My family and I took Colorado vacations many times growing up.
Marc & I, in the 11 years we've known each other, have driven to Colorado twice -- both times were very quick weekend trips for Marc to run up & down Pikes Peak. Neither time did we together really get into the mountains.
SO, due to the fact that the state we live in is indeed next to Colorado, our time was overdue to be there for an extended time in the summer. Though Kate will not remember this vacation, Luke will. It was definitely time for him to see the sheer awesomeness of the Rocky Mountains. (And even though Kate won't remember this vacation, the three of us -- Marc, Luke, and me -- have memories with her to share when she's older. And, for that, I personally am grateful).
Through a good friend AND through Marc's ultra running, we were able to stay in a house in Leadville, CO. A little fact -- at 10,152 feet above sea level, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the USA! I have terrible memories of altitude sickness (always with physical exertion while hiking); therefore, admittedly, I committed the sin of worry about our kiddos. Our friend gave us some awesome suggestions -- including extra proactive hydration and Tylenol -- to combat any potential altitude sickness.
Awhile back, Marc & I made the decision to actually rent a car for this trip. We drive older cars (with ZERO car payments). But, these older cars have a lot of miles. A newer rented car, theoretically, should be more reliable (which it was). Also, because we rented something smaller than what I normally drive, the savings in gas mileage, Marc figured, would pay for 1/2 of the rental cost (which it basically did). SO, the night before we left, we picked up our "Colorado Car". While Marc was signing papers, Kate plopped herself down with a snack and was looking cute!
Luke was fascinated by the fact that our rental car had TX license plates. "That's silly -- people will think we're from Texas"!
The morning we left, Kate, of course, had no clue what was going on -- with all of the in-and-out of the house, packing. BUT, she was NOT going to be left home. She's our "Let's go do something away from home" child. (Yes, she's still sleepy in this pic)....
Our little family of 4 was packed liked sardines into our little rental car!
On the way out, we worked it out time wise to eat lunch at the "DQ" in Quinter, KS -- a small town about 45 minutes west of Hays, KS (you KS readers should know roughly where I'm talking).
If you didn't know, in my previous life (before children), I had worked for 10 years for American Dairy Queen Corporation (the franchisor of DQ restaurants). The Quinter DQ is one of the restaurants I used to work with. I hadn't seen the owner since shortly before Luke was born (6 years ago). So, it was fun to catch up with Joni. Then, with a little encouragement & coaxing, Luke agreed to make his and his sister's own bowl of ice cream....
I was very grateful for Joni (the owner) to take interest in my family and life now (very different from where I was when I worked with her).
We drove on after lunch toward Denver. Crossing into Colorado where Luke did *exactly* what I did as a child -- thought that he'd see mountains immediately crossing into Colorado. Nope -- it takes a bit...
Finally -- close to Denver -- mountains were kind of seen in the clouds! The Rocky Mountains really are incredible!
I didn't include this in above paragraphs, but for the first night, we stayed in a hotel in Denver.
Of course, like most children, Luke LOVES hotels! So, when we got there, Luke was excited. We stayed in a suite (so our kids sleep separately from us). It was an older property with a very small balcony. Luke thought the balcony was cool! To ruin his excitement, this Mama limited his time out there as it was not safe -- especially for Kate. So, our kids were only out there long enough for a cute pic! Fortunately, there was a good child-safe lock on the door to the balcony!
Our one evening at a hotel included eating supper, swimming for Marc & Luke, a "Whole Foods" visit for Kate & me, and of course, studying a Colorado map (if you don't know, Luke loves maps)!
Note: this pic was actually taken the next morning, but trust me -- it represented part of our first evening. Map reading takes place a lot in our home!
More to come in other blog posts....