Home » 2011 Cross Country Road Trip

Boulder, CO

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 12:30pm by Lolo
115 miles and 2.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Andrew and I rose at the crack of dawn to catch our 7:00 am flight to Denver. I rarely fly, so I must admit to some anxiety and excitement – mostly excitement though. The flight was uneventable, and Andrew and I enjoyed a leisurely lunch in a TGIF in the Fort Worth/Dallas airport while waiting for our connection to Denver. It was so nice spending time together, just the two of us, and it was kind of cool that he was the more experienced air traveler guiding me through space rather than the reverse role that I had played with him for the previous 22 years.

Dining at Mountain Sun BreweryDining at Mountain Sun BreweryHerb was anxiously awaiting our arrival in Denver. While we were en route, he situated the RV in a Walmart parking lot in Broomfield, nearby to where Tommy was working that summer. Tommy dropped his car off with Herb on his lunch break, so that Herb wouldn’t have to maneuver through a busy airport with the RV to pick me and Andrew up.

When Andrew and I got to the baggage area, we spotted Herb, who seemed really, really happy to see us. I guess life on the road alone isn’t quite as much fun as sharing it with those you love. He definitely looked ready for some company and family time. It was all coming together as planned. I couldn’t believe that that night the four of us would be all together having dinner in Boulder. The way the schedules were that summer, the boys were never home at the same time, so we had to enjoy them sequentially. The next few days were it for us, and I think we were all pretty enthused about spending some time together, something that we used to take so for granted.

At 5:00, we picked Tommy up from work. I was so happy to see him. It had been about 6 weeks since he left home for his internship in Boulder – the longest that we have ever been apart. I tried to control my enthusiasm so as not to embarrass him in front of his co-worker who was hitching a ride home to Boulder with us. I would have to save the hugs for later. Tommy’s little Subaru got even cozier when we picked up his roommate John along the way.

After dropping off Charlie the co-worker, we went to Tommy and John’s apartment right near the University of Colorado. It was a bit messy—and I am being kind, but I held my tongue. I didn’t fly all the way out here to be a nag. That’s my home job.

Tommy had done some asking around at work for dinner recommendations and was told that the Mountain Sun Brewery would give us the “quintessential Boulder experience”. I was hoping that I would get my second wind, because we had been up since 4:00 in the morning and it was already 10:00 pm eastern time. I had so been looking forward to this evening that I wasn’t going to let a little sleep deprivation get in the way.

The Mountain Sun Brewery was located near the Pearl Street Mall, a really cool 4-block, pedestrian-only area that is filled with shops, restaurants, bars, street entertainers, and lots of college-age kids – I was beginning to feel old and wrinkly. We probably could have walked from the apartment, but instead we drove closer to the Pearl Street Mall, just in case it started raining again. Their apartment was located right in the heart of the Boulder action. They must have had a blast this summer.

Despite our 8:00 reservation, the Mountain Sun Brewery was so crowded and overflowing with happy people having a good time that they weren’t ready to seat us yet. Other nearby places weren’t half as full, so we knew that Tommy must have made the right choice. This was definitely the place to be.

After much apologizing for the wait, we were finally seated. The food and service were great and sampling the different beers was great fun – for three of us anyway. Tommy and John were still 19, so for them it was probably a pretty boring spectator sport. We had so much fun that night. I caught myself several times just grinning from ear to ear as I looked around the table at Herb and the boys (and Tommy’s friend John too). People must have thought I was hitting the samplers a bit too hard, but I swear it was just the company that was making me so happy.


Boulder is located 30 miles northwest of Denver, at the foot of the Flatirons of the Rocky Mountains. It has a population of 97,000, and is home to the University of Colorado. While, like many cities in Colorado, it began as a mining town, it has today become a center for scientific and environmental research and high-tech companies.
The town is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream with over 40,000 acres of open space within the city limits, 56 parks, and 200 miles of trails. Biking, running, hiking, fishing, and rock climbing are some of the favorite activities in the area. In surveys of best places to live, Boulder achieves top rankings in health, well-being, quality of life, education, and art.
Just a few of Boulder’s attractions include:

  • Pearl Street Mall – a four-block pedestrian-only mall in the historic downtown district with street entertainers, restaurants, and shops
  • Boulder Creek Path – a 16-mile walking/biking trail through the city and west into the Boulder Creek Canyon
  • National Center for Atmospheric Research – pink-sandstone building located atop Table Mesa in the southwestern foothills of Boulder where scientists study weather, climate change, ozone depletion, etc. On display are weather balloons, satellites, and supercomputers that simulate the world’s climate. Free admission.
  • University of Colorado – CU and its 29,000 students pretty much dominate the city. Its cultural and sports events have helped make Boulder what it is today.
  • Eldorado Canyon State Park – 850-foot canyon located 5 miles southwest of Boulder. It is popular for mountain biking, hiking, and rock climbing.

Boulder location map in "high definition"

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