Two weeks ago, I talked about how the millennial love for city life made it almost impossible for me to meet people my own age on the road. At the time I wrote that post, I was myself gearing up to go to Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins. My family and friends thought it would be a nice change of scenery and that I might find more people bitten by the travel bug, even if they seemed to stick to urban life along the way. So, I came down out of the mountains in Gunnison and Salida, to spend some time in Colorado’s big cities.
1. Air Quality Sucks
The second I got to Denver, I was revisited by an affliction I had not suffered since being in Atlanta: allergies and dry eyes. Atlanta and Denver are in such different climates that I can only chalk this up to the lower air quality in city areas. I also felt ill overall and almost lost a day of work just sleeping. Even after I left Denver, whenever I returned to the city, I could count on getting 24 hours of allergy symptoms and itchy eyes in thanks. This happened even when I only drove through town on my way to somewhere else.
2. It’s Way Too Loud
I forgot how loud cities are until spending the week in the Denver suburbs. I had expected it to be quiet, but we were way too close to town for that. All night long, I would hear motorcycles, speeding cars, police sirens, ambulances, honking, and dogs barking. I had forgotten how insanely loud cities are after almost a year of spending my time in rural areas. Where I stayed on the edge of Fort Collins was much quieter, but still much louder than I’ve become used to in the countryside.
3. No Personal Space
City people are very used to having limited space. Many live in apartments instead of houses, and even the houses are jam-packed next to each other in neatly cluttered little rows. On a few occasions, I had to remind people to back up and give me my six feet of space, especially when they were not masked. Many of the areas I wanted to see were also overcrowded, so I kept my outings to a minimum.
4. Traffic Is Horrendous
When I visited Joshua Tree for the first time, I loved Google’s definition of traffic. There would be five other cars on the road and Google was warning me about potential traffic ahead. Speed limits also tend to be higher in rural areas, so you can generally count on a mile a minute for commute times. In the city, I sometimes found myself sitting in traffic for 30 minutes, just to drive 4 miles. I hated it.
Despite the downsides, there were perks to being in the cities for two weeks. I was able to dump my tanks, get groceries, collect my Amazon packages and get reliable service for work. I even got the chance to attend the Overland Expo in Fort Collins. And, a very nice guy helped me fix my roof rack without accepting so much as a penny from me. City life also provided a well-needed escape from life in Wyoming. But, overall, my two weeks back in the city just highlighted for me that I am not cut out for urban life.
Currently, I’m back in Wyoming to say my goodbyes. Next week, I’ll begin my long-awaited trek back home to Vegas and California. I am beside myself with excitement. I cannot wait to return to the land of science, where people wear masks and aren’t trying to sell me on taking horse medicine, instead of vaccines!