EPISODE 5

We passed a large “Windmill Farm” in Nebraska that was taking advantage of the prevailing winds.
windmill farm

Our original KOA was supposed to be just northeast of Denver, but when we called to check availability they told us that they were already booked for the weekend, and to try the other campground east of Denver. I called and they asked how long was our trailer? We I replied 16", they said sure, they could find a spot for us. They also told us how to modify our route to head directly to their location. The road we took was beautiful and each time you crested a hill you had a view that went to the horizon all the way around. Unfortunately there weren't a lot of "facilities" available, but we used the trailer instead. The headwind came back just to make the ride more interesting.

The KOA was located just off route 70, and it was the one Erik and I passed on the last trip west. I had said that Maggie and I would probably be staying there when we came to visit. I just forgot that we'd have the cat! The desk clerk showed us our site, and we had a full hook-up this time. Arriving about 6:00 Thursday evening, there were a few campers set up already. By Friday night the place would be almost full. Our neighbors were living in their trailer while their house was being built. We found out that Denver had a water shortage, and that unemployment was pretty high.

When everything was connected we called Erik, then drove to his dorm to take him out for dinner. He chose Chili's, and Maggie suggested we go to Wal-Mart afterwards for supplies. Little did I realize that she would be loading up Erik for the next semester. He said that the plan was for us to visit the mountains while we were there, but he needed to go to the school tomorrow to process and print some assignments. He asked if we'd mind joining him in the darkroom, but I guess the eager look on my face was a dead give-away. I hadn't been in a real lab in years, and hoped to get a tour of the school. We dropped him off at the dorm and set the schedule for Friday.

Erik had told us to plan on coming by about noon, so we spent the morning doing chores in the trailer. When we picked him up he directed us to the school a few blocks away. Maggie and I followed him around as he picked up developing equipment and headed for a darkroom. Watching him set up tanks to develop a few sheets of 4x5 B&W film brought back memories of the hours I had spent years ago working in a lab. While the film was drying he and I printed a couple of negatives while Maggie sat in the van reading a Harry Potter book (she brought the series).

Erik in lab

Lab master Erik!

Downtown Denver
The view of Denver from the school.

For supper we walked downtown to the 16th street mall, where we ate at the Hard Rock Cafe. Then after a little shopping we drove back to the campsite to show Erik the trailer and figure out what we wanted to see over the next 2 days. Our plans for tomorrow included a trip to Estes Park, located in the Rocky Mountains, about 2 hours away.

When we met with Erik on Saturday morning, he said that something had come up that he had to do that afternoon, so could we plan on the mountains for tomorrow? The weather was supposed to be good both days, so we agreed and he suggested that we go to Red Rock park, just on the other side of Denver. I took a look at the route on the laptop, and figured it was an easy trip. Right. Along the way we were looking for a turnoff for route 28, but when it seemed like we had driven too far, I pulled over and hooked up the GPS. Yep, the road we were on didn't have an exit for route 28 and we had driven over it 15 minutes ago. Just a little pilot error. Erik navigated with the laptop to the park entrance without anymore mistakes. As we drove through countryside we came upon huge red rocks (thus the name!) jutting out of the ground forming tableaus around the landscape. We spent a few hours walking the trails and photographing the scenery. I felt like Ansel Adams in Yellowstone Park!

Photographers

red rock1
red rock 2
red rock 3
Maggie asked me to shoot a close-up of the veins in the rock because they looked so pretty.

red rock 4
deer
I was photographing this formation when I noticed a movement to the left of the frame. Using a telephoto lens I zoomed in on this deer that was feeding in the bushes.

We left Erik at his room and returned to the trailer. Our neighbor came over to say hi and we gave him a tour of the Scamp. When we asked him about a local grocery store he recommended a place about 7-8 miles away. Maggie and I headed down the Colfax road, which Erik had told us was the longest continuous road in the country, and found the Thriftymart. Supper that night was TV dinners cooked in the microwave, and ice cream for an evening treat.

foto ace