2019-06-25 The Colorado Wrap Up

As I eluded to in my last post, it’s now three days after the day I was writing about and I’ve been home for several days. Life just moves too fast sometimes.

On Sunday we woke to more snow falling and though it was beautiful, I was kinda over it and ready to get back to Nebraska and real summer temps. I’ve made a little note to my future self to not travel back to Grandby Ranch in June. When we go again it will be in July or August.

Sunday was our travel home day and the intent was to make stops to visit both my sister and brother before heading for the airport and that’s exactly what we did.

My sister moved to Denver this past week so it was literally her second day in her new apartment which was lovely. She’s already on a weekend camp/hike with one of her besties and I’m positive she will be super happy in her new home. That makes me happy.

My brother has lived in Broomfield for about 20 years (I asked when we were at his house in the afternoon) and his oldest child who just graduated this past May was born there. He’s also an avid hiker and goes out a lot, in all kinds of weather. If it’s not hiking, it’s snow-shoeing. They will probably spend the rest of their lives in Colorado.

Jim and I agreed that Colorado is cool but have ruled it out for ever moving there. Visiting with all these folks has made us think about where else we might like to live though, and that’s fun to daydream about. For us it’s much more likely to be Oregon, probably somewhere near the coast. I’m partial to the Lincoln City area. I’ve driven the stretch of road from Manzenita to northern Cali about 3 times now and just love it. But this post isn’t about Oregon, it’s about Colorado.

I’m inclined to wrap this up with some things I want to remember before the vividness of the trip fades into a daydream…

All my initial plans to visit folks arriving Tuesday were squashed by sitting on a plane for 4 hours (2.5 longer than expected). We actually sat on the plane on the ground in Omaha longer than we were in the air. I ended up spending the night in Denver instead of driving the mountain pass that night.

The view from the apartment on Larimer Street.

We had one nice day of weather and took advantage of that by being outside for the majority of the day. A couple of hikes with the dogs and the kids. We rode the ski-lift up and hiked back down.

We came upon a small herd of deer on one hike and tried to quietly approach to get pics but that area is littered with mountain bike trails and a biker came zooming through and they all scattered across our path.

I also saw a fox (twice) and a big horn sheep on the trip. I’ve not seen either before out in the wild.

I really enjoyed the drive to and from Denver and got to travel it several times, once with bright sunny weather and once with snow. Both incredibly beautiful!

On Wednesday I did some journaling from the back deck of my friend’s house and their daughter who is 7 wanted to join me. She was excited to get markers and paper and then crayons and a book to use as a hard surface to write on. I gave her a few suggestions to get started and she ended up writing a brief letter to a friend and drew a picture. It was sweet. What was even sweeter was that later in the day she said it was her favorite part of the day, “writing with Aunt Shyla”. 😊

During our stay the card game of choice was some Monopoly Spin-off game, Monopoly Duel, which I had never played before. I had a great run of beginners luck and won like 8 of 10 games I played, though I feel like I had found a great strategy for the game. I’m considering buying it for the kids and I. Who doesn’t love winning. 😜

Despite all I have written this far, the trip was not all fun and games. Our room was in the basement right under the kitchen and not only was it frigid with the drop in temps.. if there was anyone in the kitchen and dining area it was impossible to sleep with the foot noise. We had a couple of very short nights and even considered trying to get a hotel room in town for the last night.

It was also a bummer to not get to do the things we wanted in Winter Park including riding the gondola up the mountain and the alpine slide. But whatevs.

I got to meet the two new pups, Wally and Winston. Always Reliably excited to see new people coming in the door and always up for a walk. When they crashed, they crashed hard and have not yet figured out they have outgrown sitting on laps. 🐶❤️🙃

Last, and certainly not least, I had bites of cheeseburgers from three different establishments. I don’t have much to say about that except I discovered I’m not a fan of goat-cheese on a burger. Ewwwww. Reviews of those places will not be coming to a blog near you anytime soon as the details (besides the goat cheese) have already been let-go.

That, my friends, concludes the latest SugarCookie Colorado Adventure. My next trip will actually be back in Nebraska City for my MFA residency, which opens up a whole other host of topics. I’ve got about 2 and a half more weeks until then. Just enough time to solidify my thoughts on what I want to get from my 3rd term. We’ll see.

Glad to be Home,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-22 Colorado Day 4 – Snow on the First Day of Summer 😱

Snow, for real!! Last night my friends and I stayed up late playing a card game and talking. It was a fairly rainy/stormy day, off and on, and as we sat by the picture window we could see the sky light up periodically with lightning. As we crossed over from the First Day of Summer to the second, the rain transformed into large fluffy snow flakes and began covering the Field grass and wildflowers with white.

Then Steph says “I’ve never been where there it was snowing on my birthday.” Quite right. I think it is rare indeed to have snow anywhere in the US on the first day of Summer. Of course it has something to do with the elevation but “locals” here are saying it is truly atypical to have this kind of weather here at this time in the year. Were at 9k feet and you can see the snow on the caps of the mountains in the distance but it’s rare for it to be snowing here in June.

When we woke this AM it was already sunny and most of the snow was melted. I knew we would have limited time to get outside as the weather conditions held the promise of more rain and snow. It sort of feels like the sketch weather we had on our Nebraska adventure in May followed us right to our little Colorado Adventure. Go figure!

We wanted to go to Winter Park to ride the Gondola and Apline Slide but when we arrived they were not running the lifts because there was the threat of lightning. Instead we sat at a bistro having lunch and talking. I avoided drinking as it has not agreeing with me on the trip at all. I had a headache almost immediately both times I had a drink and felt so much better today not drinking.

The weather has put a damper on our activities for sure, but I’m not too bothered by it because I travel to spend time with my good friends. For me the focus is on catching up and spending QT and it does not matter what we are doing. It was also a chance for them to get to know Jim a little better which makes me happy.

In any case, it was sort of cool to see Snow in Summer. ❄️ ⛄️ Someone has taken the time to make a snowman at Winter Park. That would have been a good pic but I didn’t think of that at the time.

***

It’s like 3 days later and I’m finally getting back to finishing this up. I’ve got a little more to say about our trip to really wrap it but today is not the day for that. Perhaps tomorrow. 😉

Cheers,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-21 Colorado Day 3 – Rained In

We woke up this morning to very overcast skies and pouring rain. When there was a break in that action we took the dogs back up the trail on the opposite side of the hill from where we went yesterday. I’m sad I did not bring my camera as there were more beautiful fields and views from that side that were both completely the same and completely different than those we saw the day before.

Today’s promise is rain but it is very tough to tell if it is truly a promise or just a threat. The skies are still dark and stuffed with clouds of every shade of grey. Which is like 73 and not 50 like some writers might lead you to believe. In any case, it is tough to try to plan the day when you don’t know what the weather is really going to do.

I believe that we are calling it early though. No hiking, ski-lift rides, alpine slides, or anything with an extended time outside. That folks, means that we are in for a full day of indoor fun-filled activities, which, as it should be when your on vacation, starts with bloody Mary’s.

In all fairness, it is already like 2PM and we just got back from a long lunch in town and went back to the grocery store to get supplies, so it’s not like we are starting super early.

We have a few card games and gaint Jenga to keep us occupied for a while plus some conversation starter game called “Fifty questions I ask people when I want to talk abou myself” (or something like that). That should be fun.. especially after a few cocktails.

At this point the kids are watching a show downstairs having their popcorn and we are gathered in the kitchen/dining area having our “adult snacks”. No matter what happens, we are going to make the most of it. And as I’m very fond of saying lately, things will happen the way they are supposed to. It is just the Way.

Hugs and Kisses,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-20 Colorado Day 2 – The Picture of a Perfect Day

Yesterday was a good day with the stress of traveling behind me and the peace of being in a very special place taking over. The drive here was incredible and though I had a bit of a challenge adjusting to the altitude (headache, upset stomach, yadda, yadda), catching up with my peeps into the evening was great. The promise of today is even better.

I woke up headache free, thankfully, and refreshed and ready for what looks like will be the best weather day of the trip. There is a chance for rain and isolated storms almost every day but not today. Today will be sunny with a high of 71. It is fairly chilly at this elevation when the sun is not out, but when the sun is out, 71 feels quite warm.

After breakfast my friend and I took the dogs and the kids for a walk up on trails through the hills. The sky is so blue and everyone is in the best mood.

When we were done with walking the dogs we came back to the house and continued our walk along the streets of this little community just meandering, you know, and catching up one on one. That’s the best. I’m not sure what else is in store, really. I think we’ll go on a more serious hike later without the kids and talked about also taking the tennis racquets down to the court to do some volleying. We’ve already agreed that the point of tennis should be to see how long we can volley back and forth and stay in control and that it’s no fun at all to see if you can make the other person miss. Those are my kind of people.

Whatever is in store this afternoon, I will need to wrap it up by about 4:30 because I’ll be making my way back to the airport to pick up Jim. It’s about 4 hours round trip and it will be dark when we arrive back at the house. I’m actually enjoying not having a set agenda and also looking forward to doing that scenic drive again. Then Jim and I will have a nice time in the car catching up (though it’s only been a day and a half) before joining the group.

I’m really feeling the peace of being detached from the normal daily routine. I’ve never been in this place before or in this house but something about it just feels like home. That’s one thing I’ve found that always rings true in life – home is not about the place, it is about the people. Although when you are some place that Is as quiet and remote and beautiful as this, its even easier to get to that feeling.

I’ve got just a few more minutes alone, sitting in the sunshine, looking at the view off the back deck before we will be on the move again. I think I’ll try to get a bit of reading in.

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-19 Colorado Day 1 – Changes in Scenery

The travel day yesterday was dismal. I sat on a plane that was not allowed to take off for two hours because the destination airport (Denver) was “shutdown” due to a massive storm in the area. Shutdown just means that no planes were allowed to take off or land. I sat reading and thinking and thinking and reading and watched as the minutes ticked by. At the time we were due to land, we were taxiing back to the terminal (of our departure point) so people could get off the plane if they wanted. There was no guarantee the flight would or would not be cancelled.

All my worry about plans and driving in the dark and visiting my brother versus my friend Lance had been ironed out early in the day. I had already determined I could not “do it all”, which is a thing I often fool myself into thinking. Broomfield and the visit with my bro would have taken at least 3 hours and the reality is, there just would not be time for that. The plane being delayed was that 3 hours. I arrived in Denver after 8PM, and by the time I had my things and the car and was on my way to downtown Denver where Lance lives it was about 9PM. Not even enough time for a nice meal and a chat.

We walked to a bar and had a drink and then walked back to his building and basically crashed out. Not quite the QT I was hoping for, but truly, when do things exactly meet our expectation? Rarely. But the rule of the Universe is Balance so things exceed our expectations about as often as they fall short. It’s just the Way. Not good or bad, it just is.

At the present moment, I am sitting in the new house of my bestest friends after having the most beautiful drive through the mountains, listening to music and marveling at being eye level with the clouds wafting through at the same time. It’s otherwise bright and sunny and now I’m hanging out with one of my favorite families. The view out the back picture window is more amazing than I expected.

The house is nestled among the hills with views of mountains off in the distance. It’s on the opposite side of a mountain pass which made the drive quite interesting. It’s so “nestled” that there is no cell phone service here. I quite like the idea of being off the grid, or at least partially disconnected. Of course there is still WiFi and all that jazz so communication is possible.

More of our “crew” is arriving later today, and Jim tomorrow, and by the weekend there will be 7 adults and 2 kids. It’s just like it is in Austin except for the delightful change in scenery. It’s my AAC (Austin Advisory Committee) but now it’s the CAC (?ewww no). That doesn’t really fit and so I guess it’s a good thing I no longer need the advice of the committee like I used to – about everything. My job/career, my relationships, my ex and that drama. It was a great way for me to check something before I wrecked it. 😉 And I definitely wrecked my fair share of things.

All that was not that long ago really. My oh my how the scenery of my life has changed.

Apparently we are going to take the kids to some “adventure camp” here in just a bit and i probably should unpack and figure out what is what with my newest “home away from home”.

Cheers!

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-18 Where it Stops, Nobody Knows

It’s another severely overcast morning and the mood is set. Everything in the backyard is cast in a haze of forgetting. It would be a good day to slide under some blankets and nap the day away but then the guilt of wasting time would gnaw on my big toe and not let me really enjoy it. Just as well.. I’ve got packing to do.

I’ll be heading to the airport this afternoon. Typically now is about the time I would be second guessing flying but I’m actually glad I didn’t have to wake early to get on the road. If I was driving today, I would likely already be past Lincoln.

In my brilliance, I booked an afternoon flight thinking I would land just in time to meet my bro in Broomfield, perhaps catch a meal, and then head to my friends house about two hours west of Denver. Two things I was not thinking of.. if i spend any time at all, it will be dark when I’m driving and their house is literally in a town up in the mountains.

Typically I would be flying to Austin to visit my peeps and they are like 15 minutes from the airport and they pick me up. This new house is 2 hours from the airport and I have to rent a car. And it’s not just two hours of a typical highway drive. A few nights ago my friend texts me that it’s not a good idea to drive the mountain pass alone in the dark. “Wut?!”.

So either I’m skipping visiting my bro and going straight to my destination or I’m crashing at my bros house overnight which I’m not super excited about or I’m meeting up with my bro and then crashing in Denver with my friend Lance or I’m skipping visiting my brother and just hanging out with Lance. It’s good to have options but I really need to decide.

Part of my indecision stems from feeling obligated to visit my brother when I’m not really wanting to. When I contacted him to ask if he was available today he was very short in reply and didn’t seem that excited to meet up. I mean, how do you think a person feels when they are all like “hey, I saw your pics on Facebook and heard about your latest talk and that’s cool and I’m going to be in your area on Tuesday the 18th and would love to hang out and catch up”

And the reply is “we’ll be around”.

Well, super! I’m excited to see you too. Grrrrrr. My family is so stupid sometimes.

Lance lives in downtown Denver and if I had my choice of where to crash, I would stay at his place. That’s also questionable, I suppose, given the history of things. I haven’t mentioned that possibility to anyone but Lance which means I haven’t suggested it to Jim or Rebecca. That makes me question myself just a little bit. Why would that be? 🤔

I also am not sure about driving straight to Granby from the airport. If I arrive at 6, on time, will I have enough time to get through and over any mountain passes and sketchy roads before the sun goes down? I’m not cool with not knowing what I’m up against.

And now I’ve literally been rambling about my current conundrum for about 30 minutes. That’s enough of that. Things will all work out like they are supposed to.

In any case, I’ll be an expert driving the route by the end of this trip because I’m going to be driving to pick Jim up from the airport on Thursday. Eventhough I’m not flying, I’ll still have my fair share of time behind the wheel, and half of that solo.

I’m looking forward to that too. It’s wonderful to have a vibrant household full of life here but as an introvert, having some alone time is necessary. This is the first morning in quite some time that there have been no other people here.

Yup… right now it’s just the cats, birds, snails, fish and I. That’s still a lot of life, but nobody here to make dirty dishes in the kitchen. 😜

I suppose that’s enough random meandering for now. If I have time today before I head to the airport, I’m gonna try and start some new writing. (That’s my official declaration to make myself accountable). Yesterday a friend of mine suggested a writing “challenge” to write 1000 words a day for 2 weeks. After thinking on it, I determined that this blog doesn’t count (even though yesterday It was 1300+ words). So starting today I’m going to go for the 1000 with the parameter that it has to be “creative” writing and not this stream of consciousness stuff. We’ll see.

Cheers to All That and a Bag of Chips,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-05-23 Nebraska Road Trip Days 3 and 4 and Done

After a few days of the sky closing in around us with no sunrise or sunset to speak about, driving east under a blue sky was a welcome change. Two days ago we woke up in Alliance Nebraska where there was a layer of snow quickly melting into mush on the pavement.

That morning we drove a little further west, to Scott’s Bluff, to visit the National Monument. It was still freezing when we got to the summit (which is only about five minutes from the main road) and were really not feeling compelled to walk even the quarter mile to the scenic lookout point. It was a sloppy mess and would have soaked our socks and shoes all over again. I took a lot of pics from the car window.

After that we headed south and a little east with the best intentions. There were loads of things circled and marked on our atlas but we quickly discovered that getting close to any of those things would mean more treacherous driving. We went about 10 yards on one country road and the tires just sank in the mud. We reversed out of that situation and decided that all those buttes and Chimney Rock were really quite lovely from a distance.

I’m fairly certain we had lunch in Sidney, but all the small town cafes and bars are starting to melt into one memory. I was really grateful when we crossed paths with I-80 and let that lead us to Kearney for the evening. By the time we arrived, the Kearney Arch Museum was closed so we had dinner in town and called the day done for. The room at the Candlewood was likely the nicest thus far, and it was a good night for watching a movie on Netflix. (We’re such an exciting pair).

Waking up this morning, we once again packed all our things into the car and headed out. First the Arch and then south to the Pioneer Village where I received positive confirmation that I’m not really all that into museums, or antiques, or reading blurbs printed, framed, and mounted next to some random old stuff.

I find it fascinating that a person spent a good portion of their life and finances accumulating and assembling such a collection of stuff. It’s quite impressive actually and really a shame it’s fallen into such a state of utter hopelessness. Several city blocks and buildings full of stuff – cars, planes, trucks, Art, clothing, and engines. Entire buildings configured in a circle that you can wander in and out of. Most of it meticulously labeled with commentary. All in all, there were about 6 other human beings wandering around besides us. At 14.50 a ticket, it’s probably barely enough to keep the electricity on and pay someone to take the fee and stamp people’s hands.

We spent about an hour there and that was enough. We were actually both pretty spent in general and as we drove back east, toward other historic sites and places of interest, we found our desire to “see” anything more was waning.

We passed through town after town and instead of stopping. as we had been, to have a look, we just kept going. It was early afternoon and everything became incredibly uninteresting. Quite frankly, we didn’t even want to stop for food.

Looking at the map and thinking about spending the night in yet another hotel, schlepping everything from car to room and back again in the morning, sounded silly since we were only a few hours from home. I brought up the idea of skipping the rest and going home first.

He agreed. We both perked up at the idea and suddenly had enthusiasm for stopping a few more places along the way. That’s right about the time the storm that has been looming in the distance had suddenly relocated right above us. We tried to get to two distinct “X”s on the map which took us away from the highway and we never saw whatever it was.

Somehow, we ended up on another unpaved county road in the pouring rain. There was lightning, and thunder, and for a hot-second, there was hail. I suppose we cheated fate for 3 days and the “getting stuck”, was inevitable. I’ve never been more happy than the moment we found the highway again (I’m sure I have been though). After that little tangent, I was so over all of it. I didn’t care if I ever saw the “worlds largest porch swing”.. I just wanted to get home.

***

It’s late now and it’s been a long couple of days. I can’t say I have much to show for it or say about it (that’s not already been written above). I’m glad to be home, back with my kitten and looking forward to a long relaxing weekend.. with no driving. I do love a good road trip, but coming home is pretty great too.

Until Next Time,

~Miss SugarCookie