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Travelogue -- 44 Hours in Boulder, CO

Sunday, July 17, 2016

As I explained in my last post, Sunday, July 10, we were evactuated from our lovely campsite in the Gross Reservoir/Winiger Ranger area due to a forest fire. We'd already been planning to stay at the Boulder University Inn on Monday night, and luckily our room was available for Sunday, too, so we checked in around 8:30 or so Sunday night.

To be honest, I much prefer camping to staying in a hotel, and I suppose it's no surprise that I like to be in the country more than in a city, so I was a bit reluctant to go inside the hotel. In a hotel, there are so many unfamiliar human smells and sounds and people making noise in the hall and the rooms next door. It can be overwhelming for a shy dog such as myself. Diane and Todd seem to find the air-conditioning to be a nice sort of white noise machine, but I hate it. The constant rattling! Have you seen my ears? What sounds pleasant and soothing to people can seem very loud to me. 

Still, it was nice to see Diane and Todd relax a little after our harrowing evacuation and drive back to civilization. When they are relaxed, I can relax, and also, they ordered pepperoni pizza Sunday night, and pepperoni is one of my favorite foods, so that helped me feel at home.

As far as cities go, it's hard to imagine a better one for a dog than Boulder, especially since our hotel backed right up against Boulder Creek Path and a park. We could walk out the back stairs and right onto the nice, soft, green grass along the creek, which was ideal for me. There are few things in life I enjoy more than nice, soft, green grass. 

It took me a minute to get used to all the people in the park. There were people sitting in groups, and other people in sleeping bags, and some people just sprawled out in the grass. It was hard to tell which people were just chilling for a while and which ones actually lived in the park, but all of them pretty much ignored me. As anyone who has ever met me can attest, my favorite people are the ones who ignore me, so it all worked out fine.

Probably the best thing about the park area, in my humble opinion, was the large amount of food people had left in the grass. Half a hamburger here, a crust of pizza there, bones from chicken wings here, a spilled out can of chickpeas there. I could have spent the rest of my life scavenging that park for tasty treats and been a happy dog. Diane, old kill-joy that she is, didn't let me, though. Still, I'll be dreaming of that lawn full of snacks for a long time.

Since I wasn't allowed to partake in the ground-food, I guess I'd have to say my favorite thing was swimming in the creek. I got to swim in it both days we were in Boulder. It was so cold and refreshing after the hot, dry, dusty campground. Even though there were lots of people wading and tubing and even a good number of other dogs around, I found the creek very relaxing.

On Monday afternoon, after I had had a walk in the park and a swim in the creek, and after Todd had found a garage that could service the Big Rolling Crate (no small feat! He had to try 8 garages before he found one that could handle putting a 9,000+lb vehicle on a lift), Diane and Todd left me to nap in the hotel while they did what the locals do: Rode their bikes.

Diane wants Jeanne Depasse to know that her old bike did a great job on the bike paths of Boulder, and she's so grateful to have it! Thanks, Jeanne! 

They rode on the Boulder Creek Path and also in the bike lanes of some streets. Boulder is such a bike-friendly city that Diane says she wasn't even nervous to ride on some of the bigger streets. Their ride took them up Pearl Street, which is a shopping area where several blocks are closed to cars. They tell me I would have hated it, and I believe them, but Todd really enjoyed the kite shop.

After riding bikes, they took a quick dip in the hotel pool and then went to meet their brother-in-law Ian for dinner. He took them to a place called Rueben's. I was very sorry to miss out on the hamburgers. Diane and Todd came back smelling so yummy and didn't bring me any leftovers! Sometimes those two are real jerks.

On Tuesday morning, Todd rode his bike over to the garage to pick up the Big Rolling Crate, which was all tuned up  and ready. It turns out we didn't blow a shock off-reading! The fluid Todd saw that he thought came from the shock was actually some sort of differential something or other that had apparently been overfilled last time Todd had work done on truck. Still we were all reassured to have had everything looked over and the Big Rolling Crate seemed very happy as we drove off after the oil change.

Now that we had our wheels back, we drove up Boulder Mountain to Flagstaff Summit where we took a one-mile loop trail to beautiful vistas. Boulder looks really nice when seen from above, I must admit. It's like a green oasis on the edge of the plains that sweep up to the foothills where we were hiking. 

Todd did a little bouldering and we disappointed that Diane didn't want to try rock climbing, but it was very hot out and she wasn't feeling well. We drove back down into town and parked at Settler's Park to check out the tubing scene in Boulder Creek. 

The path along the creek out there is like a beach. There are people everywhere! People carrying tubes up stream. People sitting in lawn chairs watching tubes float down. People playing guitar. People snoozing in hammocks slung between trees. People having picnics. So many people! It made me pretty nervous, but I was on my best behavior because I didn't want to miss out on anything.

We didn't have a tube with us, so we just waded a little and walked up the stream for a while. Then, Todd worked up the nerve to ask someone if he could borrow a tube for a quick ride. My nervousness then went from 9/10 to 11/10. How could I possibly fulfill my duties to protect Todd from all dangers, real and imagined, if he was in a tube in the middle of a very fast-moving and deep stream and I was on the bank, leashed to Diane?! My only consolation was that we could walk down the bank in sync with Todd as he drift by. Twice he went over little shutes where the tube came up under him and flipped him off backwards and I nearly had to jump in and rescue him, but by and by he got the hang of it.

We left Boulder around 4:30 in the afternoon, and we were all pretty happy to get back on the road. It was fun to visit a city where there are so many outdoors activities to do, but the goal of this trip is to commune with the wilderness, which is why we headed North, back to Wyoming.

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