Monthly Archives: February 2007

“Coast to Coast”: Colorado and Arizona. Summer 1980.

vi. Colorado: rock formations and park bench mutations

Denver. We arrived driven by freaked out Vic, in the rain, drizzle. He dropped us at the Greyhound station: always a good place to start – everybody knows where that is. And then the statutory phone call to the youth hostel; except that they have moved, the building that used to house the hostel is now entertaining the Unification Church – the Moonies. The hostel was understandably worried about this, and all over the Greyhound and Amtrak (that’s the railways – the trains are huge, long things. We drove past some trains that we estimated from our speed were about three quarters of a mile long, headed by five more diesel locos, bright yellow animals that English engines to shame) stations they had pinned notices.

The hostel was quite a way out: Denver’s a surprisingly big city. The rail tracks cut the town in two, the geography on side is different to the other: street organisation is shifted through 45 degrees. This was the case in a lot of place – Denver, San Francisco, LA and Chicago. The other side of the tracks – the wrong side – is a true phenomenon: the original streets and avenues, and then the railway came, the tracks, and then the cheap down and out side; a sudden change of atmosphere and you’re in the poor district.

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