Sunday, July 19, 2020

A Remarkable Road

In the United States of America, Colorado and New Mexico border each other. I like to think of them as “cousins”. The two states share qualities and each is unique. So when folks from Colorado want to make a quick vacation, they often come to New Mexico, and especially Santa Fe. I have sold much of my art to people from Colorado. In fact, I just finished two large paintings for a physician couple (he is a high-school friend) that live in Snowmass, near Aspen. Now due to the pandemic, my art gallery is practically shut down  so I decided to hand deliver the art and make a 5 day mini-vacation with Amy. 

My van transports artwork, but also can be used as a glorified tent! 

Our first sojourn, we drove three hours north to the magical town of Crestone, Colorado. I have been numerous times and like it enough that I wanted Amy to visit. The Crestone area, with only a few hundred habitants, is a spiritual center with several world religions represented, including: a Hindu temple, a Zen center, Carmelite monastery, several Tibetan Buddhist centers, and miscellaneous New Age happenings. The bed&breakfast was perfect, and we enjoyed being at the foot of 14,000 foot mountains in absolute quiet.

The next day we continued north and climbed uphill to stop at Independence Pass,12,095 ft. the second highest paved Colorado state highway and closed during winter. We arrived at Snowmass late afternoon and my friend Russell gave us a quick tour of the area, which is especially famous for world-class skiing, but also expensive homes. Russell is a pediatrician who now sees patients mostly remotely, using Zoom. HIs wife Mary is an epidemiologist. They both love the paintings that newly adorn the walls of their home. We shared dinner on their deck which has grand views all around the valley and mountains nearby. I have another painting to make for them—which will go in their Virginia home. 

That night, we slept in our van, nestled in the forest by a stream. Then left for our next destination; Glenwood Springs, located at the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and the Colorado River, threading together the Roaring Fork Valley and a series of smaller towns up and down the Colorado River. Amy and I have new friends living there who invited us to stay. They bought a painting from me last winter. Our initial meeting is a special story! They live on a thousand acre ranch in superb settings. We all shared meals and good conversation, getting to know one another better. We slept in our van by a pond the first night, and then in a cabin on the property high up a mountainside the next. Aspen trees are everywhere around and we hope to return in the fall when they turn golden.

After fond farewells, we left to go to Crested Butte, our last stop before returning home. 

The GPS took us on a remarkable road that was unpaved much of the way, meandering at the foot of towering mountains a winding over hill and dale through aspen forests and along streams and rivers. It started lightly raining as we approached Crested Butte—and that is OK since the region has been in a drought which has contributed to a big die-off of fir trees.

I have been to Crested Butte many times and enjoy its frontier vibe. It is a destination for skiing, mountain biking, and a variety of other outdoor activities. Amy has never been. We stayed in a hotel I like at the foot of a ski area. That night, after dinner in town, as we drove back to our hotel, a marvelous rainbow unfurled itself before our astonished eyes. One end was at the top of Mt. Crested Butte! 

The next morning we drove along the Slate River nearby and stopped to wade in a crystal clear stream. After coffee at a great little local bistro, we made our five hour journey home. Along the way we stopped occasionally. I got a great photo of a rainstorm, sweeping across the plains at the borderline.

A good sojourn for five days!

No comments: