Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rocky Mountain, Hi!

That's my boy!

What a great weekend we had in the Denver area.

First, getting there was spectacular as we drove over the Rockies from Grand Junction. After days spent on desert floors, we were suddenly surrounded by lush, towering evergreen forests. And as we climbed (and climbed) it felt as if we would be able to reach out and touch the clouds.

We stopped in Vail for lunch. I got lucky. Very lucky.

LK discovering Vail has about the same emotional impact as Indiana Jones discovering the Temple of Doom. In this case, the sidewalks virtually squeaked "Twee! Twee!" as we walked, and I nervously watched LK eying the shops.

When I say I got very lucky, I can only add that the credit card sustained only very minimal damage. I think part of it is because we are already so close to the luggage limits that our options are pretty much reduced to offering to pay total strangers to take extra bags with them.

So, I suspect it was more that practical fact than shopping restraint that spared the budget. Nonetheless, it was mildly disconcerting (not to mention not very PC) when LK said, "You know, now that we live in Hobart I can justify having a mink coat."

Once in Denver, we had a great time catching up with Tom. He's living in Centennial on the southern edge, and we stayed in a motel in the Denver Tech Center, which is jut a few miles from his house. Dinner the first night turned out to be a typical (for us) first-night-in-a-new-place dinner. Which is to say, after a few drinks we decided to stay in the room and order in. In this case, it was a pizza. Not haute cuisine, but it went with a fun night.

The next day, Shirl and LK went to the pool in perfect weather while Tom and I drove to a microbrewery/sports bar so we could watch the Tampa Bay Bucs in their season opener. It was not meant to be, but the beer at the place heled ease the pain. (Actually, it was Tom's pain. My team is the Patriots, who creamed Miami the next night.)

That night Tom had us over for a barbecue. He's staying with his friends Cliff and Shanna until he starts his winter job working at a hotel in Vail (Brrrrr!). They were a great, fun and gracious couple. And somehow I discovered my old skill at getting virtual strangers to open up their wine cellar and pour some good stuff.

We were joined at the barbecue by three rottweilers and a toy terrier. Shanna is a professional dog show handler, and her babies were astonishingly well behaved and gentle. Not once did I get the sense that the big dogs might be studying me as a potential meal.

Monday was heading-out day as we drove to Taos. Tom drove as far as Colorado Springs - about an hour south - to take us to Garden of the Gods Park. It was yet one more incredibly beautiful place that we have seen in our wanderings. Interesting rock formations, beautiful evergreens, Pike's Peak in the distance. I couldn't help but wonder how rocks could be shaped in so many ways and still end up beautiful.

A great side light of the park - it is open for certified rock climbers, and we saw a pair of them atop a scarily steep rock. Pix of them and the Garden of the Gods at our site,

Taos that night and we're in Santa Fe now. New Mexico reports in the next post.

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