Sunday, November 15, 2009

Colorado: Pagosa Springs

I failed to mention in my first post that I had a Bobby Flay sighting at the Cincinnati airport. You know, celebrity chef Bobby Flay - Iron Chef America, Throwdown, etc? Am I seriously showing my geeky enjoyment of the Foodnetwork? I was so excited I texted my Mom because Mary wasn't with me at that point and I had to tell somebody! It was somewhat deflating when upon returning home I told several other people about it, and each responded "who is Bobby Flay?". Doesn't anyone enjoy watching cooking shows?!-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I'll pick up in Pagosa Springs. That's where we headed from Denver. The drive was unbelievable. If you've never been out West, please go because I just can't describe it to you. A few words that approach accuracy are Big, Colorful, Big, Big, and Big! At last, I think around 4pm, we entered the little town itself. Again, I had expected to see something like a network of neatly arranged streets lined with restaurants and t-shirt shops. Not exactly - from what we saw that week (we did not take an extensive tour of the town) it was pretty small. It was definitely a tourist town with gift shops, restaurants, hotels, motels, visitor center, and so on, but there were also pretty normal looking grocery stores, hardware stores, neighborhoods, and schools. We made one turn off of the main road and discovered a rough side street lined with modest houses. It was lovely in its unexpected mundaneness. And yet, it wasn't mundane! Even unassuming residential side streets had a glorious air of being just about over the edge into the wildness, yet still sheltering and snug.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We stayed at a Wyndham condominium complex/neighborhood compliments of Mary's landlords (thanks Tom and Barb!). That was such a huge blessing and saved us so much expense. It was set up like a neighborhood, the streets lined with various types of small homes and condos, rather extensive and right next to a goldmine of retail, which I discovered the following day (score!). It was beautiful at night because it extended into small hills and the lights twinkled against the inky sky. Our condo was on the first level of a building with about 4-6 other places, right on a lake. We had a tiny kitchen so we stocked the fridge with snacks and meal fixings. That was quite handy and saved us several times from having to pick up a meal on the run.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The very next morning after we arrived we took the opportunity to do a little grocery shopping and get our bearings. That afternoon we struck out on a scenic drive in the area. We experienced balmy scents in flaming yellow and deep green, extensive meadows specked with cattle, rocky mountainsides, and at the very end, the most beautiful valley covered in long browning grasses. A narrow stream flowed into the distance, and there was the coolest small ranch building set off the road a few hundred yards. It was one of the most scenic spots I've ever seen. We took a bunch of pictures there, including Mary's trophy shot of the trip featuring an amazing orange sunset glowing through the ranch's entrance sign. The sun sank in the stillness, and there were distant warm lights from a house or two way up the hill.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
After that... we got lost. We knew after the ranch that we must be getting sort of close to the end (I was hoping, anyway) because it was getting dark and we'd come quite a piece. The silly little pamphlet that led us on the tour had a sad lack of detail in explaining how to get back to Pagosa; merely a vague sentence about getting onto such and such a road and just "heading back", as if we were locals out for a joy ride and had GPS devices implanted in our noses. Thankfully, we DID have a GPS on board (Thanks Pop!). It was amazing the trust I put into that thing, because we were driving around in the dark on the border between scattered lights and deep darkness, obeying a strange British woman's voice that commanded us to take multiple turns onto dinky side streets and through unexpected neighborhoods on a route that could have taken us to North Dakota for all we knew. Blessedly, in answer to many of my silent prayers and surely many of Mary's, we hit familiar ground and come out in the back of the condo community! Oh joy!


Karen Lange said...

I'm thankful for that GPS too! Otherwise, you and Mary might still be driving around CO...:)

Miss A said...

Sounds like you guys had quite the adventure! And oh my word, I'm a crazy Food Network geek. That's so cool that you saw Bobby Flay!

Becky Lange said...

Thanks! I'm so glad I found a sympathetic fellow Food Network watcher. :-D

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Becky -

I don't get Food Network, but have watched Gordon Ramsey on occasion. A relative is a chef, so the subject piques my interest.

You must have taken some detailed notes. I wish I'd done that when we went to Colorado. Thankfully, we took lots of pictures that remind me of what we did.

Great post! I felt like I was in the car with you, listening to that British voice give instructions.

Susan :)

Becky Lange said...

Thanks Susan! Actually I took no notes, just lots of pictures :-). Unfortunately I didn't get one of Bobby Flay. I'm actually using these blog posts as a way to keep the memories alive. I hope to scrapbook the trip at some point and I'm looking forward to doing some journaling in there. Or better yet, maybe we should go back just to refresh our memories!