Range Roaming – Colorado 2013 – Days 108/109

Just getting lazy?: Glenwood Springs July 31- Aug 1

Wednesday July 31, 2013

I like Glenwood Springs. It sits at the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and the Colorado River and is surrounded by tall, mountainous ridges. The downtown has a variety of shops, restaurants and bars, and is several streets deep. There are several pleasant parks, and most of the historic homes have been kept up. A bike path runs along the Roaring Fork that will take you all the way to Aspen if you’d like to ride down that way. The Amtrak station has a gorgeous building. The train still stops here twice a day going east or west. There are lots of touristy things to do like zip lines and whitewater rafting, though I don’t do any of these things. The hot springs pool is massive and doesn’t feel crowded, even now at the height of summer.

Amtrak Station at Glenwood Springs. I enjoy wandering around this town. It has a beautiful setting and lots of touristy things to do.

The only negative thing I see is that there are a lot of homeless people here. Every park I visit has homeless people hanging around. Perhaps they’ve all been kicked out of Aspen and Carbondale. Maybe there are good social services here. I don’t know, but I’m not particularly comfortable with the way several of them eye me off when I’m trying to just enjoy myself in the shade near the river. I also see a couple on road bikes in full lycra gear ask a park maintenance worker if their car is safe in one of the parking lots. They’re a bit worried it might not be there when they get back. The park worker assures them that the park is well-patronized by other people besides the homeless, and the rafters use the park as a take-out point, so it should be fine.

I spend two days in town checking out the museum (it’s not all that great), going to the hot springs, wandering around the historic homes, spending some time at the memorial to the firefighters lost at Storm King Mountain, doing a bit of shopping for friends’ birthdays, and running a bunch of errands.

The memorial to the firefighters lost at Storm King Mountain in 1994. There are also individual plaques surrounding the statue which pay tribute to each fallen firefighter. This statue features a Heli-Tac, Hot Shot and Smokejumper crew member to recognise each of the types of crews who lost members.
This is the smokejumper part of the statue. I spend some time here reading the plaques and thinking of one my friends who does this for a living. I worry about him every summer.

I see a Polish restaurant in my wanderings. Pierogies! Cabbage rolls! My family is not Polish, but I do have a decent amount of Ukranian heritage, and many of the foods are similar. I can’t remember the last time I had pierogies or cabbage rolls. The restaurant has just a few tables, and an old Polish grandma does all the cooking on the stove in an open kitchen. She barks at her grandson in Polish; he’s a nice guy in his 20s who takes my order and money. The smell when I walk in takes me back to family reunions as a kid. The food is excellent, and not too expensive. I think about my family as I consume some comfort food. Glenwood Springs will always be in my memory now as the town with the Polish place.

I had planned only one day off here, but the second day has a very high chance of rain after 10 am. I don’t want to climb McClure Pass in a downpour. The clouds are already building at 8 am, so I just decide to stay a second day. Or maybe I’m just getting lazy? (It does rain off-and-on all day.)

I was able to negotiate a $40/night cash rate at one of the old motels on old Highway 6, so I can just hang out without blowing my budget too much.

Apparently, to use the bike lanes in Glenwood Springs you need to ride a recumbent and wear an Asian-style wok on your head.


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