We left our lovely timeshare soon after 8 a.m. on Saturday and had an uneventful flight to Denver. Once again, although it was a four hour flight, there was no meal provided, so once we had collected our cases I we sat in the arrivals lounge surrounded by our cases eating a Burger King feast.
Denver advertises itself as “the mile high city” and the road to Laramie took us over the wild tops of mountains, past snow and acre upon acre of empty countryside. One thing I’m finding strange about America is just how much of it there is, and how much of it is nothing. Even from the plane we could look out both sides and not see any towns or cities.
Ruth’s home is lovely, as I had known it would be, festooned with flower arrangements and displays, and charming homilies stencilled on the walls or engraved on plaques. Ruth designed it herself, and it is roughly four times the size of our house. Ruth was always very artistic – she and I first met in college art class – and have a home to build and decorate is evidently a great outlet for her talents.
It was great to see Ruth and John again, and all the children, and see just how much they’ve grown. Gwen bonded with Emily once more, and Hari was beside herself with joy to meet the little dogs, and (Ruth runs a home childcare nursery) Ceri was excited to find a huge playroom full of toys.
Ruth had cooked us a huge and fabulous meal, after which she and John took Hubby Dearest and I, and their son Sam, to see How to Train your Dragon at the local cinema. It was a good film and I had been wanting to see it, but we were pretty tired by the end of it. Laramie is two hours behind Florida, so our body clocks were screaming at us that it was bedtime even though it was barely nine o’clock. Surprising what a difference those two hours can make.
We were up in plenty of time to attend Church on Sunday. Ruth's home is just a short walk from the church, and it was a small but very friendly ward. We then had roast turkey for lunch, and in the afternoon went up to Vedauwoo, part of a national park, to admire the scenery. It is the highest point in the western United States, and was covered in snow, so we had a snowball fight and Gwen got some great photographs.
We are all feeling the effects of the altitude in various ways. Roderic has a permanent headache, Hari has been wheezing, Gwen and I have been getting out of breath at the slightest exertion, and Ceri has been feeling very feverish and tired. We are at over 7,000 feet and the air is thinner here - apparently it can take a week or two to acclimatise.
Monday was business as usual for the Wlliams family, with the children at school, Ruth's daycare kids in the house, and John at work, but Ruth's lovely friend Karen and her husband took us for a fabulous Mexican meal. Well, not quite all of us. Hari went to "Indian Paintbrush Elementary School" for lunch with Ruth's 8 year old twins.
Afterwards we went to Wal-Mart for more Lucky Charms and Ranch dressing to take home, Staples for paper and ink to print out my novels, and Dollartree for pretty much everything it sold. It's a lot like Poundland back in Britain but cheaper, and bigger and with some really unusual things. Hari got a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup lip salve, for example.
In the evening we went to Arby's which does burgers but with slices of real roast beef. Delicious! We then had a very pleasant family home evening with a game of "Guesstures" - the Buttimore-Joneses beat the Williams' fairly decisively.