I remember how, when September rolled around and it was back to school, the teacher always gave a writing assignment on the topic of how we spent our summer vacation. It seems I’m feeling nostalgic, because I want to share the highlights of my late summer trip with you.
In a recent email to my readers group, I asked them to tell me about their travels via the pages of a good book and what are their favorite fictional settings to read about. I got a lot of spectacular answers, and some excellent recommendations for books worth checking out. Thank you!
My son lives in the Denver area with his lovely wife, so my husband, my daughter, and I flew out to stay for a couple of weeks at his new apartment in Lone Tree. We had a great time—seeing the sights, eating out, playing games, spending time with family. I also had the chance to do some reading and catch up on some sleep. Awesome!
Taking it easy in downtown Denver
We spent our first Friday night hanging out in downtown Denver—exploring REI’s flagship headquarters in a historic old train station, walking the river, and playing shuffleboard at Union Station. After that, we met up with a big group of my son’s friends at Sam’s #3 for a late night supper. That was a lot of fun, but here’s something that made it even more interesting for me.
Earlier, as we were leaving my son’s apartment, we ran into his neighbor across the hall. We chatted, and he asked where we were headed. When we told him we’d be having dinner at Sam’s, he told us how he’d grown up with the family that established the place, best friends with one of the sons, and filled us in on the fascinating history of the restaurant and how he ate lunch there every day during his college years and they never charged him a dime for it.
Gaping at Garden of the Gods
What an amazing place! Tall slivers of red rock, mysterious nooks and crannies for my imagination to get lost in. But, boy, was it hot. I ran from one patch of shade to the next, feeling my skin shrivel every moment I was in the sun. At one point, we stopped to survey a grouping of rocks and discuss its merits as an ideal place to murder someone. We got some strange looks and my son hastily explained that I write murder mysteries.
After that, we drove into Colorado Springs for some Chick-fil-A—oh how I wish we had one where I live! Back at the apartment, we played my son’s new favorite board game—Scythe. We have always lived by the maxim that the family that plays together, stays together. We love board games, and Scythe was pretty epic. During the trip, we also played Terraforming Mars, Euphoria, Coimbra, Unearth, and Chameleon.
Having a ball at Estes Park
Perhaps my favorite excursion was the day we went to Estes Park. We started off with a thorough exploration of the famous Stanley Hotel, the setting for Stephen King’s novel, The Shining. I met my own ghost there. Well, not really. She was a hotel maid who reprimanded me for snooping, but I created a story based on the incident, and in my story, she was a ghost. Someday, maybe I’ll share it with you.
We explored the town, browsed a craft fair, ate at an Indian restaurant, climbed to the burnt-out ruins at the top of the hill overlooking the city, spun a waterwheel, and ended up at a place called You Need Pie, where you can select a slice of pie and have them blend it with vanilla ice cream into an enormous milkshake.
Stories as far as the eye can see
Of course, everywhere we went, and everything we did, sparked story ideas for me. In my lifetime, I’ll only be able to write a tiny fraction of the stories that are bubbling away in my head. That makes me sad. But getting some of them into readable form and sharing them with you makes me happy!
Thank you for reading my work. I continue to create stories full of suspense, intrigue, mystery, action, and adventure, populated by characters you can love or really hate, in the hopes I can provide you with many hours of reading enjoyment. I’d love to do for you what so many writers have done for me over the years.
And that’s a summer vacation well spent.
How about you? What’s the highlight of your summer travels—literal or literary? Ever been to Denver? Tell us about it in the comments.
As a young bride, in 1960, I worked for a summer as a registration clerk at the Estes Park Lodge where my new husband brought the train/bus tours he escorted from the East coast every other week. It was a beautiful setting amid majestic peaks that we viewed from our hotel room windows. I especially recall invigorating fresh breezes we enjoyed on walks we took along the mountain trails after work. Thanks for awakening old memories. ~Karin
Oh Karin, that sounds marvelous! What a great setting to live and work in. I loved my visit there, and I appreciate you reading my post and especially taking the time to respond. Thanks so much!
I saw Garden of the Gods when I was young some 40plus years ago. We tried taking pictures but they just dont capture it like seeing these incredible formations in person.
That trip we also saw Bryce canyon and Zion.
I have to.say the trip up to the top of pikes peak was quite memorable. We had to wait for the road to be cleared from the snow the night before. The road was narrow and no guardrails. When meeting traffic it got really close and you could see just how far the drop would be. We started from the bottom where it was hot but what a difference at the top. All of us in shorts playing in the snow. But we didnt stay long because mom started turning blue from the super thin atmosphere and we had to get her back to air with more oxygen.
Anyone who has ever seen Garden of the Gods will never forget it.
I just wish someone would stop the false president as he has been brutalizing natl parks and monuments stealing considerable amounts of land and selling to the highest bidder. Even what little land he might leave will be destroyed by the effects of mining and drilling. Its heartbreaking to anyone who has ever been to these places. And now he has paid off and fixed the supreme court to do his bidding there will be no stopping him and no justice for the park system so many worked so hard to establish as our legacy for us and those in the future. They thought it would be preserved and safe. It never occurred to them to make sure no loopholes existed. Never occurred to them someone in power would be so greedy with such little regard for history for our land our country our wildlife and even the Americans that live here. These places in the wild belonged to the American people. They were never supposed to be allowed into the hands of such evil. Once destroyed its gone forever it cant be fixed.
Thank you so much for sharing about your own trip to Garden of the Gods. It truly is amazing, and you’re right–it can’t be fully captured in photographs. I also liked hearing about your journey to the top of Pike’s Peak, playing in the snow in shorts, and your blue mother. Thanks so much for telling us about that!