Posted by: Nathan | August 20, 2006

Observations on Colorado

Here are some random tidbits J and I have noticed about living here over the last couple of weeks.

1. Coloradoans don’t notice the mountains. Classic case of “don’t know what you have” syndrome. The Rockies are a revelation every morning for us and all other CO visitors.

2. The weather here is crazy. The temps swing all over the place throughout the day, it rains while it’s sunny but never rains for long, the clouds threaten then dissipate–you see lightning but not a drop falls. The fronts come from all points of the compass also, which is very different from the constant west to east weather pattern back in the Midwest.

3. Colorado folk are laid back. I call it “the mountain effect.” Overall, the people here don’t sweat the small stuff.

4. Unfortunately, their laid back attitude makes them poor drivers. I don’t know how many times J and I have seen a light turn green and still sat there for a few extra seconds. No one pays much attention to the speed limit; everyone usually goes under the limit on streets and 15-20 over on the highways. Merging is easier here than in MN, but there’s a cutoff epidemic out here. At the very least, they don’t brake for no reason like the Minnesotans do.

5. Coloradoans don’t believe in commuting. Any distance that exceeds ten minutes in driving time from home to work is too far.

6. Just about everyone looks healthy. You just don’t see many obese/overweight people out here. Clearly, this is not because…

7. There are a ton of restaurants everywhere–mostly Mexican. I’ve never seen a location that supports so many food emporiums lumped together in commercial areas. It’s crazy, but at least we have a variety of places to try out.

8. There are lots of great trails, even in town. We’re excited to check ’em out.

9. Just about all of the housing exists in large developments. You don’t see any “organic” neighborhoods out here. Lots of townhouses, apartments, and cookie-cutter living spaces–signs of rapid growth.

10. Rent down, groceries up. We pay almost $100 less per month for our far cooler place here than we did in Mounds View, but eggs cost $1.30 and milk goes for $3 a gallon. I guess that’s still a good tradeoff.

11. Se habla español. Spanish is spoken here. There are lots of Mexican immigrants and other native Spanish speakers. I’ve had to dust off my listening and speaking skills, and I actually speak Spanish at my branch from time-to-time.

12. The light rail is coming! And not a moment too soon for commuting purposes because…

13. There are no east-west highways going through Denver.What kind of a city planner builds three north-south interstates going through the city but not one to move traffic east and west? Instead, most of the roads going east and west are huge, six-lane boulevards. Unfortunately, that doesn’t prevent traffic clogs. Guh!

14. We drink a lot more water here. I don’t know why.

15. We like it here.


  1. It’s so interesting to hear your observations on Coloradians! You ought to get acquinted with Mexican food, it’s something I miss greatly when I’m away from Colorado and can’t find restaurants who know what Mexican food is. The weather, i’m sure you’ll get used to and love eventually. It’s possibly my favourite thing about the state (other than the gorgeous mountains!) The commuting thing is funny. My mom is 100% what you said: anything that’s over 10 min away is too far. Anything that requires a highway is going a great distance. It’s funny to me. And yea, the lack of highways is odd, but i guess you get quite used to going to stores that are close-by. The driving, I’ve never seen worse drivers than in MN, but who knows. And cause it’s dry you end up drinking so much water and wanting to be healthy I suppose. Anyhow, i’m glad you’re enjoying it and it was fun to hear what you think so far.

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