Our Colorado trip was great. This was the first “family” trip we had taken together, and I was more than ready after five years for some landscape therapy. I was a little worried about how it would all go down, thirteen hour car trip and all, but it went amazingly well. All I can say is thank God for whoever invented the tiny DVD player and decided to put it into cars. Grace watched several movies the first night on our way out but the way back she watched six videos…some of them twice! Sure they’ll rot her brain but let me tell you, if it’s one more showing of Soccer Dog or whining preschooler…crank it up, Baby!
We were going to leave Saturday morning but inpatient bunch that we are we decide to leave right after work on Friday. I hired Austin to chicken sit for me while I was gone. A quick stop at Mom’s in Bolivar to drop off the cat and a lesson on the Garmin Street Pilot GPS from Dad, and we were on our way.
We drove about four hours and stopped in Manhattan,KS at a lame Econolodge where Bryon was sure there were lice in the bath tub (I was pretty sure they were gnats). But we were there, and tired and already paid up, so we let it go and went to bed. Bryon was like a Dateline reporter checking for bed bugs behind the pictures and bed frame, but we managed to sleep the night away and head out the next morning.
Let me tell you, Kansas is one vast prairie that would, in fact, lead you to believe the world really was flat after all and if you just keep going into the horizon you would eventually fall off of it. Thankfully, just outside of Limon, Co that fear was assuaged when the first mountain peaks popped up at the edge of the sage grass.
We had booked four nights at a KOA Kamper Kabin in Colorado Springs and three nights in another KOA Kabin in Estes Park, and they were really great. They were sparse with only a queen bed and a bunk bed, but Grace was thrilled to get to sleep on the top bunk. The KOAs had lots of activities, cheap breakfasts and dinners and ice cream socials every night! I partook quite a bit (I joined WW back Sunday afternoon in fact!)
We pretty much wore out Colorado Springs and did every touristy thing there was to do except Cave of the Winds and Seven Falls. We went to the Royal Gorge because Grace is just ate up with being “big high” and the higher the better. Well you can’t get much higher than the Royal Gorge. We went all the way down to the bottom on this ridiculously constructed tram, across the bridge on foot then back again on the aerial tram. Did I ever mention I’m afraid of heights? Grace didn’t get her courage from me that’s for sure.
The next day we rode the Cog Railway up to the top of Pikes Peak, and I summitted my first (and likely only) peak. Grace saw half of the trip and the top but slept all the way back down. That girl likes trains a LOT and every train we saw she wanted to ride. She ended up riding three: the Cog and two little kiddie trains.
She also ate a TON of candy and now we are paying for that indulgence because you can’t take candy away from a preschooler without consequences. We visited Manitou Springs which was just like Eureka Springs but not quite as DIVERSE (you Wild Women know what I mean :). Lots of neat little shops. We had a few really good meals and a couple of bad ones.
Grace also learned to doggie paddle with her life jacket on in the KOA pool which was pretty exciting for her and us. She was motoring around like crazy, she just couldn’t remember to keep her mouth closed (a common problem for us Medley’s).
Estes Park brought Rocky Mountain National Park and lots of sightseeing. I really didn’t expect to see much wildlife because I’ve been so spoiled by all those years (8) of going to Yellowstone, but we saw probably 200 elk, a dozen big horn sheep way up a mountainside, mule deer, yellow bellied marmots, a million chipmunks (much to Grace’s delight) and four moose (much to my delight).
The second day there Bryon really wanted to fish at Deckers, a trout stream where the fishermen were voted most likely to get into a fistfight by one of his fishing magazines. He didn’t break into any brawls, but he did catch about a dozen fish over the five hours Grace and I spent at Santa’s North Pole riding rides. It was a great park and Grace could ride everything there. The only thing she likes more than candy, trains and big high is fast rides. She was a maniac. Now I know why Dad would never ride the tea cups with us at amusement parks. I was about ready to hurl, and she was laughing like a wild woman!
The third day at the park we hiked around a little lake just inside the park in our flip flops (it was NOT very far) and got a little more confident that maybe Grace could hike a ways farther. We came back the next day and hiked a mile up to Dream Lake where Bryon was planning on fishing. The first 15 minutes of the hike were trying because she wanted to be carried despite the talk we had at the beginning about everyone walking on their own feet. It was a 600 ft. climb over a mile so it was pretty easy but for those who are height challenged it was a real feat! She finally got in the groove and made it, and Bryon fished for about an hour and a half and caught six greenback cutthroat trout.
The last day there we rode horses at the Sombrero Ranch an hour up the mountain to a steak dinner then an hour back. Grace and I rode doubles and Bryon got an ornery horse named Puppy Dog that did NOT want him on her back. She kept trying to knock him off by walking under and against trees. Personally, I was good with the hour ride and would have been perfectly happy to ride the wagon back, or the ranch pickup, but horse it was and Grace talked to our horse, Forrest, all the way back. She said Mama a couple of times and I said, “What, Babe?” and she said, “I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to my horse!” Well then.
A couple of really funny things that happened along the way was one night Bryon was trying to put Grace to bed and cover her up, and I grabbed the little fleecy blanket and it got caught on his fuzzy head and stuck like Velcro. I laughed so hard I almost threw up. It still makes me chuckle to think about it.
One day during our park sightseeing we had to stop at big pull out along the mountainside for Grace to potty. She had been talking to herself and what we thought was her baby for several minutes and after we got back into the car and on our way she said, “Where’s my baby?” Well I undid my seat belt and tried to find it in the garbage heap that had become our car and could find it anywhere. When we stopped next several miles later, we all dug around and looked and couldn’t find it. We figured it must have fallen out at the pullout and decided to look on the way back. We finally got there and no baby. Thinking someone must have picked it up we headed back to the Kabin and guess what was right there on the top bunk waiting for Grace…her baby. What a wild goose chase, she had been talking to herself the whole time back there. At least she has a good imagination :
We have a ridiculous amount of photos from the trip on my flickr site if you want to subject yourself to that. Just click on the link to the right.
It was such a successful trip that in our post vacation euphoria we decided that next year we would go to Glacier Park in Montana. Now that we are card-carrying KOA members the world (or at least the US) is our oyster.
Happy Kamping 🙂