Someone I can take home to Boulder

By Katherine Wartell

Recently, my boyfriend of nearly four months and I spent about 21 hours in the car together in a round-trip visit to Colorado for a four-day weekend. It was a trip we embarked on because I thought it would be fun to show him my home state and so he could meet my family.

It probably speaks well of our compatibility that we’re still doing just fine.

Now, it doesn’t actually take 21 hours to drive to and from Colorado — that’s more like 15 hours — but we also drove up into the mountains to visit Breckenridge, or Breck, as local, cool people call it, to stay for one night.

It should be a testament to him that he stayed with me, because during that mini-trip, Logan, my boyfriend, was introduced to my skillful mountain driving, which he would probably describe less as skillful and more as heart-attack-inducing (but he was smart enough not to say anything at the time). In my defense, it’s easy to speed when driving down the mountains.

The speeding had come after nearly three hours of stop-and-go traffic, where 15 miles per hour was the highest speed we’d reach, lasting from Breckenridge to Idaho Springs, two cities along I-70 that are only 50 miles apart. Generally, it takes only about an hour to drive between the two cities.

Of course, we weren’t driving it on a typical day-we were driving back on Labor Day when everyone and their father was on the road. My mom had thought if we got out early that Monday morning, we would miss the crowd. The crowd apparently had those same thoughts. 

But I’ve skipped ahead and that was the very end of our vacation, which had started on the Friday before, when we drove from Manhattan to my mom’s house in Superior, a town that sits between Denver and Boulder.

Two days of our four-day weekend were basically spent driving along the incredibly interesting stretch of I-70 through western Kansas and eastern Colorado. Naturally Logan wanted to stop at all the great spots, like, the “World’s Largest Prairie Dog.” I definitely did not “accidentally” drive past the exit to that.

Our plan Friday was to make it into town by 6 p.m. or so and have dinner with my family, followed by an otherwise laid-back night.

Meeting family is always rife with awkwardness, so it’s probably best to pull the Band-Aid off at once, right? The same night we drove in, Logan met my sister, her husband and their daughter, as well as my mother and her boyfriend. And, of course, he met the men of the house: Rollie, my geriatric Yorkshire Terrier, and Captain, our bewilderingly obese cat. (He’d meet my dad later, here, in Manhattan).

Truth be told, the only person he really needed to impress was Ava, my niece, who is bossy, opinionated and 3 years old. She can take a bit to warm up to new people, so she generally ignored him that first night. But he must have gotten her approval over the course of the weekend, as by the end of it, she was offering him imaginary popcorn along with everyone else (though she was still too shy to take his order while playing waitress).

I guess I should add he also got on well with the adult members of my family.

But besides meeting them, one of my goals in taking Logan home was to show him Boulder, because I am convinced he would fit in perfectly there. He’s a hippie who wears flannel shirts and owns a pair of Vibrams, those five-toed running shoes. Luckily, he’s never worn those shoes around me, but I bet no one knew he wasn’t a native Boulder-ite when we walked down the city’s famous Pearl Street Mall.

And, of course, you can’t visit Colorado without hiking in the mountains. I think I secretly hoped I’d be able to keep up (and by that, obviously, I mean be better) on the trails because I’m used to the altitude and Logan’s not.  I was basing this hope on the time I completely showed up two friends who were far fitter than me because they weren’t from Colorado and couldn’t handle the altitude.

But I guess Logan is just a better Coloradoan than I am, even though it was only his second time in the state.

I’ll blame it on the fact that I was originally born in Texas.

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