GABST Days 11 and 12: Denver denouement

Queen Anne B&B
Queen Anne B&B

I have to admit that my first impressions of Denver were negative. After a solid 8 hours of driving (around five of which were in Wyoming, i.e. 99.9% snowy hills. Like literally, 350+ miles of just snowy hills) I was road-weary, and ready to roll up to a good first-impression city. Denver …is not so much that city. After exiting off I-80 (so friendly had I-80 and I become that actually said goodbye to it, out loud) I found myself on I-25 South, a highway that takes you into the heart of downtown Denver, via the city’s super generic suburbs. Bounded on either side by shopping complexes, big-box retailers, Starbucks and gas stations, I-25 is nothing to write home about. In fact, it reminded me a great deal of suburban Maryland, where I grew up. Even Denver proper, a low-key city (aesthetically speaking) is just kind of suddenly….there, with little fanfare save the sudden increase in building height. 

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It’s happening!!!

Today is a momentous day! After months of planningβ€”actually about three weeks of planning, then six months of forgettingβ€”I have officially begun scheduling my Great American Bookstore Tour for the spring of 2013 (which gives me plenty of time to save money and scout out FedEx locations so I can ship all the books I buy back to New York.)

For the unfamiliar, the Great American Bookstore Tour (GABST) is my plan to visit some of the biggest and most legendary bookstores America has to offer, before they all go belly-up because of the stupid Kindle. Of course, it works to my advantage that all of these stores are in cities I have yet to visit (with the exception of NYC and Washington DC), so my otherwise culturally motivated endeavor will also be an excuse to conduct a mini cross-country tour of the U.S. and eat all manner of roadside foods. Yay fried cheese!

Here is the itinerary:

1. NYC –> Seattle. Visit the Elliot Bay Book Co. as well as that needle that goes into space.

2. Seattle –> Portland. Visit Powell’s Books, take discreet photos of hipsters, eat locally grown food and generally get in touch with my bohemian side.

3. Portland –> San Francisco. Visit City Lights, the Mrs. Doubtfire house, the Full House house, ride on a trolley, check out that bridge, complain about steep hills.

4. San Francisco –> Denver. Visit The Tattered Cover, look at mountains.

5. Denver –> Washington DC. Visit Politics and Prose, regale my high school friends with my adventures.

6. Washington DC –> NYC. Visit The Strand (for the millionth time), unpack, feed my incredibly lonely and neglected cat.*

*I will not actually leave my cat alone for two weeks.

Step 1β€”a flight from NYC to Seattleβ€”has just been booked, which makes this whole idea just that much more real. Now I only have a rental car, multiple hotels, another flight, $5 million in gas money and $6 million in book-buying money left to save up. Totes possible. Totes.