Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Mile High Chillin' With My Family

Moni's was in the middle of her just concluded family reunion in Colorado's state capitol over the weekend just relaxing.

The reason you TransGriot readers are just now seeing this post about it is because I decided before I left Houston to take the opportunity to unplug from the Net for a few days, recharge the creative batteries and treat this reunion like a vacation.  

I didn't want to think about anything activism or blog related because I was going to have plenty of time to deal with that when I returned to Houston starting July 2.    

In addition to seeing my blood family members from different parts of the country and meeting my Colorado based cousins I tried to carve out some time to hang out with the Denver based trans family before I headed back to Texas Sunday after arriving there a little after 5 PM MDT Thursday afternoon.

We bounced out of Houston at 10 PM CDT Wednesday night headed north on I-45 toward Dallas on the first leg of a 1100 mile trip that would take us up I-45, on I-30 west for a mile to connect with I-35E going north to Denton and its merger point with I-35W from Fort Worth, I-35 through Oklahoma City and Wichita, KS to I-135 north to Salina, KS and west on I-70 through the Sunflower State to Colorado.

Thursday was a gorgeous travel day with not a cloud in the sky and the best part about starting that late was we got through Dallas and OKC before the morning rush hour started and while most of the truckers were asleep. 

Wind Turbines along I-70 in eastern KansasWe did get to see a lot of interesting scenery during the drive and as I'm used to with Dawn and Polar thought provoking commentary on a lot of topics.

This time the commentary came from the smart people that are part of my family tree.

As we rolled north and west we spotted acres of farmland with soybeans and wheat growing on it.  Cattle grazing in Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado.  Grain silos dotting the flat plains of Kansas to the horizons edge, clusters of wind turbines producing power west of Salina, KS and Limon, CO and farmers along I-135 and I-70 in Kansas busily harvesting their wheat in preparation to sending it to market.  

When I spotted that United plane on final approach to DIA, passed the hotel I stayed at on the corner of  I-70 and Quebec St. that was a Hilton back in 1988 during my Air Marshal days and the Havana Street exit that used to lead to Stapleton it reminded me for a moment about how much things had changed in Denver, my life and how much I missed the airline biz.

But I couldn't dwell on that thought long because we did get to Denver right at rush hour and I happened to be behind the wheel of our rented van. One thing that hasn't changed about the city is that traffic on I-25 and I-70 still sucks.

Before I'd left Houston I'd planned a Friday lunch outing with Eden Lane and hanging out with Kelley Winters as well on Saturday but you know what they say about best laid plans.  Complications killed both of those planned events (darn it) after I arrived here Thursday afternoon. 

It was unseasonably warm here in Denver the first two days with the temps clocking in at 95 and 97 degrees. (No Denver peeps, I didn't bring the heat from Texas with me)  But considering I ducked out of Houston as the temperature spiked up to 100 and 102 on Thursday and Friday for the first time this summer, this was heaven.  

Took a ride on the South Platte Trolley by the Aquarium on Friday with my uncle and aunt, my grandmother, mom and sister. 

When the female guide after asking how many of us riding the trolley were from out of town and we Texans and New Yorkers raised our hands, she began bragging about her beloved Broncos beating our local NFL squads at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium as we passed it. 

I got a return shot in to my family's and the New Yorkers snickering that wasn't the 31-25 case last season when they played the Texans last September.

Image of La Quinta Inn Denver Central, DenverOnce a smartass, always a smartass.

Enjoyed the dinner at the Cheesecake Factory downtown with my family Friday night despite us having to fight our way past Coors Field traffic to get to it and spend a few minutes looking for reasonable parking.  We did find a garage in Tabor Center that was $6 right next to the place, so it was all good. 

Speaking of good, there was next door to our hotel a Mexican restaurant called Maya's that had great food, reasonable prices, sizable portions and excellent service that we went to on Thursday evening and just before we departed Denver on Sunday afternoon. 

Our LaQuinta hotel in addition to being next to I-25 and close to downtown also had free breakfast.  After I helped myself to the juice and waffles I walked out of the front door of the hotel and hiked up the viaduct toward Coors Field to burn off those calories.

Coors FieldI also had a nice conversation with several people from the San Francisco bay area checked into the hotel during my stay there who were in town to watch their beloved Giants take on and get spanked by the Rockies

So I could get away from the hotel once my Saturday event with Kelley also turned out to be a disappointing no-go, I tagged along on a trip up I-25 to Dacono, CO where there is a motocross and go-cart track complex.  I watched my Uncle Leo and my cousin William do some laps around the track in carts that can run up to 60 MPH and required them to suit up and wear a helmet for the ride.

Colorado welcome sign on I-70 at the Kansas borderThe storm clouds started gathering over the Rockies and looking like they were about to drop another monsoon like rain on us, but didn't.  It actually cooled things down before they headed into the mountains to hit a casino and I took the opportunity to have some quiet time without my grandmother in the room and get some sleep I would sorely need when we hit the road the next day.

I enjoy doing road trips, and this one was not only a chance to drive interstates I don't normally get to travel on in the Midwest and see the Denver area again, I needed the change of scenery. 

And looking forward to the next one I do.    

HT to Mike and Joyce's Travel Pages and AARoads.com for the Kansas and Colorado highway photos I used in this post.  

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