Summer in New York City is that time of year when the sun bakes the trash that sits upon the sidewalks and the entire city smells like rotten eggs. It's too expensive to run A/C, even if you're lucky enough to have it installed in your apartment so you're forced to walk around naked, dripping with sweat and hoping your neighbors can't see in through your windows. The closest you come to anything natural is the single wildflower struggling to grow in the heap of overgrown grass on the side of the road, or maybe a park where every inch of earth's carpet is already dead from the thousands of New Yorkers trying to salvage some sort of outdoor experience. Tourists flood in, crowding your already hectic streets, because they haven't figured out how to just move to the side of the sidewalk while looking at a map. Some even manage to find your neighborhood in Brooklyn off the L train, which is far from the comfort of Manhattan's flashing lights and highest Zagat rated restaurants. As they mosey around with funny looks on their faces, you're left to wonder why Vogue ever voted Bushwick the 7th coolest neighborhood in the world.
It's that time of year where you'd just rather be skinny dipping in lakes, climbing mountains, and drinking beers with the people you love most in the great outdoors. America is in bloom, its forests are lush and its waters are clear. Which is why, leaving Brooklyn in the summertime to hit the open road con mi amor and head west was the best way I could have spent my hot summer days. Here is a photographic story of that glorious journey.
Driving from New York to Colorado through God's land on I70 is full of big open skies, lots of religious propaganda, and gas stations. One night we stayed in Cincinnati, and the other we camped out in the middle-of-nowhere Kansas. I made sure to read a copy of In Cold Blood to get a feel for things out there before we left. We really wanted to ask the gas station attendant in Kansas, "What do you do out here?" but decided that was rude. Instead, we stargazed by our campsite while battling strange, noisy and fluorescent green bugs. To avoid them, we ate our dinner in darkness, twenty feet away from any source of light.
Finally, after almost three days of driving, countless albums, malnourishment (thanks to the amount of McDonalds fries and lack of tasty Cracker Barrels) and more driving, we made it to Durango, Colorado to spend a week with my family, who are all perfect examples of how to live life to the fullest.
Aside from hiking, paddle boarding, family jam sessions, and copious amounts of delicious food, a sort-of-sad thing happened (other than almost being struck by lightning of top of a mountain, getting eaten by the bears paroozing around our tent at night, or haunted by the spirit of Ester- the extremely well preserved mummy whose grave was just over the mountain my Aunts lived on). We tubed down the Animas River the same day the Gold King Mine Spill occurred, which emptied 3 million gallons of bright orange toxic metals into the river. We hoped out of our tubes at 2:57 PM and the orange arrived in Durango around 3PM. The last photo in the set above was taken that day and is a great example of a beautiful river prior to destruction by man's reckless behavior.
In Colorado, most of our time was spent in Durango, but we also explored Denver, Boulder and Lyons. On the drive back to the east coast, we stayed in Chicago for a couple of nights.
And shoutout to the last stop on our road trip before heading back to Brooklyn; Rhinebeck, New York, the hometown of (almost) all my coolest friends.