Day 2 - Sunday September 14, 2008
As we continue our trip to Colorado, we're now in Nebraska. We decide to stop in Kearney to visit the #2 Cabela's store. It won't be open as it's about 6am Nebraska time, but we can at least say we stopped... Just before we get to the Kearney exit, we drive under the Great Platte River Road Archway Museum (http://www.archway.org/). The silly thing crosses highway 80 like a big covered walking bridge. Anyways, we pull off at the Kearney exit and start looking for the Cabelas...and looking....and looking.... after following the directions, seeing the telltale water tower but no giant building with Cabelas written across the front, we decide to turn around... and what do we see...Cabelas! Mike says "hey, there's a sign...it's realy tiny...hey! that little factory looking building has "Cabelas" on the front...that's it! it looks like a small single story, factory building. no big signs, or statues (a small one was out front that we could have put in the truck) . The parking lot is tiny...oh well....
After we grab some breakfast a little farther down the road, we continue on...enjoying the flat, the corn and the flat... not realizing that we are gradually rising from Michigans under 1000ft mark to almost 5000 feet above sea level. The day has turned into a perfect day. We decide to continue on 80 until we get to Sydny to hit the very first Cabelas (and pick up some more stuff!). This one is open (it's about 1:30 local time) and looks like Cabelas is supposed to look, impressive. (since it's the very first Cabelas, it's obvious that it's been redone to match the new stores. We pick up our final supplies ( a Hoochie mama elk call, a new flashlight for Mike and some apple blocks). Next stop - Denver! While we're driving towards Denver, Mike doesn't see any mountains...it's cloudy... Mike, those are the mountains in the clouds...you'll see when we get to Denver. They'll seem like they just appear all of a sudden. We're heading into Denver to meet up with Aneal Roney from http://www.bowcast.com/ to talk Muleys and Elk! Aneal has been gracious enough to invite us to meet at his home so he can give us the lowdown on what to expect and some pointers on how to hunt the Colorado natives (not the Broncos fans...the Elk and Deer). As we're driving into Denver we start noticing fields that look like someone has thrown dirt every few feet....? all over the place. Then we realize that it's prarie dogs! Talk about an infestation! Mike is practicaly going nuts for his 22 Hornet....doggies beware! 4 toll booths later, we follow the GPS to Aneals house. We're treated to a video of an incredible Muley hunt and Aneal spends an hour telling us what to expect when we get to our hunting spot. He's got some excellent advice and tidbits of information on Muleys and Elk that we just didn't know. Unfortunately, we can spend all afternoon chatting (even though we could), we've got to get on the road to head up to Steamboat Springs. Aneal tells us how to get to his local Sportsmans Warehouse (http://www.sportsmanswarehouse.com/) in Littleton (I think...) so we can pick up our Elk licenses. He told us it's a little more complicated for out-of-state licenses and they would be able to help us a lot better than the regular "box" stores could. Boy are we glad he sent us there!!!! .... We got the the store, Mike picked up some binostraps and we head for the license counter... It turns out that the licenses we've been looking at, the leftover archery elk for area 4 and 5, were actually for Muzzle loaders not archery! Once the code was explained (and it is not explained on the DOW sheet) it was obvious. If the number ends in "A" it's archery, "M" is for muzzleloader and "R" is for rifle...duh... but you wouldn't know just to look at the code number and we were told they were archery licenses before we left....CALL THE DOW BEFORE YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP!!! Now, we have a dilema... there are licenses left over for muzzle loaders but we didn't pack any... the guys(and Gals!) bent over backwards to help us out. The checked on what it would cost to ship at least one gun over night from several shippers....EXPENSIVE and then offered us a nice Traditions at cost just to help us out! We decided to buy the Traditions and supporting gear and once again headed towards the license/checkout counter (after almost 2 hours)....wait, we're not done yet..... At the counter, the young lady said to let her try and purchase a license first since some licenses you can't buy once the season starts....guess what....muzzleloader was one of those and the season started SATURDAY!!! Crap! Oh well. Yes, we were very disapointed but after thinking about it we knew we had Muley licenses and that it was possible that we would not be able to get Elk licenses...so we just saved over $1200...ok, we can live with that...Muleys watch out!
Finaly, we're on the road out of Denver towards Steamboat Springs...and run smack into a traffic jam. Well, at least we get to watch the sun go down over the mountains and watch the moon come out! After we get out of the traffic jam, we start climbing...and climbing...and climbing. I've got my GPS out and we're watching our elevation increase every minute...8000, 9000, 10,000 feet...and more. I think we peaked out at around 11,200 feet. Not being used to the eleveation we were feeling it. Our jaws were aching and our joints too. It felt like we were having problems with our sinuses and the thiner air was evident. Thank goodnes we'll be hunting at a lowly lever of around 7000 feet!... We went through some cool tunnels in the mountains too (it helped to distract from the discomfort). When we we're about an hour away from Steamboat Springs we ran into a detour, onto a side road, and boy do I mean side road! it almost doubled our last leg of the drive. Did I mention that there are lots of curves and drop offs in the mountains, next to the moutain roads, that we were on.....yikes! Lights in the distance!....it's Steamboat Springs! Believe it or not, we were staying at the Bunny Ears Motel. Not the Playboy Bunny Ears...just Bunny Ears...no relation at all (maybe in the winter during skiing season....we'll have to go back just to check.) Nice place, right on the river. It's now about 10:30 Steamboat Springs time....12:30 Michigan time and we're exhausted from driving what seems like forever! Mike gets on the computer to do his last blog and podcast before we're out of touch...and promply falls asleep with his fingers still on the keys. It's a priceless picture but he wakes up before I can find the camera... darn! We finish the Podcast and sign off for the night. At least we don't have to meet Bill until noon local time so we can sleep in and try to catch up a bit on our energy!
Next: the Wild Bill turns to Insane Willey ride!