As of this year — 2013 — it is legal to purchase marijuana in Colorado. All of Texas (where I am as I write this… still smarting from California tax increases) are shaking their collective heads while resting their hands on their hidden and legal 9mm Glock while grabbing another Shiner Bock at Inwood Tavern.

Yes, yes,  there is the fine print that seems pretty draconian to me including strict allowance to smoke your newly bought Baby Bhang while driving only as long as your THC nanogram count is below 5.  This is the same state, mind you, that outlaws the purchase of beer or automobiles on the Lord’s day.

With a quizzical look and the map in front of us, we decide to explore this Lewis Carroll rabbit hole.  We travel by Spirit Airlines to Boulder Colorado.  That is after upon check-in I paid for actual real seat assignments — $50 per seat — and for carry-on bags, yes, carry-on’s — another $35 per bag.

We go to discuss the next disruptive paradigm shift in disk storage since the 3 1/2 inch floppy drive and to get to know this Old Wild West town where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains — the same range that formed a seemingly impenetrable ice wall for early explorers and fortune hunters before us.

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We plan to stay at the house of my dear friend, early pioneer of storage technology, and family member, and knock on their front door late that night after a much delayed flight and foul weather.  At least we thought we did but I had an old address in my iPhone and after an embarrassing pause and blank stare, suitcase in hand, we declined the offer of wine and cheese and sheepishly made our way back to the car and sat in this stranger’s driveway looking at google maps.

Boulder Valley was the first home of the Arapaho when a small mining town was formed near the entrance of Boulder Canyon by gold miners in 1858. The classic almost storybook western town continued to grow with gold and silver mining a rich history.

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Tom Horn is buried here in Boulder.  You know… THE Tom Horn.  Steve McQueen played him.

He was a scout for the U.S. Calvary during the Apache Wars and helped capture Geronimo. (That is probably as far as Steve got in the script before accepting.) He killed his first man in a duel — a second lieutenant in the Mexican Army.  Then he became active in the war between cattlemen and sheepmen.  He was hired by the Pinkerton Detective agency in 1889 and handled investigations around Boulder and the Rockies.

It is easy to picture him, calm after tracking his prey, blade of grass in his mouth, Winchester in his hand, looking at Peg-Leg Watson and “Red” after they robbed The Denver and Rio Grand Western Railroad.

“Watson was considered by everyone in Colorado as a very desperate character.  I had no trouble with him.”

He became a hired gun for the ranchers but also did some law work.  He even helped chase down Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch gang.  But at the sunset of the Wild West he was tried for murder (a new concept) when the son of a sheep herder was shot down without witnesses.  Even today they say he was framed.  He ended up having the distinction as the first of the few people in the “Wild West” that was hanged by the Julian Gallows, an automated process that took 30 minutes to open the trap door and another 10 minutes to suffocate.

They ended up scuttling that process as it didn’t make for a good spectator event.

After great from-scratch margaritas provided by our hosts the night before we make for Pearl Street.  This has become THE place to hang out in Boulder.  There are restaurants, shops, street entertainment, bikes (everyone in Boulder rides a bike), mustaches (everyone in Boulder has a cool handlebar mustache or beard), Birkenstocks (everyone in Boulder wears some kind of suede flip-flop things — seriously I did not see one female in a shoe… although after careful analysis legs do seem to be shaven), and headlamps (yes yes… for some reason everyone in Boulder wears a headlamp.)

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We go to The Bitter Bar.  This place is known for Prohibition era drinks.  I have a Vieux Carre made with Rye Whisky, Cognac, Italian Vermouth, Benedictine, Angostura Bitters and Peychaud’s Bitters.  I know… don’t light a match… But it was actually very good.  My travel companion has the Deconstructed Whisky Ginger made of Michael Collins Irish whiskey and ice cubes made of finer-beer.  This is a must-go place.

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We then go to Salt known as THE mixologist’s dream house. Like Bitters this place was awesome and worth its reputation.  The kitchen was beautiful and the food looked fantastic.  Salt feels a little more alive with a lot of beautiful people sitting at the tables ordering great cocktails and wonderful food.

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Salt has a menu where you pick your spirit, then your flavor combination for example pear and rosemary and then your style, for example a sour or a fizz.  I ordered the gin with black currant with aperitif and bitters.  It was very good.

Now afternoon and the dust from our trail ridin’ all but gone we take some time and walk boutique to boutique at interesting clothes, music, hats, and other must-haves.  There was also a samba drum band, of course, that earned a large crowd of spectators.

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It was time for dinner and we went to Amu.  This is a very unique place.  Very very Japan Japanese.  There are 48 sakes and a large menu.  You must take off you shoes and sit inside a very small restaurant with the same ambiance as most high end restaurants in Japan — none.

The menu is complex and took a little help to understand.  We had oysters, Maguro Yukke sashimi, grilled duck, pork belly, and chilled Otokoyama sake.

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The food was absolutely top notch (that’s my top shelf sake-induced smile there above).  I highly recommend this place.  The service impeccable.  Bring socks though if your feet get cold or you don’t want to use the common slip-ons when using the bathroom.

We are in a good mood and we decide to walk back to the car.  Which just so happens was right in front of Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub.  So… ah… why not?   We went in and were happy to find that the Bluegrass Delta Force was playing.  These guys are great.  We stood listening about women that hurt their men and the special love of a good whisky while drinking some irish draught beer.

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Finally… yes… finally… we decided we took the sites and sounds Pearl Street had to offer.  Bloated and quite relaxed it was time to go home and meet our friends (they had a wedding to attend and should be back.)

Tomorrow we look to find a new pass connecting the Great Plains of the East to the West Coast through the Rocky Mountains on foot.  We will need some sleep.

Take care,

Dain