Monday, August 11, 2008

What a fun week in Colorado!

Saturday, August 9, 2008 - Saturday, August 16, 2008
This is our annual “Janette’s Birthday Week” vacation. Nathan got us booked on a flight to Denver at 8:41 a.m.. After making sure the dogs were going to be taken care of a few days before we left, we said our goodbyes to them and gave the normal instructions needed so that all would be OK with them and headed to the airport. Surprisingly, we got on the flight we were actually booked on (we go stand-by when we fly) and made it to Denver. We headed out of the airport on the Avis shuttle bus and got a car rented with Dave’s discount (he works for them part time on the weekend) and decided since we couldn't check in at Estes Park until 4 p.m., we headed downtown Denver. Dave had just been there back in December for ATF stuff, so he knew of the “16th Street Mall” area. (What is the 16th St. Mall?: It is an outdoor mall that is a mile long where they have shut down the street for traffic except the free shuttles that you can hop on and go from one end to the next) After finding a parking spot we headed for 16th Street. To the left is an arial view of the mall. We walked down to one end of it, got some lunch then got on the free shuttle bus and went up to the end of it all. We walked over to the Union Station where you would get on the Amtrak train if you were traveling on it any where. Dave took a picture of the front of the station which is at the right (I'm standing at the bottom of the flag pole in front of the station). We then left there and walked down to 16th Street again and went in this old building called 'Tattered Cover Bookstore". It was amazing! Not only the history of the building, but the bookstore itself. Here is a little bit about the history of the building this bookstore is in. Picture is below to the left. There is a plaque on the outside by the main door of the building that says: " C.S. Morey Mercantile Building - 1896 - Constructed in 1896 for $75,000, the Morey Mercantile Building was the first notable warehouse to be built after the 1983 Silver Crash. Designed by Gove & Walsh, the structure included a spice grinding mill, roasting plan, extract laboratory and print shop. Unusual yet practical features of the building include a second story main entrance built for direct access to and from the old 16th Street viaduct (demolished in 1994), a double wide alley between this building and the Henry Lee Building, and train tracks in the front for easy transfer of goods. These functional attributes were essential for a thriving, eclectic distributor like Morey who manufactured, packaged and marketed all manner of food products, as well as brooms, writing tablets, matches, snuff, chewing tobacco, and cigars. From its founding in 1884, Morey Mercantile grew into an empire becoming the largest wholesaler in the Rocky Mountain Region until its sale to Continental Foods in 1956. Even today, “C.S. Morey Mercantile Company” remains cut in stone above the second-story door on 16th Street." We jumped back on the shuttle and rode it up the street near where we parked the car. We made our way out of downtown Denver and got on the interstate to head towards Estes Park. We stopped at a Walmart along the way to get some groceries for our meals while at the condo. The drive up was really pretty through the mountains was beautiful. I did find out when we got up there to Estes, that the big hotel they used in the movie “The Shining” with Jack Nicholson is there. When watching that movie one would think the hotel was way up in the mountains and very secluded. But in all actuality, it’s a couple of blocks off the main street of Estes Park. Also in this post is a picture of the the hotel (to the left). It’s called the “Stanley Hotel”. There is a concert hall and museum. Actually, there are 11 buildings up there. Here is the link if you want to go in and check the hotel out. In the movie, it was known as the "Overlook Hotel". . Or just Google the Stanley Hotel or "The Shining". On Sunday we were invited over to the office where we were staying because they wanted to try and sale us more points to have more time in the resorts than what we have. But we were very adiment about not wanting to do that and shook the guys hand that was doing the sales pitch and left. Because it was raining, we stayed at the condo and watched a movie. Later on we went down to the village (I call it a town) and walked around a bit and went in to the shops. After a while we went back to the condo and fixed some dinner. On Monday we drove up to the Rocky Mountain National Park. This first visit up there we found out it wasn't very easy finding a parking spot so we drove back down the mountain to the park and ride and got on a shuttle. We headed towards "Bear Lake" and hiked around it. It was gorgeous up there. There were several little chipmunks that were being fed by people, which they weren't suppose to be doing. The chipmunks weren't complaining though and had enough food stored in their little cheeks, it made them look like they had the mumps. When we were finished there, we took the shuttle down to Glacier Gorge where we hiked up to Alberta Falls. Here is a picture of the lake and the falls. It was beautiful! That night we went to a Ranger talk about Coyotes which was very interesting. Learned new stuff about the animal and the ranger was pretty funny too. Tuesday we went back down to Denver to pick Nathan and Pamela up. It was my birthday so they surprised me by coming to spend some time with us. Once we got back to the condo, we made plans for the rest of the day. We took them up through the park only we went on a different road. It was called the "Ridgeline Trail" which was spectacular! There was one section of the road where you could look down each side of the mountain. Believe me, we were very very high. We didn't have time to take them all the way to the top, but we did get up quite a ways. We started heading back down because it was getting late in the day. We stopped at a restaurant for dinner for my birthday! It was a bar-b-que place and I think I had the best pulled pork any where! Unfortunately, Nate and Pamela had to leave again Wednesday morning so we headed back to Denver to the airport. After dropping them off, we went back downtown Denver and walked around. We went to the "Fortney's Museum of Transportation" and saw a bunch of old cars, carts, bycycles, hearse's, trucks, trains and an airplane. Whew! The car pictured here is a "1916 Detroit Electric" car. It was cool, the glass in it is concaved. After leaving the museum, we went back over to the "Tattered Cover Book Store" and got some lunch. This time we walked from where we had parked the car. We left there then went over to the US Mint thinking we were going to go on the tour, but unfortuneatly the tours were all booked so we went walking around. We went over to the capital building and walked through it a bit. After leaving the capital we walked over to this old hotel called the "Brown Palace". Here is the link to go in and read about the legend of the palace" It also has some stories to tell. You will find this link very interesting. Because we were running out of time at the parking meter, we headed back to the car and tried to find our way out of Denver. We got lost for about an hour! but finally got headed in the right direction. On our way back to Estes Park we went by Loveland which is where my cousin Farrell and his wife Mari live. We met them for dinner and really had a nice visit with them. We were pooped by the time we got back to the condo, but enjoyed the rest of the evening relaxing and watching the olympics. Thursday we went back up to the park and went up clear to the top then back down the other side to a village called Grand Lake, and yes there really was a lake there. We drove around for a few minutes then headed back up the mountain and back down to Estes Park. It's about 48 miles one way from the entrance in to the park to Grand Lake. The view from up on the Ridge Line Trail (road) was spectacular! I'm going to put a few more pictures on we took up there. There is a sign on one of the trails we hiked up that says you are literally "on the roof of the Rockies". What a great way to spend the week of my birthday! Hope you go in to the links I provided (most of all I hope it works for you when you click on them). 1) Side of a steep slope 2) Mushroom Rock Formations 3) Yes folks, that the snow storm coming our way. In fact I took a picture of my hoodie with the little flakes on it. Ya' have to know we are at about 12,000 elevation. They call this area the "never summer mountains". You are on what they call the tundra where the trees don't grow because it is so dang cold. My left ear felt like it was going to explode and it was so painful, plus my head was aching. I put my hood on and it felt some better. I think it was alot to do with the cold wind that was blowing up there. 4) is another steep slope where this glacier lay at the bottom of it. Notice the little lake of crystal blue water. It was beautiful! 5) The dark rock of Lava Cliffs is welded tuff. This rock ormed as a result of a violent explosion some 28 million years ago. Volcanic vents in the Never Summer Mountains twelve miles west became clogged with thick, gooey lava. When they erupted, not all of the molten rock flowed as liquid. Some exploded out as a fast-moving avalanche of molten rock and gas. Where the flow stopped, it fused itself into a solid mass as you see in this picture. When you are as high as we were (on the tundra) the wild flowers only grown maybe an inch high. 6) Wild flower - They say that when there is a 30 mph wind blowing at eye level, it's only blowing 3 mph on the ground. Therefore since it's warmer for the flowers on the ground, they are protected from the cold. Hope this wasn't too boring and you all found it somewhat interesting. The picture of this flower makes it look bigger than it really is. 7) Really is a great backdrop for a picture, eh? You can tell the wind was a blowing.

I started this post a couple of days ago or so and think it is time to bring it to an end. Sorry it is so long.
If you haven't been to Rocky Mountain National Park, I recommend you go! It was breath taking up there "high in the sky" as Nathan would say in his little gravely southern voice at the young age of 3.


  1. Just like the old song: 'Round, Round, you get around' - I love reading about yours and Dave's adventures. Sounds like your birthday was momentous, what with the hiking, the sightseeing, meeting up with the kids, etc. Glad that you both enjoy doing these things together.

  2. Wow! It is so beautiful there.Looks like you guys had alot of fun.

  3. Beautiful and fun pictures Janette! I loved living in Colorado and still miss its beauty. Thanks for sharing!!