Dillon, CO to Grand Junction, CO
Walking through the streets of Vail, I spotted a shop. Bike rentals. Why not? $10 for four hours. What a steal!
I decided to give Vail a shot since I dissed it on the way for hiding their gas stations. It seemed like a snotty money pit to me. My disdain for this tree hugging lala land deepened as there were NO parking places in the entire town! If you don't own the million dollar house, you must park in a parking garage. My disdain lightened (slightly) as it was free during the summer. A bike ride through the walks and paths changed my mind.
"This is the closest thing to Disneyland I have ever seen," I muttered, pedaling along the shops. Quaint little stores lined the brick streets (walking and biking only) with a backdrop of gorgeous green hills spattered with flaming yellow Aspen trees. The people tend to gravitate to two categories; "I love trees, so this is why I am dressed like one", and "I have a lot of money so therefore I dress like this."
Cruising down a street I spotted a trail, a paved serpentine walk and ride that followed the creek through town. A fly fisherman cast in the water, 50 yards from condos.
Whoever is in charge of architecture in Vail nailed it. The population density is ridiculous, yet it lacks that feel. And while condos and houses battle for space, meandering streets and paths retain the feeling of nature. The two seem to work together in harmony.
A few hours later, I had gotten my money's worth and returned the bike, panting. It is, after all, 9,000 feet in elevation.
I pondered the Disneyland metaphor. In many ways, Vail is like The Happiest Place on Earth. Architecturally driven, clean and tidy, no detail left to chance, the city exudes beauty. But it does feel a bit phony, like everyone and everything is acting a part in a play. The play is "Having a Great Time in Nature." And for a while, you are the star. But you must pay admission, and the price is steep.
One more day, one more adventure.