Q on the way to the car for our jaunt to Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming. She had slipped on my aviators (though I call them cop shades), and she looked so freakin cool that I had to snap a series of shots. Does she not look straight out of Easy Rider or a Kris Kristofferson clip? With her natural '70s shag and all? The last image shows you exactly what she thought of my "photo up".
Since I moved (back) to Colorado many years ago, I have been meaning to make it up to the legendary Cheyenne Frontier Days. And yet during my decade in the Vail valley, I never managed to make it happen.
This summer, as we quickly approach Q's next big surgery, we have been getting a bit impulsive with our day trips. Someone that my husband works with mentioned to him that, while most Denverites assume that Cheyenne is three or four hours away, it is in actual fact only an hour and a half's easy drive from downtown Denver.
We did not really believe it.
But, feeling reckless, we decided to take the chance.
Heading north on I-25, ready to turn back at any moment should the trip prove to stretch on too long for a viable afternoon jaunt, we soon discovered that Cheyenne Wyoming is, improbably, really only 1.5 hours from Denver County.
And the fields of lush corn and sugar beats winnowing down to dramatic and stark high plains grasslands at the border made for a stunning and therapeutic drive.
Turns out, there are also camels in Wyoming...but I was not able to snap any photos at high speed, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
Our first discovery upon entering the fairgrounds at Frontier Days was the exemplary Indian Village. We got there just in time for participatory hoop dances, much to Q's delight!
As longtime readers might remember, Q has been working on her hoop techinque since she was able to walk. She is only now really hitting her stride, and her performance in the Indian Village was impressive.
Me myself, with my early history of horseback shennanigans, I'm always eager to find the horses in a situation like this, so needless to say I was thrilled to find an ebony-coated draft horse getting a bath at the entrance to the fairgrounds. Beautiful!
Shortly thereafter, an afternoon thunderstorm sent us scrambling for cover in the concessions tent, where we were forced to spend a good twenty minutes. I was both astounded and amused to discover that one could have a frameable portrait of ones - ahem - posterior done on the spot for a small fee. I tried to convince my husband to pose, but he wasn't having it. Facial portraits were also available, but not nearly as novel.
As the microburst gradually receded, we were able to venture back outside into the midway. I love the midway. I particularly love how, wherever you go, the midway concessions and rides seem to hail from another era.
These days, you can find just about anything deep-fried. Pickles, twinkies, Mars bars. But the ubiquitous funnel cake continues to hold me in its thrall. It's so iconic, and somehow so appealing. I have to admit that I've never even tasted one. I have this irrational sense that, with my very first bite, I will inflate like a Thanksgiving parade float and instantly weigh 300 pounds. That said, I am curiously compelled to photograph them through the plexiglass windows of the frier tents every time.
Exploring the midway before it re-opened after the rain.
I am inexplicably fond of that couple on the left. Maybe it's his suspenders and baggy khakis. Maybe it's his hand lovingly cradling the nape of his wife's neck. In any case, I'm fond of them.
And then there's Q, trying to decide which ride to go on first with her pawful of tickets. That one!...No, uhm...THAT one!...wait, no....That one over there!...
Maybe really the tickets themselves are the very best part.
Q and daddy waving from the top of her first chosen ride...which to our delight turned out to be a nearly identical model of the one from the final scene of the movie Grease, a film whose soundtrack played a large part in our early dating years (dorks that we are).
"You're the one that I want....Ooh, ooh, ooh, honey!"
I'm not sure whether this ride was more exciting to Q (in its first incarnation for a three-year-old) or for us (in its second or third incarnation in our personal histories).
Mike and Q doing the Super Slide on some very ratty and flea-ridden blankets.
And then there's this. Safety was definitely not a first priority on this midway. Check out the numbers on the height requirement chart. See anything amiss?
Fortunately for Q, no one actually cared how tall she was, or what kind of footwear she was sporting.
As an amateur photographer, I have to say that it was the perfect weather for snapping dramatic shots of the vintage midway rides.
On the way back out, we came across this hyped up desert-slash-snow buggy. Q was instantly enthralled. Looking back at these photos, I have to say that this is probably the sort of vehicle that she would choose for herself, and also probably just the way she will drive when she's of driving age - hanging out the side door, and belatedly snapping in the safety net while in motion.
I love both the utilitarianism of the Frontier Days sign, and the sign on the stalls of the draft horses. Really, someone should make signs for every animal from county fairs to petting zoos to pet dogs on the street.
Because obviously most people just don't get that animals are animals, not human beings. There's no "Miss Manners" for animals, even pets. Any and every animal might bite, if they are not well acquainted with you. And really, that should go for humans, too.
|Stay tuned for photos of the spectacular Indian dances - easily the best part of the day - coming up soon!|