This time here in Nederland, CO has been exemplary.
Families dance in modest fairground local town festivals to the tunes of exceptional guitarists who are simply fingering around on a random afternoon. The decks of every bar or restaurant privy to such a structure boast men passing around pipes of pot for free like there’s a dangerous surplus of marijuana and it needs to be evacuated into the air as quickly as possible. Traveling warriors, crust punks and wayfaring rainbow kids hitchhike their way from Boulder to the National Forests that surround. Cyclists climb the 3000′ by pedal and continue on even higher.
Volkswagen Buses, Toyota 4runners and a variety of Subarus dominate the automobile market. Everyone is incredibly friendly, hugs and well wishes and extending earnest goodbyes as our last nights disappear, but at the same time quite fierce. When a Subway tried to sneak its way into a local gas station, the town banded together to have it expelled.
That’s a key piece of the beauty here: no chain stores. The people have built a monumental little mountain town for themselves and when tourists come to see it, they’ll be spending money that stays in this town. Both travelers and travel destinations alike seem to dangerously underestimate just how important it is to shun chains…but not Ned.
The sun is rising up over the Front Range. Our family is slowly stirring awake throughout this hotel room we’ve called home for a month. Sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye, usually it’s a welcome time for a change. This time, it’s the former, but we won’t let five years pass before we roll through again.