1,027 Miles


I get kind of nostalgic in September. There’s something about the way fall starts sneaking in with its almost-chilly evenings. It gets you thinking about all those times you went back to school or moved into a fresh apartment — things that are new even though you’re at a time of year that’s kind of anything but.

In September 2003 (specifically, September 28, 2003), Ben and I moved to Colorado. That went something like this.

driving directions

The trip from Oak Park, Illinois to Nederland, Colorado is 1,027 miles. Most of those miles are pretty boring, although from the cab of a rented truck where you sit wedged between three cat carriers and the door, you can tell that Iowa is pretty, with rolling hills past the interstate. Nebraska, on the other hand, is not your favorite.

We had no reason to move to Colorado. We just sold a condo (at exactly the right time, it turned out), quit our jobs, and headed west. That’s some cliche shit right there, but I can’t make the story more exciting now. That’s what happened.

Moving from Oak Park, Illinois to Nederland, Colorado is as weird as you might imagine. We settled in with all the other people from Illinois who move to Nederland for a year or so before going somewhere else, wherever that might be.

Because I get kind of nostalgic in September, we went to Nederland today. We hadn’t been there since September 2009, when I was 8 months pregnant and thinking about how, next time we walked around Nederland, Ben would be able to carry Soren and I wouldn’t have to do it all myself while worrying about where I’d be able to pee five minutes later when I’d have to pee again. We waited long enough to go back so that, for the most part, Soren could walk around by himself.

Nederland is mostly the same as it was, and I love that about it. It’s quiet and beautiful and rocks get in the Birkenstocks you wear because if you can’t wear Birkenstocks in Nederland you can’t wear them anywhere and who cares what shoes you’re wearing, anyway. There are hummingbirds everywhere. And dogs. If I didn’t ever have to go to an office, I’d move back to Nederland right now, although I’d get annoyed when we wanted to order dinner after 9 p.m. (rare) or when I tried to make baked goods that never turn out right at 8,240 feet even with extreme high-altitude adjustments (more likely).

Ned is mostly the same, but two major improvements have been made since we lived there. First, there’s a carousel now. Second, there’s a brewery. You should go to both if you’re ever in the area.

Pine StreetPine Street
Our first house in CO
Carousel of HappinessCarousel of HappinessWild Mountain