Last stop Denver

Last stop Denver

This morning, leaving Cheyenne, this was the view. 


Right now, this is the view from the hotel window here in Denver.  Do I need to say we are having withdrawal symptoms?


As we left Wyoming behind, we saw the first windmills of the trip.  In such a wide open space with a stiff breeze at times, it seems like an obvious choice yet this morning, not one of those windmills was turning.


We soon found ourselves crossing the state line into Colorado.  Not a new state for us as we'd spent some days in Breckenridge a few years ago and Mary had been here on business some time ago too.  But state #5 for this trip and we were definitely feeling the closing stages of our trip.


But hey, come on, we're not done yet and still have a couple more days to enjoy!


As always, my hero had come up with ideas for the day and after so many quilts, JoAnns and Chicos, Mary and I were only too pleased to enjoy a couple of hours at the Colorado Model Railroad Museum especially as it's one of the best of its kind.


It was housed in a purpose built hall and was enormous: 21 scale miles of track and the most beautifully made landscape as well.


After seeing so many of the real thing, it was fascinating to see the model, which had been built to represent real places in Oregon and Northern California by a team of volunteers following the ideas of one man's masterplan.

That man had been the owner of the local newspaper in Greely, CO who sold his business and put $1.5m into a charitable trust to buy the site, erect the building and bring the model railroad he'd planned into fruition, with the aid of a team of local enthusists.  It operates today as a non profit charity and is operated by the volunteers by means of a computer-aided control board.  The whole thing is utterly realistic and very impressive indeed.


Back out into the sunshine, the temperatures were rising.  The mural opposite caught my eye, as did the sign for "chix".  No thanks.


As we turned to travel in a more westerly direction, the snow capped mountains we'd seen in the distance from the Ames Monument yesterday afternoon became rather clearer and the whole scene became more suburban in feel.


We were heading into Boulder, where we'd read of a pleasant traffic free area downtown and on this warm - no, hot - afternoon, we thought we could spend a couple of hours.


Pearl Street Mall was indeed a pleasant place to be in 90F+  heat, because the shops were all air conditioned and interesting enough for us to dip in and out of each one.


The first shop we came across was the Savannah Bee Company where a range of interesting products kept us occupied for quite some time.  Lovely products to try - we each washed our hands using their beautifully scented honey-based handwash products and enjoyed perusing a range of high quality goods in a cool and well designed space.  It didn't take us long to realise that Boulder is an affluent and socially conscious community, particularly as we explored further along the street.


Island Farm was an Anthropologie lookie-likie with a range of eclectic goods for sale in an attractive setting.  But the prices....oh, the prices!


A pretty scarf caught my eye, pink and white cotton with a slight twinkle.  The $78 price tag made me jump though and other things we picked out as being to our liking had similarly eyewatering tags.


The (original) artwork in the window of the gallery next door drew us in as well, especially when we spotted other works by the same artist, Mark Lague inside.  But with works priced between $10k - $20k these were no impulse purchases and having just come from a town where selling everyday items appeared to be a struggle, being in Boulder was quite an eye opener.


Being here was fun though and there was a happy atmosphere here which we were enjoying.  We stopped by the Spinster Sisters which proved to be another example of the impressive "buy local" ethos of the area and just across the road was a marvellous independent bookstore.


To wander in an area filled with small, independent stores, almost totally free of the large chain stores was fun, though after a couple of hours we were wishing there was a Starbucks or similar nearby!


The temperature was nearing 100F by now and beautiful though the County Court building might be, a long cool drink would be all the more attractive at this moment.

As we came to the end of the main Pearl Street Mall, the unmistakeable green and white mermaid showed her face and the promise of an iced coffee or something became a reality.  Except next door was Fior and gelato was even more tempting!


Well, I couldn't leave it too long or else it would have melted!


Time to be on our way then, towards Denver.  We have all recognised that just two weeks in the peace and quiet of Kansas/Nebraska/Wyoming has been so blissful that re-entry to the world of six lane highways and noisy streets has been quite challenging.  We'll get used to it again, of course, but for now those wide open spaces we left behind this morning seem a long way away.


Denver promises a great deal to interest us.  There's the State Capitol of course, the American Museum of Western Art, the Denver Art Museum, the brand new History Colorado Center and the Clyfford-Still Museum of abstract expressionism and the Kirkland museum of Art Deco...all within a short walking distance from the free bus which stops outside our hotel.  I don't think we will have any problem filling our time here, we've just got to ease ourselves out of our country bumpkin mode!

Mile High City

Mile High City