The bus repairs put a huge dent in my budget, but I do plan on getting a job while in New Orleans. After the bus was repaired, I said goodbye to Claire and thanks for everything and headed south. Once on the road I got about an hour away from Denver and the bus broke down again. I was stuck on the side of the highway. The shop manager said this repair was an easy one and the cost would be covered by the shop. None the less I had to get back an hour north to the shop in Denver. My mechanic was so kind, he drove down and got the bus back to the shop with me and let me stay in his house that night. He repaired the bus in the morning. While I was waiting, he and his wife bought me dinner and breakfast, they showed unconditional kindness to me. Once all was fixed, I hit the road again to get some much needed family time. My cousin, his wife and their kids (2 year old and 5 year old boys) live in Colorado Springs. I had a fantastic time playing with the kids, and a having my family show me around Colorado Springs. We went to Garden of the Gods and Cave of the Winds. When I left Colorado Springs I was alone again, and had a gorgeous drive south through all the orange and yellow trees. I visited the largest Sand Dunes of North America, and camped in small towns and in the middle of what seemed like nowhere, all the way down to New Mexico. 

 I stayed with Claire on a farm outside of Denver and got to experience a more rural area and settle into a slower speed. On the farm I helped harvest veggies and learned quite a bit. I got to do my first corn maze with Claire and her daughter, which took us 40 minutes and lots of debating. I also took a trip into Denver, visiting an old friend downtown, and exploring on my own. I befriended a kind couple at a beer festival with an impressive full sized bus they were living and traveling in, parked in the middle of downtown Denver! Meeting others who travel in a school bus was fun and exciting.

Crossing into Colorado was exciting and stressful. The bus transmission was definitely on it's way to the transmission graveyard. I had contacted with a wonderful woman named Claire through to stay with her for free in exchange for working 25 hours a week. I had previously used this site before, and did a "work away" exchange in Scotland. Claire is a world champion Tibetan Terrier breeder, and I helped her with her dogs and all the adorable new born puppies. While the bus was in the shop (unfortunately getting a whole new transmission), Claire kindly lent me her car, cooked for me, and told awesome stories about her work as an archeologist in Israel. 

Another area of Colorado I enjoyed was the city of Boulder. I went hiking up the Arches trail and some other hikes around the Flatirons. Met a friend around my age named Quinn at the Laughing Goat, while he was working. He generously offered to show me around beautiful Boulder and even took me to a house party. Quinn was so refreshing, someone I could get into deep conversations with about life, art and what it really means to be happy. 


Alex Oetzell