Posted on October 30, 2012

I was 19 in the summer of '75 with no responsibilities but to get back to school in the fall, and a 30-day "See America" Greyhound ticket. I ran into two Japanese guys my age in Boulder, and off we went to Estes Park. We rented 10-speed bikes and rode up to the hostel. To this day, I believe that was my "moment." That moment of freedom and youth and exhilaration, as we struggled up Dry Gulch Road.. or was it Devil's Gulch Road, and then flew like rockets down hill.

Lou was sitting outside by the side of the Lodge, signing people up when we got there. He and I talked a bit over the ten days I stayed there. He said he liked talking to me, because most of the almost no black guys who came there were so hip (my word) he couldn't really understand what they were saying.

I loved sitting in that big room with the picture window, listening to people crack jokes and tell stories. I returned there for a night again in 1984, and Lou was still going strong. He was a great guy. And he had the coolest WWII surplus jeep!

I still stay in touch with one of my Japanese roommates from the hostel, and yep, we still talk about Lou. He was big, so we nicknamed him "Big Thompson" because of some river or something around there.

- Vernon Murray

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