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One Month Trip to the West, 2017

Introduction       Colorado     Utah    California  

Click here to go to a future Denver trip in 2022


We missed Jamie at the family reunion in Bethlehem last summer and so we decided to stop in for a visit.

We hadn’t even left yet and the adventure started in the form of the biggest snowstorm of the year in Boston which arrived on the day of our flight.. I had moved the flight back 24 hours, but I worried that it might not be enough. It be difficult for the airline to get its plane here and the airport to clear the runways and it will be difficult for our lyft driver to get us to the airport.

Lately, I have become pretty laid back. Now this is not very difficult when one is retired, but there are moments which can be stressful like catching airplanes. Because of the storm, it is more likely that the plane will have trouble finding me. But the issues are the same, uncertainty, failure, nervousness. My solution has become to treat all outcomes as equal and remember what's important, treating everyone, including myself, with kindness, allowing my sense of curiosity to come forth and always being aware that the path that I didn't chose might be better, way better, than the one I picked.

Of course, the worst thing about all this is that we were here Tuesday so I had to shovel the walk. Luckily, it was only the walk and steps. Since the car wasn't going to move, I didn't have to worry about the driveway or the wall blocking it that the plows create.

Wednesday turned out to be a breeze. We got to the airport with plenty of time to meditate and then we waited an hour for the plane which had been parked overnight at the airport. My guess is that it was not the only plane that needed a tow and that the airport didn't have enough equipment to get them to their gates in a timely fashion. But the plane eventually came and soon we were on it, our bags in the overheads and after a side trip to the de-icer we took off smoothly, saw a lot of snow on the ground and some hours later dropped into Denver only an hour behind schedule.

Jamie had been tracking us and when we got to the airport train station where I had planned to buy Transit Passes for our stay, he was there and gently persuaded me that I would not need them. He was right. The Lyft rides were cheap and Jamie picked us up a couple times and he returned us to the airport when we left.

We drove into town and Jamie dropped us at our Airbnb place. Here is our review:

We came to Denver to visit my grown nephew and his family. Patricia's apartment turned out to be a great place to return to after our times with him and his family. Getting in was really easy and the keypad lock at the entrance is a great idea. The suite is exactly as pictured. I would say that it is a hybrid between an apartment and a room. You share the front door with the host, but don't share any living space. You have your own bedroom, beautiful bath and living room. The kitchenette is adequate for having a little breakfast or lunch or maybe reheating some leftovers from a restaurant dinner the night before. There is plenty of space for clothes and things which is a treat in Airbnb land. If you like architecture, the neighborhood is delightful. The houses are small, many are restored and some are a little over the top. I got a chance to talk to Patricia while we were on the front porch; she is a warm and interesting person which makes her a great host. Do not hesitate to choose The 1885 Victorian Suite for your next stay in Denver.

We took a little travel rest and then Jamie came back to pick us up to have dinner at their house. It was great to see Wendy and Piper again. The next day Jamie picked me up to take a walk and brought a yoga mat for Dawn. He and I went to Cheeseman Park and the Botanical Garden. He is recovering from some knee surgery so he needs to walk as I do. I did some food shopping on the way back. In the afternoon, Dawn and I went to the Clifford Still Museum and then, after getting to their house with a Lyft, we went to the local Italian restaurant with Jamie. Wendy had been up with Piper all night so they stayed home.

Some photos

Clyfford Still Painting
The first thing we did was walk into town from our apartment and go the the Clyfford Still Museum. It operates differently than most museums in that its collection is stable but it sucessively hires different people to curate the collection, so if you return to the museum you will see a totally different set of works from a different angle. When we asked each other which was our favorite painting, we both picked this one. I think for its movement.
"In 1951, Clyfford Still ended his relationship with the prestigious Betty Parsons Gallery in New York. From that time forward, only a very select few of his works entered the art market. As a result, the Clyfford Still Museum now houses 95 percent of the artist’s total output, making its collection the most intact body of work of any major artist.

In addition to the artworks, the Museum is also home to the artist’s archives of letters, sketchbooks, manuscripts, photo albums, and personal effects. The Museum’s rotating exhibition program, drawn almost exclusively from the Museum’s extensive collections, illuminates both Still and the important period of American art history surrounding his lifetime. The Museum also works with the Denver Art Museum and neighboring institutions in the development of joint programming that further contextualizes and complements the collection."
Clyfford Still photo
Union Station We spent half a day walking and talking with Jamie in the downtown area. We wandered around but ended behind Union Station getting filled in about where he had been for the past twenty-five years. Then we headed for the pedestrian area and found a cafeteria style soup and sandwich place. The two pictures below of us are courtesy of him.
Dawn at Lunch  Stephen at lunch
Just after Jamie took the pictures, he got a call that he needed to pick up a prescription for Piper at the drugstore, so we got the afternoon to ourselves. We walked along the river then found a spot for an afternoon drink. We got some practice in using Lyft which means knowing where we are and also standing someplace where the driver can safely and legally stop. We ate dinner at home, leftovers (part of Dawn's trout from the night before) and stuff we picked up at the Central Market, a short walk away.
On Saturday we went to the zoo.

We have looked at a lot of carousels, but it has been a while since we have ridden one. It was fun. Also, we saw the baby giraffe and the polar bear swimming in his pool which is a rarety. We posed for pictures then rode the train. My selfie skills are improving.
Denver Carousel
Three girls at zoo Stephen and Jamie

She seems to be Searching my Soul

Any answers will not reside in me, but rather in her. She seems to have a wisdom that will find what she needs to know. Is she part of a new generation with compassion and understanding? The world is becoming hers.

Or is she just the seven year old daughter of my nephew? But her look brings me to a deep pause. It reminds me that there was a time when I thought that I knew the answers and now I realize that I don't even know the questions.

For me she brings hope. I think it is the quiet strength, the stillness, that after a long time, brings a slow smile to my face.

Good luck to us all.
After the zoo, we had lunch outside of The Tattered Covered Bookstore on East Colfax. It is in an old theater. You can see the Cove lighting position in the ceiling and the control booth and projection windows on the far wall. This borrowed picture was taken from the old stage. Lunch was odd in that there was a 30 minute wait even though half the tables were empty. It turns out they were seriously short of staff because of illness, so there was only the owner and one server out front. The food came hot, tasty and in large quanities.

After we chilled back at our place where I got to watch Patricia's son dismantle the front porch steps. He ended up not be able to finish the task that afternoon so he screwed a chair to the railing to give us a step so we could go to dinner and then leave for the airport the next day.

Tattered Cover Bookstore
Peters Chinese Cafe
After Jamie and I went to pickup some beer we stopped at Peter's Chinese Cafe to pick up dinner. I always thought the Soup Nazi on the Seinfeld show was a result of some writer's hyper-imagination. But here was the prototype. He stormed around his shop, making sure that everything was going perfectly. A customer came in to get some takeout and stood four feet from the counter to order his food. He was afraid to get nearer. Peter wouldn't allow it and exhorted him at full volume, "Come closer, come closer". The young woman, in full Peking Opera makeup, who was working the cash register, seemed just as afraid. Of course, people came here because it was in the neighborhood and as we found out the food was really good. While we were waiting, I found out from Jamie perhaps another reaaon. At heart he was a kind soul as exampled by the story that a customer of his had been offered a job there just because he needed one. Also Piper and he were best buddies and had always been.
Dinner was great and our farewells to Piper and Wendy were kind of sad, but we had a plane to catch so the next morning Jamie appeared at our door and dropped us at the airport. Big hugs all around and he waved us up the escalator to began the next phase of our trip. On to St. George, Utah
Flying  out of Denver
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