View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Monday, August 30, 2004

From the Road 

Fortunately, the "Flying J" chain of Interstate rest stops has started offering wifi at some of its locations.

I got up at 4:00 to catch the Pawnee Buttes at sunrise and moonset, and almost made it. In the event, I was probably a day late, anyway, since there's no good way to photograph them from the east, anyway.

The Pawnee Buttes are a couple of buttes in the limestone country of the western Great Plains, landmarks famous to the pioneers, to giving them a sense of how far west they had gotten. They were introduced to many of us in Michener's Centennial under another name. They were part of the Overland Route into Colorado, while followed the Platte River and led to Denver. It's now I-76. The southern route, now US-50, followed the Arkansas River and led to Pike's Peak. The shortest, central route, claimed to follow the Smoky Hill, but actually followed no reliable water at all, and frequently led to dehydration and death. One of the best sources for the early history of eastern Colorado is a book called Contested Plains.

Fort Morgan itself, now sans the fort, since we're sans the Indians, is a tiny town than serves the surrounding ranching and farming communities. Eastern Colorado grows a great deal of corn, in addition to its ranching. I passed up the main street cafe for a funky little off-the-beaten-path spot called the "In The Mood Coffee House." Glenn Miller spent his boyhood in Fort Morgan before migrating breify to pre-insanity Boulder and CU.

The coffee shop is a bit of crunchy Blue, in an otherwise stolid plateau of Red. A "Not in Our Name" poster defaces the front counter, and flags of all sorts hang from the ceiling, including one horrid defacement of the American Flag, with the stripes replaced by stripes of the rainbow. It's going to be closing soon, though, the building bought out by a competitor.

I'm writing this from the Flying J in Julesburg, northeastern tip of the state, on my way to Lamar.

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