The County Trip Day 5: Campfires, Boils, and Colorado’s Favorite Cannibal May 15th, 2006 at 8:06pm

The Great Counties Trip Travelogue: Day Five! Click on any photo to see a larger version.

We’ve decided we have way too much fun reading comments, so today in the comments: What’s the coolest road trip you’ve ever been on?

Last night, we stayed at the Heart of the Rockies campground near Salida. Not only were we the only tent campers there, the campground had free wireless internet! We broke out the camping stove for the first time this trip, and grilled us some burgers. Ryan likes his a little too much.

We also had what were, quite possibly, the world’s first eggrolls grilled on a camping stove. They were awesome.

We also built a killer campfire, and I got to try out the long exposure feature on my new digital camera! The campsite next to ours had some abandoned firewood, which helped. (Nick is behind the fire.)

We didn’t tell ghost stories, but Ryan… um… shared this story about boils (477KB MP3 file).

This morning, we ate a real, superhearty breakfast at the W Cafe in Gunnison.

We ate with Emily, an old friend of Nick’s mom’s. Nick’s mom taught Emily’s first grade class while she was pregnant with Nick, so for a while, Nick and and Emily were in the same classroom! Emily was really nice, and she even bought us breakfast. Thanks, Emily!

Finally, we left, and spent our first day driving in the mountains. As expected, it was quite a gorgeous drive, and a sight for sore eyes after all the time on Colorado’s eastern plains.

Here’s some more natural splendor, pretty trees, purple mountains’ majesty, and all that jazz. Colorado is great!

The Hinsdale County Courthouse (see photo below) in Lake City, Colorado, was the site of the famous Alferd Packer trials. Packer, often called “Colorado’s favorite cannibal,” became lost in a snow storm in 1874 while guiding five men from Utah to Colorado. He showed up in Colorado, alone. Packer claimed that, as each person died, they began to eat each other. This page from his testimony says “When I came back to camp after being gone all day, I found the redheaded man who acted crazy in the morning sitting near the fire roasting a piece of meat which he had cut out of the leg of the German butcher (Miller).”

But Packer was lying! He actualy killed all five men himself and ate them. We visited the site of the massacre, where a memorial now stands.

As an interesting sidenote, at CU in Boulder, one of our cafeterias on campus is named the “Alferd Packer Grill” in honor of Packer.

Like this view? We were stuck with it for 30 minutes after traffic stopped due to construction on Wolf Creek Pass. Ryan passed the time by annoying Kristina, and Nick passed the time by saying random phrases aloud. It was like a big dysfunctional family road trip!

Later on, we passed through the very first tunnel of our trip. Ryan and I held our breaths through it, and Kristina yelled “Hi Brooo!” She claims that, when she was little, she unexplainedly screamed this whenever her parents drove through a tunnel. No, we don’t understand it either.

This afternoon, we stopped in Pagosa Springs, which has a natural geothermal hot springs.

All in all, a good, quiet day of driving in the mountains! This double rainbow came at the end of the day, during our drive to the last courthouse in Dove Creek.

On our first day in the mountains, we crossed over the Continental Divide, the line which separates the country’s Eastern watershed from its Western watershed, three times! The first came this morning, on Monarch Pass…

…here’s a second time on Spring Creek Pass…

…and a third time on Wolf Creek Pass.

We visited 7 county seats today! Here’s the proof:

Gunnison, Gunnison County

Lake City, Hinsdale County

Creede, Mineral County

Pagosa Springs, Archuleta County

Durango, La Plata County

Cortez, Montezuma County

Dove Creek, Dolores County. (Thanks for the pose, Jenny O!)

Our progress so far:

DAY FIVE STATS:Miles Traveled – 443
Total Miles Traveled – 2124
County Seats Visited – 40
Percent of counties done – 62.5%

Gunnison (Gunnison County) 5/15/06 9:11 AM
Lake City (Hinsdale County) 5/15/06 10:37 AM
Creede (Mineral County) 5/15/06 12:18 PM
Pagosa Springs (Archuleta County) 5/15/06 2:35 PM
Durango (La Plata County) 5/15/06 4:14 PM
Cortez (Montezuma County) 5/15/06 5:33 PM
Dove Creek (Dolores County) 5/15/06 6:16 PM

Albums listened to:

  • The New Pornographers – Electric Version
  • Gogol Bordello – Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike
  • Guster – Lost and Gone Forever
  • Spoon – Kill The Moonlight
  • The Boy Least Likely To – The Best Party Ever
  • Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin
  • Devendra Banhart – Cripple Crow
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Show Your Bones
  • Rilo Kiley – More Adventurous
  • The Ditty Bops – Self-Titled
  • Broken Social Scene – You Forgot it in People

PS: We’re in the parking lot of a Budget Host Inn, borrowing internet access. Yay for wireless!

5 Responses to “The County Trip Day 5: Campfires, Boils, and Colorado’s Favorite Cannibal”

  1. Mom and Dad of Kristina says:

    It’s true that Kristina yelled
    “hi bro” every time we passed
    thru a tunnel. :)

    Grilled eggrolls look tasty.

  2. Bradley says:

    best road trip ever? with Nick and his sister to Mount Rushmore and Devil’s Tower when Nick was in elementary school. However, no close encounter of any kind. Or, Nick’s dad driving the entire route of Lewis & Clark from St. Louis to Oregon coast. Your group will travel more miles through Colorado than L&C did from St. L to Pacific (one way).

    Nick’s mom wants to know if you’re looking for license plates from all 50 states. And have you eaten SMORES yet?

  3. Daniel "Hatter" says:

    It’s Daniel M.

    You didn’t call me for Durango Tidbits while in Durango. Shame on you all.

    Oh, and by the way, haven’t you ever seen Cannibal the Musical? Packer IS innocent! Spedoinkal!

  4. Shiway & Dave says:

    AND Kristina used to say ‘MOO COW’ everytime we saw a cow… I noticed that the new version from day 1 is ‘HEY COW’…..

  5. citrus_cactus says:

    Best road trip was when my boyfriend and I drove from Stockton, California to Denver, Colorado after we graduated. I’ve done that drive what seems like dozens of times before, but I’ve never gone through most of the Southern Utah/Colorado national parks: Bryce, Zion, Arches, Capitol Reef, and Mesa Verde. It took us a week, but it was the best that drive (which if you go north is just salt flats and neverending stretches of straight road) ever got. Of course, the time I went SCUBA diving in the middle of the salt flats was pretty neat too… but that was more of a diversion FROM the road trip than part of the road trip itself… ;)

    My friend Andrea always holds her breath through tunnels. And my uncle always honks his horn and yells “LOOK OUT FOR TROLLS!” I guess the moral of the story is: people do weird things in tunnels!

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