2022 Road Trip Days 18 and 19 (June 5 and 6): From the Boulder area to Bellvue, CO, and Cozad, NE, home to Lincoln

The first leg of our trip, before breakfast

I am combining the posts for June 5 and 6, because there is not much to report for June 6! On Sunday, June 5, we packed up and left Mark’s cousin’s house early on another bright and sunshiny day. We had such a great time with them, and it was so nice of them to host us for several days and show us around so much. On our way out of Louisville, we saw more of the area destroyed by the Marshall Fire in January. You see what looks like a lush green meadow only to realize that in the middle are foundations where houses burned down to the ground, now mostly cleaned up, but not yet rebuilt. It is such a jolt in this gorgeous (not to mention mostly very wealthy) area so near Boulder. From there, we took the very quiet Coal Creek Canyon (which offers several few glorious panorama views) to my former sister-in-law Jacquie’s house for breakfast with her and her daughter Nicki’s family (Adam, Gavin, and Griffin) joining us around 9:30. We brought fruit, and Jacquie had made a fabulous coffee cake and gluten-free, dairy-free muffins for Gavin, who has a lot of food allergies. We talked and ate and had a good time. We also scrambled up to Jacquie’s backyard mountain, a fabulous ritual that I cannot miss out on whenever I am at her house—she does really have a peak of granite boulders behind her house from which you can see the snow-capped mountains near the Continental Divide. It was awe-inspiring to watch the clouds drift across the huge piles of granite in the distance.

Griffin and his dad, Adam
Gavin and his dad installing a baby gate at Jacquie’s
The view from Jacquie’s “backyard mountain”–stunning as always
The second leg between breakfast and lunch

We left around 11:30, headed to Jacquie’s brother Alan’s house in the hills above Fort Collins. But as soon as I checked my phone, it became clear that we needed to adjust plans–Alan and his wife Sue had texted to say that their son Lee had quite a bad cold and that they didn’t quite trust the negative Covid test (because the at-home tests are not super accurate). So we regrouped: we would come see them for a late lunch on their covered porch, but not stay overnight. We drove about 2.5 hours North to get to their house, with an all-important stop in Loveland, at the house that Mark’s (and Stan’s) maternal grandfather built in 1953. We chatted with the owner, who understandably came out to check on us when he saw us pull up in his cul-de-sac staring at his house, but who was very pleased to get Mark’s email for some older pictures of the house.

We arrived at Alan and Sue’s around 2:30 and spent a couple of hours hanging out, catching up on each others’ news, and having a late lunch of fabulous grilled salmon, rice, and spinach salad. We admired their (to us) new solar panels, which produce 24 kw—hugely more than they need, so they get money back from the power company for what they feed into the grid. Mark was very interested, of course. (It’s great to see that several of our friends have solar power now; I wish that were an option for us!)

More showing of pics to defenseless family members (Alan and Sue)

Around 4:30, we took off after waiting out a short but intense rain shower —as much as it was too bad that we didn’t have an evening with Alan and Sue, it meant that we could get a good bit further down the road divide what would have been a 500 mile drive tomorrow a bit differently. Since I didn’t have a lot of tailbone complaints once I figured out a way to sit comfortably in the car, and Mark felt fairly fresh, we decided to get all the way to Cozad, NE, only 2.5 hours (178 miles) from home. We drove through several more thundershowers, which Nebraska desperately needs, and even had a rainbow arching over the freeway for a while. But that was actually the worst driving weather we’ve had throughout the trip, and it really wasn’t too bad. Or at least, Mark was gracious about driving in rain and wind for an hour—and about me talking him out of making it all the way home post-midnight driving a thunderstorm-warning area. We drove east with the sun going down behind us and a big lightning light show in front of us (i.e. the thunderstorms we were dodging) and checked into a spiffy new hotel right off the interstate just after 9:30 pm. Then we drove the last couple of hours the next morning (Monday) after a yummy hotel breakfast with fresh-baked biscuits. And now we’re back home!

A split third leg? From Bellvue to Cozad on Sunday, and from Cozad to Lincoln on Monday!
Welcomed home by an affectionate cat
(= face full of fur)

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