Thursday, September 05, 2013

Cherney Journey 2013: Denver Omelette

Blogger's note: The following events occurred two weeks prior to the Colorado flooding. My heart goes out to you guys.

A whirlwind of activity carried us through the rest of Cherney Journey 2013.It was a twister, Auntie Em!

Week numbero dos of the Colorado Adventure began with a road trip to the Rocky Mountain National Forest in a RAV-4 with four adults, one toddler and a neurotic New York transplanted pooch named Millie. Absolutely breathtaking. Absolutely excruciating by journey's end, six hours later . I felt like one big cramp. The journey up was fascinating since we were able to get a taste of Colorado proper, traveling through Boulder and smaller towns along the way, Estes Park, home of the Chicken Fried Latte, being a highlight.

 The next day, we followed this up with a morning drive-only 10 minutes away-to the   Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge, the former site of a World War II chemical weapons facility. In the 1980s,  the government finally decided to hold the mustard gas and clean this area up. Soon bald eagles began to roost there, giving Fish and Wildlife the go-ahead to begin monitoring wildlife in the area. The environmental scrubbing of the grounds lasted until 2010 and plans were made to safely open this to the public. Deer, coyote, eagles, owls and prairie dogs currently occupy the site. On our visit, we were greeted by a herd of bison crossing the road before us. As we drove about the refuge with my son-in-law at the wheel in search of wild critters, I couldn't help but recall pleasant memories of our safari back in South Africa's Kruger Park. It certainly helped that the bloody South African my daughter married made such an excellent guide.

Laurie and I took a chance on my navigational skills to venture forth all by our lonesomes for the Garden of the Gods park in Colorado Springs. This place was phenomenal, some of the most incredible rock formations imaginable in one area. These almost other-wordly landscapes took my bleedin' breath away, they did. Remarkably, the Garden of the Gods and the Arsenal Refuge were free to the public. That's pretty damn impressive in this post-sequester era in which we live.

The Denver proper experience involved some human-made beauty by way of the Denver Art Museum (aka the DAM), a brilliant downtown facility. We were fortunate enough to catch the Nick Cave show entitled Sojourn, mainly because he is one of my favorite musicians and I wanted to see what sort of work he also created. Silly me. This was Nick Cave the artist-a different bloke altogether, from Chicago and not Australia, but also African-American. Color me ignorant. However, what a brilliant show, filled with these bizarre, intricately designed and sewn "soundsuits" as he calls them and many a found object incorporated in his sculptures. Cave's show coincided with DAM's main attraction called Spun: Adventures in Textiles.

But of all the Denver/Colorado sites, one particularly moved me for totally personal reasons. My step-daughter Lindsay gave us a personal tour her law offices on Sunday. Naturally, the place was vacant, so we had access to move around pretty freely on the 20-something floors of this downtown office building. The view out her own office window of Denver and the surrounding area was a panoramic wonder. The whole time, the theme from DYNASTY ran through my head because I am that kind of twit. However,  I suddenly became overwhelmed by it all. My throat closed and I immediately choked up. I found myself awash with such pride for my daughter and everything she's been able to accomplish in her life. Lindsay has grown into this remarkable woman and such an incredible human being of the highest order. She's a knockout in more ways than way.

The rest of the week involved a stop here, a stop there but nothing of much note except for all the weed shops hither and yon with names like Green Health, Herbal Daze and Garden of the Gods. Not the same one I visited. I went to see rocks, not buds. Coming from the restrictive state of Oregon, I was taken aback by the abundance of  liquor stores as well, my favorites being Bubbles Liquor Barn and the store that advertised that "We don't sell to teens!"

All the activity in this second week made me appreciate Stapleton more, probably because now we were able to move about freely and safely return to home base. We continued to eat, drink and be merry amidst the odd weather conditions in this part of the country. Something called a microburst blew through the neighborhood one early evening. From what I can gather, a microburst is a downdraft in a thunderstorm that can bring winds up to 150 miles per hour. I was standing in the backyard blowing bubbles with Aefa when the wind suddenly took care of the job for me, so we wisely went inside, much to Aefa's chagrin since this ruined bubble time. A big gust swooshed through even harder after that in one blast, then headed down the road to cause some real damage. The next night, a lightning storm over Boulder held my attention for at least 45 minutes, being the best fireworks show I ever experienced.

Soon it time to depart the Mile High City and our little family. Leaving the kids was one thing, but trying to extract ourselves away from our granddaughter was downright painful. The time we spent with her was absolute golden. Each day since we left we find that we can recap almost every single moment of it and make it seem like the very first time, comforting us as we wait until the next time.

Memories made. Memories cherished.

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