Thursday, July 26, 2007

Denver and Beyond

After Denver we visited Breckenridge for 3 days, and have just arrived in Colorado Springs. On the way to Breckenridge we stopped off in Central City & Idaho Springs---Gary was searching for coffee. Central city was, umm, odd. It's at the end of a branch off I70, road to nowhere. Over a mountain pass, some nice scenery, and then this cute little town. Well, seemingly cute at first glance. The architecture was all authentic turn of the century, steep narrow streets, colorful buildings. A tour bus had stopped off, it's travellers sitting in the sun, nursing their motion-sickness. 'For Rent' and 'For Sale' signs in between deceptively inviting facades of, can you guess? Casinos. There is limited gambling in areas of Colorado, and it was painfully apparent that this little town was desperately trying to survive, selling out (or into) the casino racket. I'm not a gambler. I don't have the switch in my head that says, "Oh, shoot I just lost $50, better try to win it back!" The house always wins. Central City had a seedy undergrowth, a secret sneaking cancer it seemed. It was a beautiful sunny day, yet the short time we were there Gary & I both felt as if a shadow loomed, something so dark it sticks through daylight; we were uneasy, eager to leave. When we did get back to the highway we talked about the weirdness, shivered and moved along to Idaho Springs. Ah, the gods smile on Gary, there was a Starbucks! He's always searching for good coffee.

When we arrived in Breckenridge, a nice snow-oriented tourist town at 9,650' elevation, we suffered effects of altitude sickness. Fiona slept a lot. The following day I took her out for a bicycle ride on a rented hybrid & Burley trailer. If you rent there, go with Mountain Wave, they're much nicer than the place we rented from. We road about 8 miles total I think, and afterward I had a terrible headache, reminded me of heat stress. Gary had troubles breathing and bought O2 canisters, which I think helped a bit. I read that it takes fully 1 week to acclimate properly to that elevation, pro-sports teams try to arrive as late as possible before matches to avoid effects of altitude in Denver (5,280' elev.). Yesterday we went horseback riding on the mountain above Breckenridge, Fiona rode double with me on a horse named Cash. Larry carried Gary (tee-hee). My horse was gaseous especially up hill, Gary's horse was slow. It was a long ride for the baby girl, she loved the first 2/3 or so. At one point a few minutes before we got back to the corral, Fiona just flopped over the saddle horn, in tragic lamentation of her plight. A nice ride, unfortunately we forgot the camera, BUT there were the pro-photographers on the trail side snapping shots as we rode by, how convenient! ;) There is a website to view the shots of Fiona's first horse-ride, and mine & Gary's first ride together...but I'll have to nail down the specific address before posting it here. On the way from Breckenridge to CO Springs, there is Fairplay, Colorado, a sweet tiny town, ~10,000' elevation, with a restored 1880's museum of the entire original town (outside). The candy shoppe/soda fountain is super-neato with great coffee and huge cakey brownies. Plus the Brown Burro Cafe is a great little local place to stop for lunch.

SO, now we've arrived in Colorado Springs, rocky & red. Last time I was here, about 15 years by Pop's(Gran'pa Alton) estimation, the development was probably just beginning. We camped out on his acreage here, which we plan to recon for him as he hasn't been out here since then either. All I remember from that trip is being car-sick at one point. And the trailer/cabin we slept in, haunted by a giant mouse or small rat--maybe it was a raccoon? Alton-brother was about Fiona's age or a little older, we slept on the floor in sleeping bags. I had to pee in the middle of the night, that's when I think I saw the beady eyes of the rodent lording over his trailer-kingdom. Then there was the potato-shaped polished piece of knotted hardwood I took a great liking to, and Alton adopted a turtle-shell he found, called it Mr. Puh-Tell (at least I think it was that trip). But I digress. :)

So we are here in CO Springs for a week, and then back to California to commence The Move (again). We've secured a classic brownstone condo in Cherry Creek area of Denver, we plan to be there by early September at the latest. It feels like we should just go back to Denver, as if it's home already, Gary and I both think a good sign. Fiona has cut 2 new teeth, and has figured out the rhythm of unpack & stay, pack & move. She's handling herself really well. Sugar Chunks, Sweet Pee, Sugar Pot Pie, she's so sweet makes your eyes water & your teeth ache!

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