So I took a week off as last weekend involved a three day round-trip to Oklahoma. I am here to report that the world is flat. Well at least it is for hundreds of miles east of here. I am a big fan of the road trip. This was a solo journey. Just me and my Sirius Radio. I had a lot to think about in those 10 hours of wind turbines, wide open space, and rest areas. We had just spent a week with our daughter Steph, and almost-three-year old Sofia, who I wrote about last week. Here is a summary of two Sundays ago and our counter clockwise, unplanned trip to the Nederland Carousel.
Sofia had her first experience being a PGK (preacher’s grandkid). We walked in the church an hour early—the bane of being my relative on a Sunday. Sofia had only been in a church building once at age six months, so this was a brand new experience for her. We enter through doors that take us right by a large “fellowship hall”. The crew who prepares the after church coffee was hard at work. We walked in this big space where she clung tightly to Grandma’s hand. I said, “Sofia, this is the snack room”. Bingo!!!—she was ready.
The next stop was the sanctuary, where Sandi the organist was practicing the organ. Sofia loves music—she already has over 100 songs on her daddy’s phone which she calls her ‘playlist’. This list very eclectic. It has everything from Devo, the “Bunny Song”, “Purple People Eater” to the Best Hits of the Three Stooges. However, her live music up until this time, was limited to Jordan the Banjo player who plays every Saturday at the Rancho Palos Verdes Farmer’s Market. She was totally taken in by the organ.
Her church experience went well but she was baffled that 80 people knew who she was. Mind you, 75% of her life has been spent living on lock down with Mommy and Daddy. After working the snack room following church, all three ‘girls’ wanted some real food. By the time we finished pizza, Sofia had been pushing for six hours without a nap. We loaded her in her car seat facing backwards, and by the time we hit Highway 34, Sofia went on a total meltdown. We are talking epic tantrum. Stephanie asked how long we had to drive until we got home. We told her 45 minutes.
“This is going to be a real mess. She will fall asleep and then we will have to wake her up and trust me this will continue. Can you go home the the long way?” Sure, we can keep heading straight to Estes Park. So it went.
Sofia conked out soon and the three adults had an unplanned Sunday drive. It was beautiful and the time of relative peace was special. We got to Estes Park and I said to MK, “Make a left here and we will go home the back way through Nederland”. That was another hour of lazy mountain driving. As we were pulling into Nederland you could hear Sofia waking up. Our plan was to be there on Monday. Steph said, “Hey let’s just stop here today”. MK pulled into the carousel parking lot. We asked Sofia if she knew where we were. “Yep, at the carousel”. “Do you want to go”? “Yes. So in we went. We rode it four times with Sofia picking a fish, a camel, a swan, and a frog.
We then headed back home towards Coal Creek Canyon, our direct route home. As we were driving down HWY 7, I had the strange feeling that MK had missed the turn home. Sure enough, it was time for a U-turn. We came back a few miles and turned up Coal Creek. We were working our way up the canyon and I spotted Bulwinkle tracks in the willows. I told Steph about how Colorado did not have a moose until 35 years ago, as the Wildlife Department attempted to transplant a few captured moose from Wyoming and Utah. The hope was that we might get a sustainable population of 300. We now have 3000. They like Colorado—(Wyoming still has only 800).
No sooner had I finished my moose lesson, than right there on the side of the road was a female dining on willow. We watched her for at least 10 minutes. This car pulled up going the other way and kindly asked if we needed help. We pointed out the moose and they flipped a U-turn and took up moose gazing with us. This day defined serendipity!!!
The next morning we were sitting at the dining room table all eating breakfast and out of Sofia’s mouth came, “I love Colorado”. So now Sofia and the moose have something in common.
Onward and Upward, Mark