Colorado and Utah Adventure: May 19, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)

Anderson was the first to wake up in our room this morning-he was sitting up looking around.  Dad (who had been waking up most every hour) was the first to notice him.  Soon after we heard Graham trying to open up the bathroom door from his pack n play.  Grannymom helped Reagan and Anderson put on their clothes and then Graham and them headed to breakfast.  Reagan had a muffin, Anderson had 2 and Graham had none!  Soon Campbell had finished her bottle and we loaded some of the car before meeting the gang at breakfast. 

We had tickets for the 9:20 cog but we were on the road around 7:45.  Manitou Springs is a cute old ski town that is at the base of Pike’s Peak.  We were the first ones to park in the parking lot at the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.  The gift shop called our names and before long we had found a thimble for Graham’s teacher (she had requested one), the obligatory gift for his other teacher, a puzzle and an ornament.  Reagan did find a flashlight, rocks and earrings that she wanted to buy as well.  One cog car was filled with school children on a field trip and one was not-guess which one we were on?  Ha!  We were the only other people on that car.  That was fine with me since I didn’t have to worry about the kids being noisy.  The ride up the hill started around the elevation of 6500 and went to the top of Pikes Peak at 14000.  Quite a climb!

You couldn’t really tell that you were climbing a 6-25% grade except when you noticed the trees out the window or when seeing the train people walk around the car and it looked like they were standing crooked. The kids did great going up the hill as we saw the waterfalls, rock formation, snow, old cabins and even a prairie dog (maybe that is what it was).  Halfway up we stopped to let some hikers off-crazy folks.  Speaking of crazy is the road up to Pike’s Peak.  They said it was crazy windy with few gaurd rails and huge drop offs.  Robby had thought about us just driving to the top and not taking the cog but I am so glad we did the cog.  By the time we had gotten to the top, the kids were in a funk.  Graham had just woken up and only wanted to be held, Reagan was whiney and Anderson acted exhausted (Oh, Campbell was smiling happily in the front carrier)  Robby bought some doughnuts and everyone soon cheered up.  It happened to be very, very cold on the top so most of our time was spent inside.  Though we did step out at the end to take our picture on the top of Pike’s Peak.  As we were out there it started sleeting on us-so we rushed to get into the cog.  Though, Tara (and Campbell who was still strapped on) and Reagan did go out to try to catch some sleet (huge pieces-just like dippin dots).  I couldn’t see but Robby said that Campbell was smiling and grinning the whole time we were out there!

Since Reagan had rode in Grannymom’s car to the mountain, it was now the chatterboxes turn (Anderson).  He had asked us a zillion questions and pointed out ever thing on the way-he doesn’t usually get a chance to talk that much when Reagan is around.  We didn’t have far to go since we were trying to find a picnic spot.  Of course, by now it was sprinkling so we were looking for a covered place.  We drove through the Garden of the Gods looking for some where to stop but couldn’t find anything but by the time we turned around heading back through the sun came out and we were able to stop for lunch.

It was a chilly picnic but the sandwiches and chips still hit the spot.  After eating, we stopped at Balanced Rock.  The kids enjoyed the tiny hike to stand under it-Reagan was a little concerned that it was going to fall on her.  Notice in the pictures that she is holding her shirt down because it came up when she raised her arms to hold up the rock.  Graham saw what Anderson was doing and starting lifting up his part of the rock just like his brother.  It was a good stop to stretch our legs before our next long leg of the trip.

Robby wanted to go across the Royal Gorge on the worlds highest suspension bridge.  It goes across the Arkansas river and he wanted to the kids to understand that the river under the bridge flowed all the way to our city.  The area also has a carousel, an aerial tram, incline railway, pony rides and I am sure much more for a pretty steep admission fee-which includes going to the bridge.  The whole way there, it would rain and then stop and then rain.  We didn’t know if we would be able to stop our not.  The sky looked promising but as Robby was going to the front gates to check out a bathroom for Anderson it started raining.  This was probably a good thing since we didn’t have to make that decision about to go or not to-the weather made it for us. 

This was probably also a good thing because the rain quickly changed.  Since we weren’t going to go into the park, there was a clearing between the trees that you could see the bridge.  As we pulled over, it started hailing like we have never seen.  Hail!  Big pieces of hail! Poke your eyes out hail!  But since we needed a picture, Robby was the camera man and I had to dodge the hail.  Robby did leave his door open and he returned to a seat full of hail.  It was enough that I took a scoop and threw it to the back of the van at Reagan.  A few miles down the road, there was a restroom and Dad grabbed Anderson from Grannymom’s car and ran him to the bathroom (the hail was lessening by then).  But there was still enough hail that hadn’t melted in the car for Reagan to pick it up and take it to Graham so he could have some.  It was crazy!  But soon the sun was out again and we continued on.

It was the most beautiful drive from the Royal Gorge to Salida.  The small Arkansas river flowed beside us with red rock mountains behind it.  An abandoned train went on for miles beside the river.  And the river had the occasional kayaker going down it.  Ahead, were more red rock mountains and in the background were the snow covered Rockies.  It was gorgeous.  At Salida, we stopped for a potty break and ice cream.  Tara then drove the van and Dad drove Grandpa’s car with Anderson.  Grannymom who had come to the van entertained Graham as Reagan watched a movie and Campbell slept. 

This part of the drive was not so pretty-up the windy hill to Monarch Pass and then down the steep and windy hill.  I haven’t ever driven on a road like that-hmm, and don’t really ever plan on it again.  Robby tells stories of when they skied at Monarch and the cabin walls had holes where you could see outside.  But soon we were at the hotel in Gunnison.  My travel book described this Holiday Inn Express as opulent!  Nice that it was close to our supper stop.  Robby and I have been having bad luck on finding places to eat lately-they are always closed for the day or closed for good when we get there as was our pick tonight.  But there was a pizza place nearby and it was very good.  Graham who hasn’t eaten much lately gobbled down a breadstick while Reagan obsessed about growing a lemon tree from her lemon seeds that she confiscated from Grannymom’s glass.

We dropped Campbell back at the hotel with Grannymom and headed to the park to play (why oh why don’t we have nice city parks at home?)  The kids loved it-swings, slides-lots of fun stuff.  It was awfully cold but still nice to run around.  Reagan went down one slide and we heard her scream.  She then cried out “it was a water slide”-the bottom of the slide was wet from the rain and her pants were soaking wet!  She was quite upset but soon forgot about it with a round of chase.  Though she was quick to pull them off when we came back to the room.  

They took baths while Tara tried to repack and Robby ran upstairs to put some laundry in.  Soon, Graham had his foxie and taggie and was telling everyone “night night” so he went to bed.  Anderson fell asleep watching a movie and Robby had to move him to his sleeping bag.  Campbell had fallen asleep with Grannymom and she was put in her bouncy for the night.  Oh, sleeping arrangements you ask…..well, Graham is in the pack n play in the bathroom, Campbell is in the closet in her bouncy, Anderson is between the beds in his sleeping bag and tonight that left no where for Reagan to sleep.  (They sleep in their sleeping bags so we don’t have to worry about the whole falling off the incredibly high bed issue and it is like camping out for them which they love)  The room has little walkway around the beds so Robby casually asked Reagan if she wanted to make a tent under the table-she was ecstatic.  I put a blanket down and then her sleeping bag and she then asked what I was going to put over the table-so I covered the table up with a sheet and she is in her “tent” and was sound asleep in no time. 

The kids are tired but are having a great time.  Hopefully, the weather will cooperate with us tomorrow a little bit better!  But first, this opulent hotel bed is calling my name…along with the cinnamon rolls in the morning for breakfast!

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