Sunday, May 31, 2015

Colorado Trip - VACATION 2015 - Part 2

Wednesday, we went out to Pike's Peak.  We rode the COG railroad up the mountain - because of the snow & ice, we could "only" go about 14, 000 feet.  It was absolutely breathtaking!  And a little scary once we got to the snow-covered parts of the mountain... Eeep!  God is such a beautiful artist!  We stopped on the way down the mountain, at about 12, 000 feet, I think?, for a bit of a break.  Our driver, Andy, was super cute & very friendly.  The Lord blessed us w/ amazing seats - in the back/front of the train, where we had an unobstructed view & also leg room!  : )  The seating arrangement was perfect for me so I wasn't squished in w/ ppl I don't know & I didn't have to face ppl.  Thank you, Jesus!  And on the way down the mountain, Andy was right by us.  He very kindly answered questions for us & chatted w/ us!  

After we got back to the station & did a little souvenir shopping, we headed to lunch/dinner at Panino's, a local restaurant in the area.  It was pretty good, but the sandwiches were HUUUUGE so I brought half back w/ me to eat later.  LOL  

Then we headed to Garden of the Gods.  SO NEAT!  Again, breathtakingly beautiful!  God, I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to see all of this!  : )  

We got back to the hotel way late - very long day, but so worth it!!!  

I finished Tempting Tatum (love love love) and started Only This by Hadley Quinn & am so far loving it!  Glad I've had great books to choose from!!  

Sleeeeeep!  ; )  

Today, we didn't want to venture far from "home" since we'll be in the car all day tomorrow - I can't believe this week has gone by SO FAST & we're heading back to Iowa tomorrow.  Well, back to Omaha tomorrow & then Iowa on Saturday.  : )  

So, today, we also had a lot of fun, tho!  We started the day w/ breakfast, of course.  And then coffee.  *grin*  And then we went to IKEA, because we don't have one at home & I LOVE IT THERE!  Seriously, I just get a happy while walking around all of their displays... *swoon*  I found a really neat frame that I'm going to put some postcards from this trip into, and a throw blanket that is just like a cableknit sweater, and some jars for the kitchen... And Kris found some great stuff, too, including a new messenger bag for her laptop & she got it ON SALE!  Woot!!  : )  We also had a snack - I needed to have some Swedish Meatballs & Lingonberry jam.  Yummy!!  

 Kris found a nice, relaxing chair.  : ) 
 I had to take a picture of the dog butt hooks!  LOL  
I sent it to Jen to show Leyton.  : ) 

 I MAY be slightly obsessed w/ islands... ; ) 

After IKEA, we headed to Hammond's Candy for a tour of the facility to see how the candy is made, free samples, and of course some shopping... I got Mom a Whoopie Pie candy bar and myself a bacon & potato chip candy bar to try... And they were having a sale, too, so I picked up some treats for Joy's kiddos as well as Leyton & Anthony & Bret... heh.  It was a really neat place!!  

Next up was a recommendation of Kristen Ashley's - when I knew this trip was happening, I asked her for two recommendations of what I had to visit while in Denver, and one of her suggestions was My Brother's Bar.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but it's just a neighborhood bar that has a really NEAT vibe.  We had some food & drink & just soaked up the atmosphere - and the REALLY CUTE bartender... *grin*  I wish I would have gotten a shirt, but we didn't realize they sold them until we were leaving, and at that point I was having a mild panic attack because our seat choice was like right in the middle of the bar & I'd kept it together for about as long as I could... 

ANYWAY!  *laugh*  After that, we headed to an antique mall where Monica & Sam have a booth.  We looked around at all sorts of fun things & I found something for Trish & something for Bret.  Hooray!  Kris found some cobalt blue stuff that she really liked, too.  : )  

The weather all week has been really odd (according to Kris), but I think it has been really blessed, too.  It's been sunny & GORGEOUS while we've been out doing things, and it's only started raining/storming at the end of the day/evening, when we've been indoors.  Again, thank you, Jesus!!  

After the antique mall, we had to stop into Target for a couple things & then came back to the hotel for dinner & drinks & then Kris went to visit w/ a friend & I stayed here to write up these lovely blog posts & do some reading of Only This.  : )  

So, that's Colorado!  I can't even express how grateful I am for this opportunity!!!  I really hope & pray I'll be able to come back w/ Mom and/or Leyton.  There are some super fun things I think he & maybe Anthony would enjoy, too... : )  

I was worried about Angel, but have been keeping tabs w/ Bret & altho she's been hiding out in my room & had at least one accident, Bret said she is eating, so that's good.  Hopefully she'll not be too mad me when I get back!  

Thanks for taking the time to read through my accounts & look at my pictures.  I'm sure a lot of it you may have seen on FB!  *laugh*  And I'm sure I'm forgetting some things, as well... 

TTFN!  LOVE YOU!!!  : )   

Colorado - VACATION - 2015 - Part 1

Thanks to an inheritance from Grammy, I had the opportunity to spend a week in Colorado for vacation.  My friend Kris joined me on this adventure - and since she used to live in the Denver area, she was the perfect tour guide to have along!  : )  

We left on Saturday, May 23rd & headed to Omaha for the evening.  I'd planned to meet up w/ Joy & her family & my Omaha parents, but the timing just didn't work out on that leg of the journey.  D'oh!  We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express & when we arrived to check in, it was to discover - I'd apparently already checked in?!  *confused laugh*  Yeah, so, apparently they checked in some lady named Michele, and under my reservation.  No one double checked the name & address on the paper this Michele signed, apparently... LOL We finally got that straightened out - the front desk lady was really friendly & nice! - & headed up to our room.  Very nice accommodations & I can recommend this hotel!  : )  

We were quite famished & while I would normally go for Runza while in Omaha, at the time I thought I would be meeting Carol or Joy or both there the next day before we headed out.  So Kris & I decided to give VooDoo Tacos a try, as we'd both heard of them but hadn't eaten there.  

Crazy atmosphere, and really good food!!  : )  My taco was a little too spicy for my liking, but still yummy!  And they have ALLIGATOR on the menu?!  Wow!  (I didn't go w/ alligator this go-around, but wouldn't be opposed to trying it if we ever go again!)

Sunday, we tried to get in touch w/ Carol before we left, but that didn't work out, so we grabbed some coffee & began the 8 or so hour trek across Nebraska and into Colorado.  It was a pretty easy drive - lots of stops & we stuck to pretty healthy snacks.  I love stopping at truck stops because they usually have hot food and fresh fruit choices, rather than just the same chips & candy for travelers.  We got some apple slices & grapes & strawberries & popcorn & of course more coffee.  ; ) 

Colorado is in Mountain Time, which is an hour behind the midwest, so that took some getting used to.  Not as much as it will take when we go back & LOSE that hour... *groan*  *laugh*  

I love the mountains.  I love seeing the foothills & Pike's Peak & just being NEAR them.  I felt this same way in Alaska & while traveling east.  There's just something about mountains & the ocean that makes this midwest girl's heart go pitter pat!  *grin*  

Our hotel home-away-from-home for the week was a Drury Inn & Suites.  This hotel is the BOMB!  So amazing - the room is so spacious & comfy, there are shower gel & shampoo & conditioner dispensers in the shower, and we are treated to breakfast AND dinner (plus free adult beverages during dinner) AND free popcorn & soda in the lobby until 10 at night.  AMAZING!  :D  The staff are all super friendly & I've enjoyed talking to them each time we're coming or going.  

We had some great food & I tried a local beer from CB & Potts for dinner Sunday night.  I'm not a big drinker, so I ended up only being able to drink half the glass, but it was good!  : )  

Monday we grabbed coffee (we grabbed coffee every morning, really, either from Starbucks or Caribou - sadly, we didn't make it to any of the local coffee shops, except one, because the chains were in such convenient locations while we were on the go.) & headed out & about.  Denver ComicCon was happening downtown, so there were some neat things to see!  We went to Red Rocks for a bit, but discovered that Kris's batteries were dead in her camera & also it was PACKED because everyone had Memorial Day off!  So we just went up one path & then decided to tour Golden & try Red Rocks on Tuesday.  : )  

 I loved seeing everyone dressed up!  Reminded me of DragonCon in Atlanta... 


 Uhhh... NOPE!  


Golden is a lovely little town w/ lots of restaurants & shops.  We went to the Windy something Cafe for lunch & I picked up a couple souvenirs for peeps at a little shop.  One thing I absolutely LOVE about this state is that everywhere you go there are dogs & the towns set out bowls of water for them so they can have a drink wherever.  LOVE IT!!  :D  

The weather was very cooperative!  
It was sunny & nice until about 2 or 3 every day, then the sky would look all ominous, but usually the rain wasn't heavy & held off til we were inside.  ; ) 

We also went to Kris's friend, Monica's, for a cookout Monday night.  Monica's husband, Sam, is a very talented artist!!  Actually, the whole family are talented artists.  I wish now I'd taken some pictures of their work - it was fantastic!!  We had fun visiting for an hour or so & then headed back to the hotel to veg out.  We watched Despicable Me & I read The Deal by Elle Kennedy & it was a GREAT story!!  : )  And then I started While We Waited by Tammy Falkner - I absolutely ADORE her books!!  Super sweet stories!  


Tuesday, we headed back to Red Rocks after making sure to get new batteries for the camera!  That place is so amazing - it's at a higher elevation than in town, so ppl use the stairs to get workouts in.  There were ppl running laps & doing yoga & all sorts of stuff!!  All while there was a crew preparing the stage for an upcoming concert!  

 This guy's arms were just so impressive, I had to take a pic!  : ) 

 John Tesh was the reason I first heard of Red Rocks.

 What a neat idea!  Thumbs up, Red Rocks!  

There's also a nice little museum showcasing the history of the amphitheater & all of the acts who have performed there throughout the years.  I noticed one of my favorites, Walk The Moon, will be there in August... think I can convince Mom we need to come out here then??  *grin*  

We drove out to Loveland & visited a really nice, really BIG Harley shop.  I wanted to get poker chips & maybe a shirt.  I actually found one I really like!  : )  And the ppl were super nice & there may have also been cute boys.  *grin*

 There were a few bunnies hanging out around the hotel.  
They were very friendly & got really close!
I wanted to pet them - but I refrained... LOL 

We just sort of drove around for a bit, looking at the views & taking things in, stopping here & there.  Very relaxing & nice!  

I finished While We waited & started Tempting Tatum by Kaylee Ryan & I highly enjoyed that one, as well!  So sweet & a fun read!!  : )  

(Here are some lovely pictures of more things!)  

 Chatted w/ one of the maintenance guys about his new ride.

 Isn't this a cute lil tree?
I wanted to take it home... *grin*

 One of Phil's birthday shot glasses.  
Red Solo Cup, I fill you up... *laugh*