"I pictured myself in a Denver bar that night, with all the gang, and in their eyes I would be strange and ragged and like the Prophet who has walked across the land to bring the dark Word, and the only Word I had was 'Wow!" -Jack Kerouac "On the Road"
Colorado has a special place in my heart and it's right near the aorta. I used to live and party my brains out at high altitude and loved it like crazy. When I was there my mom and brother each decided to make the move from Fargo and join me in this beautiful state, so stopping in Denver wasn't just another city I was visiting. I was going home.
In Austin, as soon as the RV repair place said Chrome One was road worthy I grabbed Palmer, we hopped on in, I stomped on the gas, and squealed the tires on my way out of the shop. We were not only looking forward to our new adventures and beautiful mountains, but also my bed in the guest room of my brother's house that his wife Sarah got ready for my arrival. Home cooked meals and such. The drive was long and hot, but we are equipt with AM/FM radio (don't be jealous) and I found every classic rock station I could find, if I could find one. Often, I was subjected to Top 40 pop music I am a little embarrassed to say I am quite familiar with the songs in heavy rotation these days. My plan was to head straight to Ty's (that's my brother) house so I could see my family and set up shop for the week. Finally, I was able to take a shower and wash the funk off of my wicked hot bod. My brother lives in Erie near the site of the new Boulder Valley Velodrome. I had heard the area was wrecked from a massive storm a few days earlier and the near finished, 250 meter wooden track sustained significant damage. As I drove by I could see the flattened track from the road. When I spoke with co-owner, Frank Banta, he said they'll be able to salvage most everything and it just sets them back a lot of time. He also said that if people want to help, they can buy a dedicated brick on their website.
All of Palmer's cousins are at Ty and Sarah's house and the dog party was on as soon as we stepped through the door. I did some bonding with the fam and messed around with my newly acquired Harley for a bit before I headed to Denver to catch up with some of my pals. I left PalmPilot with all the rest of the dogs at Ty's and made my way to Jinji Cycles in Denver to meet up with my pal Kyle Lofstedt, or Other Kyle he was know as from his time he spent with me at 21st Ave Bicycles. We used to wrench together and we had two Kyles so I got creative with the nickname. Although I hear people are calling him National Champion Kyle now, because he is a National Champion in DH. Again with the creative nicknames. When I got there we did some catching up and then it wasn't long before I saw Other Kyle in his natural habitat.... on his cell phone. Seriously, dude is on his phone ALL THE TIME. That should have been his nickname "Phone Call Kyle". Oh man, I am good at this.
I then headed back to my old stomping ground. Oh man..... those were the days. I lived a few blocks from Sputnik which was my favorite bar. Hi-Dive is right next door and that's where I saw so many good shows, danced my face off, and lost my glasses more times than I can remember. 3 Kings is across the street and that's where I would go for pool or burlesque shows. Famous Pizza is down the street and it's open late so after a show on my way back home I'd pick up a slice and then one block away from my house is the rockabilly bar, The Skylark. If you know the right people there you can sample some of the private moonshine......... uh...... so I've heard. After all of that I'd usually go across the street to the punk boy's house and we'd stay up until the wee hours of the morning having a blast. All this within 4 blocks. Once I was back in the old hood I started off like I always did and went for some food at Sputnik. My friend, Brendan, met up with me and we talked the talk that old friends do. That night we were doing a Collection Session for the Urban Cycling Hall of Fame at my very favorite Indy Ink. Indy Ink was in that 4 blocks and they had the best printed Ts in all of Denver. I would buy one at least every two weeks and had quite the collection. After Sputnik, I walked a couple of blocks to Indy and started to prep for the party.
Dave Platts, the owner of Indy Ink, is a wicked rad guy and it was amazing to see the progress of the shop. It looks totally different, even though it looked amazing before, and in 2011 State Bicycle Co. opened a concept shop inside of the shop. A shop in a shop, if you will. Also added is full bike service in the back. It looks amazing. Such a great vibe with some great people. I was ready to get the party started. I bought some booze and ice. They pumped the jams. We put a sign on the street, called our peeps, and soon enough there was the party. It was great, just like old times. We closed up about 11pm and I went with Brendan to his house.
We had a fire in his back yard and as we were running out of wood to burn we started looking in the alley for some pallets or something. I found one shoe that, once added to the fire, burned like the dickens! That prompted everyone in the backyard, besides myself, to take off their shirts. Classic backyard shoe burning session.
Fast forward a couple of days and I'm back in Denver, this time for a Levis party at Pearl Velo. My pal, Billy "Souphorse" Sinkford, does some work for Levis and flew into town for a one night party and party we did. Billy seemed to photobomb everyone of my pictures so my special way of saying thanks was to put up a picture of his shoulder hair. See it? Right in the middle. Can't miss it. Ok..... moving on. I can't say enough good things about Tyler Hardie or his shop. The vibe it right and it was right that night. I parked the van smack dab in front of his shop, did some hi kicks, and started to get rowdy. It was a good night. Souphorse did his magic tricks. Have you seen it before? Well, if you've partied with him there comes a point in the night where he seeks a deck of cards and then blows your mind because he seems too drunk to even get himself another drink let alone fool a room of people with a sleight of hand. That Soupy, he always keeps you guessing. You think a night of one hi5 after another would be it, but no..... Billy wanted to taste some of the magic he tasted when he was in Denver for NAHBS so we hit the streets making our way to karaoke. Look at the picture above of Billy bleeding from head..... kids, this is what happens when you chase the dragon, OR crash your bike super hard. A bleeding head was not going to detour him from singing "The Neverending Story", a Sinkford classic. We entered Armida's and he walked right up to the stage, took the mic, and announced to everyone we were in the building. Pretty par for the course.
Now, mind you, I took a week off to hang out with my family so I am skipping some days here, but I'll get to that good stuff at the end. Just hang tight. In the meantime I am moving forward to the end of the week. My sister in-law and I picked up a keg, some hot dogs, and drove to University Bicycles in Boulder for a back alley party we were throwing for no other reason than to just hang out. On the way there the fuel pump started to crap the bed and Chrome One was struggling up the hills. Of course there was a lot of traffic we were holding up, but whatever... we had a party we needed to throw and I wasn't going to let a dying fuel pump detour me. Eye on the prize.
We made it and still looked like champions as we pulled the rig into the spot they had reserved for us behind the shop. As soon as we hopped out of the RV we went straight to work getting the party started. These things don't just magically happen, I have to use my super strong muscles to move and set up sound, move and start the keg, and eat 3 hot dogs off of the grill. As soon as the 70's funk started, I was reminded I was in Boulder because someone busted out a hacky sack and started to sesh. Not gonna lie, I can hold my own in a hacky sack circle and, you know, when in Rome..... As the day turned to night ,the keg was drained and the hot dogs were consumed. I was a little surprised about the hot dogs. I bought a whole lot of them. Like, A LOT a lot, and I think there were about five left. Mean hack sessions always make me work up an insatiable appetite and I guess I wasn't the only one. The peeps at University Bicycles are a good bunch and even though the shop has been around for years the staff doesn't take themselves too seriously. I always like that.
Here is my mom, Joyce and my brother, Ty. When we hang out our way of having fun is competing against each other in some game or sport. It's the glue that keeps my family together. Nothing makes me feel closer to them than utterly destroying them at bowling. It's how I show my love. A sorry goes out to Sarah for not taking more pictures of her and putting them on here for the world to see.
Chrome One came out of the shop ready to rock and was running stronger than ever. The road beckoned and we were ready to answer. Colorado, I love you. Don't go changing.