Nine days ago we made it back to Greeley, the town where our Big Kahuna has spent the last weeks months devoid of a transmission. Our admittedly overly optimistic hope being that just as we arrived in Colorado our motorhome would be ready to pick up and go. After spending a night in the downtown Clarion Hotel, we contacted B&G the next morning to find that the transmission had only just arrived from California, and it would take them a day or more to install.
Had we but known: Thus began our daily routine and prediction challenge: extend our hotel stay by one day in the hope that the bus would be ready the next, or anticipate that things would take far longer than the best case scenario and head out to other parts of the state to enjoy our forced stay in Colorado as best we could. Over and over we elected the former, which turned out to be the wrong choice since The Big Kahuna would not be ready for nine days. If we knew that in advance, we would have headed south to the Colorado national parks we missed during our transit over the continental divide or north to the Dakotas, or something, anything.
Bars and breweries: So we stayed local and made the best of it. In addition to a solid, military-discounted rate, Clarion turned out to be ideally situated for us to enjoy Greeley. It was six blocks from our mechanic and one block from the revitalized down town area with the best restaurants and bars. Two blocks north we found WeldWerks Brewing, where we sampled some of their beer; a double IPA for me and a brown coffee ale for Rosemarie. While there we watched a cystic fibrosis fundraiser involving enthusiastic teams competing at a giant-sized Jenga contest with cut 2″x4″s boards. Later we caught the first part of a dubious “beer olympics.” Our timing was particularly lucky as the weekly food truck event was in progress, so we dined on brisket banh mi from The Tramp About. We can’t recommend this local bar enough.
On another night we had happy hour drinks at Gentry’s, an intimate bar in the previously mentioned revitalized area one block south of our hotel. The bartender, “Sauce,” gave us great advice on the local food and drink options amidst discussions of his intended doctorate work in early US history. What a world. We also met the bar owner, whose name it will shock you to learn is “Mr. Gentry,” who pointed us toward The Mad Cow across the street for our dinner.
The Greeley Restaurants: At Mad Cow we stumbled into the weekly prime rib special. Unfortunately we did not last late enough for the free-style rap context next door at The Moxi Theater. Later that week we experienced a fantastic and very low cost Mexican meal at Taqueria Los Comales. Not only do they have fresh baked chips and a great multi-option salsa bar, but you can also order your Mexican favorites with options beyond the usual carne and pollo. I had three soft shell tacos, one each with lengua (beef tongue,) barbacoa (beef cheek,) and tripas (small intestines.) Taqueria Los Comales is a fantastic, affordable, authentic restaurant with great food. Go if you get the chance.
During our last days there we each enjoyed a slices of “New Jersey Style” pizza at Right Coast Pizza. Though Rosemarie disagrees it reminded me, to some extent, of Steve’s, our favorite Miami pizzeria: Thin crust, very large, and quite affordable. Some might object to the minimal amount of red sauce, making it almost a “white” pizza, but I liked it.
Lastly, I want to mention Carl’s Jr. Yeah, I know, it’s pure fast food. But as southeast coastal dwellers, this is not a burger chain to which we had any exposure before our journey around the country. As we made our clockwise trip around the nation we were excited to try those chains that our mid west, west coast, and northern compatriots enjoy. Thus we have tried Shake Shack in Florida (ungodly good) before we started this journey, Whataburger in Texas (terrible, god awful), and In-N-Out Burger in California (awesome). Situated one block from our hotel in Greeley, Carl’s was our closest option for fast food, and you know what? It was great. At fast food joints we usually order from the discount “dollar” menu, and despite Carl’s two dollar price for most of the items on said menu, we liked their options significantly better than the McDonald’s or Burger King equivalent.
Markets, fairs, caching and massages: One of the things that we thought we would do a lot more of during this RV adventure was attend farmer’s markets, thrift shops, craft fairs, and the like. Alas, the lack of a tow vehicle really limited our chances to do this. But now! Now, with our Loki, we could explore these events to our hearts’ content. And so we did, beginning with the Saturday Greeley farmers market, where we had a fantastic peach jalapeno scone, and then the arts and craft fair at the local events center.
We entertained ourselves as well as possible. Close proximity to The Big Kahuna meant that anytime we needed something it was easy to retrieve This allowed Rosemarie to spending a good amount of time working on her jewelry projects with the tools and supplies stored on the bus. I explored the local area during various geocaching outings, particularly on the University of North Colorado campus just south of us.
We also discovered a massage school, The Academy of Natural Therapy, less than two blocks from the Clarion. Schools like this are great places to get low cost massages since the students are required to get hours of practical experience. The price is typically around half of what you would pay for services from a certified therapist. You just need to have reasonable expectations for both the student’s capability and the ambiance of the school’s facility. The Academy of Natural Therapy was one best in terms of the latter, with a very nice lobby, well appointed rooms, and a cute heated saltwater therapy pool. As for the student massage therapists, they did great. Mine in particular could easily have passed for fully trained and certified.
Getting things done: It wasn’t all fun and games; we tried to accomplish various pressing things while in Greeley. Top of the list: getting Loki rigged for tow behind The Big Kahuna. We already have the Blue Ox style tow bar assembly that attaches to the bus, but we needed to acquire and install the base plate bracket that gets bolted to the front of the tracker, as well as the wiring assembly for the brake lights and turn signals. After several pricey estimates and lengthy time line proposals due to the base plate not being in stock (thus making it a special order item), I found the exact model we needed on ebay, negotiated a “best offer” price, and had it shipped to our preferred installer in the nearby town of Loveland. This shaved six days off of the process.
Lastly, a big shout out to the staff at he Greeley Clarion. They were helpful and flexible in every way, and their included breakfast was better than any of the other hotels we hit during the full road trip. As much as we appreciated it, we do hope this is the last hotel we stay in for some time; we are quite ready to live and sleep in our own home.