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WOSTER: Driving to Denver

On a trip to Denver last Sunday, we stopped in Valentine, Neb., for fuel, and I tossed my jacket into the back end of the car.

I didn't even look for it again until we returned to Pierre, and a mess of snow late on the next Tuesday. Day and night in Denver, I went without a coat. Every now and then, I checked my phone for tweets and emails. When I did, I saw messages about heavy snow and high winds back home, along with reports of state government offices shut down and interstate highways closed because of a vicious blizzard on the last weekend in March.

I confess I didn't mind at all not being home for that weekend. There are things (mostly crowds) not to like about life on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, but on the most recent visit, the weather definitely was not one of those things.

Neither was the service. We drove to Denver for a medical appointment, the second one in six months. I've been impressed with the process in the office where our doctor works. Both times when we arrived for a visit, we were ushered from the waiting room into one of the exam rooms within two minutes of the time we were checked in. Both times, after the essential personal medical information has been taken, the doctor is with us within 10 minutes.

While the surgeon has been in the room, he has seemed to have nowhere else in the entire universe to be. That's kind of a good feeling for the patient. It's as if our time is as important as his time.

I also like it that -- and I might have mentioned this before -- the current University of Colorado Medical Center is located all around the old Fitzsimmons Army Hospital, where Dwight Eisenhower spent some weeks as president after suffering a heart attack while visiting Denver. I guess I just have fond memories of Ike as president. I was a kid, grade school and junior high, mostly. He might have been a lousy president or a great one for all I know. I just, you know, liked Ike.

Here's a crazy thing about our visit to Colorado. I didn't see any sign of marijuana, even though it's apparently legal and I've seen tons of news stories and TV clips about it. I guess I just don't know where to go to score some weed, or whatever. In truth, I suppose you don't run into a lot of dealers while you're hanging around a medical center, or the local Designer Shoe Warehouse.

I did hear that Colorado State University has a structure on its campus in Fort Collins called the Weed Lab or something like that. Visitors from afar get a little wide-eyed at that, until they're told the place is a land-grant institution and probably studying some of the same noxious weeds Leonard DeBoer taught us about back in vocational agriculture classes at Chamberlain High School.

While we were in Denver, the Colorado Rockies opened the 2014 Major League Baseball season. Unfortunately, they opened in Miami for three or four games. I'm not a big Rockies fan, but I wouldn't mind seeing a game, especially if they were playing the Brewers. We saw the Rockies at home against San Francisco many years ago, but we were with Nancy's relatives, and a food fight broke out in the upper decks before the seventh inning stretch. (Before that game, the last major-league game I saw was in Dodger Stadium, and Pete Rose was playing for the Reds. Not saying that was a while ago.)

It was a brief visit, but a good one. Nothing bad to say about Denver at all, except for the mass of people and, oh, yes, Interstate 25. If you've been there, I don't need to describe it. If you haven't, you wouldn't believe me. It drives me crazy. My son knows that, so he kindly he routed me out of town Tuesday during rush hour on a set of roads that included a lightly-traveled, well-maintained toll highway. I'll pay a bill eventually, but it was worth every cent.