Part XII: San Antonio, TX – Surprise Friend
The ride from Austin to San Antonio was even shorter, just an hour and half – hardly a road trip worthy drive. But, San Antonio was a wonderful stop!
First off, San Antonio is just lovely, certainly compared to Houston and Austin, in my opinion. I guess mostly it just feel softer. More brown and tan buildings as opposed to grays, less imposing heights to the buildings, things like that. Just a nicer feel for me.
First thing was a class with an IG yogi “L” who is into acro, trapeze, and hand balance. Before meeting her, we had not talked much beyond a few comment exchanges and figuring out how to meet, so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen (much like in Chapel Hill, Houston, and Austin), but, like before, it turned out great! I took her class and she focused on backbends, specifically the hollowback shape, which is a tricky one used in inversions like forearm stand and handstand. It was super informative and helpful class for building that shape. After class, we had a little acro play time before her next class, which was super fun because she definitely knows what she is doing as a flyer, so we could try some pretty funky moves.
She invited me over to her house for lunch after her second class, where we got to know each other well over a meal and then had some more acro play time. She’s got a little dog who is more than happy to lick the face of someone lying on the ground, which always makes flying someone a little trickier. And of course, we filmed somethings for IG, which, of course, made things way harder once the camera was on, resulting in a whole heck of a lot of laughter.
Playtime ended when I drove up to the airport to pick up my dad, who was kind enough to fly in to San Antonio to help me with a particular long stretch of my drive from there to Santa Fe (about 10-11 hours road time). We even had a hotel room for the night, how luxurious!
L had told me about an acro class at The District, a movement gym in town that does all kinds stuff including bouldering, crossfit, parkour, and more. So, once more, I got to do some super fun acro play. There was a wide range of skill levels among the individuals present, so it was enjoyable both to fly proficient people and newbies, or to be flown myself. The teachers presented a flow that was definitely a challenge, but super cool. I had a blast!
My dad and I got a late dinner and retired to sleep because we had an early morning. L, a photographer, in addition to teacher, offered to take some pictures around San Antonio of me before we headed for Santa Fe. Because road trips are all about spontaneity, I knew this was an opportunity not to be missed, after a little consideration. Bright and early, just as the sun was rising, she took us to part of town with a ton of street art/graffiti – but the really beautiful and intentional kind, not just tags. We spent an hour trying different poses in front of different works and she displayed massive levels of excitement around the captures, so I cannot wait to see them!
Exhausted, we took a pit stop back at the hotel to clean up, eat, organize, and take off, west on I-10 and then north on 285.
On my dad’s suggestion, brilliant suggestion, we stopped in Roswell, NM, to visit the International UFO Museum. It was a worthwhile experience. While I do not doubt the existence of extraterrestrial beings or the possibility that they could be sufficiently advanced to visit other parts of the universe, the probability that they’d visit us just to probe a few people or insert implants, fly by, crash, or be incredibly humanoid in their appearance seems dramatically small. The humanoid part is what really gets me, it’s just so vain! Look at the diversity of life on our planet alone, and try to imagine the possibilities that evolution could create on different ones. It’s a really challenging thing to imagine. Also, I don’t doubt the government was covering something up around the time of all of the UFO reports in the late 40s. The government loves to hide things, especially right after WWII and entering the Cold War. Hiding military secrets is consistently considered crucial.
We also had some great sandwiches and sweet potato fries at Big D’s. Limited veggie options, but we both enjoyed our meals. I had the black bean and potato veggie burger and he had the Cuban. Then we finished our drive to Santa Fe, where a friend I met in Wooster was kind enough to take us in for two nights.
Part XIII: Santa Fe, NM – Dad Time
We rolled into Santa Fe just after sunset – it was dark and beautiful. The country out there is always beautiful! And it always smells amazing. The scent of New Mexican scrub hill country is very special. First, it reminds me of Philmont, the Boy Scout ranch north east of Taos. The scent is a soft pine carried on the breeze, accented with wild flowers. I love it. What is even more fun, is that the scent changes as you go up in altitude.
I was reminded of this change when my dad and I went for a hike from the Aspen Vista picnic ground. It was a simple hike, but lovely. The hike took us from an aspen forest, through a mixed forest with aspens and pines, and then into an all pine forest. There were a several varieties of pine, but I would have needed a book to go about identifying. Wonderfully, after a bit of hiking, we found snow! We made a snowman, of course. He was glad to be brought into this world.
Before hiking, I took my practice at home – some good ol’ Ashtanga Primary series. It was a good practice! My lotus is starting to come back, and I’m excited for it. Maybe even more so than when I started getting it originally. I’ve been going slow, opening up my hips with pigeons and figure fours, and stretching my quads sitting in hero’s pose, and more. Attention and intention make life easier and brings progress.
After hiking, my dad and I went to downtown Santa Fe to look around a little and to have dinner with the family we’re staying with. Dinner was good – Mexican at La Choza (check it out if you’re in town!). Blue corn is used everywhere around there! Back at their house, we checked out a couple houses under construction in the neighborhood that my friend’s dad designed. They are gorgeous and spacious!
The following morning, we continued north towards Denver! We stopped for breakfast in Taos at Michael’s Bakery. Huevos Rancheros for my dad and Blue corn pancakes with pinions (pine nuts) for me were both great! More of a savory pancake by itself, a touch of maple syrup or honey made it perfect.
We made it the rest of the way to big, busy Denver in the late afternoon.
Part XIV: Denver, CO – Mountain Time
Arriving in Denver, we checked into our hotel. We walked my dad over to dinner at ChoLon – which was terrific. I mean, I didn’t have much because I was then on my way to AcroYoga that night, but the tastes I had were delicious and the tea I got was nice. A green tea with toasted brown rice – wild. The nuttiness of the brown rice tempered the gentle bitterness of the tea.
I walked down Larimer street (heavily mentioned in On the Road, which made it kind of fun) to The Kompound Training Center to meet up with another IG friend “J” who had agreed to join me for the Acro class! J and I walked around, getting to know each other a bit in person before class. Walking around Larimer is neat, there’s all kinds of stuff going on there.
This Acro class was great! Going to Acro classes has been a huge benefit for me, and now I rather want to do an AcroYoga teacher training, even more than before. I’ve really enjoyed seeing all of the different ways that people teach acro, as well as all of the different things that people teach. I’ve been feeling more confident as a base, flyer, and spotter, and growing more eager to teach it! Adding lots of primal movements and calibrations to warm up was a great idea used by the teachers, Jen and Austin of Denver Flight club. Thursday night, we did a lot of star work – flyer is inverted with their shoulders on the feet of the base. I hadn’t just drilled it repeatedly before, so it was helpful in all three positions. We also tried exiting it by falling backwards, as if we had lost balance, which was new and surprisingly not quite as scary as I thought it was going to be, at least with a spotter.
After class, J and I got dinner at Bar Fausto, just next door. Apparently, their cocktails are really good (not my thing), but the food was plenty tasty, too! Farro and arugula salad with all kinds of goodness and a mind numbingly perfect caprese bruschetta. Basil, yum.
The next morning, I got my dad on public transportation to work his way home, dropped the car off for a needed oil change (bet I’ll need another right around the time this road trip wraps up), and went to a class highly recommended by L from San Antonio. The recommendation was spot on. Jack Cuneo at Kindness Yoga lead a terrific class – a very pleasant balance of stretch and strengthen, without the frequent use of vinyasa that is common in other classes. I would also highly recommend him. At class, I met up with yet another IG friend, “M”. Great people everywhere. We took some pictures of inversions and some flight.
After class, I picked up my car and drove up to Boulder to check out the town and have lunch with J! After walking around the river and Pearl St., she brought me to Shine!, a place at the level of hipster you would probably expect from Boulder, for a delicious lunch. I got a veggie coconut curry and J got some awesome tacos, one of which was made with jackfruit! What?! It was tasty. Apparently, using young jackfruit doesn’t have much flavor, but cooked up it makes a decent meat substitute that takes on whatever flavors you give it.
After lunch, I took myself over to the Flatirons – massive rock slabs on the front range which are popular for hiking and climbing. They are stunning to look at! So big and beautiful. The pine forest strongly reminded me of certain zones in Philmont. Some parts of the Flatiron trail had lovely meadows with grassy and floral under growth and some parts were more like bouldering and scrambling. Always fun.
After my hike, I got myself back to Denver for another Acro class with Jen and Austin. This was a higher level and longer class than Thursdays. We built towards a very challenging washing machine (acro flow that brings the flyer and base back to where they started) that they had designed. We worked on bicep stand (flyer’s biceps on base’s feet), reverse star (star, but facing the other way), and croc (one of flyer’s biceps on one base’s foot, with the elbow in the flyer’s belly, balancing parallel to the ground) to prepare for what they want to call “CrocPot” – camel on base’s hands to reverse straddle throne, waterfall to reverse shoulder stand, incredible transition to reverse star, to croc, back to camel. Find them and look at the video they’ll probably post.
After class, I took myself back north past Boulder to crash at M’s house for the night. Always grateful for a place to sleep!
Saturday morning, I got up early and got myself down to Boulder for a Mysore class at The Yoga Workshop with Michal that was really great. She gave me some awesome assists and tips for pose work. The part that really spoke to me was observing how others in the room practice. I mean, I know I’m not supposed to, but I was aware. Especially, because a number of practitioners took poses and transitions outside of the traditional series. It reminds me that the practice is all about the breath and not the postures. The practice is just to help you be yourself more, it doesn’t matter how you get there.
After practice, I swung by the Boulder farmer’s market and got some delicious cherries, and then I headed west to see my aunt and uncle near Aspen!
Part XV: Basalt, CO – More Mountains
I got to my aunt and uncle’s house mid-afternoon and caught up with them, one of my cousins, and his girlfriend. There was quite a bit to catch up on – I haven’t seen them at all in a couple years, and I haven’t been to their house out here in almost a decade! Located in a valley in Rockies, it’s a beautiful location and a beautiful house.
Sunday morning, I went to a nearby studio for a slow or restorative flow yoga class. Different from what I’m used to, but definitely good. We spent a lot of time in pigeon pose and twists.
After class, we picked up the girlfriend and went down to Snowmass for a little hike to “Spiral Point”, a yin and yang platform made from polished granite up on a ridge. It has beautiful views, of course, and would be an amazing place for full on yoga photo and video shoot. We took a few pictures of inversions, hand balances, and acro poses. The girlfriend was kind/trusting enough to let me fly her, and she did great! None of my family trusted me enough. Haha! I can’t wait to share a lot more of these pics.
After hiking back down, we swung into Aspen for lunch at Pyramid Bistro, a “nutritarian” restaurant. So, the goal is to get the most micronutrients per calorie consumed. Which is perfect, and it was incredibly delicious.
Later, my uncle took my cousin and me skeet shooting. I hadn’t shot anything in a while, so it was pretty challenging at first, but I did manage to hit several clay pigeons. So, that was exciting! We flung them by hand with something like those tennis ball launchers they have for dogs. That was almost harder to get a hang of than shooting the discs. Didn’t even bruise my shoulder!
Tomorrow I continue west to camp in Utah and then further on to Southern California to meet a whole lot of IG yogis!