13 May 2014

Vacation--or so I've been told

My contract for the 2013-14 season with The Denver Center For The Performing Arts came to a close in the middle of April, and instead of hopping in the car and heading immediately for San Diego, I made the decision that I needed to stay in Denver. Although this was a difficult decision, it made sense at the time, and the last few weeks have proven it was the right choice. I have to say that I will miss my friends in San Diego, seeing my California family, and the non-stop weeknights and weekends of eating (drinking) my way through San Diego with my friend Veronica.

But really, I am glad to be staying in Colorado.

My beautiful Great Dane, Nalla, was recently diagnosed with bone cancer, and last week Maceo--my big orange cat which actually belongs to Doug Sager (see previous post)--needed emergency major surgery. Nalla is hanging in there, if a bit limpy, and Maceo is crabbily roaming the house in his cone of shame. As it turns out, the four-leggeds needed me this summer.

The Cone Of Shame comes off soon!

With the end of the working season, I pictured long lovely spring days riding my big bike through the foothills, and my little bike over crazy, rocky dirt mountain passes. As it turns out, the daydreams haven't necessarily come true; having started a kitchen remodel in March, I have spent a good portion of most days on my "vacation" working on it. I also decided that since I will be here all summer long, I'm going to grow a garden. This is somewhat laughable, as in the past it has seemed as though I had a black thumb. I helped some friends move a couple of months ago, and when someone jokingly asked if I should be trusted with carrying a houseplant, I looked down in time to see a piece of the plant fall off. No really, it just FELL OFF! I didn't do anything to it--it leapt to its own death, shaming me. So I'm going to show them--a garden I shall have!

Despite all the home activity, I have gotten out a bit to go riding. Weekday riding is awesome! I have gone out to grab a couple of tags with my Front Range Tag O Rama group, and dropped a couple of new ones too. I love riding when there is no one on the roads, and last week I took a new road and enjoyed the solitude. The only downside is the wildlife. I'm pretty sure the deer know most people are at work or school, so they hang out right on the side of the roads. I can't say for sure that they are waiting for me, but I'm not taking chances anymore!

Last Thursday I rode southwest on 285 to Jefferson. In Conifer I had to stop and put the quilted liner into my riding pants. Although it was warm as I rode out of Denver, the temps quickly dropped and I found myself shivering on the road, and dropping my pants in the Conoco parking lot. Heehee.

The southern end of the Tarryall Valley. Gorgeous day, but a bit chilly!

When I got to Jefferson I turned left, heading down county road 77 through the Tarryall Valley. It was a beautiful ride, and I felt like I was the only person on the road. Well, me and the deer.... A couple of miles in, I pulled over thinking I had found my sign. But I quickly realized it was the wrong one! Dang it!! I had a sneaking suspicion that I was going to have to ride all the way through the valley to the south end to find the exact tag I was looking to grab. But you know what, that's ok. It was a gorgeous ride, and ending that far south, I decided to head east on highway 24 from there to Woodland Park, then head north on 67 and ride home through Deckers. This would mean I just make a big loop, and I could avoid riding over the Kenosha Pass and through the windy valley for a second time that day. Once was enough, thank you very much.

I stopped at Deckers Corners, a restaurant I've been to once before, to have a little lunch, and continue on from there. A bean and cheese burrito smothered in green chili and a cup of coffee later, I headed on my way.


At this point, there were several ways I could go home. I could leave the restaurant and continue on that road, taking the left fork, and head north to Pine Junction, riding through Pine and the spot where the buck hit me a year and a half ago. Not that I'm superstitious, but NO THANK YOU. So the other option was to take the right fork and either stay straight, riding past the historic Platte River Hotel to Foxton Road, and up to Conifer, or turn right at the dirt road and head back through Sedalia and up Santa Fe. I went the route of Foxton, running into more deer, though not literally this time.

It was a good five hours out on the road, and it was nice to get away from city for a bit. There was a little dirt, as in super easy dirt roads I could easily take the MINI on. I am really looking forward to taking the Taz out soon, on some real dirt roads. Right now I am just waiting for the thaw and sticking to pavement...

...and filling growlers in order to support my favorite local businesses.