Saturday, August 30, 2008

New York Bound

Still exhausted, still processing and leaving in a few minutes to get my shaggy head of hair shaped into something worthy of the streets of New York.

I met my friend's kid last night - his name is Ryan. In light of all this talk about the future, I gifted Ryan with a ziploc baggie of souvenir confetti from Obama's big speech at Invesco. Is that lame or cool? I can't decide but I did it anyway.

Underneath all of this, Hurricane Gustav gathers strength - now a Category 3. I'm trying not to think about it but I grow more concerned every day. We don't need another Hurricane Katrina to remind us of the power of Mother Nature. She's hard to forget.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Night of History

I was one of the lucky many (84,000) who were present at Invesco Field to witness Barack Obama give his nomination acceptance speech last night. Of course, it was magical and I've never witnessed anything like it in my life - and I'm not just talking about the speech itself but the tangible mood of positive patriotism. It was incredibly moving.

Today, I am completely exhausted from the last four days - both physically and emotionally. I had to lay down three times today and my brain is sputtering out. I'm still processing everything.

Of course, my life rarely stops for breath and I'm about to head out and meet some old friends for dinner. They are visiting from Sausalito and they've got a new little man I'm dying to meet.

Tomorrow, before I fly to NYC, I hope to get some more thoughts in here and post my videos on YouTube - a new thing for me. In the meantime, I've added another gazillion photos from last night's ground-breaking extravaganza here. (Somebody even used a couple of 'em - with my permission - for a news story.)

No matter what happens in November, I'm really grateful for this entire experience which has re-ignited my nationalist pride.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More DNC Insanity

There's just too many things happening at once to document here - especially as I am facing a BlogHer deadline. Also, I am supposed to be over at Invesco right about now getting my body and bag frisked to the nth degree.

It's a big day here in Denver and across the nation. I'm aware of the this and I'm also pretty worried about my family on the Gulf Coast facing Hurricane Gustav.

Anyway, I'll try to extrapolate on more adventures later, including a crosswalk talk with Susan Sarandon (she and Dana Delaney picture above, buying their very own Obama Action Figure Dolls) and me harassing Maureen Dowd in an elevator. Later!

Check out more of my DNC photos at my never-ending Flickr stream.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Slow down!

I'm starting to worry that all the amazing conversations and experiences I'm having here at DNC are happening too fast. It's making it quite a challenge to photograph everything while staying sober to remember every juicy episode. There's just too much.

For example, please note the Google Smoothies that I have been living on for three days. They are D-Lish! There's also a massage lady standing by for free 10-minute workovers. Cush.

Google's CEO Eric Schmidt is scheduled to talk tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. I .... oh, Hillary is declaring Obama the official candidate! Obvious ending but still! The room has erupted in wild cheers. Now a debate is going on around me - they should have let them count all the votes first ... why did they let Hillary announce? Is that going to piss people off? Blah .. blah ... blah ...

My editor at BlogHer has asked me to run around and take shots of tell-tale hats and t-shirts. No shortage of those! Here's my favorite one. Reminds of when all the Clinton staffers that removed the 'W' key from all the White House computers before they left in 2000. Bushies were pissed. Ha!

I love it here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good Ol' Dan Rather

I caught up with Dan Rather today, who is still on the relentless path of the truth and power of the independent press. I always felt so-so about Dan but have come to love him through the eyes of my buddy, Fang.

I've always been more of a Tom Brokaw gal - might be a Dakota thing - but I have 'thing' for journalists in general. They are my people - fatally curious, painfully geeky and with a load of bad habits to make them pretty lovable. They are also mostly cynical and often, hilarious. (Extra points if they are Jewish and living in NYC. Double extra points if they work for NPR and have bushy eyebrows.)

Dan was on the Digg Stage to discuss freedom of the press and the death of a conscious media. Here are some quotes:

On bloggers and new media: "It's worth contemplating - there is no more independent newsroom than a newsroom of one."

"Citizen journalism offers an opportunity to punch through the vapid coverage we've seen ... better than so-called 'access journalism.'"

"This is no exaggeration - your country needs you."

"For the past few years, much of the press has been derelict in its duty; I do not except myself in that."

At this point I should point out that Dan was using notes but still did a bang-up job at connecting with his audience - making eye contact, gesticulating, emphasizing and driving home his point.

"What we have is a dangerous disconnect. An administration setting an overall narrative and a press that regurgitates it."

"There was no excuse for not covering what we should have covered. There was plenty of evidence in the independent press."

"We've been living in a watered-down state."

"Quality news starts with an owner with guts."

"I've been covering politics for over half a century - I covered the DNC in 1956 and let me tell you ... that what as changed the most is the character of media ownership."

Dan then talked about how only recently he has fully realized how much heat his bosses took on his behalf when he was covering Watergate, " I didn't have to. So I could get on with the task and do my job because it was important that the people knew what was going on, that they were informed."

"There's a lot of fear in newsrooms today."

"Too few voices homogenizing and marginalizing the news."

"The Internet MUST remain free."

As luck would have it, I was sitting in the front row (ah, the benefits of not being shy) next to the gal whose job it is to keep the program moving along. In her lap, she held big laminated cards that prompt speakers with directions - things like "1 more minute" and 'Take questions now" and so on.

She kept holding up a card that said, "Wrap It Up!" and I saw Dan read it and promptly, ignore it. Then, she gets out her Sharpie and adds a few exclamation points, to no avail. She tries a stern look and that doesn't work either. I want to tell her, "Lady, I think Dan Rather has faced ... um, tougher obstacles so ... I wouldn't hold my breath."

Go, Dan!

The Gift of Speak

Yesterday was both frustrating and fun. I caught a bunch of panels at the Digg Stage - here's a full recap in my BlogHer post. Overall, I was so impressed with the passion and articulation of Those People in society who ... y'know, get shit done. Secretly, I would like to be more like them but I am usually more comfortable in my observer role - just not as good at the gland-handing that is required.

Robert Kennedy, Jr. was, by far, the best speaker of the day. I'd seen him on The Daily Show and was amazed by how impervious he was to Jon Stewart's jokes. He's been harping on the environmental concerns for so long, it seems to justify his hoarse voice. (He's actually got a disease that affects his vocal chords.)

Anyway, I'm posting a photo of him not speaking but clearly burning with intensity. I mean, the dude is SERIOUS.

I was considerably less impressed with the public speaking abilities of Darryl Hannah. She introduced the "Climate Problems and Solutions; Local to Global" panel and for someone who makes a living as an actress, she sucked big time.

She had with her many pages of notes that she did not waver from. Her hair hung in her face and she rarely looked up. She spoke in a monotone and sounded incredibly bored with this topic that she has evidently built her entire life around. Maybe she was nervous?

The worst was when she would pause mid-sentence while she awkwardly moved the pages around, leaving us hanging between "We need to" ...scrambleshufflescrableshuffle ..... "be more aware of BLAHBLAHBLAH."

I'm sitting there thinking, 'Girl, get it together!' Maybe it's my improv training but it was all I could do not to get up there and take over. Sheesh!

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Might Be A Demanding Asshole

So far, not super impressed with the Big Tent's power availability. I just don't understand how you claim to set up a widely advertised 'blogger lounge' and then provide a minimum of power outlets, half of which do not work. Bloggers keep getting up to leave so they can go find a hallway or some coffee place to do their posts. What's odd is that all the TV monitors seem to have plenty of power ...

I complained to my blogger neighbors and got a lot of cooing sympathy: "Well, they are doing the best they can. I mean, this is a lot of people."

In my head, I'm screaming, "What the fuck are you talking about? That's like picking up a six pack of beer and then inviting 12 of your best friends over!!!" There's really no excuse. LAME.

DNC all week

I made it downtown today thanks to my own strong legs and a little bitta light rail. The city is BUZZING. I've never been near a political event this big so all my pores will be wide open. The photo above is from one of the many protests that took place downtown yesterday. These folks got the most support from the crowd by far.

I'll be photographing all the mania and doing a couple of posts for BlogHer - that's my priority this week. I aim to post here too with various tidbits, anecdotes and photographs. The majority of my DNC photos can be found here throughout the week.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Constantly Moving

For a naturally lazy person, I sure do move around a lot.

Friday night, I met up with Kath for a DNC-kickoff dinner (as I'd imagined it) at the Cherry Cricket. After all, the cheeseburger was invented in Denver so why not celebrate our city's week in the spotlight with an original creation?

After that, I caught a show at Swallow Hill - John Williams Davis and Friends. Every time I go to that place, I have an amazing musical experience. John is an achingly gifted songwriter and his friends played so many instruments, I started to lose track. They played some Chinese lap violin-thingy they called a "Who." I ran in to lots of friends that I met last week while we tried to break the record for the 'World's Biggest Guitar Lesson' at Red Rocks.

We needed at least 1,378 people with guitars to break the current record but alas, we only ended up with 501. Near the end, we were counting babies with ukeleles. Still, it was a very cool experience and I can now say, "I played at Red Rocks." Maybe next year.

Yesterday, I began the day with a jog around Washington Park (I'm getting better at this!) Then, it was off to the barn to reconnect with my equine friend, Bob. For the first time, I managed to stand up in my stirrups with the horse at full canter - which sounds more difficult than it really is. I also made an initial stab at jumping fences - yikes!

Then, I met up with my pal, Laura, at Red Rocks, where we went hiking in the rain. Ignoring the thunder but looking for lightening, we packed in a few miles before we could justify a grand Mexican feast at the Morrison Inn. I'm so thrilled to have an old friend here in town who is at-the-ready for random adventures.

I then stopped in at Beanie's place to have a drink and say hello to my pal, Scottie, visiting from Carbondale. I'd bonded with her when Beanie and I and visited Aspen over Easter weekend (see left).

THEN, I went home and showered up for the evening plan: The movies!

Laura and went to see Ben Stiller's latest film, "Tropic Thunder" and it is f**king HILARIOUS. I laughed the entire way through and am still giggling today. The entire audience was in hysterics and were still laughing walking out of the theater - always a good sign. People are all upset over the fact that Robert Downey Jr. 'plays' a black man but he really doesn't. He plays a white Australian method actor, Kirk Lazarus, playing a black man. Kirk amazingly stays in character with or without the cameras. Of course, there is a real black actor in the cast (Brandon T. Jackson) who constantly calls him out on his stereotypes, smacking him when necessary. People are also upset over the use of the word "retard" and "retarded" and I can understand where they are coming from but .... it's still HYSTERICAL. Sorry.

Ben Stiller plays worn-out action hero, Tugg Speedman, who finds out what he's really made of when the movie they are shooting in Vietnam gets ... um, derailed. Stiller is so gifted as a comedian and he's done an amazing job as co-writer and director. Also, check out his guns! Boy has been seriously working out for this role.

Jack Black, one my very favorites, doesn't hold back one single shred of dignity for his role as Jeff Portnoy, a drug addict who makes his living off of fatty fart movies a la Eddie Murphy. OMG - the desperate pleas he makes when they have to tie him up to a tree ... I nearly fell out of my chair.

But the one performance that really impressed me came from a surprising source: Tom Cruise. I shit you not. He played evil studio head Lou Grossman and he is nearly unrecognizable - see right, mid-makeup. Lou is bald, fat, hairy and prone to big gold necklaces. Most of all, the guy is evil to the core. He even scares the pants off the Viet Cong ... and that was over the phone.

Cruise really goes for it here, especially dancing to the gangsta rap. I have to hand it to the guy - he really delivered. It was refreshing to see him have such a great time with such a morally and physically repulsive character; it was a role he obviously relished.

Anyhoo, so now I have to get on my bike and make my way downtown. Going to meet up with Camille & John, and their matching child units, twins Max & Chloe. We're going to GreenFest but I'm also going to pick up some press badges at The Big Tent, where I'll be hanging out all week at the DNC.

Denver is going to be Crazy Town all week! I see no rest in my immediate future.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Get Your War On: The Surge

Paltrow & PETA: How do vegetarians draw the line?

(This is a cross-post from my other gig, BlogHer.)

In the ‘She-didn't-see-this-coming?' category, Gwyneth Paltrow was recently slammed by PETA for modeling fur in ads for Tod's, an Italian maker of fashion accessories. Paltrow, a proclaimed vegetarian, is known for her green, holistic lifestyle and close friendship with staunch animal-rights designer, Stella McCartney, yet she is fronting the autumn collection of fur-lined boots and bags for Tod's. Tricky, no? As an aspiring vegetarian, I'm befuddled. Can V-Folks have it both ways?

"People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it's safer to harass rich women than motorcyle gangs."

--Alexei Sayle, British comedian, actor, author

PETA, in their usual snarky tone, issued the following statement:

"Gwyneth Paltrow won't be the apple of her daughter's eye if she flaunts the skins of once-beautiful animals. Promoting an industry that electrocutes animals, snaps their necks, and skins them alive is a shocking example to set for a young child ... Apparently, Paltrow's beauty really is only skin deep."

PETA has helpfully sent the offending actress gobs of photos, videos and gruesome details about what is done to animals to make fur fashion products but have not received a response.

Putting all the Blonde Rage (Jessica Simpson v. Pamela Anderson, Paltrow v. McCartney, Hayden Panetierre v. dolphin hunters, Jenna Jameson v. horny pets) aside for a minute , my question is this: Are vegetarians and vegans universally expected to abstain from all uses of animals, whether for food, medical or scientific research, clothing or companionship? And is this even possible? My guess is this issue is not so black and white but more ... er, calico.

Frequent animal rights activist and bad-husband-chooser Pam Anderson accidentally discovered some grey areas when she went to Australia to film an episode of 'Big Brother'. She stopped by the local KFC to stage a protest totally unaware that KFC is a major sponsor of the very show that hired her. Buk-buk-buk-BUKAH!

"There's never been a better time to be a half-assed vegetarian."

--Daniel Engber, Slate

It was a couple of decades ago but I remember getting harangued by a vegetarian who took me to task for wearing a rabbit fur coat, a 16th birthday gift from my mother. I felt horribly guilty until I pointed out his leather jacket and shoes. V-Folks today are much sharper about aligning their shopping choices with their principles but my own guilt remains. The coat has remained in the closet where it will not be taken out again unless I move to Aspen or Vail, where fur coats are like Birkenstocks in Berkeley.
"Everyone's a pacifist between wars. It's like being a vegetarian between meals."

--Colman McCarthy, American journalist, teacher and peace activist

When pondering our beneficial relationship with animals, looks like we humanoids draw personal lines in different places. I know some who don't eat meat but have leather interior in the car, vegans who put honey on their oatmeal, while others eat pepperoni pizza but faithfully buy cage-free eggs. (Okay, that last one is me, actually.)
"I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals; I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants."

--A. Whitney Brown, American comedian, writer

Perhaps that is why so many V-Folks come off as militant; the way our society and marketplace is structured, it requires a certain amount of vigilance to keep the issue front-of-mind. Though I am getting better about making more conscious choices, it requires some pretty severe mind tricks on my part.

I actually have to put one of my personal animal friends (Simone the cat, Millie the bird or Bob the horse) in place of the nameless, faceless animal listed on the menu and ask myself some hard questions: Would I order a bowl of Simone Soup? Or a Bob Burger? A side of Millie Wings?

I often end up holding up the line while my stomach and heart duke it out. Usually I end up with a soft serve cone so no one gets hurt .... but I'm usually still hungry. It all begs that famous question, 'If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?'

I don't have the answers but I welcome advise, insight and flaming condemnation on this issue. In the process of my ongoing quest, I have found some interesting blogs and posts that offer perspective:

The Vegetarian Protein Site features thought-provoking posts such as, "What kind of car should a vegetarian own?" and "Why would you be a vegan and not ever participate in a protest?"

Enjoy a youthful perspective from TeenSaladShooter - Plain Talk on the Veggie Lifestyle in her post, "Emergency leads to debate":
"It's really weird. The very word 'vegetarian' makes adults, mostly moms, act like Cujo."

--Teen Salad Shooter

Meanwhile, the It's Not Easy Being Green blog offers some hilarious hosting-a-vegetarian tips under the post, "Who invited the Vegetarian!?":
"After all, there are over 19 million of us (vegetarians) in the United States. But, a vegetarian at your BBQ doesn't have to ruin the fun. In fact, it won't. Vegetarians are people too, you may be surprised to know. And like all people, we come in all types - fat, skinny, rude, friendly, democrat, republican (or so I've heard, I've never actually met one), bossy, shy, etc. We aren't all hippies.... The main rule of thumb is just don't worry about it - vegetarians have been going to parties for generations, we're used to it."

--It's Not Easy Being Green


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More Firsts

I spent last Sunday at one of my favorite Colorado music events, the Folks Festival in Lyons. I go every year - with or without escort - and every year, I'm blown away by the talent of people I've never heard of but will never forget. Here's me getting my chest signed by Melissa Ferrick, who blew everyone away with her sheer brilliance and endless humor. (The Boston Globe said, "She appeared at times to be channeling Bruce Springsteen and Rickie Lee Jones simultaneously.") I've never been one for autographs but when she offered to sign "body parts and CDs in the back tent", I figured it was time for another First. Melissa did not seem to mind.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Laying Down Tracks

The first day of our Colorado Road Trip was a bit hectic - we were fresh outta the gate and vacation-ready. First, I brought Gins to my favorite breakfast place in Colorado, the Country Road Cafe in Kittridge. They've got an entire section of breakfast items that are built around mashed potatoes. Their green chilies and poblano sauce are delectable. Plus, they are incredibly nice and very fast. The only trick is - get there early or be prepared to wait 'cause the word is OUT.

We stocked up on calories and I took Gins by the barn to meet my horse friends. I brought carrots for everyone, as expected, and then we hit the road. Heading west on Hwy 70, it didn't take long for us to hit traffic. There's something about not having a commute that makes me forget about this concept entirely. I used to be accustomed to it but nowadays, I'm surprised every damn time. 'Whaa ... wait .. who are all these people and why are they vacationing in August???? C'MON, PEOPLE, HAVEN'T YOU SEEN THE PRICE OF GAS???? Stay home already! Sheesh!'

Eventually, we made it to Georgetown, a quaint historical village and the favorite pee stop for all skiers headed to higher ground. I've longed to take the Georgetown Loop Railroad and finally, it's done.

I'm totally nuts about trains; it stems from my dad (he's crazy for 'em too), Johnny Cash (same deal) and just their general loud, steely sexiness. They infer adventures in places unknown and conjure a time when our country was young. The sound of a train whistle ... my god, there is nothing better! Anyone who has heard my cell phone ring knows my feelings on this matter.

As far as train rides go, it was ... well, okay. I thought it was going to be an 1.5-hour trip but it was actually far less. We rode in an open box car and it chugged us up to the little town of Silver Plume, where we were herded into a gift shop. Blech. I opted to avoid it and instead checked out the nearby train garage where old locomotives were being worked on by earnest folks wearing greasy bib overalls. This one to the right is circa 1928. Man, it was cool.

I also got to chat up our incredibly handsome conductor, Steve, a man who clearly loves his job. When the train had initially pulled into the station, he was waving wildly with the biggest grin. I said to Gins, "I mean, how many times a day does he have to do that?" All the little kids (and me) waved right back. He was totally sincere in his joy, giving him the distinct glow of someone who has met their destiny. Here he is standing in front of an old steam train, circa 1885-ish. He even picked up on my excitement and assured me I could probably get a job in the greasy garage, which would be so fun ... the first day or so and then I'd want to go fast in something big and loud.

Best things about the ride were the beautiful train itself, Steve, the scenery and the fact that they played Johnny Cash songs up and back. Otherwise, it was just too damn short.

Later in the trip, I discovered my next train goal - the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. All in due time ....


Thursday, August 14, 2008

As the Day Approaches ...

I took this shot from the Obama Campaign HQ in Denver on Tuesday evening. The view looks peaceful but I can assure you, the scene behind me was not. People are dog tired and overworked. I innocently asked one staffer if they had any Obama buttons left - something to ID me when I knock on doors. She just looked at me and started laughing in this strange maniacal manner. It was kinda scary. She just kept laughing until a few tears came. She walked away, still laughing. This is what sleep deprivation does when met with naive questions.

I spent part of my evening going door-to-door asking people who they might vote for in November and if they would like to sign up to receive mail-in ballots. I have not rang stranger-doorbells since I was a wee Camp Fire Girl, asking if folks wanted to buy P-Nuttles or Almond Rocha. Of course, I was much cuter then and greeted with less skepticism. People were mostly nice though there was one dog who humped my leg right outta the yard - that was a close one.

With my task completed earlier than planned, I found a bleary-eyed (they are ALL that way) campaign staffer named Will Bowling and asked what else they needed. "How do you feel about phone banking?" He then handed me somebody's cell phone (someone from North Carolina, evidently) and a list of phone numbers. He sent me off into the buzzing room full of people on phones - some sitting at desks and tables, some on the floor - all very, very focused.

I found enough space on a dirty corner couch and started dialing. What an education! Amazingly, every person I spoke to was gracious - not one rude person. I did get one guy who just wanted to talk and kept me on the phone by declaring his indecision. I finally had to cut him off when he began giving his opinions on cars, air quality, women and bread.

Another woman, after answering my questions politely, ("Who are you going to vote for? Are you going to the convention? What issues matter most to you? Do you want me to sign you up to receive a mail-in ballot?") said, "So, now comes the part where you ask me for a donation, right?"

She caught me off guard. I then threw her for a loop when I said, "Um, no. Not today!"

I talked to a bunch of folks who were undecided, especially Hillary supporters who are still clinging to a dream that Hillary herself has let go of. This I do not understand and this is why the Dems always end up shooting themselves in the foot during a race. From what I can tell, Hillary is doing her best to mesh her flock with Obama's but there are many, many stragglers. I hope they come around before November or will be up Shit Creek ... again.

The words of Eddie Izzard, who I recently saw perform, keep ringing in my ears:
"Okay, people now PLEASE don't fuck it up this time, eh? Vote the right way and then, drive to Florida and vote again, okay? PLEASE!"

Amen to that.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I've Returned the Wiser

After nine days of being offline, this morning I plugged in again. I have to say, it was liberating to be concerned with bugs ... real ones, not the software kind.

My eyes have gorged themselves on unbelievable scenery and I've only begun to download the eight gazillion photos that I took but hey, all in good time. (The shot above is in Georgetown, off Hwy 70. We turned a corner and Gins wisecracked, "Hmmmm. I wonder when that was built?")

I'll say one thing for sure, Colorado is even more beautiful than I'd imagined. I wish I had a tank of gas for every time I uttered, "Whoa" or "Wow!" when trying to take it all in. The folks of this state have a great history to be proud of - early Coloradans were tough as nails and still are; they have a great mesh of Midwestern friendliness mixed with this mountain man survivor mentality that is quite admirable.

Gins and I were so lucky to have had this adventure and she is about the best traveling buddy that one can hope for. However, we are clearly The Odd Couple with me in the Oscar Madison role. At one point she looked at me, disgusted, "Is that refried bean in your hair?" Hey, at least I'm a good driver, right?

I'll have to parcel out this trip in digestible post chunks, which will come eventually. I'll try to lead an uneventful life until then.


Whoops. No luck.

Tonight, for the first time in my life, I went door-to-door for a campaign. It was on behalf of Obama but the goal was to register folks for a mail-in ballot since we all know how reliable hanging chads can be. Just the word 'Florida' still gives me nightmares.

I paired up with a tall dude named Darryl and, armed with forms at the ready, we rang doorbells. We both learned a lot. There are still Hillary supporters in denial, folks who don't want to talk about who they are voting for and one old woman who hadn't voted in 15 years. "I'll just leave it up to you people," meaning us young folk.

We met a lot of people who would rather physically walk into a voting booth on November 4 and I don't blame them. I prefer it myself - the sense of community and the spectacle of Something Important going on. Still, I convinced a couple of folks to change their minds so I guess that was worth it. Darryl and I will hit the streets again tomorrow.

One woman, who had an Obama sign in her window, thanked us and requested that we "keep him safe for us." I promised her we would though I have no idea how to go about that. I can tell you that after visiting the Obama HQ here in Denver, there's A LOT of people who have given up any semblance of a normal life to make sure he gets to the White House - what a scene! Lots of exhausted people and pizza boxes. It looked like a tech start-up but more over-40 types and less foosball.

Darryl and I eventually decided that instead of knocking on doors, we should go where the people congregate so we headed to the Denver institution, Bonnie Brae Ice Cream Store, where there is always a long line out in the street. We pulled up and recognized two other Obama volunteers we'd met earlier. We chided them for 'stealing' our idea and the guy says, "No, actually, we're done with our campaign shift. My parents own this place. Do you guys want some free ice cream?"

So far, campaign work is very revealing and incredibly yummy.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Happy Colorado Day!

'Twas a mere 132 years ago that my new state became a new state and an official part of that newfangled country called The U S of A. So, what better way to celebrate than to pick up my best buddy from DIA and plot our week-long road trip around Colorado?

Gins and I have been planning this since January and amazingly, the day has finally arrived. We're going to head west on I-70 and than make a big loop - down to Durango and over to the Sand Dunes NP. Our first tourist function will be to ride the famous Georgetown Loop Railroad - something I've been wanting to do since I got here. And our first night will be spent in a yurt, atop a local peak called New York Mountain (elev: 11,200) just outside of Eagle. I can hardly wait!

We're going to be stopping in Montrose to visit the Colorado Yurt Company. Why? Because I've got QUESTIONS. Loads of 'em. Namely, can you get an Internet hook-up in a yurt? Where do you pee? Such are my concerns about yurt living. The more overpriced McMansions I see, the more I like the idea of scaling down. Most people think I am nuts, with the exception of Eric Shively, who I also hope to visit along the way.

I have no plans to take my computer along (Kath, I can hear you gasp from here!) so there will be no blog posting unless the Internet happens to cross my path by divine order. However, I am woefully behind on my guitar practicing so that will be the priority during downtime. I may even bring along my much-neglected travel journal and put a pen to paper - like they did back in olden times.

Colorado Fun Facts:

The cheeseburger was invented in Denver in 1935.

The highest paved road in North America is the Road to Mt. Evans off of I-70 from Idaho Springs. The Road climbs up to 14,258 Ft. above sea level.

Colorado means “colored red” and is known as the “Centennial State.”

Colfax Avenue in Denver is the longest continuous street in America.

Katherine Lee Bates wrote “America the Beautiful” after being inspired by the view from Pikes Peak.

The World's First Rodeo was held on July 4th, 1869 in Deer Trail.

Colorado has more microbreweries per capita than any other state.

For some bizarre reason, Colorado boasts the highest number of certified scuba divers than any other state.

Year after year, Colorado is determined to be America's leanest state. (Hence, my new running habit.)

So... get out there and explore your own backyard - adventures await! See ya'll in a week!