Category Archives: CO

The Grand Tour with Mom & Dad

Taking advantage of the late start to winter, Moshe and Adrienne decided to pay us a visit in the last week of October to see what all the fuss over Western Colorado is about.  The fuss is not only the beauty of Palisade, but the proximity to such diverse landscapes; the mission was to show the parents as much as possible.

Utah – Moab & Arches National Park

On our first full day we rode west to Utah for a day trip to Arches and, thanks to the advice my awesome barber Earl, we took the incredible Scenic Byway 128 route which hugs the Colorado River all the way to Moab.


The scenery was Amazing and we stopped multiple times to take it in, and of course, snap a whole lot of pictures.




We arrived in Moab in time for lunch and enjoyed a fantastic meal at Eklecticafe before heading into Arches for the main event of the day – although one could argue the drive was equally incredible.


Arches is great for a day trip since it’s a relatively small park and a lot of ground can be covered.


We hit a number of iconic looks outs


and Mom couldn’t take enough pictures! (who can blame her?)


Local Fun in Palisade

It’s easy to get caught up in day trips and forget that Palisade/Grand Junction has so much to offer.  With that in mind, we made sure to give the parents a taste of our heaven and our first order of business was a tasting at Sprigs & Sprouts.


This place is awesome!  There are so many spreads and jams along with the huge selection of flavored oils and vinegars.

From there we had a quick stop to line our bellies before proceeding to sample the wine at Colterris.


Of course we had a look around the vineyard’s beautiful property and enjoyed the views of Mount Garfield.


The day finished with a bomb dinner at il Bistro Italiano which rivals South Philly Italian cuisine (almost…) and a trip the Brewery for the Halloween party.

Aspen/Maroon Bells

With solid desert days under our belts, our last foray drove home the diverse topography our location has to offer.  Just a two hour drive west brings us to the red desert of Moab Utah while driving two hours east brings us to the towering 14,000 ft mountains (14ers) in the White River National Forest.


We drove to Maroon Bells just east of Aspen which is touted as the most photographed place in Colorado.


Guess we can see why!

We walked around the short loop that provides incredible perspectives the of area.



After finishing our stroll, we headed into Aspen.


And sat down at the White House Tavern to an incredible experience.  Everything was amazing.  Kinda wanting to find a reason to get back to Aspen just to eat there again!


Colorado National Monument

On the last full day of their trip, Amy took Mom to the Monument to show her the amazingness that is just a 30 minute drive from our house.



Pretty successful trip!

Full Circle – Back to Palisade, CO

After a year + on the road during which we resided in Western Colorado, Austin Texas, The Central Coast of California and Northwestern Montana one idea became clear: going back to live in Philadelphia – or any major city for that matter – was NOT happening.

So we headed back to where the adventure began, a place that remained top of mind since we left it, Palisade Colorado.  Our two day drive from Montana took us through Utah where we spent a night and when we woke up, the sheer beauty of the sun rise confirmed that we were on the correct path.


There were definitely a lot of emotions as we neared the Colorado border.  The butterflies that accompanied us in the previous four transitions were not there as we rolled through familiar territory.  Did this mark the end of an era in our lifetime?  Were we really planning on moving to Palisade for the foreseeable future?  Three weeks into our stay and we still are not clear on all this, but one thing is for certain: seeing the Welcome to Colorado sign felt good!


Our first week consisted of unpacking, settling in and reuniting with the amazing friends we left exactly one year ago.  Then Amy was packing up to go to Florida for Ryder Love’s baby naming and I was on my own for a week.  Fortunately, there is plenty to do!  I got the camping gear together and headed to the Utah desert for a camping trip with Chica Bear.


We drove to Goblin Valley and posted up on Wild Horse Road near the Little Wile Horse Canyon trailhead.  While it was a beautiful night, next time I’ll scout for a site a bit further from the trailhead as a family of 14 decided to post up right next to me – there goes a quiet night in the desert.

The next morning we woke up, Chica ate some kibble and I enjoyed spaghetti and meat sauce left overs from the night before.  All fed, we were off to check out Little Wild Horse Canyon.


The plan was to do the 8 mile loop through Little Wild Horse and come back from Bell Canyon.  Unfortunately, there were very deep pools about half way into the hike and we had to head back the way we came.  Still an amazing experience!

On the way back home Chica and I decided to stop in Rabbit Valley where I saw signs for The Trail Through Time which piqued my interest.  Turns out this area has massive amounts of dinosaur fossils and in this picture you can see bones preserved in the rock.


On Sunday, we watched the Eagles game and after a stinging loss, hung out at the river beach right by our house.


Then I dropped an exhausted Chica back at the house and went to a desert party with Ashley and Dusty.  The picture doesn’t reflect how beautiful the night sky was, but you get the point.


Definitely getting used to country life.

Lake Powell, Utah

Packing up to leave Palisade just didn’t feel right and would have been super depressing if it wasn’t for our awesome friends inviting us to Lake Powell for our last weekend out west.  Knowing we were heading for a kickass time softened the blow – at least temporarily.

Leaving - Vehicle

Even the moon came up to bid us farewell.

Leaving - Mountain

Ok, this was like a kick in the nuts.

Leaving CO

The drive from Palisade to Powell was about 4 hours and every second was spectacular – Utah, you are beautiful!

Bullfrog Marina is where we posted up.



This trip actually worked out well since it shortened the drive to Santa Fe, where we would be staying to break up the ride to Austin, by a few hours.  Even if it didn’t though we would have went.  It was our good friend Ashley’s birthday and an impromptu goodbye party for us and another friend of theirs that was moving as well.  Not that this crew needed a reason to party.



Yes, the hula-hoops were put to use after a few drinks by the fire at night.


Normally we would have left Chica at the dogvacay spot, but had to bring her along since we were driving right from UT to NM.  Bringing her on the boat was a no go, so  Chica and I took a driving excursion along Burr Trail that brought us all the way through Capitol Reef National Park out to Escalante National Reserve



In hindsight I bit off more than I could chew having driven over 120 miles round trip with 40 being some pretty hard core 4 wheeling.  And yes, I got lost and had a freak-out moment.  But I’m alive, got to see some real dope scenery and definitely have improved my off-road driving skills.



As you can see, the views made getting lost in the desert a little more bearable.

While I was out tearing up the desert, Amy was touring and surfing Lake Powell.





Fortunately, Amber and Jeremy wanted another round of surfing before sunset and I got to head out on the water with them later in the day.  Many many thanks to you guys!

Now I know the Palisade/Junction crew aren’t all the biggest social media fans, but if y’all ever come across this, know that we will FOREVER appreciate the wide-open-arms welcome we received from you and all the good times.

Palisade Pastimes – Final Weekend in CO

So, this is our last weekend in Colorado, and while we are super bummed out, it couldn’t have been a better weekend to go out on.

We kicked it into gear on Friday afternoon with Desa inviting us for a guided tour up Stage Coach Trail.  This is the last local trail that we had yet to conquer and I’m glad we went with someone who knew what they were doing; there were a ton of wash-outs that made navigating the trail difficult.

On our way up – the beginning was definitely the most strenuous.


It does level out pretty quickly after the hard part and opens up to awesome 360 degree views.



Amazing perspective of Palisade giving the opposite view of the Rim Trail which we’ve done a few times.





The flag pole at the top is the typical objective when climbing up, but you can really just walk around the top of the mountain – there is no real end to the trail.



Enjoying the view


For those that have visited, it’s known that sunset – at least in our opinion – is the most beautiful time of day with the desert mountains glistening burnt orange.

Well the way down was all sunset baby and it was amazing.




Chica and “the weens” had a blast!


All in all the hike was about 5 miles elevating over 1,300 ft – amazing!

With Colorado Winefest taking over town (explain in a minute) and this being our last weekend in Palisade you know we’re keeping the night going.

We dropped Chica off at the house and headed right back out to the Brewery to hang out and watch Stray Grass jam out.  This band rocked it and we had a blast, so much so that we took a bunch of crappy videos and not many pictures; however we salvaged a good one of Amy and Jenny.


Once the band wrapped it up, we called it a night and went back for some stargazing before recharging for Winefest.

So, yes, back to Winefest; officially Colorado Mountain Winefest.   This is a gathering of Colorado’s finest wineries and of course it’s located in Palisade – this place is freaking awesome!


And wait, to add to the awesomeness, Stray Grass (the band we enjoyed so much at the Brewery) was the main performance at the festival.

After countless tastings – which are included and unlimited with a ticket purchase – we bought a nice bottle of wine and enjoyed the music.


Did I mention there wasn’t a cloud in the sky – perfect day!


During our hike Desa was very surprised we hadn’t tried Sprigs and Sprouts and the following day we randomly stumbled upon their booth (out of hundreds), had a taste of yummy oils and decided that on Sunday we would go to the shop for a more personalized tasting and buying experience.

Sprigs and Sprouts – done.


Just like a wine tasting, there is a menu and an olive oil/balsamic connoisseur to guide you through your tasting.  We wanted EVERYTHING!


After coming back from Junction Mark plopped on the couch and watched football while Amy went to purchase and enjoy one of our favorite local wineries: Colterris




After a miserable Eagles game we decided to walk it off and took an extended neighborhood walk.

Sunday Walk

How are we leaving this place!?!?

Camping, Hiking, Canoeing w/ Josh, Gabe & Alex

As we wind down our stay in Colorado the goal is to go out with a bang and we certainly did this past week.

Homeboy Josh came through on Tuesday night staying to Saturday and Gabe & Alex came through Thursday night sticking around until Monday.  Naturally we got as much in as possible.  Only ill shit (inside joke).

Here’s the kicker, Amy had no idea Gabe and Alex were coming so there was elaborate scheming taking place in preparation.

Once the word was out Amy and Alex spent Thursday and Friday in Palisade.




The men rode out to Utah to camp in the Goblin Valley area Thursday night.  We drove out to Behind the Reef Road (off Temple Mountain Rd. past Goblin Valley Rd.) where there were multiple dispersed camping spots in the middle of nowhere; we were completely secluded!




On Friday the men rolled out to see Goblin Valley and then hit Arches National Park for a few hours on the way back to Palisade.




Ohhh but they day wasn’t over yet.  The crew (Amy, Alex, Mark, Josh, Gabe) rallied back in Palisade and geared up for a night on the town with “the trifecta” being the ultimate goal.  The trifecta is when you start a night out at the Brewery, move on to the Peach Street Distillers (the Still) and end at the Livery where the locals are surprisingly good at Karaoke.

No pictures from that night, but we want everyone to know that Josh got up there and did his thing on the mic.

Awesome night!

Saturday morning came quickly and we all loaded up to ride Josh out to the airport.  After dropping him off the remaining crew headed into Junction and ate a solid brunch at Bin 707.

With bellies full we cruised back to Palisade to get ready for an afternoon in Grand Mesa canoeing around Island Lake.





A nice relaxing day is what we all needed before Sundays hike.

Yes, this is all in less than a week’s time!  AND there is NO way Gabe and Alex come to Colorado and not see peaks!

We decided to hike to Geneva Lake.


This is a 4.2 mile round trip hike that elevates 1,300 ft taking us to about 11,000 ft.  The trail was relatively secluded because of the super-intense 7 mile off-road trail that leads to the trailhead.  Now that we’re all done with that ride, it’s safe to say I nearly shat my pants.

Well the ride was worth it – have a look:








The way down:




Someone’s having fun:


But wait!  We’re not done with the awesomeness.  Riding to the trailhead we passed through this tiny, in-the-middle-of-nowhere town called Marble where we saw a LEGIT BBQ spot.  Dinner debate was instantly over; after hiking we would dine at Slow Groovin BBQ.

FullSizeRender (13)




What a treat!

We finished the trip with a night of booze and cards and I’m not sure it could have gone any better.

Thanks for coming out gang!

Ridgway State Park – Camping

Most of our posts till now have focused on the adventure portion of our trip; not many delve into our experiences meeting Palisade’s finest.

On one of our first trips to the Distillery (The Still) we met Jesse who immediately welcomed us with open arms as did his fantastic wife Dessa and the rest of the Colorado Alternative Healthcare crew.

Last week Jesse invited us to go camping with him and some of his friends & family at Ridgway National Park which happens to be in the San Juan Mountain Range – our favorite!

When we rolled up, Jesse and Dessa were already at the campsite and helped us get our gear in order.  Not a bad place to spend the weekend!




Jesse described this trip as some family and friends getting together for his brother Sam’s birthday.  Well, as everybody filtered in (Jesse’s family is dispersed around CO) we realized we were invited to a tight knit family gathering and again we were welcomed with open arms.

We all enjoyed grilling and sitting by the fire that evening, but called it relatively early so we could enjoy the lake the next day.




Just hanging out on the lake would have made for a nice day, but there was lake surfing too!



We both got up which was an accomplishment; Amy turned out to be a natural getting up and staying up on her first try!

Nothing like catching your breath while enjoying these views.



After a few hours we turned in and prepared for the feast to come – steaks, burgers, roasted veggies, salads.  When it was all over everybody’s belly was full and plopping down by the fire with the moon as bright as the sun was a perfect way to close out an amazing day.



We woke up on Sunday and enjoyed some coffee with everyone.  It can’t be stressed enough how amazing all the folks were that we spent the weekend with – we’re truly grateful.

Orvis Hot Springs


Another check off the list was to hit a hot spring which is always inconvenient since we are usually traveling with Chica.  As everybody started clearing out to go home, we took the opportunity to hit up Orvis since it was only about 10 minutes away from the campground.

We’ve heard a lot about this place being one of the nicer springs to visit along with it being clothing optional, hence no pictures.

The resort is small and beautiful once you get past the fact that folks of all shapes and sizes are running around ass naked.  There are a number of stone, natural feeling pools with varying degrees of temperature and the ambiance itself is resortish and relaxing.

Definitely recommend a visit if you’re on the Western Slope.

Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery


Finally before the two hour drive home, we decided to head back into the town of Ridgway (which we first encountered on our way to Telluride) and hit the brewery for lunch.  Place has good brew, salad and pizza – highly recommended.

Palisade Pastimes – Climbing Mt. Garfield

Well we’re past the midpoint of our time in Palisade (not happy about that) and while we’ve certainly been making the most of it there are some things we absolutely need to get done; climbing Mt. Garfield was absolutely one of them.

This is one of the shorter hikes we’ve taken on recently at 2 miles, piece of cake right?



This is a 2000 ft ascent and at first glance this looks impossible – how are you supposed to get up there?

Then you have signs like this at the trailhead – not very motivating


Since this trail is only a few minutes from home we decided to knock it out on a week day.  It’s still super hot in Palisade and the ideal time was early morning to beat the heat.  Wake up call 6am.

And we’re off…


About half way up the trail and we know it’s going to be a hot one


No hero’s here, we all needed a break!



We don’t have all day guys.  Need to get moving and be happy about it; how could you not be with that view!?!


And…we’re making our way back up


We finally got through the hard part and hit a plateau.  We were super tired, not going to lie, but being up there was awesome; a hidden valley of HUGE boulders and insane looking formations.



We finally hit the top and took some time to enjoy the stunning views of Palisade (right below) and the Colorado National Monument in the distance (west).



We relaxed for awhile and had our morning call for work while enjoying the view.  This right here is what a mobile work environment is all about!

That said, Chica reminded us that we won’t be productive pounding calls on top of the mountain and it was time to head back.  Ok Bear Cub, lead the way.


Coming up the mountain, we were literally crawling at the steepest points and coming back down was very much top of mind.

Well it’s the moment of truth.  Amy is scoping out the journey down.



Once we reached the bottom and turned around to see the mountain we conquered fulfilled is the word that comes to mind.  It was a challenge, physical and mental, but we got it done.


Now we have a full day of work ahead of us – gonna need some coffee to push through!


Island Lake – Grand Mesa

We were planning to be away until Sunday afternoon, so getting back from Ice Lake on Saturday night opened up another full day to enjoy the outdoors.

For a couple of weeks now, we’ve been talking about how ridiculous it is that with all the lakes we’ve visited, we have not actually gotten ON the water!  Well we’ve rectified the situation.


Grand Mesa is thought to be the largest Mesa in the world; it has over 300 lakes and tons of trails on top – now you know.

The best thing about it is that it’s one hour from home and it seems like a different world.  Instead of the desert experience in Palisade, you get the mountain feel with glacial lakes.

We decided to hit Island Lake


The Grand Mesa Lodge is sweet. It’s located at the highest point of the Mesa and situated right over Island Lake.  It also happens to rent boats.

No much to say.  Wine, food, lake, boat – great freaking day.




Ice Lake Hike – San Juan National Forest

We’re back in the San Juan mountain range; we just couldn’t help ourselves.  After checking out multiple hiking options this weekend we were drawn to the beauty of Ice Lake.

15 - Lake - 3

We heard this hike was popular, and when we arrived, to the forest road leading to the trailhead it was confirmed.  Compared to the last few trails we hit, this off-roading was cake; the campsites were plentiful and full.  While we like our seclusion it was a cool experience to camp around people as well.  Plus the site was gorgeous.

1 - Campground

It’s hard to imagine what a hike will be like  even with all the information available online.

We knew the Ice Lake Trail would be tough, but you don’t know till you know.  The trail turns out to be an almost continuous incline for the entire 2,250 foot 3.5 mile ascent.

Well, we didn’t get dressed up for nothin’ (Braveheart quote)

2 - Hike Start - m c

Yes you need to cross this waterfall by either balance beaming on some suspect logs or choose to rock hop across hoping you don’t get a shoe full of water.

3 - Crossing Fall - fam

Not close

4 - Making way up - a c

We definitely had to have walked 3.5 miles by now – NOPE – still not close

5 - Making way up - m c

Ahh finally a little relief – a relatively flat section of the trail

6 - Meadow a c

Now start climbing again; you’re only halfway there

7 - Making way up - m c

Making progress

8 - Still MWU - m c

Made it – BOOM.  Wow! this was freaking tough.  The ascent was seemed to be an almost constant 70 degrees with some areas that you are literally climbing it’s so steep.

At this point you might be thinking that it wasn’t worth it with all that whining , but no, it was definitely worth it.

9 - Arrived

Of course, as our luck has it, crazy storm clouds start rolling over the peak almost immediately after we arrived.

10 - Clouds - a c

Well, after that hike we were sticking it out, and we were going to enjoy the lake damn it!

So we hunker down and get warm

11 - Keeping warm - m c

We even rode out a freaking hail storm.  Who cares.  It cleared up and we took a walk.

12 - Lake - 1 - a

Found the lakes water source – pretty awesome.

13 - Stream to lake

Enjoying the break in the clouds.

14 - Lake - 2 - m

15 - Lake - 3

16 - Lake - 4 - a

17 - Lake - 5 - a

18 - Lake - 6 - m

19 - Lake - Selfy

We came, we saw, but not conquered yet – we have another 3.5 miles and 2,550 feet down to go.

20 - Down - a c

21 - Down - 2

22 - Down - 3

We made it down by 3:30 right before the next storm hit.  We found a sweet secluded campsite that would have been awesome, but decided to drive the 3 hours back to Palisade.  No point in camping if you’re just stuck in the tent all night.

Challenging and tiring are two words that describe the actual hike, but nothing that’s REALLY worth it comes easy.  This hike was one of those REALLY worth it experiences.

Fruita – Mountain Biking w/ Jeska and Jordan!

Surprise! We got more visitors! For those of you who know my sister Jeska and her husband Jordan will appreciate how they squeezed in a trip to Palisade.

Jeska and Jordan were in New Orleans for an early Jeska birthday celebration.  Let’s just say one of them didn’t want the fun to end and they missed their flight back to Medford.  Luckily they have become masters in the art of having a Plan B and decided to rent a car and drive 6 hours to Houston to stay with some friends for the night.

In the morning, Jeska pulled the birthday card and said she wanted to spend her birthday with her sissy. I mean after all – Palisade is only a 19 hour drive from Houston, makes total sense! So they scratched their flight home and drove 19 hours to come see Mark and me for her birthday.

I don’t know how you celebrate birthdays in your family but the Jackson’s mean business and I had to scramble fast to get the proper birthday swag. Luckily my Momma J taught me well so it was a no brainer.

Birthday Sign and decorations – check.

jess bday sign

Homemade cake – check

birthday cake

Finally Jeska and Jordan arrived and we got the celebrations started!

jess arives to palisade

jeska birthday mark amy jess

The next day was Jeska’s actual birthday.  We drove up the Palisade Fruit and Wine Byway. and stopped at Colterris Winery for a tasting.

The Coral White Cabernet Sauvignon was really tasty!

For lunch we went to the Peach Street Taco Truck which just happens to be located directly next to the Distillery.  Naturally, we had to have a quick tasting while waiting for our order.

distilary tasting

distillary amy jess


Welcome to Fruita! Fruita is Jordan’s favorite place on earth. It’s known for Mountain Biking and Dinosaurs.

We rented some Yeti Mountain bikes from Colorado Backcountry Biker in downtown Fruita. The people there are awesome and they let you rent bikes for 24 hours.

We drove out to 18 road Trailhead. Jordan gave us a quick lesson on Mountain Biking and we were off! We went on diesel incline ride to get to the Mountain Biking trail, Kessel Run – highly recommend for first time Mountain bikers.

18 road amy jess jor

mark and jordan 18 road mountain biking

We all took a couple spills off the bikes but it’s not Mountain biking if you don’t walk away with a couple bumps and bruises!

mountain biking 18 road amy

We headed back to Fruita to grab a couple of beers from the Copper Club Brewing Company, which is Jordan’s favorite bar (mainly because all the beer taps are old bicycle parts) and he loves bicycles. The beer is really good too!

Food was also needed so we picked up dinner from No Coast Sushi(delicious)

The next morning Jordan woke us up at 6:30am so we could get one last bike ride in. We drove out to Kokopelli Trail which is a 142-mile multi-use trail in Colorado and Utah. It was early but the views were unbeatable and we had a blast!

kokapelli mountain trail amy jess

We had one last surprise visitor! Our friend Wally and his puppy Lilac were driving across CO and stayed for the night. Chica was happy to have a friend to play with!