View Full Version : Life How to have a nice week in Colorado.

Rain Man
07-20-2009, 09:59 PM
So the wife had a friend getting married in Beaver Creek last week, and another friend who has a vacation home in Crested Butte and invited us out. We decided we would go on a bit of a walkabout in Colorado, and I have to say, it was really nice. Highlights include:

Friday: Headed out of town after work, and stopped at a Mexican restaurant that we occasionally visit. http://denver.citysearch.com/profile/1829207 I decided to try something new, Tacos Pollo Asada or something like that, and it was spectacular. My new favorite Mexican dish. We spent the night in Pueblo, which was nice but not notable since we rolled in around 10:00 p.m.

Saturday: Headed southwest and stopped at Sand Dunes National Park. http://www.nps.gov/grsa/planyourvisit/index.htm. It's this place where mountains on three sides create a vortex that traps sand, and over time it's developed this enormous set of sand dunes that are like the Sahara desert. The tallest dune is over 700 feet, and holy cow, that's a tough hike. The sand is really soft and as you climb, you're constantly losing ground as it slides under you. On the way down, there were times when I'd sink in up to my ankles in the stuff. Took about three hours to get up and back down, and climbing sand dunes on a July afternoon requires lots of water.

Spent Saturday night at a hot springs spa in the middle of nowhere. http://www.joyfuljourneyhotsprings.com/ There was no town near it, and it was located on a hot springs that had been a vacation destination around the turn of the century, but had gone out of business when the railroad pulled out. We stayed in a hotel room, but they also rent yurts and tepees. I got a nice massage and floated blissfully in the body-temperature pool.

Sunday - Headed to the friends' house at Crested Butte. http://www.visitcrestedbutte.com/ Arrived at the house, which is actually in the neighboring community of Mt. Crested Butte http://www.mtcrestedbuttecolorado.us/, got our stuff in, and whammo - big hail storm rolled in. Fortunately my apricot BMW hunkered down and survived without any damage. Went to a nice dinner and enjoyed the views, which are spectacular. Crested Butte is surrounded on three sides by mountains (but without big sand dunes), and is the wildflower capital of Colorado. Interestingly, it's apparently only 13 miles from Aspen, but it takes roughly four hours to get there because there are no roads through the stretch of mountains separating them.

Monday - Woke up, looked out the window, and there was a marmot on the deck outside our window. A real live marmot. http://www.marmotburrow.ucla.edu/ Marmots are really cool. Also saw a fox http://furry.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Fox_speciesoutside the window later, but apparently it didn't see the marmot.

I then took a high-altitude jog to the ghost town of Gothic, Colorado, http://www.travelvideo.tv/news/united-states-west/04-15-2005/boom-bust-research-in-gothic-coloradowhich is not really a ghost town now but rather the home of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. It's a pretty cool place, and I went a little past it and ended up jogging up a trail to Judd Falls http://coloradoimage.com/product.php?productid=17874&cat=353&page=1, which was bigger than I expected.

Tuesday - A client needed a presentation that couldn't be moved, so we packed up and drove back to Denver, about 5 hours away. I got to see my cat, who was exhausted after four days of managing our housesitter but nonetheless interested in hearing about the marmot. On the way, stopped and took our pictures on top of Monarch Pass at the Continental Divide. http://www.americansouthwest.net/colorado/monarch_pass/monarch_l.html

Wednesday - Gave the presentation, got ready for Vacation, Part Deux.

Thursday - Drove to Beaver Creek. http://beavercreek.snow.com/home/. Hung out, had a nice dinner, and hung out some more.

Friday - Had to do some work most of the day, but got in a short hike with the wife that afternoon, and then went to a rehearsal dinner for the wife's friend who was getting married. http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/marriage

Saturday - Went on a short jog during which I surprised a fox while it was pouncing on something. We both ran. Then hung out at the resort's nice indoor-outdoor pool area, and at this point I must offer an aside. Prior to this day, I had always agreed with Dane that California is THE place in which to observe attractive women in their natural setting. But now I must disagree. This resort was a place where very upscale people tend to visit, and I theorize that a lot of the women there had only two jobs in life: look attractive and manage the household staff. It wasn't a teenybopper place, but was full of women in their 30s and 40s who were trophy spouses, with a liberal sprinkling of 20-somethings who were obviously being raised for a career of looking good and managing household staff. http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/PTGPOD/367234-FB.jpg

On Saturday night, we went to the wedding. This is a well-to-do friend getting married, so the wedding was at a lodge on top of one of the mountains in the area. We traveled to the wedding via a classic ski lift http://bulgaria-photos.info/wallpapers/BanskoSkiLift1280x1024.jpg, up to the top of the mountain, where the ceremony was held. There was a big lodge up there, so we had dinner, and observed some traditional Jewish wedding stuff http://www.aish.com/jl/l/48969841.html like the Hava Nagila song (or however it's spelled), and then they carried the bride and groom and bride's mother around on chairs. Kind of interesting.

Various family members got up to give toasts, but before the bride's sister got up, someone said, "Bear!" and everyone rushed to the big picture windows of the lodge. Sure enough, out in front of the lodge, a bear was walking around. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/black-bear.html It wandered around the building and everybody gawked at it and totally disrupted the reception for a while before it got back under control.

We then wanted to head home, but the ski lift was shut off, so the wedding politely provided shuttle van services to get back down from the lodge to the resort area. We got on a shuttle van http://www.gmfleet.com/pages/shopBy/Shuttle.jsp and started doing the switchbacks back down the mountain. All was well, and suddenly the driver slammed on the brakes. Figuring that there was an animal in the road, I immediately looked ahead, and lo and behold, it was another bear, running right in front of the van. If he hadn't stopped, we would've had a bear-van collision. http://transport.kellysearch.com/profile/bear+collision/us/mi/traverse+city/49684/901204686.

Sunday - On Sunday morning, we got up early and went to Vail http://vail.snow.com/. After dutifully stretching, I went to the designated starting line and tried to kill myself by running in the Vail Half-Marathon. http://www.vailrec.com/halfmarathon.cfm. This is not your typical half-marathon, though. First off, it's longer at 14.5 miles. Then, it starts at about 8,000 feet, and the first 9.7 miles is all uphill at a 7 degree grade to the top of one of the mountains. We topped out at 11,653 feet above sea level and actually had some snow at the top (check out the course map, and particularly the elevation map at the bottom of this link - http://www.vailrec.com/ckfinder/userfiles/files/TrailMaps/09_half.pdf. Man...that was tough. Took me almost 3.5 hours, and when I got to the last big hill at Mile 12.5 (Kloser's Klimb), I thought I was going to cry when I saw it. I was in the bottom 20 percent of finishers, but as God is my witness, I managed to do it. When we finished, we got to take another ski lift back down the mountain. I'll post a separate thread since I'm pretty proud of this.

I have to say, I usually want to go somewhere exotic on vacation, but I had a blast staying right here in Colorado, and had a really nice experience. In one week I hiked in the desert, saw marmots, foxes, and bears, went to a waterfall near a ghost town, hung out at pools and spas, crossed the continental divide twice, got to run through snow, and saw some incredible scenery. I highly recommend it.

Anyone else got a good itinerary for a local vacation?

07-20-2009, 10:23 PM
It is beautiful out here.

07-20-2009, 10:31 PM
I'll be having a nice week in Colorado in exactly two weeks. 3 nights in Estes Park and one night (or two) in Denver. It can't come soon enough.

07-20-2009, 10:33 PM
Thanks for the Beaver Creek info. We'll be heading there for the first week of August. Always have done the Frisco/Dillon/Keystone area and we're looking forward to different scenery.

07-20-2009, 10:33 PM
I'll be having a nice week in Colorado in exactly two weeks. 3 nights in Estes Park and one night (or two) in Denver. It can't come soon enough.

We used to go to Estes all the time. For awhile the sign in Loveland had a "T" painted in front of the Estes. We used to stay at the YMCA of the Rockies. Where are you guys going?

07-20-2009, 10:34 PM
Hows the weather in Denver in Late November?

07-20-2009, 10:37 PM
We used to go to Estes all the time. For awhile the sign in Loveland had a "T" painted in front of the Estes. We used to stay at the YMCA of the Rockies. Where are you guys going?
We'll be staying at one of the inns up along Fall River Rd. We were out there in 2005 and loved the place.

07-20-2009, 10:39 PM
Any weekend in Colorado is a perfect weekend for me!!!

07-20-2009, 10:43 PM
Hows the weather in Denver in Late November?

Could be about anything.

07-20-2009, 10:46 PM
Could be about anything.He's not kidding either. It could be 90 and it could be a friggin blizzard. Blizzard is more likely than 90 though.

07-20-2009, 10:48 PM
It won't be as nice as San Diego.

07-20-2009, 10:49 PM
Local vacation:

NorthEastern Iowa: A long time ago, these massive ice blocks http://nsidc.org/glaciers/ moved down through the Midwest and helped create such a beautiful and fertile region that Joe Jackson wondered if it was heaven, in the movie Field of Dreams, which you can still visit in Dyersville, Iowa: http://www.fieldofdreamsmoviesite.com/

The rolling hills of Northeastern Iowa have never been captured so powerfully or famously as in the paintings of the great Regionalist painter Grant Wood. In Anamosa and Cedar Rapids, you can see many originals paintings, his studio, and even the house in the background of his famous American Gothic (but you have to go to Chicago to see that painting).

Near Cedar Rapids are the Amana Colonies -- Amish regions. See the simple life on display, taste fudge, drink fruit wines, and have a real homemade meal.

In Waterloo, IA, the Grout/Sullivan Brothers museum displays Iowa military history, including the famous tragedy of the four Sullivans killed in WWII.

Travel east, to Dubuque, to see the mighty Mississippi River, and the long barges that flow down to the Gulf of Mexico and beyond, to the rest of the world. There's a great museum all about the Mississippi now in Dubuque, downtown, not too far away from the famous 4th Street Elevator, where you can see from the bluffs Wisconsin, Illinios, and of course, Iowa. Also in Dubuque is St. Raphael's Cathedral, the hub of the Dubuque Archdiocese.

For supper, head down to St. Donatus, a small farming community that boasts a great place for prime rib: Kalmes.