Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vacation Vignette #3 - American Idyll/Wrap-up

(since B'spot loads the photos weird, we have: vintage liquor store sign in Longmont, hummingbird eating lunch at River Spruce, Trail Ridge Road snow in Rocky Mtn. Natl. Park, bull elk in RMNP, river view at River Spruce)
Well, there hasn't been much time for blogging lately, but I figured I'd better finish the vacation series while I still remembered it. We pulled out of Ft. Morgan Sunday morning for an easy two-hour drive up Big Thompson Canyon to Estes Park. I got the jimjams driving up the canyon like I do every time I'm there, thinking about the horrendous flood of 1976. Donna wasn't familiar with it so when we hit EP too early to check into our cabin we went to the library and got online and found this (very sobering) video account of the tragedy that killed 140+ people:
I also looked in old phone books to find the cabins I stayed in with my parents and my mom's family back when I was an incredibly cute three-year-old; I found that "Mrs. Baldozier's Cabins" were actually called "Triple R Cottages" but there was just a road listed, no address, so I couldn't visit the site. Fooey. We killed enough time to go to the superlative River Spruce cabins. Ever checked into someplace based on their website and found out what can be accomplished with strategic photography? Not here!! Twenty feet from a rushing mountain river... uh-oh, the Big Thompson River... oh well... cabin in fine shape, our own hot tub, home-made rolls or banana bread every morning delivered to the door, neat as a pin, well-furnished and lots of extras... attentive proprietors, they even bought a four-wheeled cart for guests to haul luggage down the wood-chip path to the cabins after they saw the horrendous amount of STUFF we brought along. We settled in, found out the bonus feature: cell phones don't work here! - and relaxed. Of course, after about 16 hours relaxing, I was going somewhat nuts, feeling the need to disassemble an old lawn mower or something along that line. I left Donna to revel in natural bliss and sought out EP's thrift shops. At one I found a bunch of Judy Collins albums (don't laugh, she used to be real real good) and went up to pay. The elderly lady running the cash register was hooked to an oxygen machine, fair enough, but balanced on top of the machine were two half-pints of Ten High bourbon (fuck metric, I'm not saying 200mL!!) WTF?? We went to a miniature golf course that had been in business since 1966 and the elderly owner remembered the Baldoziers!! There were a series of great meals at the little pub a mile toward town, the Dunraven Inn just a few hundred yards south, Mary's Lake Lodge where we were unprepared for the mountain of food placed before us. Every night we drove up the road just for the herds of elk and mule deer we could stop and observe up close. I went on another solo excursion, got lost, and found.. the Triple R Cottages, alive and well about, ummmm, 42 years since I last visited them! My memories are pretty faint but they did ring a bell, searching old photos to compare to the ones I took.
All good things come to an end and we left EP for Woodland Park for our old haunt, a group of duplex cabins.. well, they call them suites... which are fine in their own right but the people that used to own them sold out to a pair of evil commie infidel zombies... if I'm not being too judgmental. We managed to work around them and enjoy ourselves in Woodland, Manitou and C-Springs, hanging out and guitar hunting with Fred-o, then subsequently drinking a tad too much at the Loop wiff him, an annual tradition. Our last night there we headed for Mollica's Italian Restaurant and Deli but they had fiendishly started closing earlier than listed on their website so we ended up at Outback... which is fine when that's where you're headed, not so good as a substitute, especially when at the booth across the aisle there's this SCREAMING LITTLE BRAT BOY and that picture of the Lindbergh baby in his shallow grave keeps flashing across your mind and then you find out they quit offering SHRIMP ON THE BARBIE but somehow you make it through and the next day it's five hundred miles home and you find out that the neighbors mowed your lawn while you were gone and you even find peace with the screaming brat, sort of, and you dig out the bottle of Piping Rock schnapps.