Before leaving on our trip we had the privilege of being interviewed by Kevin Wallevand with WDAY6 News in Fargo, ND. Kevin was immediately intrigued by our cause and adventure plans. When he learned that we would be going through Colorado, Kevin suggested stopping in Crested Butte, CO. We took the suggestion in stride, knowing that we had limited time and wouldn’t be able to stop at every location our friends and family recommended. Perhaps Kevin keyed in on this and pulled a trump card by donating to our cause with the request that we eat lunch at the Ginger Café in Crested Butte.
True to our word, we took a trip down to Crested Butte, leaving Silverthorne, CO on Monday morning. We pulled into town at about 2pm only to discover the Ginger Café was closed. Nate checked their website to see what their hours were and according to the all-knowing internet they should have been open. We were completely confounded and had no idea what we were going to do. It was decided that we would visit the local brewery and come up with a plan. Before we were even three sips into our ice cold, local beers Nate struck up a conversation with a local named Casey. As luck would have it, Casey worked at the Ginger Café, but he informed us that they were closed Mondays and Tuesdays which meant Project Wildness would not be eating there.
Nate quickly texted Kevin to break the news (… Get it? Breaking news…). If Kevin was disappointed he masked it well suggesting, “There is a great pizza joint downtown… I think it is called ‘Brick Oven’… Beer on me… So pumped you are there.” Still a bit disillusioned from our early experience with Crested Butte we decided to seek out a camping spot for the night with plans to grab some pizza on our way out of town the next day.
We had been informed of an official camp site called Oh Be Joyful just out of town. We followed the local directions from blacktop to gravel to straight rock roads and found the site nestled along the Slate River. After a quick tour of the grounds we agreed that it was a nice place, but a bit too crowded for our taste. Shane drove Julius further down the rock road twisting and turning through Aspen trees, dropping down into river valleys, and then climbing back into pine forests. We eventually came to a portion of the road that had been partially washed out by a raging snowmelt creek. Shane drove across the creek and then immediately pulled off the path into a mountain meadow. With snow-capped peaks to our right, a raging creek and waterfall to our left, and a cliff opening to a green valley straight ahead, it was clear we had found our campsite for the night.
The next morning we drove back into town with pizza on our mind. Brick Oven Pizza offered a large courtyard eating area with a cabana bar. The sun was shining so we elbowed up to the bar and studied the pizza menu. Our tender, Colleen, greeted us with a smile and helpful advice on what to drink and what to eat. After a lengthy deliberation we chose a pizza and at the last minute Nate suggested we get anchovies on it because he had always wanted to try them. Shane countered by suggesting only getting anchovies on half the pizza.
After about 20 minutes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle jokes (they only ate anchovy pizza) our pie arrived. They don’t make a strong enough beer to wash away the taste of anchovy, but if you are comfortable then you aren’t growing as a person. Let us tell you, we grew a lot eating that pizza.
During a discussion with other bar patrons we explained what Project Wildness was and some of our recent events. Colleen thought we were the coolest guys ever (no one tell her the truth please) and suggested we come behind the bar to get a picture. Right before the snapshot she put a Project Wildness sticker up in the bar, cementing us into the annals of Crested Butte. Nate was able to convince a reluctant Colleen to try a bite of anchovy pizza and her reaction was priceless. Before grabbing a glass of water the only words Colleen was able to spit out were, “It’s salty.”
To Kevin Wallevand… We cannot express how grateful we are of your support and the stories you have done on Project Wildness. We both grew up watching your special reports in a region where Kevin Wallevand is a household name and even in our late 20’s we can’t believe that something we have done is being covered by Kevin Wallevand. You donated money for us to experience your favorite corner of America and we are SO glad we made the trip. I know you requested that we get pizza and beer for ourselves, but we made a promise to give away 100% of the donations and even Kevin Wallevand can’t change that. We left your donation as a tip for Colleen because of her passion for pizza, beer, and Crested Butte. Next time you are in town order an anchovy pizza and say hello from Project Wildness.
Step outside your comfort zone and grow a little. #ProjectWildness