Gail Barton had invited me to Denver when I met her at Bubonicon.
She met me at the airport, and we went over to Don Thompson's to pick
up Keith Curtis. Then we went straight on up to the mountains. They really
are mountains, great big pointy walls of rock that just went on and on.
At 13,000 feet I started to get anoxia – "Don't worry," says Gail, "just
let me know when the spots before you eyes turn pink, that's when the
blood vessels in your retina start to burst." – and Keith discovered that
he suffered from vertigo. The light was different, rather like that which
you find in paintings by the Hildebrandts, and the vegetation was a much
bluer sort of green than I am used to, there being no eucalypts. We stopped
for lunch at a little township called Silver Heels, named after a legendary
goldfields prostitute with a heart of you-guessed-it.
I phoned Rusty Hevelin from Don's and then we went back to Gail's
self-contained residence underneath her parents' house. Keith admired her
books and paintings until the wee small hours, and then she drove him
back to Don's. I found my bed and fell into it.
I was awakened at 9 am by cheery cries of "Nine o'clock!" emanating
from Gail's grandmother. Gail is not one of the world’s early risers, but
by midday we were at a shopping centre where she went looking for matting
for her pictures. After a Burger King hamburger (I got sick of hamburgers
but I did like the battered fried onion rings) we went on to Boulder. Here
we were up to a lookout that afforded a most spectacular view – looking
northward one saw the Rockies rising up like a wall out of the plain which
stretched away to the right. This was the view which met the pioneers
in their wagon trains and they had to detour either away north or away
south in order to get around and so reach California.
We visited Leis Newman's bookshop. Unfortunately the location was
a bit subterranean, and the effort of getting down the stairs in the thin
air killed any interest I might had had in the place.
Because she was going on to Midamericon that night Gail then deposited
me with Rose Beetem. Rose shared an apartment with other students in
a block of apartments entirely let to students. Various people came and
went (reminding me of the good old Magic Puddin' Club) and we ate a
concoction that was supposed to be a medieaval recipe but which was in
fact good old Disaster Mince. Although the apartment was the sort of
cheaply constructed building to be found near universities everywhere it
was equipped with a dishwasher (at that time very much a luxury item
in Australia).
Although I was feeling tired Rose and Richard Moorman decided to
take me to the Laserium at Gates Planetarium. This was well worth the
trip! You lie on the floor and look up at a dome (seats were in fact
provided). Music is played and a laserist makes pictures to go with it, It
is an art form, with each performance slightly different. One particularly
weird effect makes you feel that you're falling through space. No smoking
was allowed inside, but the queue was rather aromatic.
After coffee and danish pastries at 1 a.m I wound up sharing a double
bed with Rose, it being less complicated to leave the couch to her sister
who hadn't yet came in. Neither of us flings our limbs about and I slept
like a log.

– 7 –