Boulder, CO

Tumbleweeds are totally a real thing!

Shell - @3:36 pm

Today didn’t start out too well. Dave broke the waffle machine at breakfast, we sleepily tried to unlock another hotel guest’s car because it was black and that’s basically all we know about our own car, and oh yeah . . . a town in Texas was basically wiped out overnight by the tornado that we narrowly escaped yesterday. Eek.

After some experimentation we’ve settled on one travel sickness tablet for me, taken shortly before we leave, to keep me from throwing up but also not make my entire body numb like it was on Saturday with the recommended dose. So today I managed to stay awake for probably abour 98% of the car journey, yay! Secretly I think he might prefer it if I just sleep through, but at least trying to spot a license plate from each state is keeping me quiet.

Nebraska is not a state of impressive scenery. It’s flat, it has farms, and that’s about it. We didn’t really expect to enjoy driving through it but I have to say the endless farms are an excellent accompaniment to a bit of Sufjan Stevens and this part of the trip went by in the blink of an eye.

It was quite sunny and nice, despite appearances.
It was quite sunny and nice, despite appearances.

Suddenly and unexpectedly in the middle of all this serenity, a tumbleweed tumbled across the road at high speed and briefly collided with the front of the car. A real actual tumbleweed! A moment later we saw a “Welcome to colorful Colorado” sign, and suddenly we were inundated with tumbleweeds. There were hundreds of them stuck in the wire fence alongside the road, and every few seconds one of them came loose and tumbled its way lazily across the road. Some of them were huge. It was very exciting! Five minutes later the landscape was all rolling hills and greenery, completely different to the perfectly flat stretches of corn we’d been seeing for the last 300 miles. Sadly we’d failed to charge the camera, oops.

Shortly after passing into Colorado we realised there was a definite upwards-ness to the road, and there were even occasional patches of snow by the roadside. Given how sunny it looked outside, it was a little weird. We spent the next 150 miles or so trying to decide if what we could see in the distance was clouds or Rocky Mountains (it was clouds, turns out you can’t see the mountains until you’re basically on top of Denver) and drinking the last of my warm flat root beer that had been with us ever since Wisconsin Dells. I have become addicted to root beer.

We took a bit of a detour on the way in to Denver, first to avoid a toll road and then because we missed the turn off into the hotel, but eventually rolled up to the first hotel where Dave’s UK driving license caused actual confusion for a receptionist. Bless. The hotel room is awesome, which is good since we’re here for two nights, and because road tripping is a super classy holiday I got straight to work washing our filthy socks in the bathroom sink. Then, more adventuring!

Bizarrely Dave was not the slightest bit bored of driving so we drove another half hour or so into Boulder, a town further in the foothills of the mountains. It was a weird combination of picturesque arty hipster stuff, and an apparent underclass of scruffy rednecks who all hang out in the K-Mart (which had a police officer stationed in a chair by the booze fridge). It was a lot hotter here than in Denver, so we quickly came up with the plan of just getting an ice lolly and a drink and lounging around in the park for a bit. We settled down by a river that was overflowing with snow melt, and watched the locals dog walking and eating bagels. We also discovered that bins in Boulder are very confusing, and ended up bringing our lolly wrappers all the way back to Denver because we just couldn’t figure it out. It’s weird, the things that cause trouble in a foreign place.

Overflowing river
Every 50 years it apparently gets as high as the bridge.

It was interesting to read various signs and warning notices and realise how often this place floods. Why people live in places that regularly flood continues to confuse me, but Dave appeared ready to pack up and move here immediately. Takes all sorts, I suppose.

The first pedestrian type place we've seen!
The first pedestrian type place we’ve seen!

We didn’t do much in Boulder, it had been a long day, so after our quick wander around the pedestrianised downtown we headed back to Denver. Sadly we timed this to coincide with rush hour traffic, but on the bright side we spotted a couple more state license plates and also ended up on an accidental detour to add a measure of excitement.

Our classy dining choice tonight? Dominos, delivered to the hotel room, accompanying WWE Raw on the TV. We deserve a break, dammit.


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