Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

How I'm spending my summer vacation

Been meaning to mention this for days now. FYI: we're in Colorado at the moment, for my stepbrother's wedding. Occasional diary entries will ensue.

The trip itself was smooth as silk -- indeed, better than I would have credited possible. I'd figured that the Friday before Labor Day would surely be a bad travel day, but nothing of the sort was true. The drive to Logan was among the fastest I've ever done: while northbound traffic was tied up from (literally) Woburn down to Braintree, southbound was empty, and the much-feared detour turns out to be, frankly, nowhere near as bad as getting to Logan *used* to be, before the Williams tunnel. We had been worried about out seating assignments (two middle seats, in widely separated rows), but dealt with that by throwing money at it: by upgrading to this new "Economy Plus" thing United has, we not only got a row to ourselves, but enough legroom to not feel cramped. Hertz wound up giving us a free double-upgrade on the car -- they had promised me a satellite radio (needed since I was going to be driving Denver to Colorado Springs starting at 1:30am Boston time), and the only thing they had left with one was a fancier car. And the roads in Colorado are nice and fast at that hour: first time I've ever *legally* driven 75 MPH.

The B&B is lovely, and right at the edge of Cheyenne Canyon Park, so we went for a short hike up Helen Hunt Falls this morning -- the terrain is starkly beautiful, and the trail is a lot of fun, even having to work around an astonishing amount of sudden erosion from a huge storm yesterday. (Resulting in things like three-foot-high piles of sand in the middle of the trail, and the sight of trees downed simply because the soil they were rooted in had vanished.)

Following that was a full extended-family outing to the the zoo, which was delightful despite the inevitable cat-herding involved. (Our family is *really* extended, ranging from msmemory to my stepmother's ex-husband's third child -- I don't think the English language is capable of expressing that relationship.) The zoo is very neat, with a substantial variety of primates, an entire herd of disconcertingly friendly giraffes (who will come right up to you and stick out their tongues so that you can feed them crackers), and a small petting pen of Wallabies. (Along with a small flock of peacocks, including one elegant snow-white peacock, something I didn't even know existed. Don't know if it was a different species, or some kind of albino.) We got to see about half the zoo; we might yet go back at some point, and see the rest.

Dinner at the Phantom Canyon Brewing Company, a very nice brewpub in the middle of Colorado Springs. Good beer, although not exceptional. Truly excellent food, though, getting everything just so. (I expect my blackened steak to be good. But the Cheddar Mashed Potatos on the side were remarkable, full of cheese flavor and a strong chipotle kick.) Worth going back to, but it's clear that there are a lot of places to try in the Springs. I have to admit some surprise about the feel of the town: frankly, not only is it more cosmopolitan than I was expecting, the general tone is much more *liberal* than I was expecting. From the arthouse movie theater to the organic mixins at the ice cream parlor, most of these shops would look entirely at home in Harvard Square...

Tomorrow: the wedding...
Tags: diary
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