Colorado Sunny in the Sky

I’m actually writing this a week and a half after the fact (7/13), but I’ll do my best to make it interesting.  This should have had a post per day really because quite a bit happened.  But here-it-goes…

Friday (7/1)
We got up early (~6am) and took a Southwest Boeing 737 to Denver. The flight was pretty uneventful aside from the take off and landing which I always enjoy. I listened to about 110 minutes of The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris while Caitlin and Lorelai slept. The Denver airport was a new experience. They have trams to get from the gates to the baggage claim where we had to go to a separate claim for our car seat; no sign or anything. We waited about fifteen minutes before someone came along to tell us. We waited about an hour for Jessi and Michael to pick us up in their Subi (Subaru Legacy); during the wait Lore danced, ran around, asked loads of questions, chased flies, and acting the way you’d expect a three year old to act after a flight that lasted multiple hours.

Aside from having to sit longer the drive from Denver to Buena Vista was nice. We chatted about various things that I don’t really remember; catching up and me asking about the surrounding landscape mostly I think. It was hard not to notice the number of gun shops and liquor stores.  At one point during the trip I read something that said, “The second amendment is what makes the others possible.”  True statement.  I slept and Lore had fun randomly waking me with pens and other methods that amused her. We stopped by an old western looking hotel in Fairplay/South Park City for lunch, I had a BLT before making it to our temporary lodging.  They had lots of Kenny and the western-type merchant district; besides that it didn’t seem very South Park-esk… perhaps if they imported more snow and a talking towel.

After passing it a few times we found our lodging place tucked away off the road leading to BV.  It’s a decently sized yellow house with a deck wrapping around the second story.  There were several entry ways on the deck partitioned off a couple bedrooms at a time so separate groups could inhabit and depart individually.  The down stairs had a couple more rooms off of the communal kitchen area.  One of those was the room Lore, Caitlin, and I shared.  Outside the communal kitchen there was a barbeque, a patio table & chairs, and about 5m² of synthetic turf to goof around on without dealing with the dusty desert.  Beyond the turf was a rock planter bed, a bit of dirt with a ants going about their anty business and a steep hill laden with shrubs and woody plants going down to the fast flowing Arkansas River.  The Hartkop parents, Tom and Mickey, were already there waiting for us; they inhabited the other room off of the kitchen.  Lindsay and David came an hour or so later.  We mostly played with the “dragonballs” Jessi got for Lore in between vegging with a drink in our hand and getting various elements of cooking equipment to work.  The igniter on the propane barbeque didn’t work so David had to get under the burners to light it manually and the oven flipped a breaker which is behind a locked door.  It also didn’t take Caitlin long to lose one of the dragonballs to the river.  Delicious ribs, spaghetti, salad and fruit were prepared by Mickey and helping hands.  Lots of talking happened before heading to bed.

Saturday (7/2)
I got up with the sun, showered and went outside to avoid waking anyone else.  I spotted two antlered deer which were already running from me.  Wandering around I saw an old military convoy truck, cacti, weird dirt mounds that I presumed to be evidence of moles, and a little rabbit.  It was pretty spectacular to see the rolling and rocky mountains raising up in a 360° display.  Five or six swallows were darting up and down the hill leading to the water catching bugs.  I was sitting and watching them on a large rock bisecting the planter-bed when Tom let Lorelai outside to find me.  After getting her dressed I took her on the meandering route I took over the surrounding desert-ish field of sparse, sharp little plants.  Then we ate a bit and played with balls and couch pillows as people started waking up and coming down for the Solar Roast coffee that Tom put on.

People went various places while Caitlin, Jessi, Lore, and I went in search of a park for Lorelai to play in.  We got a tour of the little town before settling for a tree-shaded little play structure and swings.  Taking a path across a water channel we got to play on some boulders too.  Before too long we met up with Michael, Tom, and Mickey of which Michael was in search of a deli that sold an egg sandwich with croissant as bread.  No such sandwich was found so after Tom and Mickey went to meet on of Tom’s old college buddy’s the rest of us went to a steak house and had various foods other than steak.  Jessi, Michael, and I tried an amber beer from Colorado’s Dillon Dam Brewery… the dam beer was tasty and good for a couple chuckles.

After lunch the Subi took Lorelai and I back to the lodge for a nap.  People went to the store or something at some point.  David had his Canon EOS out snapping photos and eventually ended up showing Lorelai how to take pictures with it.  Some time after waking and playing with the balls some more I think guitars were brought out.  I got to act like a guitarist, even though I was mainly playing bass lines and power chords, as Michael led the way with what chords he knew and Tom followed along on his banjo; yeah, dad would fit right in with this back porch melody tinkering.  Eventually Lindsay and Mickey’s food concoctions came out for us to eat.  Chicken, corn on the cob, a green salad, a noodle-ish salad with artichoke hearts and (I think) a good amount of vinegar.  If it was vinegar that’s probably why I had a couple helpings.

After dinner I got to help finish off Tom’s Jagerita concoction, Jagermeister with margarita mix blended with ice, that got left in the freezer from the night before.  After that was some fruity pink thing with tequila. We did various things vegging and talking.  Caitlin showed Tom Weird Al’s I Perform This Way video and a couple others while Lindsay was off on the planter bisecting boulder braiding Lorelai’s hair.  David was wandering around with his camera and I think Michael was in Tom’s room softly playing on a guitar.  Jessi and Mickey must have been cleaning up because I recall them coming in and out here and there.  I also impressed Lorelai with how high I could through the dragonballs and catch them.  Eventually the eight and a half of us eneded up in the 8 person hot tub chatting about life, business, and acting silly until it was time to head to bed.

At some point in there I was watching an ant carry a crusty worm for a while when David came along and we talked about various nerdy things like the roaster he’s designing and some other stuff I don’t remember.

Sunday (7/3)
The next day Michael, Jessi, Caitlin, Lore, and I headed to Pueblo not too long before noon.  The mountains were amazing as the route we took (HW285-50) went along the river.  More sleeping and being awoken by Lore.  We took the spine of a mountain along Skylinedrive which looked over HW50 on one side, Cañon City on the other, and had a great view over miles of land stretching to peaks of the Rocky’s.  Stopped for lunch at Pizza Madness in Cañon City before later arriving in Pueblo, dropping our things off and chilling for a bit before going to a 4th of July party with friends of Jessi and Michael’s.  We were shown the layout of their home and their gardened yard area.  Very nice place you have here.

That party started outside with tables, lawn chairs, and potluck type foods laid out.  I met the hosts Cain(?I think) and Jenny. There were others there but I don’t really remember their names.  While hanging out winds started picking up and throwing stuff everywhere so we all moved inside.  Caitlin and Jessi went to the video store while everyone was in turmoil.  Michael, Cain, and I sat in the kitchen and chatted about stuff.  Lore was going between the guy and girls groups.  I think the girl group had some science tarot cards or something; I’m not sure what that was about because I only glanced that way to check on how Lore was doing while paying attention to Cain and Michael’s conversation about plants.  Eventually Caitlin and Jessi came back with movies and we headed back to the home to watch Battle for LA before heading to bed.

Monday (7/4) – 4th of July
Another long and busy day.  I woke before everyone, showered and got ready.  Lore and Michael woke at some point.  I put a Aristocats on for her and drank a french press with Michael. Michael took off to do business stuff at Solar Roast.  Jessi was awake at some point and I helped her get the kitchen ready for breakfast.  I dried dishes and cut up watermelon.  She did everything else including the preparation of eggs, bacon, and other fruits.  Lorelai was well into Singing in the Rain by the time we ate and Caitlin got up.

Jessi and I cleaned, corked, and packed a cooler while Caitlin prepped herself and Lorelai.  The cooler didn’t fit in the Subi’s trunk.  So Jessi put the stuff in a bag.  We went around Pueblo getting shown the sights and stopped at the downtown Solar Roast location to meet with Michael.  We sampled some wares, which were very tasty, while being shown the layout and the present roaster that David designed and built.  Eventually we went away, came again for Michael, then headed up to Bishop’s Castle.

The drive was pretty, as usual.  Bishop Castle was pretty cool.  We explored the main portions of it and traveled up the highest tower.  I had Lorelai firmly in hand because she didn’t want to be left behind.  Caitlin didn’t mind being left behind at all… she pretty much insisted upon it.  The meeting hall was the most impressive part; the steel, glass, and wood work Jim Bishop was capable of made an impressive display.  The dragon head coming out of the front of the building was pretty radical too.  We stopped by the gift shop to fulfill some requests as well as getting Lorelai a red gem and myself a globe pencil sharpener.  The lady at the cash register was nice to us when we came up a few cents short; after walking away I vowed to my comrades to donate $50 to the place but upon reflection (which may have actually been something pointed out by Michael) she probably just didn’t want to deal with the card charge.  I plan to donate, but just a more meager amount to compensate our shortage of cash and the awesomeness of the location.  There’s a lot to say but most of it you can get from wiki.  My impression of it was wonder and curiosity.  Jim Bishop is a dedicated fellow and I admire him for his individuality and resolve to maintain his freedom despite government objections. 

Heading back we had lunch at a road-side restaurant, I had another BLT, then went back to Solar Roast to buy coffee for people back home and let Michael get his car.  Lounged around back at the house.  I got to lay in a hammock for the first time ever… so could have fallen asleep rocking in that thing.  Jessi helped Lorelai make a path rock with her hand imprint in it.  We went inside and watched The Town to avoid the mosquitoes.  It was a pretty good movie, one of those worthy of watching if you’ve already seen the block-buster movies.  Tom, Mickey, Lindsay, and David happened by for one last interaction.  After the movie it was time for bed.

Tuesday (7/5)

We all got up early, packed up the rest of our stuff, and said goodbyes to Michael. Jessi, Caitlin, Lore, and I stopped for McDonald’s on the way to the airport.  We talked and Jessi told us about a couple things along the way.  We said our goodbyes infront of the big tent airport, I hadn’t noticed how tent-ish DIA was when we arrived.

Caitlin went to get us food while Lore and I hung out and watched people, planes, and a moth similar to the ones we were chasing the night before.  Boarded the plane, took off, landed in Reno where people departed and others boarded, we took off, and eventually landed in Portland.  My mom picked us up and drove us home safe and exhausted.

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