To Boulder

So where are we? Oh yeah – in Hermosa, South Dakota, visiting friends. It’s now Sunday, three days into our road trip. Gees, at this rate summer will be over before I get us home again.

We had left Idaho Falls on Friday, May 28, spent Friday night in Cody, Wyoming, and driven to Hermosa, South Dakota, just south of Rapid City, on Saturday. My last blog ended with us taking over the whole bottom floor of the Langerman’s house, which is built up into the side of a steep wooded hill. A flock of wild turkeys regularly gobble-gobble and peck at the dirt on the hill that continues to ascend just beyond the Langerman’s back door. But I’m in such relaxed vacation mode I don’t have my act together to take a photo of the turkeys. I do, however, photograph some wild lilacs at the bottom of the Langerman’s hill:

Today, Sunday, May 30, we visit the Journey Museum in Rapid City, which is several museums in one. (Check out this link) It has a large Geology and Paleontology display and a stellar collection of Sioux (or Lakota) Indian artifacts. Here you see a couple of photos I take inside the museum.

There’s Megan peering out the Indian lodge or Tepee, which the Indian women were responsible for dismantling, transporting, and setting up again whenever the tribe uprooted and moved to new land.

On Tuesday morning, June 1, we load up the car and say good-bye to the Langerman’s. We’re headed to Boulder, Colorado, to visit our son, Ben. It’s about a five-hour drive. David drives, Megan dozes, and I take photos. Except the landscape doesn’t offer much photo fodder – we head south toward Cheyenne through some pretty barren terrain.

Take this little forest, for example…

Does it have a name? Total Wreck National Forest? Maybe these trees were growing fast and fine along Dead Tree Creek until the creek turned venomous and killed them. We had already passed Dead Horse Creek Road:

There’s probably some dead horses around somewhere.

Fodder for photos?

We’re roaring along down the highway at a pretty good clip when Megan starts freaking out over a fly that had gotten into the car – I guess while we were loading up – it was buzzing around and ricocheting off the 4-Runner’s back window.

“AAAAAAAAH! Get the fly!” She yells in my ear from the back seat. I crank my head around to scope out the little bugger.

“Megan, it’s just a fly, for heaven’s sake. It’s completely harmless.” I say, trying to calm what I consider to be her irrational fear of bugs, any and all bugs, dead or alive.

“It’s just a baby fly, Megan.” (Which it was) “It’s just hatched and is exploring its world.”

“Get it out!” AAAAAHHHH!”

“Megan, with warmer weather and summer and all, comes bugs. Not to worry. The fly won’t hurt you. Here’s a newspaper you can arm yourself with, to kill it, if you must.” I tell her.

Twenty seconds later, I’m out of my seat belt and leaping around the back seat swinging the rolled up newspaper at the fly. I kill it.

Whew!

We drive through Lusk, South Dakota. Population 1447.

One of the bigger towns.

We sail past a train with about 50 freight cars carrying coal.

Through vast nothingness.

“Aaaaaaaah! There’s a moth back here!” Megan yells in my ear again, flailing the rolled up newspaper through the air as the moth flits around and then settles on the floor by her feet.

“Megan, it’s just a harmless tiny moth.” I tell her. “But you can just step on it and kill it if it bothers you.”

Which she does. Whew!

The bugs ARE getting thicker and bigger…

I’m going to have what looks like a small tornado descending into every scene I photograph through our front windshield.

Entering Cheyenne, Wyoming now.

It’s becoming more scenic.

Past Loveland, Colorado.

Where did that camel come from?

Here you see the Rocky Mountains that run along the west side of Denver.

We’re in Boulder, Colorado, now – just northeast of Denver.

The ‘Flatirons’ hover in plain view just to the west. So called, because of their huge rock faces, each resembling the flat end of an iron.

We pull into Ben’s driveway. We will stay with him for a couple of nights. Megan and I are getting stuff out of the front of the 4-Runner, while David and Ben are hauling bags out of the back. Suddenly David and Ben back away from the truck, and away from the bag they had just dropped on the ground. Did they break something? Was there a bottle of liquid spilling?

“Whoaaooooow!” They exclaim in unison. I run back there to see what the fracas is all about.

There scurrying on the ground behind the truck is a gigantic hairy spider.

“It crawled out the top of the food bag through an opening in the zipper as I was lifting it out of the car,” said David. “It must have crawled into the bag back in Hermosa. It rode the whole way with us.”

My God! You’re kidding! What if that thing had gotten loose in the back while we were driving! What if it had crawled up the back of Megan’s seat and suddenly popped up, say, near her shoulder? Holy #$%@&*!!

By this time the spider had jumped up on the back wheel of the 4-Runner. I capture a picture of it with my iphone:

No kidding! Oh, and did I fail to mention that its legs were striped? Nice touch. Anyway, we just leave it alone and go into the house and not speak another word about it, or bugs.

It’s Tuesday evening and we are heading now to the Pearl Street Outdoor Mall in Boulder:

To meet Ben for dinner. We walk to one end of Pearl Street (don’t know which end, there is so much to process) and I shoot this photo:

Pearl Street Mall offers great places to eat, shop, and people watch, while you’re entertained by off-beat sidewalk musicians. One grungy homeless-looking group bangs out vocals to the banging of what looks like large pots and pans.

On Wednesday we all visit my sister, Susan and her husband Jim, who live in Westminster, just a few miles from Ben. Meeting up with them proves tricky, as their first grandchild, ‘Olivia’ had been born the day before, and Sue and Jim are busy visiting their older son, wife and grandbaby. They host a nice dinner at their house and we hang out there for several hours with them and their younger son, Greg, and his fiance, Tess. Here you see a picture of them:

Greg and Tess.

It’s now Thursday, June 3rd and we’re planning to hit the road for home. But not until after Ben takes us on a drive up Flagstaff Mountain, in that range of the Rockies that runs west of Denver. I capture this view with my iphone:

David and Ben are too courageous for my comfort with their boisterous rock climbing:

I had to yell at them, “DON”T FALL! HEY, DO YOU FEEL SMALL?”

Ben regularly goes ‘bouldering’ up here on Flagstaff Mountain. He points out some of the hand holds on this boulder.

Shall we climb this one? –

Ben climbs it – and captures this photo:

We’re driving back down Flagstaff mountain now, looking over Boulder:

You can see Highway 36 from Boulder to Denver shooting off in the distance toward the right.

Here you see a closer view of Boulder:

and closer still, where you can clearly see the campus of the University of Colorado:

We come down off Flagstaff mountain into Boulder and Ben takes us on a driving tour through the University of Colorado campus.

It is 12:30 p.m. now on Thursday – June 3rd. We are back at Ben’s house, and ready to say goodbye to Ben and his roommate, Nate. I get them to pose for a picture on their back porch with Megan:

It’s time to hit the road now, for our 11-hour drive back to Idaho. Of course, David and Megan are in the 4-Runner, with the engine running, waiting to go, while I … use the bathroom, find my purse, fill my water bottle, change my shoes, check the premises one more time for left items, say goodbye to the kitty, and

snap a photo with my iphone of the poppies and irises that are blooming along the walk in front of Ben’s house.

Okay, so I snap two photos because there’s two different kinds of poppies blooming – both of them stunning. Plus, they are the first poppies I have seen all year.

“Are we going?” David calls to me from the front driver’s window.

I hop into the truck. I think we have everything. Well, everything sans the spider. Hopefully. Which does beg the question – where, at this juncture, perchance would that big, creepy crawly, hairy thing be? (Ben, if you are reading this, you might want to check your bed.)

At least we’re headed north back into colder weather, where there’s fewer and smaller bugs. Now, who would have thought I’d mention colder weather with even a hint of cheerfulness. Maybe it’s relief in my voice – I’m not fond of meeting up with giant bugs or hairy, striped, tarantula-like spiders.

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4 Responses to “To Boulder”

  1. Rene Says:

    Wow! What a creepy spider! I can’t believe that was in the car with you guys. I am going to have a hard time getting that out of my head when I got to bed tonight. What sweet dreams!

  2. joddy123 Says:

    Well at least we left the spider in Boulder, Colorado. Or at least I hope we did. And at least you don’t have to sleep in Ben or Nate’s bed!

  3. Ben C. Says:

    Wow, nice documentation! I had a fun time while y’all were here!

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