That's what I called it as a little kid, newly from Kenmore, NY, when the family would take off on a Sunday in our Chevy Biscayne, to look around the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles areas. Prior to this move in late 1963, my parents and my paternal grandmother had never ventured more than 20 miles out from Kenmore, except for a very rare weekend trip to Binghamton for something related to Dad's work. Once in California, the "old folks" acted like, I'm sorry to say, a group of hick-tourists, pointing out the "crazy Californians." My "big brudda" Kevin was so lucky; he was 10 years older than me, and, with a part-time job, Glendale College attendance, and his own car, could separate himself from the herd. I spent my childhood and adolescence in a state of envy and awe of his boldness and independence.
As for me, I was stuck in the back of the Biscayne, along for the rides whether I wanted it or not, sulking, rolling my eyes, and wanting to be anywhere but with my folks. Still, the seeds of my wanderlust were being planted, although I didn't realize it at the time. Sometimes, hiding out in my room, I would imagine all kinds of journeys on my own terms. And I counted down the years until I could finally live out those adventurous dreams.
This move to Colorado has been absolutely rejuvenating. Once I put down roots in Littleton, I began all kinds of research. Life is, once again, a blank slate. When I'm not working, or chatting up new acquaintances in my apartment complex, I'm online, reading those free publications I can find around town, or watching Rocky Mountain PBS. KUVO--the jazz station I listen to in the car--advertises local fun events, as does Colorado Public Radio (CPR--I believe its classical music helps me breathe!).
Because of some "attitude" my right knee has begun giving me again, I've had to put the MeetUp "Rock and Roll Oldies" to one side, at least until my MD and I can figure out what we're going to do about it. So, giving my dancing shoes a rest, I've turned to a group called "Let's Explore Colorado." Tomorrow, Labor Day Monday, a group of us are meeting for a picnic hang-out in Wash Park in Denver. Can't wait! I really want to meet people who would be up for day trips to national parks, historic towns, and maybe even train rides. I've made a list of places I want to see in the near future, and have it posted on my fridge as an energizing reminder to "get out thHere." Here it is:
Estes Park, South Platte River, Roxborough State Park, Riverside Cemetery, Fairmount Cemetery, the towns of Longmont, Niwot, and Louisville, Rocky Mountain Arsensal National Wildlife Refuge, Golden Gate State Park, Wild Animal Sanctuary in Hudson, Buffalo Herd Nature Preserve, Historical Daniels & Fisher Tower Tours, the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Mount Goliath, and the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield.
And that's a start...
To feed my inner history geek, I went recently to the Columbine Public Library, which is open 7 days a week, looking for books on the history of Denver, Arvada, and surrounding areas. Also, as inspiration, I'm currently reading High Altitude Attitudes: Six Savvy Colorado Women, and a couple of others about some foremothers, including Mary Coyle Chase, the author of the delightful classic about Harvey the rabbit.
'Splorin' also has taken the form of looking for a volunteer gig I can easily fit into my schedule, and still be enriched by meeting new people. A couple of Sundays ago, some nuns from Little Sisters of the Poor in Denver came to my church, to reach out for community support. The Mullen House in Denver has an almost-resort type of atmosphere. Two days ago, I went and talked to the volunteer coordinator and met with a few of the nuns. After attending a Mass at 11 AM, I was graciously invited to join them--and the senior residents--for lunch in their spacious, well-lit and beautifully decorated dining room. Soon, I hope to be doing some individual work with various residents.
On my way home from such an uplifting and positive visit, I decided to skip the freeway, and took Federal Boulevard for a trip through a part of town I had yet to see, including Little Saigon.
And so, the journey goes on...