Saturday, August 9, 2008

A sunny morning of blue skies welcomed us to another day on the road. This would be our last short day of driving for a while, heading only a couple of hours north to Boulder. Our first goal was a few brief stops in and around Denver. Jenny started by taking some photos of the LDS temple south of town, and then we headed to a personal highlight for me, Tiny Town. I've long been a fan of these sorts of roadside attractions, with their miniaturized villages and clever conflations of landmark places. I suppose most are meant for children who like to be more properly sized to the world that must seem so large, but I still get a kick out of them. This one includes a nine-minute train ride that offers a round-the-park view of the various structures. My favorite was the miniature version of the house that served as a backdrop for Grant Wood's American Gothic. Jenny loved the Addams Family house. Vienna, inexplicably, set this one out. A quick lunch in Denver's Brickyard BBQ (and a photo of the Big Bunny Motel) and we headed northwest to Boulder.

Driving through town, a row of trees to our right, we spotted dozens of folks carrying large black tubes. And sure enough, when we turned into the parking lot of the lovely and quaint Foot of the Mountain Motel (the place will stay when next in town), we crossed the street and found college kids tubing the rapids of a creek that leads back downtown. If only we had tubes! Thus you can imagine my delight when the motel owner said that he had a couple left over from previous guests. At once, I had to get into that water. Jenny and Vienna were a bit reticent, and understandably so. The water was ice cold, and white rapids marked plenty of chances for injury. Even so, I entered a relatively calm pool, nearly losing my breath at the water's chill, and proceeded about a quarter mile downriver, leaping and twisting when the rocks propelled me faster and faster. Surviving my proof-of-concept ride, I convinced Jenny and Vienna to join me. We all made follow-up trips, and had a great time -- except for our daughter who took an impressive wallop to the head after flipping backward in a particularly treacherous rapid. Thankfully she was OK, proof that Vienna has got the hard head necessary for success in Reed College this fall.

That evening we headed into town to walk along Pearl Street Mall, an idea of Jenny's following her visit to Boulder about seven years back. We dug the pedestrian only line of blocks filled with restaurants and shopping opportunities, stopping now and again to enjoy performances of jugglers, violinists, and even a guy doing Nietzsche trivia for a dollar. Dinner consisted of salad and cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory (near a swell theater), followed up by Jenny's stopping at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory to buy presents for her friends at work. Returning to our rustic cabins, we left the windows open to enjoy the sound of the river across the road.

All text copyright Andrew Wood.
Photos copyright Andrew and Jenny Wood.