|Jesse and Family, Kansas hosts|
|waking up in Jesse's yard|
|Did you know Paradise is in Kansas?|
|Colorado Rest Stop|
Lucky for me Corey and Sarah have a sweet hot tub and after a soak, I was ready to roll onto my next destination... Buena Vista, Colorado where the soon to become infamous Deerhammer Distilling Company is located... and subsequently owned and operated by one of my oldest and closest friends, Len and his wife Amy.
Len has been the main reason I have been visiting Colorado all these years. We were college roommates in Philadelphia for four years and have been close ever since. We have both worked in the graphic design / web world for years.. A long time home brewer / distiller, he and Amy made the leap to open a Whiskey Distillery and Tasting Room last year. I couldn't be more proud of his success. You will never meet a more humble, passionate and driven person. And dayum does he make some good whiskey. Check out the movie below for a quick look into Deerhammer Distillery and Tasting Room!
Check out his website for all the details. I might mention that Len also outfitted most of my camping gear for this trip. Tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad. Basically I am sponsored by Deerhammer.
Len and I have been riding motorcycles for years. In fact we both took the motorcycle safety course together in '98 in Philadelphia. In anticipation of my arrival (so I like to think) Len upgraded his dirt bike to an adventure bike, Kawasaki KLR.
|riding with the aspens|
After setting up camp we headed into town for a slice of pizza and brew. Back at camp, a less than impressive campfire was made and a cantina full of whiskey was passed between us. I awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of rain pitter pattering on my tent. It took me a few moments to realize all my gear was left out on the bike and was now getting soaked. I ran out and covered everything up. Len was less than fortunate and awoke with his gear a bit wet. Ah well, the 8 hour ride through the mountains we were about to embark on would dry things off.
|one of many views|
|native or not? ... not.|
Then the serendipitous moment happened. Frustrated about the lack of native plant findings, Len remarked about a gentleman named Garry who specializes in local grasses and seed who happens to have a nursery right behind Len's house. Oh right I thought, I met this guy a few years ago while visiting. We were there because Len was interested in buying grass seed for some land he had just purchased. I recall this guy having a lot of knowledge so I figured, it doesn't hurt to ask. I went over and met Garry. After explaining to Garry about my project he was excited to talk to me about all the native plant species through-out Colorado and gave me a walking tour of what is considered to be Colorado's largest native plant nursery. OH YEAH! It was like finding the holy grail in your (or your friends) backyard. Garry has acres of native plants, shrubs, trees, etc. and could very well be Colorado's leading expert in native plants. We talked for a while and he allowed me free run on his property to explore, learn and photograph. And over the next few days I did just that.
Now, it's true that not all non-natives are growing wild because of human interaction as birds and other animals could have brought them here. And it's also true that not all non-natives are invasive. But, when 80% of your findings are non-native, well.... just goes to show you don't need a huge populated city to impact the loss of bio-diversity in your area. That is to say, the more non-native species found on your land, the less birds, bees, insects and wildlife that will be flourishing.
Needless to say, Beuna Vista has much to offer in terms of education. Between learning how to ride my new cycle in dirt, learning about Colorado's native plants, and learning how to distill malted barley and rye to make whiskey, my mind is on overload.... and I'm loving every second of it. Not to mention I didn't even have the change to visit the goat dairy, the organic farm and all the other amazing things this small mountain town has to offer. There's just not enough time as I need to be moving on.
Today I am waiting for UPS to deliver ink jet cartridges for my printer so I can continue making custom postcards and I am waiting for new motorycyle tires as well. Even though I probably have about 1000k miles left on my stock tire tread, it's a good idea to change them now while I can.
Tonight I will print and write postcards and organize my bike, tomorrow I will have the tires mounted and then head off to my next destination, Portland, Oregon by way of Utah and Idaho! I can't wait to visit the old growth forest and explore what that eco-region has to offer!