WANDERWEST COLORADO 

THE PLACES

  • Loveland - The main recreational campground owned and operated by my dad, Riverview, is just a few miles outside of the city limits.  Like much of Colorado, Loveland is a city that's growing fast.  It's biggest claim to fame is in the area of sculpture and it hosts one of the biggest festivals in the world exclusively for that purpose.  You can find sculpture everywhere, but the most concentrated part is the Benson Sculpture Garden.  Like most cities in the American West, Loveland is pretty spread out, but the concentrated Old Town is currently seeing a large investment and there are a lot of good places to eat, several galleries, and it has recently started an artist in residence program called Artworks Loveland.
  • Fort Collins - In my estimation, Fort Collins is one of the new hip cities in the US.  Home to Colorado State University (30,000 students), Fort Collins has a contagious youthful vigor.  Like Loveland (though much bigger), it has a concentrated, western-style downtown full of restaurants, shops and galleries.  The city is home to one of the most popular non-major breweries in the US, New Belgium.  I didn't take the tour, but they have a bar for beer tasting right inside the brewery and a suuuuper friendly staff to walk you through it.  They also put on Tour de Fat, which started in Fort Collins and has spread to cities across the US.  I really can't speak highly enough about this event.  I haven't had a chance to get into the party scene, but if Tour de Fat is any indication, it probably wouldn't be hard.  People are friendly and ready to get their intoxication on.  Duh - college town.  But of course it's much more than that.  It's a very health conscious place in both the food department and commitment to staying fit.  Fort Collins (like Loveland) sits right at the edge of the mountains, so there are great hikes and mountain bike trails within a few miles.  One of my favorite foothill hikes is Horsetooth, right outside of Fort Collins.
  • North Park - This widely undeveloped, outdoor heaven is the location of our new recreational campground.  There's not a whole going on up here beyond the hunting and adventure sporting (like the North Sand Hills)... yet.  There is a lot of nature to soak up though.  Much of the land is the Arapahoe Wildlife Refuge.  
  • Walden - This is the biggest "city" in North Park, but not that big at all.  There are only 1,500 people in the whole county.  This is bound to change as Walden is basically the halfway point between the two major stops of Fort Collins and Steamboat Springs.  If you swing through, go to Chad's deli, North Park Meats, and pick up some wild game to throw on the fire or some Elk jerky to snack on.  There is also a museum in this small, remote town (believe it or not) that speaks well to the wild west, cowboy lifestyle that was this region back in the day.  It's called the North Park Pioneer Museum and has a ton of cowboy antiquity.
  • Steamboat Springs - This is what mountain towns should be - offering a wide variety of outdoor activities, relaxing amenities, and modern to the max.  Of course, it's famous for the world-class ski resort (also where the mountain biking-bombing is if you're a thrill seeker) but there's plenty more going on than just that.  Strawberry Park is the hot springs we went to in the video and it's about 20 minutes outside of downtown.  Fish Creek Falls is where my dad and I went bouldering and was a really good time complete with towering waterfall.  When it comes to food, I could go on and on about Taco Cabo, but the basic of it is they are just damn good tacos.  As for that "new kind of neighbor" I talked about, click the link.  You can also get your local food on at the summer farmers market, located in the heart of the city right on the river.
  • Boulder - This might be one of the original great college towns - home of my alma mater, The University of Colorado, which was at one point the number one party school in the US.  I can also vouch for the quality of the education.  The Sink, the burger joint where my dad and I went to lunch, is located on The Hill right next to campus.  Like Fort Collins and Loveland, its right on the edge of the mountains, so it offers all the outdoor activities you want.  Boulder is not huge, but it is sprawling.  If there is a downtown, it would probably be the Pearl Street Mall, which is good for a stroll and a shopping binge.
  • Red Rocks - One of my favorite outdoor venues, Red Rocks Amphitheater, is just 30 minutes from downtown Denver and an ambience inspired place to take in live music.  It's part of a much bigger park with tons of hiking and biking trails in good Colorado fashion.  What I find special about the amphitheater is that it becomes a playground when not in use.  Anybody with an acoustic guitar can set up right on the stage and jam to the house of people running the steps.
  • Denver - There might not be any other major city in America on a steeper rise.  Everyone is talking about Denver and the culture is exploding.  The inner courtyard with spiraling sculpture pictured in the video is the Denver Arts Complex, which houses several live venues (theatrical mostly), restaurants and The Denver Center.  Like Boulder, Denver has an outdoor mall right in center of downtown, albeit much more urban, the 16th Street Mall.  Downtown is a pristine experience, but for a more grungy local experience head down East Colfax for a plethora of live music venues, clubs and dive bars.  If you're looking for posh, just head to Cherry Creek.  I'll be digging more into Denver with its own stay trip in 2016, so stay tuned.
  • Estes Park - This is indicative of so many towns in Colorado - a clean, tourist friendly main street with restaurants, bars, Colorado flavored gifts and a river running through it.  What might be special about Estes Park is its taffy shops.  There are several right on the main street.  Lisa and I went to lunch at Wapiti, where I had those mountain oysters
  • Rocky Mountain National Park - Like I suggested in the video, there are countless stunning vistas here, various terrains, and abundant wildlife.  The summit, which is well above timber line, is only open in the summer, but much of the park is year-round.  

THE PEOPLE

  • Roy Youree - My Dad and the owner of Western Park Management, which oversees Riverview RV Park, Fireside RV Park, and North Park RV.
  • Michael - The modern American farmer who manages the land and livestock of Silvandale Ranch, Riverview RV Park's neighbor.
  • Chad - Owner and curator of North Park Specialty Meats and my dad's basketball buddy.
  • Steve Weiss - Filmmaker and Colorado State University professor in journalism.  Before his retirement career as a professor he produced video for ESPN on off-road races such as the Baja 1000.
  • Spencer - Former manager of North Park RV.  Wyoming born and Colorado State educated in computer science.
  • Kent - Owner and founder of Taco Cabo.
  • No Visible Flaws - The band that backed me up at my Riverview show (the one where we're playing No Woman No Cry) which features the wicked guitar skills of Bruce Cook, who happens to be my dad's right hand man at Western Park Management.
  • Brian - Chief PR man for New Belgium Brewing company and dude who introduced me to all those other dudes.
  • Lisa - The girl I met at Tour de Fat.   She's a Colorado native, outdoor enthusiast, and Colorado State graduate.
 my dad overlooking Riverview

my dad overlooking Riverview

 hiking up to Horsetooth Rock in winter

hiking up to Horsetooth Rock in winter

 me at the heart of the Arapahoe Wildlife Refuge

me at the heart of the Arapahoe Wildlife Refuge

 my dad climbing up Fish Creek Falls

my dad climbing up Fish Creek Falls

 my dad and me at Red Rocks

my dad and me at Red Rocks

 Lisa at the summit of Rocky Mountain National Park

Lisa at the summit of Rocky Mountain National Park