Tuesday, July 26, 2011

From the mountains to the prairies ...

After waking up this morning, we assessed the situation and realized we had plenty of time to get to our next destination. So we spent the morning in Denver. First we visited the Denver Nature and Science Museum, where we took in a dinosaur exhibit and a planetarium show about our solar system. Sarah described the latter as “super fun!” bouncing up and down with glee as we exited the theater. We also visited the famous bookstore Tattered Cover, but by that time, we figured we’d better get moving.

Our GPS was indispensable in helping us get out of Denver, and after that, we had only three and a half hours of driving to do. But, funny thing: right after Denver, all the mountains are behind you, and everything is suddenly very flat. Other than the odd hill here and there, Eastern Colorado looked exactly as I imagined Kansas would look. I was not wrong. Still, there’s something invigorating about the wide-open plains country. I especially enjoyed seeing storms, like the one pictured, from miles away. It looked suspiciously like a tornado to my untrained eyes, but then I remembered that tornadoes would probably appear much darker, and that this was just a run-of-the-mill rainstorm.

Yet again we had forgotten to take the change in time zones into account, so when we rolled into Oakley, Kansas, it felt like 5:30 to us but was 6:30 for everybody else. There was just time for a swim in the motel’s outdoor pool before it closed at sundown. One of the owners of the motel thoughtfully provided water-wings for Sarah, which she had never seen before but was curious about. Equipped with them and a foam “noodle,” Sarah felt more confident in the water than ever before, and was soon paddling between parents rather than nervously clinging to one or the other of us. This also earned the “super fun!” award from Sarah; actually, all three of us had an excellent time beating the 103-degree heat before setting off for one of the town’s two restaurants for dinner.

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