We rolled into Denver on the California Zephyr at around 9 AM on Friday and picked up almost right where we left off. I walked up 16th Street Mall to the Walton St Hertz office to get our car, installed the car seat, and gave László a tour of the neighborhoods we lived in. We stopped at Cesár Chávez Park in Berkeley to play on the playground before grabbing lunch and heading to the Children’s Museum.
Some things never change and I’m glad to report that Burrito Giant on 38th Avenue is still open and as colorful as ever. Similarly, the playground at the park provided instant, and much needed, entertainment for all the kids, and all the parents and nannies in the neighborhood. For his part, László returned almost immediately to his favorite activity on the park: Playing in the little tunnels beneath the slides.
He could really explore the park a lot more, but I had fun imagining a part of his subconscious reminded him that these tunnels were the real deal. His main act here was to make cupcakes (clumps of wood chips) for us in his kitchen. All the cupcakes were chocolate with cherry.
Denver’s Children’s Museum is really top notch. I have all kinds of high hopes about how the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum in Milwaukee will transform upon its relocation, but Denver is streets ahead in both the size and scope for education and discovery. It was great to be back with László now that he’s old enough to be a little more hands on with the attractions.
Then we went up to Fort Collins to meet my cousin Kate who will be a junior at CSU this fall. In what is perhaps typical Wisconsinite form, we headed straight for the nearest lake, Horsetooth Reservoir, for a hike and a dip. László was not very pleased with the hike to the lake, we couldn’t see the lake (but somehow we could see the boats on the lake) and the lake was “not warm” and therefore we couldn’t go in the water. Once we headed back up the bluff and drove directly to the beach, though, he had no problem taking off all his clothes and going for a dip.
The weird thing about this reservoir is there’s no sandy beach, or even a gradual entrance off the rocky shore, and you can’t see the bottom so you don’t know if you’ll suddenly be in water up to you waist. This probably isn’t a problem for people who go there often but it was hard to know how far in we could go with László before we’d have to worry about the water being over his head. Weirdness aside, the lake is a ton of fun and the setting is hard to beat in a metro area.
Back in Denver, we met up with our friends Scott and Roxie who still live in our old neighborhood. It was great to catch up with them, especially since we were really bad at the whole “let’s keep up with each other on Zoom” bit of the pandemic. They had a lot to say about the old digs and their experience with the last 14 months. Scott even gave us a free batch of postcards, so keep an eye on your mailbox and if you don’t get one from us, go buy some of your own!
Our last night in Denver we got to visit our old house, meet our tenants, and stop for some ice cream and play at the park again. From High Point Creamery, László had a single scoop of the Funfetti flavor, Danielle had TK, and I tried the Corn great with Strawberry Jam and the Salty Dog Chocolate. All held up to our memory.
Next, we’re off to Salida for FIBArk 2021 and general noodling around the Arkansas River Valley. Watch this space for more photos and stories from the adventure! From there, we’ll be back in Denver for a few days before heading back to the train.