the nostalgia rush of Colorado, the other worldly majesty of Utah and arrival in the potato state / by geoffrey nichols

it's quite an interesting sensation to return to a place you called home for nearly a decade even 20 years later. despite all the obvious changes in scenery in terms of neighborhoods 2 decades of growth entail, there's simply an underlying feeling that things haven't changed. (at least that's how i perceived my one-time home.)

well enough of that introspective pontificating, let's get back to how Pixie & I spent our time in Colorado... Monday morning we woke in Boulder where we'd been the guests of honor at my faux cousins house for sunday night dinner (thank you, Aunt Jodie for such a wonderful occasion)

Before heading back into Boulder for another nostalgia rush tour, i pulled into Gunbarrell Vet so Pixie could have her ONE annoying nail trimmed (thank you, GBV)

after visits to old homes, campus, the cemetery and Chautauqua (where both Pixie AND "Flat Stanley" posed before the Flat Irons, i headed off to Denver Broncos game with a childhood friend i hadn't seen since i was the best man at his wedding in the summer of '97

tuesday had me back at Three Lions Pub to cheer on Arsenal for a Cup match (which we won) then i investigated south Broadway and attempted to have Volvo dealership fix my drivers side mirror (which they informed me they couldn't FIX but could replace... for $550. no, thank you)

Pixie and I ventured out to the new urbanization enclave of Stapleton with Mandy & Billy so they could wash their dog and then we all had extremely unique burgers at local Cherry Creek institution for game 1 of the World Series. 

wednesday morning had me waiting for the Post Office to open so i could overnight my absentee ballot form back to Greenwich, then i snap'd a batch of vintage motels along east colfax before a FANCY lunch at Sushi Den (still amazing and now even MORE $$$) Mandy & I then explored the museum district for possible locations for my art (no such luck) and then found THE MOST EPIC sneaker shop in the basement of a hipster clothing store. The outing finished up with a visit to revamped Union Station (which is STUNNING!) the always impressive Tattered Cover bookstore and one of my favourite bars EVER & architectural landmark, The Cruise Room.

Thursday consisted of a walk to Denver museum of Arts & Science with the dogs, phenom happy hour snacks* at cool ass rooftop bistro in former mortuary, a vintage neon sign tour on Colfax and homemade chicken enchiladas. (plus an impromptu encounter with Halloween yard designers during late night dog walk)

Friday saw me say goodbye to my friends and Denver, but NOT before i stopped for breakfast at the coolest vintage diner, Davie's Chuck Wagon (i had steak & eggs) Numerous stops in the likes of Dillon, Frisco and Grand Junction for photo opps, coffee and pee breaks compelled me NOT to venture onto Moab in the dark so we called it a day in GJ surrounded by a charmingly sedate downtown and glowing mesas.

saturday morning had me awake at 5:27am which was great because Arsenal match kicked off at 5:30 and i was able to watch via my iphone for much of the 1st half (annoyingly the app kept crashing so i missed the 3 goals in 6 minutes we scored to put match away)

getting back on the road to Moab i decided to see what the Colorado National Monument was all about and i'm very glad i did because it was such an awe-inspiring venue (and park ranger, Willoughby brought the most amazing level of geological knowledge and civic pride to her work)

i'm almost embarrassed by the fact i lived in Colorado for nearly 10 years and never knew anything about CNM until this weekend. it simply is a marvel to behold.

eventually i did make it to Moab valley and i must admit it mildly overwhelming faced with the options before me; Arches National Park, Canyonlands NP, Zion and Dead Horse Point to name a few. BUT since time & daylight were evaporating and Salt Lake City wasn't getting closer i chose Arches as it's RIGHT there as opposed to the others which are dozens of miles away.

Let me just state that Arches is NOT OF THIS WORLD. It's akin to being on the planet Mars. every few hundred yards is a geological marvel and in the 2 plus hours of exploration i must've pulled over a million times and snapped even more pics.

now remember i STILL had to drive 3 - 4 hours north and wasn't looking forward to it in the dark and was even LESS thrilled to be doing so once i discovered 1.5 hours of the drive would be spent on route 6(a pitch black, 2-lane highway traversing a mountain range populated with 18-wheelers and hard driving pickup trucks.) by the time i got down into civilization i was absolutely exhausted mentally & physically and since having a drink wasn't feasible i downed a fried chicken sandwich and fries. another 45 minutes on a 5-lane brightly lit highway through SLC had me at my uncle's which was such a relief because having to pony up for a motel room REALLY woulda sucked after that drive.

sunday morning had me up and out of SLC pretty early. the drive north towards Idaho was so deceptively stunning. There was a sequence in which the valley stretched SO incredibly far i don't recall ever seeing anything so vast (and the hazy pastel lighting enhanced the experience to such an extent it pained me that i can't share it with you now)

the transition into Idaho brought cold, gray and wet which after weeks and weeks of heat & sun was a welcome sight. and the LANDSCAPE... at one point we drove right through a prehistoric lave rock field! LAVA ROCK!!!

stretches of vintage whimsy graced us as we drove through historic hamlets like Shosone and Bellvue on our way to Hailey and the home of one of my oldest and dearest friends.