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It started quietly enough when my cousin in Colorado emailed me and said that she was arranging a reunion when my sister was to fly in to Denver from Rome.  Very cool.  I hadn’t seen my sister in years.  She and I are good friends.  I’m in.  I accepted the Evite invitation.

So, I begin planning my trip.  Where to stay?  Well, I want to dance, so I figure somewhere close to a dance venue.  Grizzly Rose, the premier place to dance country in Denver, was holding a David Nail concert Sat. night.  Stampede looked like it wasn’t having a concert when looking at their website, so I figured I’d find somewhere close to Stampede.  I noted Stampede’s location on the map.

I drove to Denver and found Stampede.  It looked closed, but it was still early.  No hours were posted.  I went to a nearby bakery and a little oriental gal was very helpful and told me that Stampede was still in business.  The gal also told me about a nearby motel that was clean and affordable.  I went there.

The nearby motel was actually a weekly-stay facility, but the gal I talked to there told me where to find a motel in their corporate family.  I stopped at a Carl, Jr. to get a burger and was surprised with a senior discount.  I was on a budget and this was a welcome surprise.

I drove to the motel and it was a motel 6.  Again, I got a senior discount–saved me $8.  Very cool!  The room was clean and looked brand new.  I liked it.

I drove to Stampede and there was a line forming.  Hispanic people.  Many wearing cowboy hats.  What the hell?  I was curious, so I got in line.  I got frisked.  All the men were frisked.  (Of course, the men could simply hand the women their weapons in the car and retrieve the weapons later.  Stupid.)  When I got to the cashier, she wanted $65.  Huh?  A Hispanic concert.  I was gone.  Went back to the motel.  Asked the girl at the desk if she knew any places to dance country.  The girl googled and found Cowboy Lounge.  Another girl at the desk had been there a lot and recommended it.

The girl at the desk wrote down directions to CL.  Sweet.  I bid both girls adieu and headed for CL.  The directions didn’t work out exactly as written because I approached from the opposite direction on I-225.  I adapted and found CL.  The on-street parking was metered until 10 p.m.  Good thing I had a supply of quarters in my car.

CL had a couple of bouncers checking ID and controlling the crowd–a short line.  $5 cover charge at 8 p.m.  The crowd was thin early, but I found an older girl from Phoenix to dance with.  We chatted a bit and she introduced me to her daughter and I danced once with her daughter.

I also chatted with a man who looked like he could dance country swing.  Turn out that he gives line dance lessons at Grizzly Rose.  I met another man who also teaches who is more experienced and we chatted a bit about melding dance styles: salsa, swing, and country.  I danced once with the partner of the first DI and she could follow pretty well.  I danced with a couple of girls who weren’t very good at dancing, including a bride at a bachelorette party, then found a short brunette who followed very well and we had some fun dances.  I chatted up a  man who normally dances at the Grizzly Rose; he said that his normal dance partners weren’t at CL.

Eventually, lots of drinks were spilled on the floor when the music changed to hip hop, so I left around 9:30.  No railing around the dance floor and no policing of the dance floor by the bouncers.  I had enjoyed my time at CL.

The next morning, 3:10 to Yuma with Russell Crowe was on the TV at the desk.  One of my favorite movies.  The desk clerk hadn’t seen it and generally doesn’t watch movies, so I explained it to her.  She was intrigued.

Oh, I had sent a text before leaving my home town to my cousin, but it apparently failed to send and I missed that until I got into Denver and contacted my cousin.  Oops.  She was at dinner and we agreed to get in touch in the morning around 9:30 after her church was out.  I tried to contact my cousin, but she wasn’t picking up.  Likely had her phone turned off for church and forgot to turn it back on.  The party was at 1 p.m., but I didn’t know where.  I left a message saying that I would stay in town until noon and leave then if I didn’t hear from her.  I got a call around 10:30 a.m. from my cousin and she had not turned her phone on.  Oops.  I got directions to the party and headed over.

The party was awesome.  The food was fine.  The atmosphere was peaceful and intimate.  My relatives are awesome–even the in-laws.  I got to know one of my cousins’ husband.  I got to see my dear sister and my nephew for the first time.  One of my cousins offered me a place to bunk that night and I accepted.  I had stayed at the party for several hours and it was too late to drive home.  I wouldn’t get home until early a.m. if I left then.

I had an excellent time with my cousin’s family.  Great conversations with her husband, her, and their kids.  We watched Big Bang Theory–a show I really like.  We also played with their one-eyed Pomeranian.  She had lost an eye to another of their dogs.  I taught the Pom how to play fetch.  I went to bed early to give the family some alone time.   Leave while you will still be missed.

I woke early the next morning and left at 5 a.m. before my cousin’s family was up.  When I got home, Mrs. Gamer greeted me at the door.

It was an excellent adventure despite the planning not going as expected and the various bumps along the way.

Lessons:

  1. If you want to dance in a new location, talk to someone live at that location.  Don’t rely solely on their website or facebook.  You’ll likely need to call during the evening when their website or facebook says they’re open, which might not be every night of the week.  Maybe start your dance planning a couple of weeks before your trip.
  2. Ask people to do stuff for you.  Girls are often bored and are happy to help–they like interacting with men.  Look for retail locations that aren’t busy.
  3. Beware dance floors without a rail.  Likely, bouncers won’t police the dance floor to keep drinks off the dance floor.  If you don’t care about turns or possibly falling, then this won’t be a problem
  4. Be flexible and enjoy adapting to new opportunities when things don’t go as planned.  You can have fun whether your plans work out or not.
  5. Keep a supply of quarters in your car for parking.
  6. Offer gum to anyone with bad breath if you will be chatting with them.
  7. When  sending important texts, confirm that they were sent.
  8. Evite can include maps.  Check the map.
  9. Leave books for your guests to read in case they retire early.  Take books along in case there aren’t books or a TV.
  10. Leave while you will still be missed.  A lesson I learned from a very charismatic uncle.