Sunday, December 29, 2013

And So the Snow Begins.... Colorado

After getting a late start we hurried out of Arizona heading northeast to Moab, Utah; home of Arches National Park for a night stop. We drove through hours and hours of Navajo desert land. Occasionally random rock structures would pop up here and there looking like they came out of nowhere. The idea that dinosaurs once existed blows my mind, but when amidst this kind of landscape it is surprisingly easy to imagine those creatures once walked on it. The border between Arizona and Utah has a scenic highway that goes through it called Monument Valley, which was a super cool and unexpected surprise. It’s always nice to happen upon something scenic.

Monument Valley is basically a road that goes through a desert valley that has random red rock structures in all different extravagant shapes lining the highway. It was really interesting seeing these monuments. It almost looked like someone just stuck them all over in a random succession. I can’t even imagine what the earth did to make them. The closest thing I could think of would be a river, but they are so spread out it’s hard to see it that way. Anyway the pictures say it all. When we were entering the first Utah town we were greeted by a beautiful pink desert sunset.

It turned night and we were stuck driving in some stressful deer infested territory and missing out on some scenic points through Bryce Canyon which we were pretty upset about. We got to Moab around 7 and checked into our motel. Once again the irony remains true because this was one of the cheapest motels and yet one of the nicest. It wasn’t large, but it was cozy and clean and perfect for just passing through. We decided to go out to eat and ended up at this cool looking BBQ place that was glowing blue on the outside. I suppose that was its appeal.
I believe it was called The Blue Pig. I was in the mood for ribs, but their ribs were too expensive so I settled for some hot wings and I think Finnley got a pulled pork sandwich. The wings looked funny; they were all dark and the sauce was thick. However, when I tasted them they were awesome. It wasn’t your average hot wing sauce, but it was really good. It was spicy and tangy which it always a good combo for me. Finnley too enjoyed his sandwich.
After dinner we headed back to the motel and relaxed. We looked up the guy we met at the Grand Canyon; Karl Bushby and found the Youtube video of him crossing the Bering Strait and watched that for a while. It was amazing. After we watched Hall Pass lol and fell asleep.
In the morning I rushed to find a place to stay at in Colorado. The original plan was to stay near Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park or even Denver, but somehow we ended up going to Aspen. Due to the season we were there we were going to miss out on a lot of the attractions in Rocky Mountain National Park anyway so that was a concern. Aspen was going to be a much shorter drive and we found a fairly cheap hotel, but most of all the deciding factor for Finnley at least was that the tallest mountain in Colorado was near there.
We were supposed to go to Arches that day too, but also skipped that because of the late start. It would have been nice to check out Moab because Zion Katie told us she really liked it there and we also got good vibes from it, but unfortunately I’m the keep it moving type and that’s exactly what we did. Down the road past Arches right before we got on the highway that we were taking to Aspen was this gigondous mountain to the east of us. It was snowcapped and below it the most deep blue rock. It almost looked like the deep blue of the ocean. I swear it must have been part of the Rockies. I thought it was Colorado, but I’m not sure.

The drive into Colorado was really calm and not much to look at, but that mountain. Once we got deeper into the state the hills started to grow in the road and we could tell we were once again in the mountains. We were listening to the local radio stations at one point and I clicked over to another station and heard Tool. Finnley and I looked at each other like what the heck lol. I haven’t heard Tool on the radio since Zeta was still around in the 90s. So basically that confirmed how cool Colorado is. The terrain around there is very interesting. The color of their hills looks like Christmas lol. They had lines of red and green going through them and some snow randomly plotted.

We reached Glenwood Springs, which looked like a pretty chill city. We got good vibes from it. It doesn’t hurt also that I know they have natural hot springs there which is awesome. They actually have a giant hot spring pool that we saw on our way out. We really started to see the mountains now. Ones that looked just like the previous giant one we saw from Utah. The Rockies fascinated me. Finnley and I saw so many mountain ranges throughout this trip and I’m not saying the Rockies were my favorite, but they were definitely intoxicating to look at. Like the Grand Canyon in reverse, but less fear inducing.  They were so beautiful it was hard to look away.

This was also where we started to see some snow. It was old snow and not much, but it was nice to see again. When we got to Aspen it looked like a little winter wonderland. Even the hotel we stayed at, Mountain Chalet, was so homey and warm. You could really tell it was a classic family owned place. I was in love with how adorable it was. I don’t know why anyone would need a super expensive ski lodge when they have this little classic gem around. 

We both enjoyed Aspen so much that instead of the one night we planned we decided to stay two. I was pleasantly surprised how nice the people were. I was expecting stuck up richos everywhere, but that wasn’t the case. Possibly because it was off season :-P. Unfortunately though because of that, there really isn’t all the much to do. We were only a few blocks from the main shopping center, but that was the problem. So much cool stuff to buy and no money to buy it with. They even had a Free People for gods sake. What a tease! 

Most of our time spent there we walked around and around enjoying the new winter scene. We had lunch/dinner at a little bar place underground that was suggested to us by some random business man. We ordered a prosciutto pizza and finished it off. After, we went back to the room and watched some TV. They had the best channel ever there. It was called the Outdoor Channel and had everything about hiking and all kind of cool outdoor sports. Suffice to say we were hooked on that for a couple hours. 

When we were done and pried ourselves away from the TV we headed back outside for a night stroll. Over the course of this trip I developed a serious soda problem so half our night strolls were attributed to that need. We stopped at the McDonalds there and I got a fountain soda. The cashier told me I look like Shakira lol. I really loved the vibe in Aspen. It was just like all those other small, but awesome towns like Key West and Bar Harbor. On certain streets they even had Christmas lights on the trees which looked so pretty.  Later that night we headed back to the hotel and I took a much needed shower. 

The next day we woke up to a steady snowfall. It was the most snow we had seen yet. We sat on the balcony for a while watching in awe the beauty that drifted down and built our winter wonderland into that much more of one. We went to breakfast and met a nice waitress. She was telling us how the waiters at the upscale restaurants can make up to $1000 dollars a night. That’s as much as a stripper lol! She was saying that is what a lot of the younger people do there. They will work for the on season and have enough money to travel for the rest of the year. Must be nice. After we headed out for a walk. We stopped at the bank and went to the thrift store in town. We found some cool stuff. I got a Marmot double jacket for only 40 bucks! 

It was starting to feel even more winter wonderland like the more the snow fell, but after morning it pretty much stopped. We went back to the hotel and got hooked on TV and being lazy again. Until it reached lunch time and we then decided to go to the meatball place. I had some buffalo chicken meatballs and Finnley had a meatball sub. They both were really good, but those things gave me the worst indigestion and the worst taste to follow. Every time I burped it up I wanted to throw up. We went back to the hotel and again submitted to the TV. 

After it turned night and Finnley was getting hungry and I was needing some ice cream and soda we headed out. We went to the little grocery store and got a few things. Outside Finnley wanted to have a snow ball fight so we stopped in the middle of the street and started throwing. I accidentally hit Finnley in the privates so he threw a huge one at my thigh and gave me a bruise. I was done playing after that lol. On our was back we saw they had an ice skating rink and I was disappointed we didn’t see it sooner because we were leaving the next day. 

That night Finnley got to Skype with his brother for a while and I watched TV and ate ice cream. The next morning it was time to depart. The weather was a slight concern because it had been snowing all around Colorado and we were worried about ice on the roads, but we checked the weather and road conditions and everything looked ok. We had our breakfast and said a sad good bye to Aspen. 

From Aspen we were heading to Denver to meet up with Finnley’s high school friend. We had to drive through some pretty scary conditions, but luckily little to no ice on the road. We got to drive pass Vail on opening ski day and we saw all the skiers coming down the hills which was pretty cool. We really wanted to ski too, but it was way too expensive. At one point we were driving on a 12,000ft above sea level road which was new and very cool for us even though the high elevation was driving me nuts at that point. We also went through another, longer creepy mountain tunnel.

We got into Denver in the afternoon and stopped by Finnley’s friend’s house and just hung out for a couple hours. It turned out this friend has a pot dispensary up there and his own little farm in his house. It was cool seeing all the plants and know it’s all legal. I had never seen that before. 

We got back on the road around 4pm and headed towards Colorado Springs to stop for the night. I had to drive the rest of the way and It was not a pleasant drive. First of all I was starving and I couldn’t find somewhere to eat for like 30 minutes and then we hit Denver peak hour traffic at night. That freaking sucked. We were stuck in that shit for like 2 hours. We got to Colorado Springs around 9pm and stayed at some Quality Inn type place. 

In the morning we had breakfast and headed out to Amarillo, Texas. At this point we were pretty much driving with the winter storm Boreas. The roads were snowy and slightly icy everywhere we went. The scenery was flatter looking than I expected for Colorado, but it looked pretty, like a snow covered desert. Right before we reached New Mexico we hit some more snow. It was very beautiful. 

On to the next...

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