At 3:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on Friday, November 6, 2015, my wife wrapped up the final shift of her Colorado Springs business trip, jumped in the rental car with me and sighed in relief. Her work week hadn’t been an easy one. The branch appreciated her assistance, but it was clear they needed more help than she could give them in her 40+ hours on the premises. She did her part, but what happened after she left was no longer her concern. At long last she was free. She could finally unwind and enjoy a little Colorado sightseeing before we ended our six-day experience.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Each year my wife and I take a road trip to a different part of the United States and see what sorts of historical landmarks, natural wonders, man-made oddities, unexplored restaurants, and cautionary tales await us. From November 1-6, 2015, we racked up a number of personal firsts. My wife Anne was invited on her first business trip to Colorado Springs, all expenses paid from flight to food to lodging to rental car, to assist with cross-training at a distant affiliate. Her supervisor gave me permission to attend as her personal travel companion as long as I bought my own plane ticket and food. I posted one photo for each of the six days while we were on location. With this series, we delve into selections from the 500+ other photos we took along the way.
Unfortunately our return flight to Indianapolis would be taking off at 6 p.m. in Denver, over an hour away. That left us virtually no time for stops unless we wanted to stay starving the entire trip home.
Anne hadn’t taken a single photo since Day Three, having spent Days Four and Five entirely on work, overwork, meals, hotel TV, and sleep. And our laundry collaboration on Tuesday evening, a necessary evil since we’d brought only carry-on luggage and refused to bring extra bags that would require checking. And the goodies I bought from Amy’s Donuts were surely the high point of her Day Five, so she had those going for her.
So she spent the hour-plus drive to the airport looking for every possible reason to take pictures. Any pictures. Savoring her last chance to capture some previously missed Colorado essence, to add more material to her eventual scrapbook and this MCC series. If nothing else, random cloud photography helped pass the time.
Anne was trapped on the passenger side as I drove us up northbound I-25, with the Rocky Mountains on my left and mostly flatland on her side. This single shot, probably taken on the exit ramp out of Colorado Springs, would be our last photographed Rocky of the year.
I’d already taken several shots of Castle Rock in Castle Rock, CO, but now it was her turn. Its visibility from miles away gave her plenty of time and chance to have fun with it.
We have no idea what sort of neighborhood this is. In our Colorado headcanon this is an outsourced spawning ground for future Boulder hipsters.
The day was the chilliest of our week, but no less pretty at times. In retrospect it’s a relief our second-ever flying experience wouldn’t be delayed or ruined by inclement weather. I imagine we’ll find out what that’s like someday and thoroughly rue it.
Regardless of her limited time, she was thrilled with the experiences we managed to fit in to her schedule. Often at conventions we’ll chat briefly with the autograph guests, who’ll generally mention they liked what little they’d seen of the city (Indy tends to score points for our cleanliness, of all things), but that they hadn’t had much of a chance to explore because their entire trip was airport, car transport, hotel, sign sign sign sign sign, meals, then fly back home. We’re not famous actors, but we were determined not to let that be the sum of her week.
The drive to the airport may not have been the most thrilling or scenic segment of our getaway, but with her temporary responsibilities a thing of the past, it was a segment with its own purpose. A time to decompress, to reflect, to prepare for transitioning back to our ordinary state, and to give thanks for this special opportunity.
When Denver International Airport emerged from the horizon, it was too soon and couldn’t arrive soon enough.
This was the last shot she took from the rental car before we had to return it to its rightful corporate owners and begin making our way to Colorado’s clearly marked exits. The sun ducked out from its cloud cover as if to wink at us and say, “See ya tomorrow morning back home.”
To be continued!
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