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November 28th 2011
Published: December 11th 2011
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Traffic at 7:05am along Santa Fe is atrocious unless you are using the carpool lane. Oh yea, carpool for those of you without a clue means 2 or more people in a car unless you like $500 fines? Driving along we made record time to Union Station only to find out Amtrak has moved to 21st and Wewatta streets. Close enough. But close enough to be off when you are trying to catch a train. This is NOT Korea nor Japan. Heck. If I was there, I'd have missed my train. Twice.

Dropped off at the office. Checked in. Ticketed. Prepared to climb on board car 512. Jumpin on board the train as its whistle fired up. I found an empty set of seats. Stuffing in my ticket and sitting down. Unbelievable. Space. Leg rests. Power outlets. Comfortably big captain chairs. Smiling I stretched out and fell asleep. Only to be rattled awake ten minutes later as the "Ski Train" lurched forward on the rails. Happy to be on the train instead of driving in a car, I watched out the window as the north side of Denver drifted by. Then Arvada and Westminister until we reached the outskirts of Boulder. Climbing up into 29 tunnels until we reached Moffat Tunnel. Escaping through thie 6.5 mile long tunnel we arrived at the base of Winter Park, Colorado. Winding down into the town of Fraser. Pulling to a halt the train stopped. Letting off three passengers and allowing everyone a brief outside stretch and a breath of fresh air.

Back on the train we wound, twisted, and passed through Granby, Kremling and into Eagle until reaching Glenwood Springs. Again stopping briefly for a bit of fresh air. Back on board we reached Grand Junction just after 4:00pm. We'd been on the rails for just over 8-hours. Smiling. I grabbed my bag ready to search for a stranger and a sign stating "Crabb." However to my surprise, my elder brother stood on the platform. A gigantic smile across his face. "Hey," I said, "what are you doing here?" "Thought you might need a beer?" was his only reply. And with that we headed for the pub.

Talking about my 15-months in South Korea and the culture shock I was having we devised a plan for the next two days. Starting with a drink at the pub tonight then rib-eye steaks for dinner. Laughing I forgot to explain I didn't really consume meat, much. But happy to have the option since I ate a little bit of Bulgogi (Korean BBQ) while in Seoul. Not thinking about size until he tossed three very large steaks on the grill at his home. Smiling inwardly I thought, he'll have lunch for tomorrow since I'll probably eat about 1/3rd of that steak.

In the morning I took his golden retriever, Bentley for a walk around the small town of Fruita. Wandering around in the crisp cool morning, I thought of the bitter cold we had left in Seoul only 5-days ago. Walking the dog was both fun and annoying since he was on a 3-foot chain leash. Obviously the wrong leash for this hyper-active dog. But we made it through our half hour walk. Returning to the house for breakfast only to be taken to a small "mom & pop" breakfast place in the downtown. Delicious and full of food we made our way to the local golf course for a round of 18-holes. Our day went by smoothly as the weather broke into a beautiful crisp afternoon. Crushing golf balls and putting gigantic 100-foot puts we continued through the course loosing a ball in the scrub only to come out with 5-different golf balls. A couple of barley pops along the way held us over until we were finished with the round. Neither of us held a chance at a PGA trophy but it was a great way to spend the day.

For the next two nights, Brian decided to BBQ chicken and pork chops. Knowing I couldn't hang with this large consumption of meat I asked to go to the store. Scoring portabello mushroom caps, red peppers, red onion, aspargus, and tomatoes. On the grill I stuffed the mushroom caps with diced vegetables topped with cheese. On Wednesday, we did chores around the house then broke out for lunch at Nick and Willy's pizza. After lunch we went to Sportsmans Warehouse then Cabela's to look at rifles, handguns and outdoors equipment. As I wondered through row after row of ammunition my only thought was "this is America" and I'm happy to live in Canada. Sure we have hunting rifles. But not 357 magnums, 38 colts, 22 rugers and 9mm berettas inside display cabinets. Smiling I made my way into the fly-fishing
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gear. Reading book covers and fondling reels.

The following morning I was dropped off at Grand Junction train station at 7:25am eventhough my train didn't depart until 10:45am. Smiling, I wondered around downtown Grand Junction in search of breakfast. Eventually, I found a 1950's diner with great prices. Stopping inside. I ate an awesome vegetable omlette and drank a couple cups of coffee. Followed by a session of photographs in the downtown morning. Only to learn by the time I reached the train station again, that the train was delayed by an hour. In time we departed Grand Junction just after noon. Smiling, I thought to myself... I'm definiely not making my party tonight and I hope no one else shows up, too.


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