The week started with fiscal year end and finished with Denver. It feels like that could be the whole post but I’d guess you want details so here goes.
Fiscal year end was in full swing but I’d done so much prep work in the previous ten days that my to do list was not too bad by Monday. I was there for whatever Mary needed but it wasn’t too stressful. I was even able to take lunches so went out Monday and tracked down all the new Lay’s flavors so we could have a taste test at knitting. The flavors were all over the board and different people liked different ones. Erica and I like Rueben (but I’d still prefer a plain Lay’s) and Jan couldn’t put down the Biscuits and Gravy. The Truffle Fries were disappointing and the Gyros were just disgusting. I brought the leftovers to work and it was about the same. After sitting in the office for more than a week, the Gyros got thrown out.
On Tuesday night, Lori brought me the errant bag of sock yarn that she’d picked up in Omaha so we had fun sorting all that. She took a couple of bags of yarn and I’d already taken what I wanted but I still had a tote full of yarn to share. All good, right?
I did a single load of laundry when I got home on Thursday, threw the resulting clean clothes in a book bag and I was ready for Denver when I left for work on Friday, which flew by. I was pretty excited, despite finding out that Frontier charges for carry ons! $40 each way for each person! Total rip off. Anyway, I called Amanda and asked if she had a suitcase that Rene and I could combine our stuff into because that only cost $20 each way to check. She had one so we quickly repacked at her house and headed to Omaha.
The flight was uneventful (can’t ask for more these days) and we got our car and drove to the hotel, which was right downtown and just a block and a half from the 1th Street pedestrian mall. It was pretty late but we were starving so the bellhop at the hotel sent us to the 5280 Burger Bar. We didn’t eat until almost 11:00 but it was so dry and cool that we sat outside. I got the Southern Bell with housemade pimento cheese and pecan smoked bacon with fries and a Guinness. Yum! If the rest of the trip went as well, we were in for a fun time.
After a too short night of sleep, which had me sharing a bed with Rene but that worked out fine, we were up and ready for the day. Our waitress the night before was British so we’d been talking about full English breakfasts so while they showered, I googled and found a pub that wasn’t too far away that served the real deal breakfast and had good reviews. We set out walking and found the pub in full swing, full of drunken soccer fans because it was the first day of the soccer season and they’d opened in the wee hours. We sat at the last table and enjoyed an excellent breakfast. Rene is a soccer fan so she was in her element, even drinking a shot another fan bought for her. The girl at the next table was screaming at the TV so loudly that I could feel it in my sinuses. Not exaggerating here. After a bit, Amanda and I went to sit outside to get some peace and quiet. Rene came out eventually and we headed to a yarn shop I’d looked up online. It was quite a walk but oh so pleasant. I should mention here that I’d forgotten to take my meds so my knee was none too happy at this point. We had to wait for the shop to open and then it was quirky so I made a pity purchase of some alpaca and off we went.
Right around the corner was a pot shop and we just had to check it out. It was called Euflora and you went down a flight of stairs off the main mall to a set of smoked glass doors. When they opened it was like walking onto a movie set. It was a bright store with sleek fixtures and an ultra modern vibe. You had to show a license to get in and there were tables around the center with jars of pot with explanations and statistics on each one. There were free standing towers full of edibles and paraphernalia was in recessed, well lit cubbies in one wall. The t-shirts and souvenirs were at the back. The clientele was a complete mix. There were no stoner types that I could see and the rest ran the gamut from young professionals to a hippie grandma and grandpa with the college age grandkids. Too funny! They all had scanners so scanned what they wanted to buy then went to the register to pay and get their goodies. There were helpful people walking around asking if you needed help with anything. I was floored by how mainstream it all was. And considering how many people were in there on a Saturday morning, I’ve got to say that Colorado has a gold mine on their hands. Nebraska will be the last state to legalize pot and so will miss out on all the tax revenue. Figures.
We took the 16th Street shuttle to the far end and then walked to another yarn shop. It was even quirkier than the last (seeing a trend here?) and I bought a little wallet but no yarn. We still weren’t hungry after our big breakfast so I opted to go back to the hotel for my meds while Amanda and Rene went shopping for water shoes for Amanda for the next day. When they got back, we headed out for a snack. Our hotel was perfectly located to everything fun downtown so we found a Mexican restaurant and enjoyed nachos in the bar. Amanda and Rene were flagging at this point so we went back to the hotel where they took a nap and I knitted while streaming Netflix. No matter how tired I am, I am not a napper. By the time they woke up, we were all starving so googled pizza and ended up at Lucky Pie, just a few shuttle stops away. It was another amazing meal. We just could not go wrong in Denver. I ended with fresh donut holes with espresso crème anglaise. Heaven! We walked back along the mall, enjoying the dry weather and festive crowds. We didn’t stay out too late because the next day was white water rafting so we needed our beauty rest.
We got up early and headed to Estes Park in our rental car, stopping along the way for a hearty breakfast in Boulder since we’d be busy at lunch time. We got on a school bus (hadn’t been on one of them in I don’t know how long) in Estes only to be driven 90 minutes to the Cache la Poudre River near Fort Collins. At least I got a bunch of knitting done. After suiting up with helmets and life jackets in a state park, they gave us a safety talk and off we went to the river. Our guide was Leo, who sat in the back and Rene and Amanda offered to be the lead paddlers in the front. I was in the middle of the boat next to a little girl who wasn’t paddling. I assured her no one would be going overboard from our raft. Can you see where this is going?
We were on the river for about 2 hours totally and had made it through the biggest rapids (level 3) plus had stopped to jump off of a rock and swim, which I’d declined since I didn’t want to get wet it being a bit chilly. We got back in our boats for the last bit of the trip when Leo asked if we wanted to go through the last rapids straight of spinning. “Spinning!” everyone shouted. When we went spinning into a spot between huge rocks, my side of the boat went under but when we hit the second rock, Rene got pitched back in. I wasn’t so lucky so was tumbling around in the rapids before popping up 20 feet away from the boat. I swam over, took the oar someone stretched out towards me and Leo grabbed my life jacket and pulled me in like I weighed nothing. I was fine through this all (chalk that up to being completely comfortable in water having grown up in The Ocean State) but he started through his check list – Are you OK? Do you need immediate medical attention? Did you swallow any water? (what’s that last one about?) I must have answered them all correctly because he settled me back on the gunwale and headed back down the river. I have to take Rene and Amanda’s word that they were frantic once I went in because by the time I was back in the boat, they were pissing themselves laughing. The only casualty was one of my diamond earrings. I’ll call it a sacrifice to the river gods. Considering all the rocks I could have hit, I consider myself lucky. And it’s a good story, right? Here's a pic of me and my savior.
Amanda’s boyfriend sent a classic text during our ride back to Estes – “I’m glad you had fun and that Marilyn didn’t die.” In celebration of my escape from death, we decided we deserved a fabulous meal so headed to the Stanley Hotel (of The Shining fame) for dinner. We checked first to make sure there was no dress code because although we’d changed back into street clothes once we got off the bus, we were just in shorts and t-shirts. We weren’t underdressed at all in the bar and had an amazing meal, complete with appetizers, dinner, dessert (Amanda eats that first) and, of course, Guinness for Amanda and me. It was so much fun. We explored a bit afterwards but most of the hotel is off limits except for guests. With full bellies, we drove back to Denver, happy with our rafting and dining adventures. It was a great last night. Stay tuned for our last day’s fun.