06.10.01: Final Days in Colorado

Saturday morning came early, and we headed back to the ranch to grab the rest of my stuff. Breakfast was the same ‘ol same ‘ol. It was strange and lonely not to need to take care of Roscoe.
I managed to get the rest of my stuff together and caught a golf cart at the same time. The cleaning lady helped me get my stuff up to the parking lot which made my life much easier. I dumped it all into the back of the truck and then headed back down again.

I saw Lillan and Emma off, and then Lacy headed out. There was lots of hugging and many tears from many people. I caught up with Russell and we decided that since his friend's weren't coming to get him until later in the day he could just come with us since we planned to go into Durango and hang out for the day. We loaded up everything and headed back over to the hotel to drop all the stuff in the room. I had so much stuff. I was a bit worried that I couldn't get it all into the bags that we had, but we knew there was a Wal-Mart in Denver if all else failed.

We stopped and shipped off my carrot sticks so we wouldn't have to worry about them on the plane, and then headed west to Durango. The hour’s drive was enjoyable with all of the gorgeous leaves in brilliant yellows and reds and oranges.

We stopped by Michelle and Ralph's house so I could pick up the final payment for my saddle and so Jim could take a few more pictures of their horses. We ended up with some cute ones of Junior and Angel together.

We headed into the city with a quick stop at Wal-Mart to cash the check that Ralph gave me. We roamed up and down main street for a while and ate at Carvers for lunch. We discovered they have excellent chili cheese fries. We did a little shopping for Christmas presents and stopped in at the Oktoberfest that was going on at the same time.

We had a great time hanging out and roaming around town. We stopped in a pool hall before we left to shoot a few games. I was really thrown off because the table was a 9' table with the pockets shimmed so they were narrower. Even with Russell and I both playing against Jim we couldn't win.

We headed back to Pagosa again and Jim wanted a nap so I jumped in the shower really quickly and then Jim got into the shower and lay down for a while. Russell and I hung out outside in the warm afternoon sun while Jim slept. He finally got up and we headed into town for dinner before Russell had to meet his friends. We found an excellent Italian restaurant that actually served quite a bit of seafood Italian, which turned out to be excellent. It was a really enjoyable meal and a fine place to eat. Definitely on the return to list.

We finished up and headed out so that Russell could get his stuff and meet his friends. Jim and I crashed pretty quickly after that.

Morning came at the late hour of 7:30. I over slept by a half hour! That in and of itself was pretty impressive. I was hungry immediately, having "missed" half of my usual breakfast. We headed down to look for places to eat for breakfast and found Victoria's cafe. It is a Victorian cafe which is only open for breakfast and lunch. I delighted in real quiche which was fantastic and had a really nice biscuit as well. If only ranch breakfasts were that good!

We finished up packing the stuff into the truck and headed east to Denver shortly thereafter.

The drive was fantastic; all the aspens were in brilliant color. We stopped at Treasure Falls to take pictures, and I discovered there was a trail to the top. I made a mental note so that hopefully next year I can hike it. We headed on up the road and stopped several times more to take pictures, first at a really fantastic overlook, and then next at a point where there was some snow. We of course had to run out and stand in the snow to prove we did it. It was fun, and we finally continued on our way over the pass.

The drive was interesting since the landscape changes so quickly. It was much more arid on the other side of the mountains to my surprise. Pagosa Springs is actually green compared to the east side of the mountains. Most of the driving was done along a very wide flat valley. So wide that it’s probably not even a valley. The mountains were always in the distance. We saw peaks with more snow as we headed in, though not near so much snow as was there a week prior.

We finally arrived in Denver late in the evening and after a brief bit of confusion as to where the hotel was we found it and drug all of the stuff in. I had so much stuff! We decided to head out to dinner, and grabbed a meal at Qdoba which was right around the corner. I took a quick shower when we got back and then Jim jumped in so that we could pack all the soap.

Several hours later there was not an ounce of spare room in three check bags and four carryon bags. When I say no room, I mean NO room. Everything was in, but it was a tight fit. I think next year if I return, I'll ship some stuff back...

We fell into bed and woke too early to get our things to the airport. Jim returned the rental car and then we grabbed a quick light breakfast from the hotel. The shuttle came at 8:45 and took us over to the airport. It took forever to get through security since Denver feeds everyone through one main section of security gates. Once you are through there, you have to take the train to your appropriate concourse. Despite the fact that I think I walked a mile through the line in security, it moved reasonably quickly.

We only had one hitch since I packed the leather seal stuff in the carryon bag on accident. It’s in a round metal tin which the guy asked to see. He opened it up and then went to check for approval on it, and they allowed me to keep it. I was pleased as I would have thought they would want to take it from me, being a semi-solid type material. We stored it back in the suitcase and off we went.

The flights were uneventful, though it was frustrating to have to RUN through the Atlanta airport. We made it with just enough time for Jim to go grab some snacks for us to take on the plane. They are now allowing you to keep liquids if you purchase them in the airport (how they know the difference, I don't know). So we grabbed come Cheez-its and a bottle of water and that became lunch.

I was starving when we got off the plane to a very green Baltimore. We headed to baggage claim and found all of our bags, which was a relief. Everything was pretty much intact which made me happy.

We grabbed a quick dinner then stumbled into the house and crashed. I was happy to be home, but yet at the same time, was sorely missing Colorado. The trip was wonderful, beyond what I could have imagined. I am very much looking forward to discovering what I have learned that I wasn't aware of as I continue to explore.
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