Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day 4 & 5 - Parent’s day out and the drive back.

Bobby and Darlene took the kids for the day and left us to our own.

Oh sweet heaven!

Well we started out by sleeping late. Then we went and and watched a movie (Wall-E it was awesome). Then we had a break at Starbucks. Now I took my MacBook Pro to take advantage of the WiFi there but alas it kept dropping - even when I was the only laptop there. At least I was able to download my mail.

Then we spent some time at a used book store (Book Rack). That was very nice. We had not spent quality time in a bookstore in a loooooong time.

After that we had dinner at Red, Hot and Blue (good but the ones in Texas are better) and then off to Wal-Mart to stock up on supplies for the trip back.

The last day:

All good things have to come to an end. That morning we finished packing up and I made one last try getting the router to work with Comcast with no success.

Then we took Darlene out to lunch at Olive Garden. Bobby had to go to work that day but he got home just as we got back from lunch. So Bobby and Darlene played with the kids at the park while Chris and I packed up the van. Once we were done we said our goodbyes and, with mixed emotions, headed back home (around 2pm). Now its my theory that all the play time the kids had tired them out but regardless they were very good on the trip back. We got home around 4am our time and I was able to get the kids in bed then me and Chris were able to take a nap before the kids woke up.

I cannot wait until next year.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Day 3 - Santa's workshop

First we had breakfast at Mimi’s cafe. Now from my earlier entry you know how I feel about Mimi’s and breakfast did not change it one bit. Mimi’s is AWESOME. The breakfast was absolutely delicious.

Then we went to the North Pole . Santa apparently has a “summer villa” near Pike’s Peak.

Now when Bobby first described it to me I thought it was a bunch of shops with a couple of carnival rides for the kids. Boy was I wrong! The place is about half the size of six flags with about twenty five rides and a half dozen shops. And even though the bulk of the rides are nowhere near the caliber of Six Flags (better than carnival quality though) the kids spent the whole day there and still did not ride all the rides.

My favorite ride was the Ferris wheel. At the top there was some of the best views I have seen thus far. The worse for me, that I was willing to get on, was a simple high speed merry go round that went forward and backward. Forward was no problem but when it went backwards all my weight slammed into my stomach (right after a Mimi’s four pancake, two eggs and sausage breakfast). My stomach never fully recovered that day. Chris, of course, called us all wusses and then proceeded to take the kids on all the twirling rides I would never do even with a good stomach (got lots of pics of them though).

We stayed there all day until the park closed down then we went to Cici’s for dinner. The kids did not have any problems going to sleep that night.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Day 2 - The Royal Gorge

The second day was the busy day. We took a ride on the Royal Gorge Railroad which went along the Arkansas river (I wonder which state the Colorado river is in ). For the adventurous you can go up the river in the train then come down the river in a raft - but for us we went both up and down the river in the train. One of the most interesting sights for me was the wooden water pipe. Its a thirty inch pipe made of redwood planks that carried water down the canyon - the amazing thing is that the pipe was used until 1974 (over seventy years). It really drives home how, with proper maintenance, even items made of simple materials can last a looooong time.

After the train ride we drove over the Royal Gorge bridge, and walked through the shops and the petting zoo on the other side. Then we took a cable car over the canyon and while Chris and Darlene shopped Bobby and I took the kids on a couple of rides on the merry go round then down the canyon on the inclined railway. After that it had started raining so Chris and Darlene took the kids back over the canyon in the cable car while Bobby and I walked across the bridge.

As we were leaving the park Bobby was able to get several good pictures of a double rainbow (if you look a little above the first rainbow you will see the second one). After that we had dinner at Chili’s to finish off our day.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Colorado Trip - day one

We left Friday night at around 7pm. The logic behind that was that, with any luck, the kids would fall asleep early and for the bulk of the trip and in the morning when they woke up. And really that worked for the most part. Nate stayed up until 11:30 because he wanted to be awake when we crossed into New Mexico, no matter how many times we told him it would be three or four in the morning before we got there he was determined to stay awake.

The big problem with driving at night was that there was nothing to see. No farms, no hills, no scenery at all - just dark. It really makes the driving alot more boring.

One thing to note - gas prices in northern New Mexico are outrageous!!!! We are talking about 50 cents a gallon more than prices 45 minutes away - so going back I made sure to fill up in Colorado.

The kids woke up around seven thirty in the morning when we had just entered Colorado. We stopped at a rest stop and changed the kids out of their pajamas and into their clothes, gave them an oatmeal square and continued on to Bobby and Darlene’s.

We got there about 9am (Mountain time) and after we got all the stuff in Bobby took the kids through the drive through at McDonalds and got us all breakfast. After that Bobby and Darlene took the kids to a nearby park while Chris and I rested (did I mention that we had just driven fourteen hours).

After they came back we all went to the Garden of the Gods. Now I now I have talked about the views in Colorado but this was just a mile away from Bobby and Darlene’s apartment!

Then we went out to Dinner at Mimi’s Cafe. Now this was one of the best eating experiences I have ever had. Not only was the food good, complementary sweet bread, the Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes were good, the service was AWESOME! Our server, Clayton, made sure all our drinks never got low, when he saw how much sweet and low we were using he brought me a whole bowl of it without me asking. When he found out it was our first time there he brought us a batch of complementary muffins (so the kids had breakfast muffins for the rest of the vacation). I would hands down recommend Mimi’s cafe just for the level of service they gave to their customers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back from Colorado Vacation

We got back from Bobby and Darlene's in Colorado Springs this morning (4am) and I have just started uploading the pics. I will do a day by day account of the trip as time permits. But let me start by saying this:


The things I loved about Colorado:

- The views! Its almost impossible to go anywhere in Colorado Springs and not see a mountain.
- The temperature. The whole time we were there we never needed to turn on the air conditioning. Mornings were a little tough as the apartment had an eastern exposure and the sun warmed up the apartment each morning (which will be AWESOME in the winter) but other than that just having the windows open was enough to keep the apartment comfortable (IN AUGUST!!!!).
- The temperature Part II. One of the first things Chris and I noticed was the cold water was actually cold! Here in Texas at this time of year hot and cold water is actually hot and luke warm. The only reason to have water in the refrigerator is because you have a filter pitcher.

Things that were not so great about Colorado (just to be fair)

- Comcast sucks! Okay, that's not a Colorado thing but after this trip I have a beef with them. My brother tried attaching a wireless router to their cable modem and even though he could get the wireless portion working (could get to the admin section of the router without a hard wire) he could not get the to the internet through the router. So I brought up my old Linksys WRT54GS and I got the exact same problem. Worse my MacBook Pro could not get to the internet even with a direct line to the cablemodem. Comcast response - call the manufacturer - NOTHING WAS THEIR FAULT! At least when I call AT&T (UVerse) with a problem they go out of their way to try and fix it.
- Winter? Now I have never experienced winter in Colorado so I don't know if this would be a good or bad. But being a Texan where everything shuts down at the first flake of snow I am not sure how well I would adapt to a real winter.
- Dr. Pepper. I believe this was the altitude but I could not get a good Dr. Pepper in Colorado. Worse canned DP seemed to go flat very quickly once opened.