Leaving Taos and fun with family and friends

After a short, but fun, visit to Taos, we headed toward Colorado to see an old friend in Boulder, new friends in Longmont, and a cousin in Saratoga, Wyoming. Getting out of Taos, however, had its challenges. On the day we left, we arose at around 6:00 and John went to find coffee. Not only did he not find coffee in our hotel, he also found no one out on the street. Apparently, Taos is not a town of early risers. We packed and left the hotel, intending to go through the nearby McDonald’s drive through. By now it was after 7:30 and the entire town of Taos had seemingly materialized in the Mickey D’s drive through; the dining room was closed. And then we made the mistake of deciding to take our caffeine-deprived selves a few miles down the road with a plan to find a place to stop along the way for coffee and food. Big mistake. We counted down the towns with virtually no place open: Arroyo Honda, San Cristobal, Lama, Questa, Cerro. Did I mention that we were low on gas as well? Finally, after nearly an hour of driving we reached Costilla, a tiny hamlet just south of the Colorado state line, which had little besides a gas station with a convenience store, but that was enough. While John pumped gas, I went inside to find coffee and food. The clerk watched me run around the store, clearly searching for something, and eventually asked if she could help me. I told her that we had left Taos and had been looking for a place to stop for an hour and my husband was really hungry and we both wanted coffee. She gave me a knowing smile. We were not the first to make this mistake. This area of the country is REMOTE, as we would realize, and it would be so for many days and weeks following. With a tank full of gas, go cups of coffee, and a gas station breakfast burrito, we headed on to see our friend, Lynn, and her gentleman friend, Steve, in Boulder.

Posted on the door of the gas station and convenience store in Costilla – this is a VERY small town

Lynn and Steve, Boulder, Colorado

I can’t remember a time when I did not know Lynn. She is from my hometown and her older sister and I were in kindergarten together. She was also part of the church youth group that a bunch of us belonged to growing up, so John knows her well too. Lynn has been in Boulder for decades now – she worked summers in the area as a college student and eventually made it back out for law school and has never left. We visited Lynn and Steve at Steve’s house a few miles outside of Boulder. Steve was planning a big bike ride the next day with friends, a five hour ride that would take them over the Continental Divide. These Colorado folks make the rest of us look like slackers! That afternoon and evening, we took a nice walk around the Gross Reservoir near the house, they prepared a wonderful meal for us, and we had an enjoyable evening visiting. Having known Lynn for so long, we spent a lot of time catching up on events and lives of people we knew back in the day, and Steve was an exceptionally good sport about it. The next morning, after a nice breakfast with Lynn and Steve, we left for the short ride to Longmont to see new friends, Kim and Scott.

With Lynn and Steve at the Gross Reservoir

Kim and Scott, Longmont, Colorado

We met Kim and Scott in 2018 on a supported bike ride in Door County, Wisconsin. Several months later, we spent a day in New Orleans with them as they were on their way to another bike ride in the Florida Keys. We continued to keep up with each other and we met up with them again while we were on our worldwide travels, in Sydney, Australia. Later, we bumped into them unexpectedly in Te Anau, New Zealand, near Fjiordland National Park.

It was great to be able to visit Kim and Scott in their home in Longmont. They took us to Golden, Colorado, famous as the home of Coors Brewing, and then to the Red Rocks Concert Arena outside of Denver. The next day, we drove through Rocky Mountain National Park over Trail Ridge Road to the lovely town of Grand Lake on the west side of the park, where we had reservations at a little hotel. We spent our last day together hiking Adams Falls in RMNP. Never ones to stay still for very long, Kim and Scott moved on the next day for a family reunion in Lake of the Ozarks and John and I headed down the road to Wyoming to see my cousin, Geri.

Geri, Saratoga, Wyoming

My cousin, Geri, is the daughter of my mom’s brother, John. Geri and I only saw each other two or three times growing up, but in the past several years, we’ve made it a point to get together much more often. She is from Clearwater, Florida, but bought land and built a small house in Wyoming about thirteen years ago. Since then, she has split her time between Florida and Wyoming (neither of which has a state income tax, I might add – smart move). This was our second time to Saratoga, and we love the area, with its proximity to the Snowy Range and the Medicine Bow National Forest. We took some nice hikes and enjoyed a delicious meal together at Bella’s, one of Saratoga’s best restaurants.

One of the fun things about this stay in Saratoga was that we had wildlife wandering around the lawn of our Airbnb. On one hot afternoon, John enjoyed watching Rabbit relaxing peacefully on the lawn until Magpie approached, thinking Rabbit was carrion. Rabbit rose up and chased off Magpie. Right about then Deer appeared across the street, trying to befriend Cat, who wanted no part of it. We do not see such things at home.

On our last night together, John and I invited Geri to our place for dinner. Our Airbnb didn’t have a kitchen, but we are now travelling with a kitchen-in-a-suitcase, containing an induction cooktop, rice cooker, frying pan, pot, collapsible colander, aluminum bowl, and additional items, such as a spatula, cutlery, plates, spices, etc. We prepared a meal of steaks (John and I almost never eat meat, so this was a big deal), asparagus, and arugula salad, plus a bottle of red wine. This was one of our first times to use the kitchen-in-a-suitcase, and I’m happy to say the meal came out well!

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