orange hat which I saw him give away last year. When I remarked at how quiet the mall is, he told me that Fort Collins, which he called "FoCo" is very quiet after Colorado State University (CSU) is done for the semester. After getting a cup of tea at a Turkish restaurant, we walked a short distance to his flat where I crashed out for awhile. Hours later we went on an extraordinary excursion to Horsetooth Reservoir, with Horsetooth Mountain right above it. It seriously looks like a mountain with one tooth. This is my third great American trip in a month. Last month I was in the Sierras on a spectacular camping trip, and only a couple of weeks ago my friend Brian and I drove from San Antonio to LA. Now that I've been to Colorado I've been to every state in the western conterminous US except for Wyoming. We parked the car in front of Jace' friend's house, and whilst I was concerned about putting the windows up he told me you don't have to worry about it here. Whilst FoCo already feels like it's in the wilderness Horsetooth Reservoir feels even further out there! This is part of the beginning of the trail.

We walked up a path designed more for horseback riders and mountain bikers and then over a road and then down another path to the lake.

One of Jace' good friends is Sonia: an unbearably cute girl from New Mexico studying nutrition at CSU. She looks stunning as the sun starts to set over the lake!

And here we are as I sport my new Bonaire T-shirt. Well, you can't see the map on the back from this angle.

I've never been to Bonaire, the shirt was given to me as a gift by Bob: one of my customers and blog followers. After our walk we stopped at the store where I was up for hummus and pita chips with a crisp glass of sauvignon blanc. Interestingly, grocery stories don't sell alcohol here; you have to go to a liquor store. Hummus is tasty as we all hung out on this cool evening. You might wonder what brought me here to Fort Collins, but last year when I volunteered with ISV I found out that three of the volunteers: Jace, Anna, and Alex, all live within 40 miles of each other. Jace and I were hutmates last year and frequently worked together at both the summer camp and the construction site. Jace is hosting me during my visit, and Anna and I are going to the Rockies in a couple of days. It's still uncertain if I'll see Alex since we haven't heard from her. It was supposed to be a reunion of several of us coming from various parts of the country but it worked out that only I came. 

The following day...

Jace took me on a Fort Collins crash course today, and it was an exciting one at that. The city is remarkably clean with loads of greenery and there seem to be more bicycles per capita than any city other than Amsterdam. We went to a pizza place where it's a good and cheap lunch. After pizza we parked the car and strolled into the historic old town. Founded in 1864, the old buildings aren't as exciting as some other places but the vibe and greenery vastly make up for it, and then throw in some hippie-style coffee shops and a shop dedicated to vinegar and oil. As I just mentioned, Fort Collins is a very bike-friendly city, so we stopped at a bike rental shop for a map showing all the routes and then we sat for a bottomless cup of tasty coffee at a stylish cafe before dipping dibs of bread in cherry- and chocolate-flavoured vinegar (among other flavours) at the Rocky Mountain Olive Oil Company.

It felt like I stepped back into this hippie-style place in Northern California! At a shop next door there's loads of British food and kitchen/cooking equipment. Free espresso was on tap as well! After checking out a spice shop and a plethora of rocks and minerals at another, we walked around the greenery and colour of this wonderful university town. At one of the many frat houses in town was a couch in a tree! How the hell did they get this damn thing up there? I don't know how but I got myself up there.

Common characteristics of frat houses include: beer bottles, cigarette butts, and pizza boxes. Even in college I never had a desire to visit one but the couch in the tree piqued my interest. We then walked over to the botanic gardens and around the campus of CSU. The (probably) world's largest Campbell's soup can is here!

Once CSU empties out for the summer, it seems that Fort Collins empties out, so it was a quiet walk across campus with a spectacular sunset. For dinner, Jace and I planned on getting Ethiopian food. Yes, even in a city like Fort Collins you'll find food as exotic as Ethiopian food. The restaurant was closed so we walked a few blocks to a Thai restaurant. Dotted around Fort Collins are these colourfully painted pianos where anyone can sit and play. Around the corner from where we ate is one of them.

Toy's Thai Cafe is adorned with buddhas and everything interesting, and a photo of the Thai king, who has been in power for some 67 years. I think it's the first time I've ever eaten in a Thai restaurant, despite the fact there's one caddy-corner from my house. Thai curry is filled with vegetables and slightly spicy. My "Fort Collins crash course" today included many kinds of food and many interesting shops rolled up into a small city that's more like a large town. There's just that feel to it.

Small in size yet big in character and personality, and with great coffee, olive oil, couches in trees, good pizza, colourful pianos, giant soup cans, and a very interesting old town, I certainly enjoy FoCo fo sho! 

 

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