Thursday, August 16, 2012

Incredibly Busy Summer--Part 2

At the end of July, IT Prof and I set off on vacation, all by ourselves.  IT Prof wanted to escape the Kansas City heat in the mountains of Colorado.  After I agreed (in a moment of weakness) to tent camp with him in Rocky Mountain National Park and risk possible mauling by black bears, he suggested that I finally go to Aspen to look for genealogical deeds beforehand.  I had wanted to do this for years.  The LDS Family History Library has no films of Pitkin County deeds, so I knew I would either have to pay a lot of money to a researcher or look at deeds myself on site.  Besides, the genealogical jaunt would give us a chance to acclimate to the higher elevations.

Since Aspen is pretty much the domain of the really rich and famous, we didn't even consider staying there.  Instead, we stayed in Glenwood Springs about forty miles northwest of Aspen.  We drove into Glenwood Springs on a Sunday afternoon and immediately headed for Glenwood Sew on Grand Avenue (which in my hometown would have been called Main Street).  I don't just research genealogy; I also research quilt shops' hours of operation.  (Thank you, Google.)

Glenwood Sew, a quilt shop, is owned by a wise person who understands that many people enjoy shopping for fabric and patterns on Sunday afternoons.  Or, maybe the owner just doesn't want to miss any of the tourist trade.

In my opinion, Glenwood Sew is a good quilt shop, albeit rather small.  What I enjoyed was the different fabric and patterns from what is available in the area near my home.  I had a great time in the store.  IT Prof had a better time than he expected because he discussed the soon-to-be-important parking situation in Aspen with the store clerk.

Because we had limited space available with all the camping equipment packed in our Toyota Echo, I looked around the store for less than an hour.  The clerk recommended a nearby restaurant for our late lunch.  Our train-obsessed grandson, Omaha, would have been delighted to discover the restaurant was across the street from the Glenwood Springs train station.

Omaha would have been disappointed because it wasn't called Union Station, but he would have been deliriously happy to see the Amtrack train stop at the station as IT Prof and I were fortunate enough to be able to do.

After lunch, we crossed the train tracks and the highway on the terribly high pedestrian bridge that I crossed so bravely.

In typical tourist mode, IT Prof is talking on his mobile phone, ignoring the famous Glenwood Springs behind and below him.  (By some small chance (i.e., 100%), he might have been letting one of our children rejoice in the news that we had arrived in Glenwood Springs safely.)  Tourists have been visiting the springs for well over a hundred years.  Nowadays Glenwood Springs uses the springs as a municipal swimming pool, albeit one with an expensive daily fee.

The photo above does not do justice to the extreme height of the pedestrian bridge and how I suffered walking across it, several times in fact!  Glenwood Springs is a pretty town nestled in the mountains, and IT Prof and I thought it would have been a good vacation spot in its own right.

The next morning I was up early and ready to drive to Aspen, one of the cities of my genealogical dreams.  On the highway to Aspen (which inexplicably has been greatly improved since the 1960s and early 1970s when I last rode in a car along it), we soon passed Mount Sopris, which is near Carbondale, Colorado.

I felt a deep obligation to photograph Mount Sopris from the car because my dad used to be so excited whenever we drove past it to and from our way to ski in Aspen (back when you did not have to be rich and famous to ski there).  I checked in Wikipedia the night before and finally discovered that Mount Sopris is noted for its twin peaks of almost identical elevations.  Dad would have liked it if he could have known I photographed Mount Sopris in his memory.

IT Prof's investigations into the parking situation in Aspen led us to easily find the expensive parking garage recommended for visitors.  (Hmmm.  Why do you think it is recommended?)  By this point, I was (typically) bubbling over with excitement to be in Aspen and about to search for deeds pertaining to the Cruikshank family.  My great-great-grandparents moved to Aspen from Chicago sometime around 1881.

However, I managed to photograph IT Prof a couple of times.  Here he is standing in front of the Pitkin County Library (on our way to the Recorder of Deeds Office).

Originally I thought I might visit the Pitkin County Library and check out its local history section if my quest at the Pitkin County Recorder of Deeds Office only resulted in a tiny bit of information. As I naturally ended up not having sufficient time during the extemely limited business hours of operation at the Recorder of Deeds Office, I never saw the interior of the library.

We walked a short distance from the library and arrived at the place of my long-time dreams, the Pitkin County Recorder of Deeds Office.

IT Prof, like the sport he is, agreed to pose in front of the rather attractive old building where the Recorder of Deeds Office is located.

I couldn't fit the tower in the other photograph of the building, but I did admire its architecture.  Then I abandoned IT Prof for the mystical chambers of grantee indexes, grantor indexes, and deed books.  Pitkin County has a fantastic Recorder of Deeds Office.  I was allowed to take the 140-year-old book off the shelves myself and research to my heart's content.  There was also a copier I was allowed to use for 25 cents per copy, but this was Aspen after all.

I prepared to spend a delightful day avoiding the beautiful, sunny summer day in the Rocky Mountains and fulfill my long-time dream of seeking deeds for the Cruikshanks in Aspen.  IT Prof had to console himself by taking the ski lift to the top of Aspen Mountain and exploring there.  Down deep in my little genealogically crazy heart, I did not envy IT Prof a bit.

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