For the sake of your time I am splitting this vacation into two posts:
Summer 2011 Vacation:
Tuesday evening we set out toward Colorado but made a stop for the night in Amarillo and spend the night with very sweet and accommodating friends (we didn't arrive until midnight). The drive to Amarillo was uneventful thankfully.
We decided to take the Fiesta - that's right; party on wheels!!! This is the Fiesta's longest trip so we are raking up the miles breaking her in. While the sun was still up I read - on my brand new Kindle! It was super! Just change pages at the click of button. And I always new exactly how far along in the book I was. I started reading in the car at 5% and stopped at 23%... who need to dog ear pages when I know an exact percentage read! So normally I probably wouldn't document me reading in the car while blogging about my vacation but this is a pretty big deal for me because in general I get motion sick pretty easily. My theory is that because the words on my Kindle were just on "one" page and didn't require such a wide eye span and my head didn't need to move back and forth ever so slightly I was less likely to notice the moving scenery outside the car. Yay for technology! For all you Kindle skeptics out there another thing I love about the Kindle is that if I am not familiar with a word I simply move the cursor up to the word and it is instantly defined! Also, the "words on the page" are in fact made up of ink (yeah kinda like an Etch A Sketch) and so it is VERY similar look to an actual book page. And you can fit a ton of booiks into one little space about the size of a small notebook - very travel friendly. So that's 4 points for the Kindle in my book. heehee.
Anyway, back to the trip Wednesday morning we continued out toward Denver. We decided since we were arriving a bit earlier than expected we would make a stop at Pikes Peak! I was super excited! Pikes Peak is one of the 14ers in Colorado and I figure why not go to the top...even if you aren't hiking it, the view will still be spectacular. So we paid our steep $24 fee to drive to the top and began the hour jaunt up the mountain. When we started at the base it was 97 degrees and when we reached the top it was a shocking 42 degrees.
Yup we called these the boobies!
Things I didn't expect to see:
Directly off the side of the road...I mean seriously where were the guard rails.
Road construction at 11,000 feet. Craziest thing you ever did see really. Very small road, very large machines.
SEE! WHAT THE HECK!
Once in Denver we arrived at our hotel... maybe a little under dressed. Phil had booked us at the new Four Seasons in downtown and we rolled up in the Fiesta surrounded by Cadillacs, Audis, Range Rovers etc. Phil hops out in his t-shirt and cut off khaki shorts while everyone else has on a jacket and tie. Very interesting. We checked in and headed up to our room... but don't you worry we didn't have to push the elevator button, someone did that for us. It pretty much took every ounce within us not to seriously laugh. We got to our room and the bathroom sinks were aglow, there was a TV in the bathroom mirror and on top of that we had a doorbell. I thought I was in Colorado... I packed Chacos!
We were within walking distance of the 6th Street mall so we headed down there for dinner where our friend and wedding officiant Jarrod Joplin met us for dinner and drinks. He wanted to show us the ropes and took us to this uppity dive or speak easy for some old fashion drinks. So upon recommendation we decided to try absinthe. Ummm don't do this if you don't like licorice. Oops, it was gross! Cool experience though.
The next day we made a stop by New Belgium brewery, being Independence Day weekend it was super busy and all the tours were full so we just were able to walk around and do a mini self tour. Jarrod and his oldest daughter Olivia accompanied us on the excursion and after we got back we joined them in helping load up a truck for some friends who were moving.... a little service project while on vacation never hurt anyone.
That night Phil and I dined at another yuppy restaurant in the downtown area and sort of used it as our 4 year anniversary celebration dinner. Since our anniversary is the 14th and everything is so busy once we get back this worked out pretty nicely. The Italian restaurant we ate at makes their own cheeses in house so we had a wonderful sampling of very unique cheese.
So on the same subject of our anniversary, Colorado is where Phil proposed to mean four and half years ago. We went to the Mother Cabrini Shrine and I wanted to revisit it. So on Friday we stopped by to do a little reminiscing. We revisited the prayer garden where he actually proposed and this time since it was July instead of March we were able to walk up the 200ish steps which have the stages of the cross up the mountain that lead to a large statue of Jesus. In March when we were there the steps were still covered in ice and closed to visitors so I was glad to be able to see it this time.
4.5 years later!
After that we headed up to Winter Park to brave the Alpine Slide. The longest Alpine slide in Colorado. It was an absolute beautiful day 72 degrees and sunny and we felt like kids racing down the mountain on a slide! Then of course we followed it up with an ice cream cone :)
We headed up to Black Hawk, CO which is a town of Casinos and our new hotel for the night. I was pleasantly surprised that all the casinos were smoke free! Much more inviting and fun.