Rain and the Arapahoe…

It rained most of the day, Tuesday, so I didnt do much shooting. The shot above is of a place along County Road 3, which leads up to the meadow I sleep in, and further on to the mill.

As I mentioned in another post, I want to explore Dillon, so I began at Arapahoe Café and Pub.

As you can see, it isnt a huge place, although there is a lower level. People told me, today, that I have to go back and do the downstairs, so look for another post in the near future.

Just let me preface everything else with the savory, spicy aromas that greet you at the door – woodsmoke, chilis, onion, and of course, meat. These redolent fragrances subtly introduce you into a small entry area, adjoining a spacious dining area. The decor is exactly what you’d expect in a Colorado mountain town – Vintage Rustic. Log cabiny, with lots of native pine. On a warmer day, the patio would have been splendid.


Forgive me. I was very hungry and forgot to get pics of my plate. (I know.) I did remember to shoot the restaurant, though. That should earn me a few make-up points. Right?

Places like this often have eclectic menus, and Arapahoe Café is no different. Offerings begin with Prince Edward Island mussels steamed in a white wine herb broth, Barbecue Cheese Fries, and other appetizers. Dinner entrées include Rocky Mountain Ruby Red Trout, Road House Meatloaf, and Tillamook Smoked Sharp Cheddar Mac N Cheese (specialty mac n cheese topped with chopped bacon and house smoked Carolina pulled pork or chopped beef brisket). The sandwich board is also broad and, although Reuben’s Reuben tempted me, I opted for Jake’s Beef Brisket Sandwich. It was big, and beefy, tasty but not dry. After trying the spicy sauce, I did end up asking for a jalapeño for a little more kick. The bun was fresh and lightly toasted. Sides were basic – coleslaw and fries. Paired this with a nice malbec, the meal was satisfying and delightful.

At this point, I should also make note of the drink menu. Arapahoe Cafe’ and Pub has a pretty good assortment of beers and ales in bottles and cans, or on tap. The wine list is small, but the malbec I had was enjoyable.

A surprising departure from the standard mountain café fare was the after dinner drink menu. Limoncello?  Yep. Tawny Port? Also a Yep. You can also get Irish coffee or Bailey’s and coffee, along with Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey.

So, if you’re in the neighborhood and looking for a good tasting, affordable meal, Check out the Arapahoe Café’ and Pub.



Thanks for stopping by.

~Enjoy the Life you’re living.

Something I wrote a couple of years ago…

it’s still my creed.

Don Barnes·Thursday, January 7, 2016

I am not better or worse, no more or less deserving, no higher or lower than anyone else.

In the universal scheme of things, I am completely insignificant. If the Lord tarries and no meteor hurtles from the depths of space to strike us into oblivion, my life will make no lasting difference. A thousand years from now, no one will remember me. I am simply a man, walking in this world because it is where I am. There is no over-riding purpose for my life. I have no destiny to fulfill. When I die, the stars will not go out. The world will not stop spinning.

This knowledge allows me to live peacefully among my fellow humans. Because I am not superior, or inferior, I must view each one as an equal. I must not eye them with my judgment, or weigh them in the balance of my personal justice. Each one is responsible for himself, before the One who made him. My duty is only to facilitate that person’s ability to draw nearer to that One.

If you, however, choose to judge and condemn me, I cannot stop you. Please, though, remember to prove your own heart before you start gathering stones.

Feeling Much Better…


It’s surprising what a difference just two weeks can make. Now that the days are noticeably longer, and I’m waking up to a little bit of light, my attitude has become so much better. Although I’m generally a pretty positive person, sunlight in the morning is a powerful booster.

Last night, I was able to get back down to the meadow and sleep. The road is some distance away, and higher up, so the sounds of passing vehicles dont reach me. Getting up was easier as I anticipated the scene that waited just outside my door. When the alarm came on, I removed the curtain and lay still, gazing at the trees that surround the place. Sitting quietly, my bare feet on Maggie’s running board, I listened to the brook and birdsong, enjoying the cool air against my skin. First time I’ve been able to do that since the autumn.


Today, I’m in a nostalgic mood. Listening to Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” has me missing the sunny 70s and California. There’s a story about Sunset Boulevard, a billboard with that album cover, and a woman in a see-through blouse, but I wont share it now. What I will say, is that I’m ready to make the trek back to PCH for a few days. The trip is slated for the last week of June. There will be pics and some video, so stay tuned.


In the meantime, I’ll be checking out Silverthorne’s next door neighbor, Dillon. It’s a little further up from the interstate, but seems to have a bit more local feel. There’s Pug Ryan’s Brewery, Arapahoe Cafe’ and Pub, along with a couple of thrift stores . I should have broadened my experience before, but winter kind of put me into a rut. Now that spring has sprung, I’m feeling more adventurous.


That’s all for today. Thanks for following. Remember the Vagabond Rules:
Dont Worry. Be Grateful. Be a Blessing.

~Enjoy the Life you’re living.



Musings on Modern Living…

You may have noticed that I rant on the current state of humanity quite often. It’s easy for me to jump up on my soapbox about the decrepit state of our species. Today, though, I wont do that. Instead, I want to express a little personal gratitude for the advantages of Human Privilege.

As a human being, at the beginning of the 21st century, I experience an awful lot of that. Compared to my predecessors, even just a hundred years ago, my life is amazingly easy. There are mobile phones, electric ovens and refrigerators, indoor toilets ( ! ), and a million other conveniences. Most of my time, though, is spent in the White River National Forest, where there is no electricity, cable, wireless signal of any kind, and no toilet facilities.

On the surface, that sounds like a recipe for 19th century mountain man style living. I should be trapping animals for food, and saving their pelts to keep warm. I should be foraging for nuts and berries, like the local bears, but I’m not. I have Maggie, the Stew Wagon, a 1999 Ford Explorer (Eddie Bauer Edition, which does include leather seats, so there’s that). She’s equipped with two batteries, one of which provides power for a few rechargeable devices, along with an electric warmer for my luxurious memory foam mattress. What would those hardy pioneers of the 1800s have given to have things like these? One may only imagine.

Right now, I am specifically grateful for my globally sourced diet. Because of our unadulterated self-aggrandizement, we have built a network of trade, which can move food to and from locations all around the world.  As an example, my lunch today was tuna from Thailand, carrots from Texas, cabbage from California, in a salad topped with dressing from Hidden Valley Ranch. A bamboo bowl on my desk holds Mexican avocados, Guatemalan bananas, along with unlabeled apples and turnips. How many of those sojourners do you suppose ever tasted tuna, a banana, or an avocado? Yes I am exceptionally blessed.



Just Stuff…

Here’s a shot of Silverthorne, from the Dillon Dam Road. This is a shot that I’ve wanted to make for quite some time. Sometime soon, I’ll make the drive a little later and get it with a tripod and the Mk ii.

Yesterday, after work, I drove into Silverthorne. There’s a Tuesday Morning store there, and I often browse around, just because it has a lot of groovy things. I gravitate first to the aisle where kitchen tools are kept. Generally speaking, I dont purchase any, but I like to see what they have. Another thing I dig, is to walk through the food section. There are things I’d love to keep aboard, jams and marmalades, but this is bear country and I’m not interested in night visitors. That isnt to say I’ve never had any.

During this past mating season, a male moose left his mark on my door. A local lion prowls around, from time to time, chirping and giving the occasional growl. One night, as I lay in bed, something tweaked my radio antenna. It isnt unusual to hear the shuffling of feet in the night. Bears, however, are a different thing. They’re big, and incredibly strong, and persistent. If one thinks there’s food in the car, it could be a dangerous situation.

Having lived in this forest for a year, I’ve seen a lot of creatures – fox, deer, elk, rabbit, even moose, but no bears. I’ve not see the lion, either, for which I’m grateful.


In the past year, my life has become Livable. The pace has slowed, and stress is minimized, but not gone. Every night, I sleep well, and mornings are pleasant. Running was good.


That’s right. I ran…away…but not blindly (which was what I’d considered). For several months, I worked to convert a 1999 Ford Explorer into some kind of travel vehicle. It wasn’t a full-time thing, of course. Travel was often done on a whim, or in conjunction with some event (see Balloon Fiesta!). Modifications to the vehicle were made as time, money, and inspiration came to me. I was testing my wings.

In March of 2017, a temporary job opportunity came up at a mill in the White River National Forest. I took it, both as an experiment in long-term vehicle dwelling, and as a way out of the situation I was living in. I ran away from my life and embraced something completely new. That was just over a year ago, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done

What do I mean by Harmony? I mean that all the pieces of my life now work together, like parts of a song. The temporary job became permanent, which I fought myself about. I really didn’t want a permanent job, but it has been a blessing. Surprisingly to some, living out of a vehicle suits me very well. Leaving the city put distance between me and the things that used to spontaneously burn my time, now it is my own.

Sleep comes to me quickly these days. Last night, I stood on a mountainside, under uncountable stars, listening to a stream ramble through a snowy meadow, and felt more at home than I ever have in the city. After a few minutes, I climbed into my bed, in the back of the Stew Wagon and slept. Generally speaking, three minutes is about how long it takes me to fall asleep.

Gratitude also comes easy. Sometimes, I feel silly thinking about all the things I’m grateful for, because they are often the same as the day before. Good people in my life. New knowledge and new awareness of who I am. Peace that permeates every moment of my days. A soft, warm bed.


Coming Out of Darkness…

Winter has pulled so much out of me. Recent mornings, it was hard to get out of bed, and I wasn’t very enthusiastic about my work. Yesterday and today, though, have been different. When the Reflectix came off the windows, I could see treetops outlined against brightening blue sky. Stepping out Maggie’s door, there was earth under me, instead of snow. Didn’t even need a jacket as I did my morning chores, a shirt was enough. These things have helped my attitude, a lot.

It’s a little after noon, and as I write this snow has begun to fall. Snow doesnt bother me very much, though. In the spring, we’ll get six or eight inches overnight, and it melts off the next day.


Some new ‘Mods’ have been made to the Stew Wagon. Some other day, when the weather is a little more settled, I’ll make a new video. In the meanwhile, I’ll tell you about them, and share some pics.

First, I added these nifty tie-down anchors. They’re actually from an old Christmas tree stand, but they threaded right into the holes where the roof rack track used to be. (The rack was stolen when Maggie went missing.) If your overhead storage rarely moves, I dont see why you couldn’t remove a couple of the screws and do the same thing.


Second, I made a “Skinny Desk” from a cedar fence slat. It reaches from my bed frame to the rear passenger side door. I was a little worried that it might not be wide enough to provide good support to the laptop or my drawing box, but it works very well. It’ll be on the video. I’m comfortably warm, right now and dont care to go outdoors.


Maggie Needs Shocks and Struts!


I knew it was coming, and getting worse, but didn’t realize that we’d reached this point. Things have begun to fall apart. 😐 A dry place to work, and a second set of hands would make this do-able, but under the circumstances, I’ll be turning her over to the capable folks at Colorado Tire and Service on Thursday.


Thanks for following.

~Enjoy the Life you’re living.