Are we best friends now? Recharged after a journey into the heart of Mustache Country

Steve and Carl

Illustrator’s note: I’m not a caricature artist. Big apologies to Steve (ThinkSaveRetire) and Carl (Mr. 1500) and to the guy playing cornhole in the back.

I suppose it was fitting to meet the legendary Mr. 1500 at the Grossen Bart Brewery in Longmont, where they name all their brews after facial hair and sell beard oil and sweet camo snap-back trucker hats. Beards are popular in Colorado. So are mustaches.

A mere hours earlier I was peeping creepily into the windows of the world-wide headquarters of Mr. Money Mustache (big apologies to whoever was doing kettlebell calisthenics in the back-yard who noticed me at the time). Still an outsider looking in.

Now, I was shooting the shit at Grossen Bart Brewery with two of the best FI bloggers in the biz who actually have the key code to Mustache’s lair! (Did I mention Steve from ThinkSaveRetire was there too?!)

I had the Half Beard Helles (fitting, since my beard comes in super patchy and stops growing at super creepy). Mr. 1500 (otherwise known as Carl to his best friends ← that’s me!) I think had the Strip-Teaser Pale Ale (not sure what that says about him). Steve put down a sample flight of five, including the Bearded Clam Oyster Stout before settling on Dirty Sanchez Mexican Lager to beat the heat. That’s how he rolls. My wife had water. She doesn’t like beer. She’s a trooper.

We were thirsty. I reflected on the long journey to the heart of Mustache Country. Weeks earlier, my wife and I yolked up the oxen, covered the wagon, caged the hens, loaded the guns and kissed our son goodbye as we hit the trail from Minnehaha Falls for the harrowing trip over the Great Plains to the base of the Rocky Mountains… Nope. we’re not that cool. I tagged along on my wife’s business trip. We flew non-stop on Delta. We rented a Kia.

Before the trip, I had reached out to Mr. 1500 via email. I called him Mr. 1500 because we weren’t yet best friends. I was making a shameless plug for my new app, Half Hour Hank ¡¡¡NOW available on The App Store for iOS. Download it NOW!!!, and I happened to mention at the end that I’d be in the Denver area in a few days.

True to form of almost every blogger and podcaster I’ve interacted with in the financial independence community, Mr. 1500 responded almost right away and offered to meet up. He signed his message, “Carl”. We’re best friends now. I’m not sure if I mentioned that.

We laughed. We cried. We talked about blogging, our corporate lives past, present and future, Universal Basic Income and the rise of robots, King of the Hill and how anything by Mike Judge is comedy gold.  Steve gave me permission to curse in my blog (sorry, mom). Carl even blurted the secret code to the universe… “small rectangle”. Shit! I’m not sure if I was supposed to say anything.

Small Rectangle

I even got to show them my app in person. As coders themselves, I think they were less than impressed by my simple to-do list app — I mean, they were blown away by all the cool features and user-friendly interface of this every-day productivity tool… Half Hour Hank ¡¡¡NOW available on The App Store for iOS. Download it NOW!!! — Steve said Hank looks like a Hank (I wonder if I can use that as an endorsement). I’ve got cool updates planned, guys!

My wife was in meetings a lot while we were in Colorado and I was on my own in coffee shops. Otherwise we drove around a lot, chowed down on some great burgers, and ate some old-timey ice-cream.

We were only able to get into the mountains for a short time for some sight-seeing at Boulder (and the BBQ food truck guy at Grossen Bart said that didn’t really count). I don’t know. It was still beautiful, even if we didn’t make it into the “real” mountains.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We didn’t have a chance to go hiking. Didn’t have pot-infused ice-cream or fudge or whatever they’re putting it in nowadays. Some may say we didn’t get the full Colorado experience. But the two hours spent chatting up Steve and Carl over micro-brews in the heart of Mustache Country put this over the top as the best Colorado trip ever! I mean, I’ll probably have to reel that back a little, but easily top 2 of 3.

Thanks to Steve and Carl, this short trip to Colorado completely recharged my batteries for blogging. It completely validated the course we’re taking on our own journey to FI. And I can’t wait to meet up with my new best friends again very soon!

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