A long drive to Denver to drop Jeremy at college--UC Denver. The drive was highlighted by XM radio (Top Hits kept us busy across Nebraska) and a great, cottonwood-lined golf course in North Platte. I beat the kid, too.
This is the launching of a second child into the world of academia, and certain patterns are developing. The distance to Denver is almost exactly the same as the distance to Charlottesville, where Colin went to grad school. The night before returning featured in both cases a visit to a rather expensive Italian restaurant for a farewell meal, complete with wine and dessert. And the drive home involved time mulling milestones and the sadness of really major life changes. Jeremy for his part was completely excited about his new school, the honors program he's been accepted into, his new roommates--everything except a certain shortness of cash that he'll have to address. It is always a good thing when a college student has his back slightly up against the wall, financially. Keep that in mind.
I drove from Denver to Boulder to visit an old friend, Christian Kopff (for you classical educators, he is the author of THE DEVIL KNOWS LATIN, a great read.) at the Boulder campus. I managed to arrive in time to insert myself into a junior faculty discussion group on the founding fathers. This was part of larger effort, a two week seminar of visiting history and political science profs who are of a conservative bent (many a Christian in the group), whose goal is to strengthen ties between these folks and create a network of conservative faculty around the country.
What a beautiful city and campus is Boulder! And lunch and conversation with Christian was wonderful. He is the best conversationalist in the whole world.
By evening of Friday I was in Estes Park, playing golf on a little par three. It rained for awhile and I found dry solace in a shelter. When I walked to the seventh tee I was greeted by an elk cow, grazing twenty feet away. So, Estes Park.
The next mornin: breakfast at Molly's, and then up into the park. This drive takes one up above twelve thousand feet--high enough to really feel queasy from the lack of oxygen. The first pic above is at about eleven thousand feet; the second is looking down from twelve thousand feet. Crazy people ride bicycles up there. This is tundra-land, where snow lingers all Summer long. It was cold. I spied a pica--a small rabbit-like creature that gathers and dries leaves for its winter food, and a few fat and lazy marmots. I watched a few ravens pick their way across the tundra, and wondered what their lives were like.
So here was my Saturday: leave Estes Park, drive the length of the national park, cut back northward across a huge plain surrounded by mountains to Laramie, Wyoming. I played eighteen holes of golf in the afternoon, climbed in the Malibu and drove across southern Wyoming, into Nebraska, into the night, finally arriving at Lincoln at 1 am, where I crashed at a cheap motel. That was a bit of a long day. You begin, covering that much ground, to feel like you could drive for days, all over the country.
But I didn't. I got home to an overworked wife (a double shift one night as an RN, ugh), a delighted daughter just back from a church trip to the Cinncinati Creation Museum, and a very sick cat, Pippen, who is residing at the vets trying to recover from severe blockage of his digestive system. Cats.