Since arriving in Colorado we have experienced - frequently - days that went from 90 degrees to hailing/snowing and back again in the same day. I downloaded a Red Cross app to my phone for early storm warnings and ended up silencing it because it just goes off all day, every day. "Deadly Thunderstorms coming your way! Golf Ball Sized Hail Expected - Seek Shelter or Die", usually followed shortly thereafter with "Threat Over, You're OK, Unclench". The first time we got one of these crazy alarms, within minutes of installing the app, we moved the car next to a brick building to shelter it, pulled in the slide and stowed the chairs and grill, then after a dozen or so we just sorta watched out the window for a while before shrugging and going about our day.
|Yep that's snow - or hail - on the side of the highway. It was 89 degrees less than 2 hours ago.|
After a short pause in Sterling CO we moved on to Littleton, CO, a suburb of Denver, nestled against the Rockies. Good friends from SoCal recently moved here, just one reason of many we wanted to spend some time in the area. We found out quickly it's nearly impossible to get campsite reservations in this part of the country in the summer - the folks of Colorado enjoy camping and every weekend was booked up for months out. As it turned out, our best bet for landing a spot was becoming members of the state park reservation system (always a last resort as the state park website system is unwieldy at best) and living on that website all day every day until an opening became available. Our first stop was Chatfield State Park, very close to our friends' place. Then we moved on to Bear Creek Lake State Park, right next to the Red Rock Ampitheater. All within easy reach of some beautiful countryside and also downtown Denver.
|You know you're in hail country when the hoods of the cars that park next to you look like this|
While spending a little time in older Downtown Littleton, I was directed to an ice cream shop where they whip up their own crazy flavors onsite. There were two adorable teenagers running the counter, and in the corner a woman with a clipboard in her 50's doing math, clearly the manager or owner. She came across as a normal adult woman, perhaps a young grandmother, a business owner or manager and less than 10 years older than me. Noticing her water bottle had "Judas" printed on it by a fat black marker, I casually asked her if she married into that name or if she was born into it, because it's an awesome last name. She paused to consider her response for a moment, clearly picking up on the fact that the teenagers were leaning closer to better overhear our conversation, and I filled the awkward silence with "or did someone print it on your water bottle without your knowledge..." Her response, after a brief pause... "it's my roller derby name - I'm Judas Beast". To which the teenagers responded "no way!" while they hooted and whooped. Apparently roller derby is a big deal here, the local version is flat-track. And I learned not to judge a book by it's out-of-context cover. This amazing woman makes crazy ice cream, runs a successful business, and is a total badass too! You GO Judas Beast!
|Bike Path connecting two parks on either side of the highway|
One of my favorite things about this area is the never-ending bike paths, separate from the cars and treated with reverence. A person could live and work and go about daily activity pretty much without ever having to drive, as long as the weather is good. And if it isn't good now, hole up in a coffee shop or someplace similar for 10 minutes or so and it will surely change.