Boston to the Bay- Denver pit stop

April 14, 2014

It was cold when we arrived at Denver’s Union Station.  We wandered through downtown and floated a few ideas around.  We settled on walking three miles to the Museum of Nature and Science, located inside City Park.  It felt good to move our legs after sitting for so long, and we agreed that the dry cold of the Rockies was much more bearable than the wet, cold bite of the Northeast.

Upon arrival at the museum, the intermittent sleep you get from sitting in a chair for three days caught up to me as I wandered from exhibit to exhibit.  I learned some scattered facts about wildlife and Native Americans, but soon found myself asleep in an IMAX theater.  After my shameless nap, we ventured outside where the weather had improved significantly.  It was 60 degrees and sunny and the views of downtown and the mountains were crystal clear.

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We had a few hours to kill so we plopped down along the 16th Street Mall, a downtown collection of shops and restaurants connected by light-rail tracks.  I was expecting upscale shops and a peaceful atmosphere.  Instead, we found the epicenter of vagrant life.

A bearded man in tattered clothes shouted, “Hey you, with the expensive backpack, got any rolling papers?”  I thought that was an especially interesting tactic.  Maybe his thought was that if he aggressively reminded me of the embarrassment of riches Jansport had bestowed upon me then I would feel obligated to pull some paraphernalia out of my ass.  Whatever, man.

This wasn’t the only hostile situation we encountered.  Outside of a McDonald’s, a large man with a deep baritone voice towered over a disheveled man and rumbled, “I better have my money today or I break your f*cking face.”  The little man scooted off and canvassed similarly disheveled folks for money.  They must have some sort of informal credit union within the street underworld.  How do they keep track of their debts?  Is the penalty always a “broken f*cking face”?  How do you break someone’s face?

After another hour of watching the 16th Street circus, we met my friend Pete for dinner at Rio Grande.  I was confident that the Mexican food would be an improvement over what I had way back in Massachusetts.  The food was better, but still not up to Texas standards.  I’m coming to grips with the notion that Texas may be unrivaled in regard to Mexican cuisine.  What was excellent were the margaritas.  Two of those at altitude and you’re sailing.

After a relaxing dinner, I was looking forward to a full night’s sleep in a real bed. We hopped in the car and drove to Pete’s house, a Townes Van Zandt cd softly whirling us to sleep.  The Mexican food and the country music almost brought me back to San Antonio, and for that I am grateful.

Colorado Girl by Townes Van Zandt

I’m goin’ out to Denver

See if I can’t find

I’m goin’ out to Denver

See if I can’t find

That lovin’ Colorado girl of mine

The promise in her smile

Shames the mountains tall

The promise in her smile

Shames the mountains tall

She bring the sun to shining

Tell the rain to fall

It’s been a long time, mama,

Since I heard you call my name

Ah, been a long time

Since I heard you call my name

I got to see my Colorado girl again

Be there tomorrow

Mama, don’t you cry

Be there tomorrow

Now, mama, don’t you cry

I got to kiss these lonesome

Texas blues good-bye

I’m goin’ out to to Denver

See if I can’t find

I’m goin’ out to to Denver

See if I can’t find

That lovin’ Colorado girl of mine

That lovin’ Colorado girl of mine

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