Experience your surroundings, wherever you are

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Dan Gage
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
What's the first thing you usually hear from other Airmen when arriving at Warren?

I was greeted with a recurring statement: "There's nothing to do around here."

This was usually followed by a question: "Are you old enough to drink?"

When I came into the Air Force I was a little older than many new Airmen, and when I admitted to being on the back nine of my twenties, I was immediately given a list of the best bars to go to followed by the usual statement: "If you really want to have a good time though, you need to go to Fort Collins, Colo."

Every time I hear that, it bothers me. It did then, and it does now.

The reason the above conversation always bothers me is not that I have a problem with drinking - I don't drink anymore but at the time I did occasionally - I just thought it was sad how people would drive all the way to Fort Collins to drink when there is so much to do outside of the bars.

I put F. E. Warren on my dream sheet one afternoon in basic training. I did so, not really knowing anything much about it except it is reasonably close to the Rocky Mountains.

I love to be outside, and it seems like I'm always finding new things I enjoy outdoors, but if I had to decide, I'd say mountain biking is one of my favorites.

I pulled into Cheyenne with a bike on my car and went straight to the local bike shop to ask where the best trails were. They pointed me to Curt Gowdy State Park, west of town on Happy Jack Road, and ever since then I've been making the trip out to ride whenever I can.

I've met a lot of interesting people since I pulled into town almost two years ago. Some of them I've met on the trails, some whose names I've forgotten since, others I've become very good friends with.

Most importantly, I met my wife, Kara, while stationed here. We've explored the Front Range as much as possible while working active duty, and she's made me lose my breath trying to keep up with her on a bike more than I care to admit. We've seen and experienced a lot of what the outdoors of Wyoming has to offer, and plan to do much more.

One of my favorite things about mountain biking is every ride is different, and no matter where you are there is probably a trail close by. It's something you can take with you anywhere and you'll get a new experience each time you ride.

One of my favorite things about this area is the fact that it's like nowhere else I've been. You can experience things here that cannot be found anywhere else. Also, things like hiking, biking, rafting and fishing are a whole different experience here than anywhere else.

Going back to the conversation which has always bothered me - and getting to my point - don't get trapped by the thought that there's nothing to do here.

Instead of driving to Fort Collins or Denver to go to the clubs, go to a park sometime. It's now free for active duty to get into National Parks, and Outdoor Recreation offers rentals on almost anything you could need to get outside and have some fun.

It costs about the same as one drink to rent a mountain bike from Outdoor Recreation for the day, it's money well spent.

So grab some friends and hit the trails, or go fishing, camping, or all three. Anything really, it's all good.

And if you want to, you can come out and join me while I try to keep up with Kara.