I don’t know if I’ve shared a little secret with you all but---I’m directionally challenged & have been for some time. Don’t tell me to go north, south, east or west because I’ll have absolutely no clue what that means. Most of my close friends and family know to give me directions that include right, left and as many obvious landmarks as possible…otherwise, it’s hopeless.
Well, yesterday truly proved my affliction. I decided to have a fun day with Caitlin by taking her to the Downtown Aquarium off of Water Street in Lower Downtown Denver (called LoDo). I was proud of myself though, I knew that Denver was north of us and even printed off a map from Rand McNally. Of course, a map only works when you bring it with you! Nevertheless, I was able to find the aquarium (which is conveniently located next to the Denver Children Museum) without having to turn around or ask for directions. We spent about two hours there, Caitlin enjoyed a bounce in an Octopus jump house and we had a blast looking at fish, turtles and sea otters. We saw “Dory” and “Nemo” fish as well as sharks and some fish that were bigger than Caitie. At one point we saw a huge fish swim overhead as we were walking thru a tunnel. Caitlin loved watching the aquarium’s special attraction, two Bengal tigers, eat their lunch and kept roaring at them.
We ended our visit with a trip to an expensive gift shop where Caitlin picked out a portable aquarium that had two fish in it that looked like Nemo and Dory (that’s another story).
So, I hoped on I-25 and begin the journey home, or so I thought. I’m driving along and realize, I’m hungry. Just my luck that I see an exit for one of my favorite childhood restaurants, Cracker Barrel so, we exit. I had a wonderful dinner of ham, hash brown casserole, cornbread biscuits and fried apples. Everything was hunky dory as I got back on the freeway, going north thinking that I'd gone south to get to Cracker Barrel. I’m just cruising along, amazed that there’s not much traffic during rush hour in “downtown” Denver. Caitlin’s in the back seat, sound asleep and I’m enjoying the scenery. That should’ve been my first clue, Sherlock, there’s not much scenery in Metro Denver. However, I was totally oblivious. The next thing I know, I see a mileage sign that reads, “57 miles to Cheyenne” as in WYOMING! Holy crud, I’d gone about 35 miles in the wrong direction! I was heading north when I needed to go south! Oops! I quickly find an exit and turn around…going south. Finally, I pass the exit for the aquarium which slows down my racing heart and assures me that I’m going in the right direction. Just when I’m about 15 minutes from home, I see that the traffic up ahead is at a dead standstill. Lovely! Worse yet, I’m in the right-most lane and everyone is exiting off the freeway. I try to get over but I’m stuck…so I exit. Right before, I am able to see that there is a massive accident up ahead so I’m thinking…maybe it’s a good thing I got off.
So, here I am, innocently following the rest of the cars thru the Cherry Creek section of Denver (reminds me of the Walled Lake area of Michigan) with streets that dead end to go around parks, rivers, etc. This is where I get lost. I have NO CLUE where I am! So, I pick up my cell and call Ben. Let’s just say that he wasn’t much help since he didn’t have a good map and I ended up way south of our house. Frustrated and crying (by that point, I’d been trying to get home for about 2 hours), I call my mom who whips out her detailed Denver Metro map and saves the day. She got me home and had a good laugh about me being almost to the Colorado-Wyoming border. Now that I know how “close” we are, I may go to Cheyenne on purpose some day! So, while I had run seeing the northern parts of the metro area, I’ll be sure to pack a map next time! I think Ben is scheming to get me GPS for my car or something!