And the Rest …

Ah, like when we moving out here, writing in the car to post later …

Breakfast Wednesday at, per our server at the Brewery's recommendation, Campus Cafe. Then about a 40-minute drive north and east to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

Visitor center and then the "trailhead" — the parking that at the base of the dunes. A little creek to cross, and then you just go out and up. There were a fair number of people there, and a decent amount of families set up along and in the creek, kind of like at a beach. No trails in the dunes, you're free to find your own path.

Plenty of people out, a few kids attempting to sled down the dunes. Luckily, it was pretty cloudy when we headed out; after about an hour, we just sat to watch all the activity, and then jumped down the dunes ourselves and headed back in.

On the road again north, a stop at the UFO Watchtower and then a side trip to get lunch in the little town of Crestone.

Heading through the pass out of the San Luis Valley early evening, rainstorms rolled in. We made it into Salida and at the recommendation of one of Monica's co-workers, into the Woodland Motel (very dog-friendly, noted for future reference). The cool, rainy evening was actually kind of welcome; we were, again, in walking distance of the town, so strolled in and scored a table on the covered patio overlooking the Arkansas River at Boathouse Cantina and watched the kayakers playing in the fast-moving current.

Wandered the town some and, hey, well, there was ice cream being sold (which is, for the record, where we first heard The Michael Jackson News) …

Next morning, Bongo Billy's for breakfast and WiFi and planning the day. Left us some time to walk the main street more, when everything was open. As might be expected, the shops are pretty heavy on the outdoors/outfitters. I noted one of them selling some pretty cool-looking, casual shoes the night before; a talk with the shop's owner in the morning had me coming away with a pair of Sanuks. I think it's pretty clear I'm not much of a clothes and/or shoes guy, but so far I'm likin' them a whole lot.

Then north and west to, at the innkeeper's recommendation, the ghost town of St. Elmo.

The drive along the little road in is beautiful, going further into the mountains. The town is at the end of a dirt road; it's so well preserved because it's on private land; so, while it is an attraction, it's also like a town, with most of the property privately owned. The rain caught up with us again before I could buy seeds to join in on the feeding of the "herd" of chipmunks — and apparently squirrels — there. We drove back out and stopped at the trailhead for Agnes Vaille Falls and watched ill-equipped hikers coming down out of the rain. But a short wait, and it cleared enough for us to head on on up.

Mount Antero behind us, the trail's a half-mile out and a few hundred feet up through the woods. A little clambering over rocks at the end to get to the base of the falls.

Just shy of an hour out, and then we were on the road again.

Stopped in Buena Vista for lunch at Mother's Bistro— with, apparently, hundreds of bikers who'd finished some sort of ride. And then up to 10,000' through Kenosha Pass back down to 5280' (yeah, that's right, your capital is lower than ours) into Denver.

Our hotel, selected for its proximity to the comics event, is in LoDo, lower downtown. Our walk to find dinner took us along 16th street, which, other than horse-drawn carriages, pedicabs, and the regular shuttle buses that run the length, is for pedestrians only. Restaurants and shops line the way, and it was bustling with all kinds of activity Friday evening.

The next morning, we lingered in (forgot to check the hotel's alarm clock, so we were up at 5:00, then back to sleep after some recovery) and then drove out to I Want More Comics. Sean, one of the owners, had bought some of our books to sell when we met him at ComicFest, and then sold out and needed to be restocked. It's a pretty great store, a real hangout. And then back downtown for the Cowtown Comix Fest.

John, who we also met at ComicFest, had invited us up for the event a couple months back. It was brand-new, untested, and only ran 1:00-5:00, so at first didn't seem feasible; but then the way vacation time was shaping up, it turned into our reason to finally head north.

The store hosting it, Tattered Cover, is a pretty amazing, two-story, independent book dealer in a great space. We were in an event room with about a dozen other comics creators and artists and a space for some presentations, which went on throughout the day.

Nobody knew quite what to expect from the event, but around 1:15, people started showing up — and it didn't really stop until 4:00. We've had less successful full days at larger events; again, both the Denver crowds and creators were an interested, friendly bunch. Headed out for dinner and more visiting with some of the other exhibitors, a great evening of meeting and catching up. Rounded out the night hanging out with Stan, talking cons and Greyhounds.

Yes, one more Sonic stop on the road. Now just about out of Colorado at around 2:00, crossing Raton Pass soon.


Update upon arrival. Figure just a bit more than six hours driving time from Denver to Santa Fe. Around 910 miles on this whole Colorado trip. Song of the drive (and possibly the summer) was undeniably "Boom Boom Pow."

This past week, seems that my Connecticut hometown was hit by a tornado. M's got some photos at her blog.

Our dog is totally sacked out now after a full weekend of, among other things, lizard hunting with her buddy Fifi.

Also worth noting that, until now, I've been really, really good about keeping a travel journal of our vacations over the past decade. Anything I write now will be days and days after the fact, so it seems I'm officially ceding that role to this blog now.


monica said...

"I think it's pretty clear I'm not much of a clothes and/or shoes guy..."


monica said...

They are cool shoes, sweetie. And they look nice on you.

(The ladies' models I tried on were so dumpy-looking, but they were comfy! ... sigh ...