The last post on this blog was all about the idea behind Canyon Run, but I realized just the other day that I never actually posted the conclusion: Canyon Run got funded! It didn’t exactly go the way I expected it to go: I ended up getting relatively few big donations from very nice friends and fans of mine, rather than a bunch of little donations from people mildly interested in me. But I was still thrilled, and I can now tell you that the project is up and running. I’ve put in about a week of blog posts across the trip so far (one every day since last Thursday), and I’ve visited places like Fort Collins, CO, the Denver Mint and the Columbine Memorial, and Vernal, Utah.

Here’s a few excerpts for you. This is about my trip up to the top of Mount Evans, one of the highest mountains in the contiguous United States:

There one was moment where I defied death, though I didn’t realize it right away. As I climbed up to the point above, there was one bit where I had to step across a small gap between two rocks, and I didn’t even notice until I stepped over it that the gap below had basically nothing underneath it. Without any harness or even hiking shoes, I had somehow gotten myself about 300 feet in the air. I quickly pushed my foot across, and on the way back I held on extra tight to the rock at my side, stepping back across the gap and then quickly jumping down to the more open flat area. If I’d seen how high that gap was before I went over it, I probably would have thought better.

But fortunately, no one fell, no one got hurt, and lots of pictures were taken.

And here’s a little bit about the top three beers I had while visiting The Mayor of Old Town, a great beer bar in Fort Collins:

3. A mix of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout Nitro, with a splash of Honebrouck’s Kasteel Rouge. The bartender made this for me himself later in the evening, when the New Belgium S’more Porter that I wanted to try had already been kicked. And this was such a great mix, the tasty chocolate stout tempered by the cherry liqueur in the Belgian Kasteel Rouge. I don’t know if I could drink this thing for a whole night, but the small taste I had was just perfect.

2. A Barrel-Aged I’m All Right Jack from Verboten. Verboten is a brewery in Loveland, CO (near Fort Collins), and this is a version of their dark chocolate and caramel cream ale that’s been aged in a rum barrel for three months. This brew was a collaboration between Verboten and The Mayor, so this is basically the only place you can get it, and man oh man it was so good. Imagine rum brewed like beer and mixed with sweet chocolate, and that’s basically what this was. I could not stop smiling the whole time I had this drink.

1. Avery’s 20th Anniversary double IPA. This beer was just brewed at a craft brewery in Avery called Boulder for the company’s 20th anniversary, and congrats to them, because this brew was incredible. I don’t even like IPAs, but I have to admit this was an excellent, excellent beer. Perfect golden color, very smooth drink, and an aftertaste like a mountain meadow. I have no qualms about putting this at the top of my list.

And here’s a nice bit I wrote about family, after attending my cousin’s wedding in Denver:

I don’t know his specifics, but I know the baby, the toddler, the boy, the cousin, and now the man. When we first sit down to talk, things are awkward. “What are you up to lately? Where are you all at these days?” But then there’s a look or a pat on the back, and we both remember, we all remember, that we’re tied together in the strongest ways.

I didn’t choose any of these people as my closest companions, and the truth is, I don’t think I even would. When I think of what my friends are like, the ones I picked out on my own, I realize they’re very different from the people I grew up with, and from the cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents in my extended family. Both groups of people are lovely, and loving, and generous and wonderful, but my hand-picked selections are much more like me, I think.

I tell Adam about this, later, and he agrees. A family like ours, spread out all around the country, around the world, can be like strangers to each other. “Maybe even more than strangers,” he says to me, “because we don’t always worry about tracking each other.”

It’s true. We don’t worry about what the day to day is, what our current lives are all like, because deep down, we all know we’re family. We’ll all be together no matter what happens or where we end up.

I also wrote a piece about traveling down Interstate 70 through the Rockies, and here’s a small bit of that:

Interstate 70 was the king of the highways when I was 12. It ran right through the city, and it was just far enough away from our house that it had a mystery to it — I only rode on it every once in a while, and I wasn’t sure exactly where it went. The mystery only grew the older I got, too. I remember that, at one point, we took a driving trip up to Pittsburgh, and I asked my dad what the route was. We first would go through Terre Haute, Indiana, then up through Indianapolis, then Columbus, and then Pittsburgh.

“What highway do we take to Terre Haute?” I asked, trying to learn the roads. “I-70,” my dad replied. “And Indianapolis?” “Still I-70,” he said. “Columbus, too?”

“It’s I-70 all the way,” he told me. And my little brain was struck with awe that the same concrete that I played on outside our house every day was the same concrete that ran across the country, that there was an unbroken line of gray stone from our home straight up to Pittsburgh.

Good times! No, in fact: great times. I am having a ton of fun on this trip, and it’s been a blast sharing it all with you.

Well, not all of you. Some of you aren’t funders, I know, which means that you didn’t give money to the initial Indiegogo project. That’s OK, but it means that you’ll never be able to read all of this writing I’m doing, or hear all about my trip while I actually take it.

So for those of you who regret not funding me initially, and still want in on the blog and the trip, I have a deal for you. You’ll never be able to sign up for the postcard or the souvenir perks — those are all already claimed.

But I will offer you this: For a price of $3, you can get access to the blog. That’s $1 more than the lowest funding level on Indiegogo, but you can consider that extra $1 charge an “I told you so” fee for not jumping on when you first had the chance. For $3, I will send you the link and the password to the blog, and you can read about all of my exploits so far, and access the rest of the trip’s posts (where I’ll be headed to Dinosaur National Monument, Salt Lake City, and the salt lake itself). For two weeks of exclusive, interesting blog posts, I think the price of less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks is worth it.

Just send me $3 over Paypal to mike@mikeschramm.com, and then I will send the link and password to the email address that you used to send the money (so make sure you check it — don’t want to get lost in the spam).

And if you don’t want to pay, no worries. But I can promise you that outside of maybe a few more excerpts, there’s really no other way to read this material, so if you’re interested in me and my writing, and want to come along on this trip with me, this is the way to go. Thanks, everybody!

One final note: As you may or may not have heard, while on this trip I’ve also been doing some career hopping. I’m planning to write about that here later this week, and the result of my job change will likely leave me without a regular home on the Internet. Fortunately, this site right here is my regular home, so once I’m all settled into the new job, odds are that you will probably see more regular writing from me here. It’s just like old times!



Posted on Saturday, June 29th, 2013 at 11:00 am. Filed under general.
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