Western Adventures 2008 travel blog

Ready to go

Mount Sopris

Chair Mountain

We got a late start from Grand Junction this morning but we didn’t have a great distance to go. We had the usual point and look delays because the landscape just keeps changing to another “Wow”. We traveled along I-70, which runs from the middle of Utah to Denver and on to Kansas City. The travelers on this highway are obviously former residents of Los Angeles. We were almost run over several times and we aren’t some small object on the road. Between Rifle and Silt (you gotta love those names) a bald eagle flew right across the road in front of us and now far down the road we saw a herd of buffalo, 10 maybe 12. Other that the deer we saw the first day out we have seen absolutely no wildlife. We turned off at Glenwood Springs and began what I will call my Nostalgia Trip. Back in 1952 I had just been released from Sister Kenny Institute in Minneapolis after having major surgery. Mother and I traveled to Glenwood Springs. Her mission was to find us a summer home in the cool climate, far from the heat of southern New Mexico. The realtor showed us a wonderful two story, six bedroom house just outside the small town of Carbondale, south of Glenwood Springs. It was ideal because we could go to Glenwood and swim in the enormous hot water pool or go to the steam baths. It was good therapy for me. My stepfather was delighted and we spent the rest of the summer moving in. It became an annual summer retreat. My bedroom looked out on the most beautiful mountain in the world, Mt. Sopris. We had horses, sheep, a milk cow or two and cats who lived in the barn. As soon as I was out of school we would all take off for Carbondale. Barney would make occasional trips back to New Mexico on business but most of that could be handled by phone. The only thing Mother didn’t like about it was that Barney would invite all his New Mexico friends up to go fishing and eat at our table. Mother was always the cook. But then my doctor and therapist would come from Kenny for their annual vacation and send by my outpatient physical report back to Kenny. We would take our company to the small town of Aspen, down the road toward Independence Pass. There were great restaurants and lots of music to listen to. We would drive out to Maroon Bells and hike up to the lake at the base of the peaks. We would go to Redstone to the Castle for lunch and to Marble to and browse through the scrap pieces. So much to do and so many beautiful places to go. Then Mother insisted we sell the big house and land and move into a smaller house in town. Before it was finished Barney died and we stopped making the annual trip. Willie and I came in 1987 and I couldn’t believe the changes. Aspen was now a suburb of Los Angeles and Glenwood Springs had doubled in size. Carbondale was bigger (from 1500 to 5500), the house we loved had been moved off the property and a road cut through the land. There was a 7-11 where our house had been. Part of this trip was to go back one more time to see how things had changed. I really miss the mountains and this particular place. I teared up several times while we were driving around looking at the way the town had changed and how much building was being done up into the mountains. The Yuppies have found the place and are turning it (and most of Colorado) into miniature Houstons and Chicagos. We ate dinner at one of those fancy places that has foreign language words on the menu. The up side is that the mountains have not changed, and hopefully people won’t try to change them. We are staying at a pretty RV park on the Crystal River, south of Carbondale. As I write this I am listening to the river run over the rocks right outside my window and tomorrow morning we will have our coffee outside and watch the river run. The sound will lull me to sleep tonight and I will dream again of my childhood.

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