heh. Yes. I am just *that* lame. And so much in love with Colorado. I'm seriously going to put in for a transfer to Colorado Springs this week. Not that anything will happen right away, but like lostakasha told me this morning 'if you're that miserable coming home, then it is prolly time to move'. Or something like that. And so true.
We left last Saturday morning. I planned on getting on the road by 5 am and we were out of the house by 4:45! Anxious? Not us. I didn't know where we'd end up stopping for the night, so we simply drove and drove and drove. All the way to Denver, only stopping for gas and to eat sammiches at a rest stop. It was an excellent way to begin our trip.
In Denver, we checked into a motel off of I-70 and Lisa immediately crashed. I don't think that she'd slept at *all* the night before. Lori and I did some mapquesting (I can't believe that I used to be able to drive around Denver without even thinking about where I was going!) and we went to have dinner at Casa Bonita. After seeing that South Park episode where Cartman wants nothing more than to eat his birthday dinner there, my kids were all !!! When I told them that I used to eat there as much as my parents would take me. They didn't believe it was a real place. *snorfle*
So Lori and I ate, watched the swoon~worthy cliff diver for a while, then explored the entire restaurant. I couldn't believe that *nothing* had changed about it. Not one thing. And I had to agree with Lori that the place was designed by someone on drugs. It is so insanely fun.
Sunday morning we slept in a bit, then drove to the Denver Zoo for the morning. It is smaller than the KC Zoo, but you can get closer to all the animals. We had an excellent experience with a Hyena, freaking out that we were just on the other side of the glass, I think. All the hair on it's back raised up and it was growling. Those are some scary animals!
Then back in the car and heading over the mountains. It was raining in the foothills and I-70 east bound was a fucking parking lot, with everyone coming down out of the mountains from a holiday weekend. I couldn't believe how backed up the traffic was. And all the accidents we saw along the way. An ambulance and two police cars trying to get through three lanes of solid traffic and no where for anyone to pull off or over. Sheesh, what a nightmare.
The rain stopped as we moved up and up, the air was cool and crisp and smelled gorgeous. I love that Lori's car has a sunroof! She was putting her camera up through it, taking pictures! About midway, we get off I-70 and take the back roads to Delta, where my parents live. That is some of my favorite parts of the drive.
My parent's new house is very much smaller than the one they originally built for their retirement. It fits them a lot better and is much less space for my mom to have to clean. She is still, and ever will be, a cleaning nazi. One of those ~ Nothing is *ever* clean enough people. I don't know how I skipped that gene, but I'm sure I don't miss it. There are so many other things I'd rather be doing than stressing over dust on my book shelves.
Staying with my parents saves money, but man, in fifteen minutes I was ready to leave again. Nothing has changed. They constantly bicker and snipe at each other, my mother is also the Passive/Aggressive queen. I've already told my kids to poison me quickly if I *ever* become that bitchy. I know it's easy to be sarcastic and snarky, but dude, it does not make people want to hang around.
So Monday morning we ate a quick breakfast and were out the door. Going to the Black Canyon for the morning and then driving to Grand Junction for the afternoon. We splurged and ate at Red Lobster for lunch, then walked around the Main Street area going in and out of small touristy stores.
Tuesday, we drove up on the Grand Mesa. We passed my parent's old home and the house my Grandpa built for my Grandma. I did get a little misty there, heh. I miss them still. We found the place that I used to go horseback riding when I was a kid and I took my kids on a ride. The mesa was beautiful, our guides were fun and the horses were great. It was Lisa's first time on a horse and she sat like a pro! No fear!
Then we drove over the Mesa to the skiing area, Powderhorn. We wanted to ride the chairlifts, but the place was closed up for the summer. *sigh* I was willing to pay! So instead we took a long, winding road across the top of the mesa to Land's End overlook. God, you can just see *forever* up there. And I stopped to take pictures of flowers again. Lots of Columbines, which is nice to see. Then back down to the heat of the desert and naps so we could stay up for the drive in double feature. We took my father's truck, just in case we had to sit inside, but Lisa and I sat out in lawn chairs, drank Pepsi Max and when the movies lost their entertainment value, the sky above us rose to the challenge. We saw shooting stars and constellations so close that I felt as if I could touch them.
The movies? Hancock and Zohan. very fun. :) Lisa and I were slashing Hancock all the way back to my parent's place and Lori was lost. Heh.
Wednesday we decided to leave early and head south east. A bunch more twisting, winding two lane highways and we were at the Great Sand Dunes. It is so incredible to see from a distance and even more beautiful when you're *there*. Huge dunes rising up against the mountains and a stream to walk through. The wind was cool blowing around us and I took a butt~load of pictures.
We drove on to Pueblo for the night, stayed at a Motel 6. Which I will *never* make the mistake of doing again. *shudders*
Thursday morning we scampered on to the Royal Gorge and spent hours there. It was hot! And we all got extra sunburns, on top of the ones we already had. I have such a tourist tan now. Face, arms and legs. I have to go spend some time at Lori's apartment pool and get all evened out!
We stayed in Colorado Springs. Got to the hotel early enough to spend the afternoon swimming and relaxing, ate a good dinner and crashed on excellent beds. I could live there, so easily. I've already started checking out rents and as I said before, I *am* going to transfer there. I can be a bakery manager *anywhere*. Might as well make it someplace that I love.
Friday was the drive home. Long, long, long day. I was exhausted and weepy and when Lori called last night to let me know that she was home and okay, I made her cry too. Heh. Telling her how much I love her and how happy I was that she took her vacation week and came with Lisa and I and how proud she makes me. Every. Single. Day. I'm such a sap, but you already knew that I'm sure.
Gabriel was happy to see us! Molly was thrilled. The cats would *not* leave me alone for hours. Both of mine slept directly *on* me. All night. And Jeff was relieved, I think. He actually called me around 3 on Friday and was all ... "I thought you were coming home today!!!" and I had to laugh, telling him that we were just outside Topeka and we *would* be there! Soon!
So that was my excellent adventure. I spent too much money, dipped into my Health Savings Account a couple times, which I will have to pay back before the end of the year. meep! I spent 7 days with my lovely daughters in a very small car and we didn't keeeel each other. I got to see my father and find out that despite my mother's cry of Doom! Doom! he seems to be doing okay. I smoked less and had only two beers and a couple glasses of wine (at my parent's, duh! We all have to cope somehow.) and I didn't pass out at 9,000 feet. In fact, I think I did pretty good for an old, chubby, smoking chick.
Once again, I didn't get to Aspen. But I can go back. And the people watching will still be there when I do.
But you want to see pictures, right?
A windmill looking thing in Western Kansas. There was hundreds of them. So cool.
This was supposed to be of the clouds, but man, look at the FLAT.
Denver Zoo. We got there early enough that some of the animals were still *inside*. Later, they were all out in the sun. :D
At the eastern base of McClure Pass.
Black Canyon Nat'l Park
Lisa on her horse, Grand Mesa
Lori on her horse, Grand Mesa
Land's End on the Grand Mesa and flowers along the way.
Craptastic pic my father sent me of all of us. Mom, Lisa, Me, Lori and my dad.
Lori, Lisa and the Great Sand Dunes
And last, but not least ~ The Royal Gorge. From the bottom and the top!
All taken on my phone. Just think how dangerous I would be with an actual camera!
And there will be more, once I get what Lori took on her digital camera. Heck, I might be in a couple of those!