Just one more post about Colorado. I promise you that even though the stories are a week or more after the fact, they're still more interesting than the catchup on laundry, housework and yardwork that's been going on here at the homestead since we returned.
These things all relate to Colorado but not necessarily to one another. Maybe a list would be a good idea.
1. Cool mountain air and a get-away with Maurice and Marsha were great motivations behind making this trip but there was another reason too. When my mother-in-law died in 2010, her ashes were divided among the family members in the hopes that each would spread them somewhere meaningful to her and/or the individual. At the time, Maurice said he'd be taking his to Colorado since he knew that not only did Pansy love the mountains but he also associated them with great memories of their time together there as a family. And Wayne agreed; it's just taken us longer than we planned to get there.
Some went by this stream in Manitou Springs. For being in the middle of the town it looks serene. There's a playground next to it so she'll always hear the sounds of children laughing and it's pretty darn close to Patsy's Salt Water Taffy too. Both would make her happy.
The rest were spread in the Garden of the Gods at sunset. As Maurice said at the time, she would have loved the view.
2. Some memories deserve to be relived. We all took salt water taffy home with us and some for other family members too.
And we had to spend a little time in the penny arcade next door to Patsy's too. It doesn't look much different than it did when Wayne first took me there on our honeymoon 44 years ago and it probably looked like that when the guys were there as boys too. It's timeless and magical and tacky all at the same time. For the record, the girls took on the guys at Skee Ball and trounced them soundly.
3. On the way from Estes Park to Colorado Springs we stopped at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, an outdoor concert venue set in the middle of these huge red rocks.
It's amazing how much activity there was there even though it was the middle of the day. They were setting up the stage for a concert that night but the amphitheatre is also open for people to use for exercise. There were joggers and walkers and even a lady jumping from one tier up to the next one over and over again. At altitude no less...I was impressed.
That's Mo, Marsha and Wayne there in the middle at the top. When Mo wished for a photo from the bottom, I volunteered to go take it. I didn't jump my way back up to where they were but I did climb it without stopping.
4. There was evidence of this summer's wildfires along the highway when we first came into Colorado Springs but someone we missed it until our second trip on that road. We must not have been looking up high enough.
But it was quite evident when we rode out to the entrance of the Flying W Ranch. Everything from this gate back into the mountains was blackened except from the new grass which has started to grow. The gate is at the edge of a subdivision and it was shocking to see how some houses escaped unscathed while the one next door had burned to the ground. And there were literally herds of deer resting in the yards, driven out of their natural habitat by the fire. It was sad on so many levels.
5. Spending extended time together only highlights how much alike these two are, despite the seven years difference in their ages.
The plan was for us just to meet Maurice and Marsha in Estes Park since they were coming from Kansas City and we were coming from Wichita. Meeting somewhere on I-70 at a given time just seemed to unpredictable. And while I knew what time Mo and Marsha were leaving KC, I didn't tell Wayne, letting him set his own timetable independent of what they were doing. When the road we took intersected with I-70, they were a mere ten minutes behind us. Do they think alike or what? Heck, they even ordered the same thing off the menu the first night. Without consulting one another. And buffalo meatloaf wouldn't exactly be a family favorite either.
Colorado was fun...the right mix of being active and taking time to relax. Of seeing the familiar and discovering the new. And of fondly remembering old times and making new memories too. Good vacations are the ones you're sorry to see end...and this was a good vacation.