July 2020: Rafting, Riding, and Relaxing
As an American, have you ever wanted to take a month off like the European's do? I'm guessing you have! For the majority of my career, I've been an independent consultant, with unlimited vacation. Vacation as a consultant means you're not getting paid — so it's not exactly unlimited.
A few years ago, I doubled-down and went full-time. The company was called Stormpath and it quickly morphed into Okta. Okta has an unlimited vacation policy. I felt it was my duty to try to make my kick-ass full-time job as cool as my independent consulting gig. Therefore, I asked my boss to take July 2020 off. I requested this vacation in October 2019. He approved! Randall, you're the best!!
If you'd like to read about our April-June 2020 adventures, see 2019-2020 Ski Season, Quarantining for COVID, and a Graduation.
My month-off adventures started with a family raft trip through Desolation Canyon in Utah. We floated down the Green River with 20 members of our rafting family and had a wonderful adventure.
When we first got a raft, I read that Desolation Canyon is an excellent family adventure. We proved that to be true in September 2014 with a number of friends. On July 2nd, 2020, we embarked upon another spectacular rafting adventure with many of the same folks.
We spent five days on the Green River: motoring, floating, and loving the weather. The first day involved strapping the rafts together and firing up motors to get through the flat parts. I brought a boombox for my boat, so we listened to motoring a few times. Days 2-4 were fun with rapids, but it was pretty mellow for the most part.
We always dress up one night on the river. This trip's theme for costume night was disco!
Trish and I had a couple of goals for this trip. We brought two rafts, each with 2-3 coolers. I wanted to have ice on the last day. She wanted to have ice cold water on the last day. I'm happy to say we both accomplished our goals and I'm happy to reveal our secrets. I lined all three of my coolers with dry ice. Trish put a large water-to-ice bag in her cooler and forgot about it. It was solid ice when we started our trip, and ice-cold, delicious water when we ended. She discovered at the very end of our trip (post take-out) and it was the most delicious water ever. She shared it with everyone and we rejoiced with laughter and joy. It was soooo good and the timing was perfect!
July in Montana - 2020 Edition
We took out of the Green on July 7 and I headed for Montana in my Syncro Westy with a raft in tow. I like to name my vehicles. They're also known as Stout and Bam Bam. I had a new toy with me too, a Trek Rail 7 electric mountain bike. I bought it the night before we left Denver.
My eBike is one of my most satisfying and joyous purchases, ever. I cruised all the Swan Valley trails I grew up riding my BMX bike on — with a huge grin on my face. As I cruised up the hills on Rumble Creek road with the wind in my ears, I had tears of joy. I hooted and hollered like it was a powder day as I sailed through the trails along the Guest Ranch road and through Holland Lake campgrounds.
It was, and still is, a magical experience. ✨
Some call electric bikes cheating. I feel like a kid again and can't wait to go riding every day. Call it what you will, but I'm having a blast! I'll write up a full review on the bike in another blog post. Below are some photos from my riding adventures.
When I wasn't riding, I went rafting. My Dad, Daisy, and I spent a gorgeous day fishing on the Blackfoot river.
We did it again with my Mom and long-time family friends, Mike and Mai.
I had huckleberry pancakes for my birthday, watched the dogs frolic in the creek, and golfed in Bigfork with my awesome parents.
I took my buddy Owen and his family rafting near Glacier Park, on the middle fork of of the Flathead.
My Dad brewed an American Pale Ale beer for my birthday and treated me to a private tasting.
My sister, Kalin, and Mya visited for a week. Trish and the kids road-tripped up as well. We golfed, played on the rivers, and enjoyed the heck out of each other's company.
"What about the wildlife?", you might ask. We saw bears on the rivers of Utah and Montana. We saw bald eagles majestically flying along the river banks of the flathead. Spotting deer was a daily occurrence. Being surrounded by nature and its animals was magnificent.
I invited my Dad to join me for the road trip back to Colorado. He obliged and we drove through Yellowstone Park and by the Tetons in Wyoming.
A couple days later, there was a car show in our back yard and Hefe made an appearance. He didn't win anything because we forgot to register. That's OK, he looked really good!
This marks the third time I've taken a month off in my career. I've always ended up in Montana. I wrote about My Summer Vacation in Montana in 2009 and Matrimony in Montana in 2013. It's simply one of my favorite places on earth. I really appreciate that I can always go back home, ride the trails I did as a kid, and bask in the glow of my parent's retirement paradise.
Now I'm back in action, the kids are back in school, and live sports are on TV again. Life is pretty good and I'm pumped to hit all the front range mountain bike trails. I hope you've had a chance to relax and recharge this summer like I did. 😊