Month Fifty of my Digital Nomad Life was reasonably uneventful although I did hike my third 14’er and we road-tripped up to South Dakota through Wyoming during the last week of the month.
I spent the first three and a half weeks in Denver, split between an Airbnb, a house sit and a few nights at Fo and Afor’s place. I was working the whole time, sometimes from home or a café, and sometimes in the Denver office.
I also managed to attend a lot of family events including a 90th birthday, a 3rd birthday, and a baby shower, I caught up with friends, went to see the new Lion King movie (I liked it), did some hiking including my third 14,000 foot peak, and tried some new restaurants in Denver.
The last week of the month was spent on a two-day road trip through Eastern Wyoming and into the Black Hills of South Dakota (my 42nd state!), then five nights in Rapid City where we based ourselves so I could work during the week.
We did go out most afternoons when I finished work, to local breweries, the Tri-State Fair and to the towns of Custer, Keystone and Mount Rushmore.
South Dakota isn’t my favorite state, but it was nice to visit a new to me state and to see some of the highlights. Most of all it was nice to be on the road again – I was itching for it.
Now onto the stats!
Countries Visited: USA
- Colorado: Denver, Georgetown, Castle Rock, Keystone, Brighton
- Wyoming: Cheyenne, Wheatland, Fort Laramie, Hulett
- South Dakota: Spearfish, Lead, Deadwood, Rapid City, Custer, Keystone
National Parks and Monuments Visited: Devil’s Tower National Monument in Wyoming, Fort Laramie National Historic Site in Wyoming, Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota
Islands Visited: No islands this month
Best Meal: My pineapple and olive pizza from Dough Trader’s in Spearfish, South Dakota; Mexican street tacos with octopus and roasted vegetables from Campobaja at Zeppelin Station in Denver; Margarita pizza from Brava! At Avanti in Denver; Cajun benedict and perfect beignets from Sassafras in Golden, Colorado; Fried shrimp slider from Tacos Tequila Whiskey in Denver.
Worst Meal: I don’t recall having anything bad this month.
Best Craft Beer: I had lots of delicious beer this month. Of the new stuff I tried, I particularly liked the Strawberry Rhubarb sour from Great Divide Brewing Company, the sour from Guanella Pass Brewing Co. in Georgetown, and the Pineapple Gose and Ginger Radler from FlyteCo Brewing in Denver. I also came across one of my favorite beers by the excellent Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City when I was in Spearfish South Dakota – the delicious and refreshing Ginger Lemon Radler.
- Carpenter Peak trail in Roxborough State Park, Colorado 6.4 miles/10.3km return
- Mount Bierstadt, near Georgetown, Colorado 7 miles/11.3km return
- Section of Clear Creek trail in Wheat Ridge, Colorado 2 miles/3.2km return
- Valley View and Red Beds trail loop at Devils Tower, Wyoming 1.5 miles/2.4km
- Tower loop at Devils Tower, Wyoming 1.5 miles/2.4km
Reading: After a great month of reading last month, I didn’t read anything this month.
Watching: I spent a decent amount of time on Netflix this month and highlights were The Sinner Season Two, and the last season of Orange is the New Black.
Also, I watched the Netflix miniseries ‘When They See Us’ and I haven’t cried so hard over something for a long time. The justice system in the US is appallingly unfair, and what these boys suffered because they were black and in the wrong place at the wrong time is beyond disgusting. The Korey Wise episode… I have no words.
Watching the Oprah interview with the actors and the real Central Park 5 unfortunately showcased how much their experiences have scarred them for life – especially Korey. Every American should watch this before spouting off about how ‘Merica is the ‘best country in the world’. Not if you are black.
Posts Published This Month:
The Best Moraine Lake Hike in Fall: Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass Hike – I updated this post about one of the best fall hikes I have done: the Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass hike in Banff National Park.
Finally Making it to the Denver Botanic Gardens
I can’t believe I had been living on and off in Denver for over three years and hadn’t made it to the Botanic Gardens – well now I have. My friend Mel has a yearly pass and she can bring one guest so it was free too, and it’s always nice to get to do something for free that you would usually have to pay for.
We explored the beautiful and peaceful gardens then went to one of my favorite pubs, Vine Street, for dinner and drinks. It was a great afternoon/evening.
Fun Family Events
As I mentioned above, we had a whole lot on with the family this month. We spent a day in Keystone and Dillon Reservoir to celebrate the third birthday of the youngest member of the family’s birthday – Toby’s littlest cousin Cullen, a big 90th birthday bash for one of Toby’s great aunts which had over 200 family members in attendance, a baby shower for another cousin at a clubhouse with a pool, and we hiked a 14’er with Toby’s godson Sebastian and his sister Lauren who are also cousins (Toby has A LOT of cousins) – it was the first 14’er for both of them!
Toby’s brother Flip was also in town for a couple of days so we had beers with him, and I took advantage of having a kitchen and somewhere to host people by inviting Toby’s family over for dinner one night – his Mom is moving to Arizona soon so it was nice to spend some time with her before she goes.
Hiking my Third 14’er
My goal this year was to hike at least one more 14,000 foot peak in Colorado and one was all I managed to squeeze into my busy schedule, luckily it was a truly gorgeous one. We chose to hike Mount Bierstadt because it is one of the closest 14’ers to Denver, it is known to be the easiest (not that any 14’er is easy) and you only need a 2WD to reach the trailhead.
The hike was stunning and we had perfect weather. We saw lots of cheeky marmots and got really close to two groups of mountain goats who were completely unfazed by all the humans in close proximity to them – we were so close we could hear them breathing. It was amazing!
We did it with Toby’s cousins Lauren and Sebastian who were hiking a 14’er for the first time. It was so great to get to share this truly Colorado experience with them, and we all killed it, celebrating with beers and pizza after. We are already talking about which hikes we want to do together next year.
My First Experience with Music Video Bingo
I never thought that any kind of bingo could top Bingay – bingo hosted by a hilarious drag queen in Sydney – but I may have found my new favorite: Music Video Bingo! Afor, my sister-in-law, took us one Thursday night in Denver and I absolutely loved it. I am not a massive fan of doing karaoke because I don’t like the spotlight to be on me and I’m not a good singer, but I love singing along to songs so Music Video Bingo was perfect for this!
It is free to play and they have screens around the bar where you have to select the name of each music video they play on your bingo sheet till you have five in a row. I didn’t win but it was so much fun singing along to songs – especially the 90’s rock songs. I will definitely be going back again in the future!
Seeing Devil’s Tower for the First Time
Devil’s Tower is such an unusual sight, and it is something that I have seen many photos of over the years so it was so amazing to see this incredible rock formation for the first time in person – it was like when I saw Uluru for the first time in Australia. We camped for the night in the camping ground there and did a couple of short trails around it, including one that overlooks a prairie dog town – I love these crazy little critters!
Visiting Historic Deadwood and Spearfish Canyon
Other than visiting Devils Tower, my other favorite part of our road trip through eastern Wyoming and South Dakota was our time driving through Spearfish Canyon and visiting the towns of Lead and Deadwood. Spearfish Canyon is so green and beautiful with lots of waterfalls that it made me think I was back in Colorado, and I loved exploring the Mount Moriah cemetery in Deadwood, set amongst a pine forest on the side of a mountain.
I found the graves of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, and we had a beer at the bar where Wild Bill was shot. Deadwood may be touristy but it is a beautiful historic town and I loved the architecture and stories about the colorful characters that used to live there.
An Afternoon Around Mount Rushmore
As we were staying only a half hour drive away from Mount Rushmore in Rapid City, it was easy to finish work early one day and head into the Black Hills to explore.
We stopped in the small town of Keystone first and enjoyed walking around the historic village there, then we stopped for drinks and dinner in the small tourist town of Custer before doing a drive by of Mount Rushmore.
Had the visitor center and Avenue of Flags not been closed for renovations, we probably would have spent the $10 to park and walk up to the monument for a closer look, but just driving through and stopping to take photos was enough for now. Maybe we will return again in the future.
No Energy in Wheat Ridge
My two and a half weeks in Wheat Ridge were weird. I was looking after a super sweet dog, the house was so nice, and out hosts who we met before they left were so lovely, but I felt mildly depressed the whole time I was there. I had zero energy and I felt really homesick for New Zealand – I started thinking something was seriously wrong with me.
But I felt fine before the sit, and as soon as we left, I felt like myself again. I have heard about houses having bad energy that effect some people and that is the only explanation I can think of for how I was feeling during our sit there. I’m glad I feel like myself again now.
Heat Stroke While Hiking
On my hike in Roxborough State Park I really underestimated the heat and didn’t bring enough water. I ended up with a thumping head ache and once I got home later, I could barely get off my bed as I was so drained of energy. Not fun.
Trump Craziness in South Dakota
Wow, it seems like the people of South Dakota really love the orange idiot. I noticed it most at the Tri-States Fair where there were numerous Trump memorabilia tents, and an anti-abortion tent. I felt very out of place and it made me just want to hightail it back to Colorado where things make more sense to me.
I know now more than ever – if I am going to live in the US, it definitely has to be in a Blue State.
A Not Great Airbnb in Rapid City
We spent five nights at an Airbnb in Rapid City and I just didn’t really enjoy my time staying there. The host was combative and a little bit scary, they kept us up one night being super loud drinking with their friends, and she just generally made us feel unwelcome.
It’s a shame because the room was fine and the neighborhood is super nice. Some people just don’t know how to be good hosts and this lady was one of them.
Not too terrible considering I spent half of this on my stomach. We spent a week of the month traveling so costs always increase when you are on the road.
My paid accommodation this month consisted of one night in a motel in Wheatland, Wyoming, one night camping at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, and five nights in an Airbnb in Rapid City, South Dakota.
For the rest of the month, I spent 16 nights housesitting in Wheat Ridge, one night staying with my Auntie in Brighton, four nights staying with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law in Wheat Ridge, and three nights in an Airbnb in Denver – I didn’t include the cost for this as it was covered by the money we made for our paid housesit.
Food and Drink $718
Yikes! Not sure why this is so crazy high this month! I guess we were eating out more than we realized (I was drinking more beer too).
- Evening Dress $54
- Dress for Wedding $89
- Gas $32.50
- Uber/Lyft $36
Gas would have been higher but Toby got paid out $200 for gas for events he worked last month, so we used the rest of that money this month to get up to South Dakota.
- Roxborough State Park entry fee $8
- Cemetery Entry fee in Deadwood $2
- Tri-State Fair Entry in Rapid City $3
- Two movie Alamo Drafthouse movie passes for the Lion King $26
We have an annual National Parks pass that gets us into National Parks, Monuments and Historic Sites.
- Toiletries $49
- Phone $40
- Gifts $27
- Canada Visa Waiver $5.50
- Handbag Fixed $8
- New Handbag $29
- Eye mask $16
- Necklace $12
- Steripen $35 (my half)
- Antimicrobial pee cloth and she pee $36
- Dog Walker $11.50
- Toilet Seat $38
- Skype Credit $7
Website Costs $12
- Monthly payment for Keysearch $12
Van Costs $15
- Oil Change (my half) $15
What’s in Store for Next Month
Month Fifty One will involve a lot more travel, with a few more days in South Dakota exploring Badlands National Park before heading into the mountains of Colorado to do a two day backpacking trip from Aspen up to Conundrum Hot Springs, then a couple of nights in Leadville to recover.
For the long weekend I will be heading to Estes Park for three nights to explore the town, the haunted Stanley Hotel and to do some hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.
After a few days back in Denver where I will head back into the office so they know I still work there, I will be flying to Seattle, my favorite city in the US, for three nights to visit friends and all my favorite spots, before catching the bus up to my favorite city in the world: Vancouver!
I will be in Vancouver for nine nights, working remotely during week days and exploring during the afternoons/evenings and the weekend that I have there. I can’t wait to visit old favorites, eat at some new places that I have wanted to try for a while, do some hiking and beach strolls, and visit friends. Viva Vancouver!
The last five days of the month I will spend back in Denver – a couple of nights at Fo and Afor’s visiting with them and the kitties, then we will be starting a 16 night sit for my friends Pete and Venessa, looking after their chickens, cat, frog and dog.
The last weekend of the month we will spend one night away from our housesit to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary, by roadtripping to see the fall colors in Rocky Mountain National Park, Steamboat Springs, Vail and Frisco – I can’t wait!
To read additional Monthly Round Ups, you can find them here