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.
Day Four was a busy driving day for me, trying to cover as much ground as I could before we had to fly home on Day Six. I spent the first half up in Denver and the late afternoon back in Colorado Springs, with a stopover in between to stare for a while at the formidable formation above. Works of God and of Man were each the order of the day.
After lunch and conversation with an old friend in Denver, I spent a bit more of Day Four wandering a few other locations over the next two hours. Halfway through our week, though, a bit of budget consciousness was tampering my mood, leading me to think carefully how else I spent my remaining time and personal funds in Colorado. That’s what happens when you can’t normally afford two vacations a year but can’t resist a good deal on a second one.
Not far from the Denver Biscuit Company and All in a Dream is the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, five hundred thousand square feet of Smithsonian-affiliated exhibits, experiments, and special presentations about all the niftiest sciences ever. For visitors in a cheapskate position like me, a few points of interest stand on the path leading from the free parking lot to the ticket counter, a.k.a. the point of no return.
Nine days. Five states. 2,887 miles. 828 photos. One mountaintop. Fourteen stops for gas. Innumerable sights and memories. Nine consecutive entries for journals written on location. Forty entries for photos, additional commentary, and hindsight. My wife and I have taken a road trip in some fashion each year since 1999 — before we were married or even dating, back when we were best friends. Our week-plus excursion to Colorado via Kansas was one of our most ambitious, successful, and draining road trips to date. Thanks sincerely to those lovable readers who followed along with us and offered encouragement throughout the process, whether in ways great or small, conscious or unwitting.
As my way of concluding the “2012 Road Trip Photos” series and holding the blogging equivalent of a post-production wrap party, please enjoy this assortment of previously unshared photos from the journey. Some are alternate viewpoints of sights you’ve seen; some are little moments bypassed till now. For the complete itinerary, check out the 2012 Road Trip checklist for the ultimate reading guide, with links to all the notes and photos, day by day. They’re a fun way to kill an afternoon or help decide how your own future trips to these locales will be even better.
Let the montage begin!
After our extended lunch at the Buckhorn Exchange, we spent the late afternoon of Day Four in and around the 16th Street Mall, a 1¼-mile-long stretch of street tiled over for use exclusively by pedestrians and free shuttle buses. This sounded like a novel concept to us, but in person it wasn’t too different from the “lifestyle centers” (the new euphemism for outdoor malls) that we have back home in Indy, despite being four times their size. The constant (and free!) shuttle buses were a wonderful touch, though.
The other half of our brief visit to the Denver Art Museum was largely spent in the Japan portion of their Asian section, my son’s exhibit of choice. We knew this without even having to ask. He dreams of going to Japan someday so he can confirm in person what he already tells us every other day, that everything they do or have is better than anything we do or have. The “grass is always greener on the other side” argument is useless against him. They probably have an appropriate metaphor that tops that one, too.
My favorite of the collection: a sculpture so intricate, it must have taken the carver’s entire lifetime and/or driven him mad.