Family vacation, Dave-and-Dian style
My mom and dad love to travel. It’s a simple fact. If Dave and Dian were both retired, they would have an RV and be on the road. They are close, though. My mom is enjoying her retirement years, and dad is working toward his second round.Take that for a Midwestern work ethic.The parental unit was in town last weekend on their annual trip to Colorado. I’m not the only spectacle they come to see. My parents have been coming out west from Indiana long before I decided to move to the Roaring Fork Valley nine years ago. They even stayed in Glenwood Springs before I ever knew the words “hippy dip” were part of the English language. And that when it snows really hard, it means it’s “dumping.”Who knew?From what they’ve told me, they like seeing me on these annual trips. They also enjoy meeting my friends and colleagues. My dad loves to tell embarrassing stories about me, and my mom loves to answer questions like, “Was your daughter always so boring?” and “Did April often have imaginary friends, even in high school?”The answer is yes, and we were definitely the popular girls.This year, my parents planned an overnight trip so I could ride the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. They had taken this ride before and recommended it, so I was game. Outside of a train at an amusement park I haven’t ridden many of them. I like history, so I find them pretty fascinating. So many hard-working people built them. The old quest for gold out here is also something I find interesting. Of course the railroads are tied to that. The only catch is, I picture everyone exactly as the characters in “Blazing Saddles.” Much like I envision our future la “Space Balls.”And pretty much the entire history of the world, thanks to my favorite movie named accordingly.The Narrow Gauge train lives up to its name. There are some narrow sections of the track where it feels like you’re hanging in the air when looking over the edge. Of course my dad thinks this is a lot of fun. He also thinks watching “Alien” at the movie theater is fun. And, when walking over a rickety bridge with my dad, he routinely thinks it’s fun to make it rattle.No rest for the leery.I, of course, enjoyed the scenery of the San Juan National Forest. The river cut through the valley like a melting luge track. Stately pine trees shot to the blue sky like bottle rockets. In our open-window train car, the seats faced outward, which provided the opportunity to view the scenery up close. Most people chose to view the Rockies standing rather than sitting, as if they were saluting the trees with a standing ovation. The steam engine is coal-powered, so there was that gritty feel to the face only the railroad can provide. It was after Labor Day so we didn’t see many men, or women, ruin their white pants.Thank goodness.We stopped for lunch and went sightseeing in Silverton. I learned that people still play pianos at saloons, and prostitution really had a good run there. Guys and girls on bikes really like Silverton. And there is one of those old-timey photo places where you dress up in old-timey clothes in old-timey poses.Every family should have one somewhere in their home.We didn’t have time for yet another one of those old-timey photos – we’ve already done five collectively between the three of us. I’ll save that for my next professional photo submission to my college’s alumni magazine. A floppy bonnet really makes an impression in the corporate world.Taking these tourist-friendly family vacations with my mom and dad makes me appreciate their love of travel. They have stories about everywhere they’ve gone – we all do – and that’s what makes getting out there to travel so interesting. Like books about the railroad system or shenanigans of the Old West.I may have to pen the latter. – April E. Clark is getting punked this Saturday as emcee of the Punk in the Park fundraising event at Two Rivers Park. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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