In early December six years ago, we packed up our home in Fort Collins and got on a plane to Canada for a short adventure there before moving to San Jose in California.
At the time I vowed to myself that I'd return.
And last week, I did. (We did.)
I can't describe the visceral thrill I felt when I saw the Ft Collins sign on I70 going into Denver. I was so excited about going back. The closest I can describe is it's like seeing the sign for your favourite holiday location from when you were a kid. For me that was Lakes Entrance in Victoria, Oz. When I even just think of Lakes Entrance, I think of cinnamon donuts, mini golf, loooooong golden beaches and salty air (and not just from my father swearing the place blue).
Fort Collins was one great long summer for me. We moved there just after midsummer's day and I was enchanted by everything about it. I didn't have a car so I had to walk, take the bus, or (after we bought bikes) ride my bike around the place. We got a bike trailer pretty quickly so I could haul loads (not kids) of shopping easily. We lived near a creek (Spring Creek) and I soon discovered that it had crawdads living in it (by the simple fact of seeing them squashed flat on the bike path that crossed the creek). Oh happy hours of watching crawdads and trying to stop them getting run over by bikes.
|There's a crawdad in that water|
I had little in the way of friends, and no responsibilities beyond making house and keeping food on the table. It was one of the best summers of my life despite me hardly knowing anyone and us not having much in the way of cash to splash.
So going back was good. Better than good.
|Sculpture in Old Town|
The parts of Fort Collins that I used to frequent aren't substantially changed. There's some new buildings in old town but they are much better than having empty blocks.
|People like to hang out in Old Town.|
My favourite shops are still there. Nathan's favourite coffee shop is still there. My Sister Knits was my LYS and it is still there. Lambspun is still there. I managed to stop myself from going into the plant nurseries that I liked so much. Wholefoods is still in the same place, Sunflower Market is now Sprouts but it is still there, and there is a new one down in the "new" development on E Harmony. The Loopy Ewe moved to Fort Collins, and I am sooooo very glad we don't live in Fort Collins any more because we would be paupers (but I'd be rich in wool!). It was amazing how many familiar things were still around and how I could ignore the things that weren't familiar.
|Old fire house.|
Something I had forgotten is that despite being a college town, Fort Collins is not overly blessed with a variety of ethnic foods. There's plenty of chains and plenty of cheap places catering for students but not so many interesting places to eat. After a few days in Cheyenne, we were ready for something that was not a burger place, a bar and grill, a steakhouse or a brew pub. Not that Fort Collins is blessed with breweries - why no, it isn't with only New Belgium, Odell's, Fort Collins Brewery, Coopersmiths', a host of others and umm, dare I mention it, Budweiser? (I also thought Coors was "brewed" nearby too - am I wrong?)
|Some of the test garden. So bright and pretty!|
Anyway, it still was glorious and I feel like I've had some closure on it - I have been back, it is wonderful but I think I'm better off in Seattle. I was so looking forward to coming back to Seattle and enjoying some of the best summer weather in the States and being able to get really good Mexican, Thai and Indian food.
|More of the test garden|
Ha on the weather front.
Of course Seattle welcomed us back with one nice day, then the weather has gone kaput. It rained last night, it rained and was grey all day today until sunset. It seems we missed summer - that was last week. The forecast doesn't get above 23C for the next ten days - like DOOOD! I want more summer! Bring back my summer!
|Old Town landscaping.|