The Road Back Home

We left Colorado and spent the night in Salina KS again. This time we just stayed in our room and crashed early. After seeing the sculpture walk on the earlier overnight, what more did we have to do?! ūüôā

As we drove off the next morning, I saw a bunch of people on the overpass to the interstate. I told Rich to drive by instead of getting right on the highway. OMG, a bunch of local Trump supporters lined the bridge with their big flags and signs. I rolled down my window so I could take pictures and Rich warned me not to get into it with anyone because we could get stopped on the bridge by the traffic light ahead. I agreed that I did not want to get beaten up! I suppose I should not have been surprised that they just assumed we were ‘with them’ since we are old white people in a car with Texas plates. They kept smiling and laughing and waving at me as I took their photos. At some point I said, halfway under my breath, “Some fine Americans right there!” I don’t know if anyone heard me but they were giving me a thumbs up and cheering. We made another pass to get onto the highway so I videotaped the crowd. A car drove off with a large Trump flag on top and the guy in the truck behind him asked me, “Did you get him, did you get him?” I said yes and he cheered and pumped his fist in the air. Seriously! I have to say the whole thing was very disheartening.

More Colorado Adventures

We took a little drive to Nederland to look around. One of my friends had told me it was a less pretentious Boulder, kind of an old hippie town. The drive was really pretty but I told Rich if we lived there, it would probably get old fairly fast, especially in the winter. Nederland seemed rather nondescript, though there were some interesting houses. From what I can gather, the town is best known for the “Carousel of Happiness” and its “Frozen Dead Guy Days.” We stopped at the local grocery to get a cold drink and the carousel happened to be in the same parking lot. Cheapskates that we are, we didn’t want to pay to take a ride but I did walk around the building and got a pic through an open door. ūüôā We drove around town and that did not take long. Then we trekked through the mountains back to Boulder.

I had read about the Dushanbe Tea House in Boulder so we went to find it after we got back to town. I had the impression we could go inside and look around but when we arrived it was obvious that it was a restaurant and we didn’t want to go in and sit with the other customers. Really, this virus has cramped our style quite a bit! The teahouse has an interesting story and was donated by a sister city in Tajikistan, sent over in pieces and reassembled in Boulder. I wish I could have seen the inside! We then drove around Boulder, saw the university, the area called “The Hill,” and out to the Chautauqua and the Flatirons. Later we stopped in Trader Joe’s and got some packaged salads and snacks for dinner. It was a completely different kind of vacation since we usually LOVE to eat in restaurants and try local foods and local chefs’ places. But at least we got out of Texas for awhile. ūüôā

Road Tripping: Amarillo TX to Longmont CO

We are listening to the audio book of _Alexander Hamilton_ in the car. I had bought the book after Sarah and I saw “Hamilton” on Broadway but I quickly got bogged down and abandoned it. Rich picked it up and actually read it all the way through, then handed it back to me because I kept saying I was going to finish it. ¬†I started from the beginning because I really couldn’t remember what I had already read, and again, quickly got bogged down. It’s very interesting but also very detailed and I tend to be a bit of a skimmer when I’m reading so I had to concentrate more than I wanted to. LOL ¬†At some point we were talking about downloading an audio book for the trip and I asked him how he felt about doing the Hamilton book. ¬†He said he was okay with that because he felt like he had missed some things. ¬†It’s 36 hours long but we figured we could knock it out on this trip if we listened several hours a day. Well……we haven’t made it very far. ¬†We have listened anywhere from one hour to four hours but I have to admit it just makes me very sleepy and I find myself drifting off. ¬†It annoys me because I am very interested in the story but maybe it’s the reader’s voice combined with the motion of the car or something! ¬†Anyhow, besides the book, we are listening to all of our favorite music and a few podcasts to keep us occupied on the drive.

Rich had reconnected with an old friend whom we shall call D because he doesn’t really want to be identified online. They were friends in high school in New Jersey and then saw each other once in their 20s, when Rich also met his wife, G. ¬† Rich and D have been in touch off and on for the last many years while we were in Alaska and we tried to see them one other time when we drove through but it didn’t work out. ¬†This time we made plans to meet for dinner and had a great time chatting and catching up. ¬†They are both friendly and fun to converse with and of course there was lots of reminiscing. They were kind enough to buy our dinner and to gift us with two jars of homemade jam–what a nice gesture! ¬†After saying our goodbyes, we drove a little further to spend the night in Ft. Collins.

Road Tripping

Several years ago, we took a cruise from Honolulu to Sydney, with a sighting of a total eclipse of the sun from the ship. ¬†It was quite amazing! Also on that trip, we made friends with several couples we have kept in touch with since. ¬†About a year ago, one of those couples sent out a message saying they’d rented a house in Detroit Lake, Oregon for ¬†the total eclipse this August 21, and did anyone want to join in? ¬†Rich and I decided to jump on it, and another couple also signed on. ¬†We made plans to drive to Oregon with a few stops along the way and some other stops on a different route home.

We left Dallas yesterday, with our cat sitter in place and an extra key dropped off with Sarah and Miles.  We only went as far as Amarillo and spent the night with Bonnie, David and kids.  Bonnie fixed a nice dinner and we played games with the kids while David was out shooting some engagement photos.  Later, I laid with Emery for awhile because she always likes to chat in bed before she falls asleep (I love that!) and then we hung out with Bonnie and David till everyone was past tired and needed to get to bed!

We’d been to the Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo once before but Rich wanted to stop by today on our way out of town and take a few pix. ¬†There was a big rainstorm the night we stayed so the site was very wet and muddy today. In fact, I was not wearing appropriate shoes and I was pretty sure I was gonna fall on my behind while walking to the cars. Thankfully I didn’t!

Our cooler was full of water and beverages and we had a bag full of snacks in the car so we made good time with only a couple of potty stops and one gas fill-up. ¬†We hit some rain and wind in a few places but it wasn’t bad. ¬†We finally stopped in Cheyenne, WY for dinner; tried to go to a place called Wyoming Rib and Chop but it was packed and they said it would be a 30-40 minute wait. ¬†We didn’t really want to take that much time so we walked across the street to a Chinese place that was supposedly 4 stars but we’d give it 2.5. ¬†LOL ¬†The waiter seemed to be high or highly confused, not sure which. ¬†We ate and hit the road for Chugwater, WY, where we had a reservation for the night.

I usually don’t like really long days in the car but we listened to several podcasts and some music besides talking and reading news off the internet. ¬†Don’t even get me started on our embarrassment of a president and his equating of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and out and out racists with counter protesters and anti fascists. ¬†I just can’t stand it any ¬†more. ¬†I would love to write a coherent, thoughtful, passionate essay about how I feel but I just don’t have the words or the energy right now. ¬†So I will take the easy way out tonight because I am tired and we are traveling and I need more time to consider what to say and how to say it.

In the meantime, I decided before we left on vacation that I have been too negative lately and too much of a complainer so I was going to say YES to everything that came my way unless it was illegal or dangerous. ūüôā ¬†Rich has been kinda laughing at me every time I say “YES!” in a silly voice. ¬†But you know what, it really worked today and I did not get worked up about a long day in the car…usually I would be whining after a couple of hours. haha ¬†Okay, I did complain that the iced tea in the Chinese restaurant was horrible. ¬†Other than that, I’ve been good!

Another long day ahead of us tomorrow–we are trying to make it to Helena, MT.

Day Three: Ouray Hot Springs

Rich checked the weather beforehand and rainstorms were in the forecast for Ouray. ¬†Oh, no! ¬†The whole idea of stopping there was to visit the big hot springs swimming pool. ¬†Ally is a little worry-wart about storms¬†and one of our ongoing chuckles on the trip was the girl¬†constantly looking at the sky and asking “are those rain clouds?” ¬†When we took the kids¬†on a road trip two summers ago, we had a funny-to-us but scary-to-Ally situation where we were all in a hotel pool when it began raining, thundering and lightning. ¬†That child was up, out of the pool, ¬†and running into the hotel screaming faster than you can imagine. ¬†Bless her heart!

Rich racing a dog on the way to Ouray.  LOL

Some sights on the road.  Scenery was lovely and the road was scary at times with no guard rail, narrow passages, and steep curves.

 

Ally¬†kept asking if we thought it was going to rain and if we could still swim. ¬†Rich looked at the forecast again and it¬†appeared that¬†the rain was moved back a little later so we might be able to get in some swimming after all. ¬†Of course we had not eaten lunch so we stopped in town at Maggie’s Kitchen before finding our hotel just down the road from the hot springs pool.

13466208_10206657986984770_1051613272066072860_n

 

We got to the pool and it was overcast but not raining. ¬†Hurray! ¬†The kids were excited to see several different pools of water, plus a couple of slides and an obstacle course. Rich and I were content to soak in the super hot pool while the kids played and enjoyed themselves. ¬†Eventually it did begin to rain but the pool only closes if it starts lightning so we got to stay put. ¬†It rained pretty hard a couple of times but everyone kept playing, I kept soaking, and Rich got out of the rain for awhile. ¬†We adults were soon ready to leave but the kids were having so much fun that we stuck it out for several hours. ¬†Toward the end, we heard an announcement that “due to an unfortunate incident,” the large main pool would be closed for 30 minutes while they cleaned up. We surmised that someone had pooped in the pool. ¬†ūüôā ¬†It was funny to watch the lifeguards trying to find the offending turd and remove it–we’re not sure that they ever actually did. At one point we heard one say they should just let it float to the side and then get it. ¬†The kids were oblivious, moving on to other pools and other activities.

We decided to leave our camera and phones at the hotel so we wouldn’t get them wet or lose them; therefore we unfortunately have no photos of the hot springs pool. ¬†You can see it and read about it here, though.

Our hotel backed up to a very full, rushing river. ¬†The kids and I took a little walk alongside and I was a bit nervous one of them would fall in while they were throwing rocks into the water. I gave them a lecture about how they could be swept away and I wasn’t sure I could save them if they fell in. Isn’t traveling with Gigi fun??!! ¬†ūüôā ¬†They were pretty good about staying away from the edge but I was glad when we finished our walk.

It was Rich’s bday so we went out to dinner to celebrate. ¬†After dinner, we walked to a grocery store to get ice cream to take back to the room, but it had just closed! ¬†We couldn’t find another one so we decided we’d continue Rich’s birthday party the next day. ¬†Down for the night and on to Dinosaur National Monument next.