8/7/2016

Vail, CO And The Colorado River

It was time to start heading back to the west coast. We stopped by the beautiful town of Vail up in the Rockies. We don’t ski but it would be awesome to stay there some summer, to hike and enjoy the fancy hotels and shops.

Back on the road and almost out of the Rockies, we stopped at a rest area that had access to the Colorado River. The boys enjoyed putting their hands in the river.

8/6/2016

Wyoming, Nebraska, And Pawnee National Grasslands

We started our day off by driving north to Cheyenne, Wyoming. The State Capitol there was closed for renovation, so we could only look at it from the outside. Close by was the Wyoming State Museum, where the boys got to learn more than they would ever want to know about the history, animals, and resources of the state.

Once we were done in Cheyenne, we drove east to Kimball, Nebraska. None of us had ever been to Nebraska, so we got to experience the wide open spaces filled with nothing for the first time. At Kimball we turned South, and drove through the Pawnee National Grasslands.

Our plan was to get out and hike some trails, but we didn’t see any point of interest signs until we had almost driven through the entire area. We finally saw a sign for the “Pawnee Buttes” so we decided to explore. It ended up taking 60 minutes of driving down unpaved roads, further into the middle of nowhere, until we finally got to the buttes. We got out and walked around a bit, enjoying the views and feeling like the only people for hundreds of miles. In fact, we almost ran out of gas trying to get back to civilization, so it was quite an adventure.

8/5/2016

Estes Park And Rocky Mountains National Park

We headed up into the Rockies for what turned out to be an adventure. Our morning was spent wandering around Estes Park, a cute town at foot of the Rockies. After lunch we headed further into the Rockies to the national park.

Our plan was to enjoy the amazing views on the drive up to the Alpine Visitor Center in the Rocky Mountain tundra, the highest Visitor Center in all the National Parks at 11,796 feet in elevation. But, the weather blocked most our views on the way up. I ended up having to drive 10mph up the winding road through zero visibility fog. It was stressful, to say the least.

When we got to the summit, Gavin and Aliciana ran through the freezing rain and fog to see if you could see anything in the Visitor Center. Connor was asleep and I waited in the car with him, calming my nerves. All the views were completely fogged in, but Gavin did learn that it was 42 degrees outside.

On the way back down, the weather cleared a little bit, so we took advantage of the break to walk down a little trail and see some of the tundra. Then it started raining again, so we made a dash back to the car before we all froze to death.

After leaving the park and driving back though Estes Park, we stumbled upon 3 elk just hanging out by a creek off the main road. So, we did get to see some elk after all, and the boys enjoyed watching them. They are larger than they look in my photos, so rightfully acted like they own the place.

8/4/2016

CU Boulder

We spent all morning at the awesome (and free!) Museum of Natural History on the University of Colorado – Boulder campus. The boys got to see a lot of cool fossils, a neat butterfly exhibit, and a big collection of Native American arrowheads.

We explored the campus next, walking around the bookstore, the beautiful college lawns and buildings, and stumbling upon a huge Lego build of the campus. Near the Lego exhibit, they also had an exhibit about astronauts who went to CU Boulder.

After leaving the university, we walked around downtown Boulder and found a nice place to have lunch. Then we make the drive to Fort Collins, where we were staying the next few nights. We walked around downtown Fort Collins after dinner, but it was too dark to get any good pictures of their cute downtown area.

8/3/2016

Children’s Museum Of Denver

It was a much more relaxing day, after spending all of yesterday running around downtown Denver. We spent the entire day at the great children’s museum in Denver, so the boys could play, create art, and have fun pretending.

8/2/2016

Fun In Denver

Day 4 of our vacation was all about exploring Denver. We started off the day walking around inside of the Colorado State Capitol. Then we drove over to a different part of downtown to check out the FED’s Money Museum. The boys got to see lots of old types of money, learn about how our banking system works, and do a lot of hands on activities.

The second half of the day was all about baseball. We spent the afternoon at the National Ballpark Museum. The building was packed to the roof with tons of old memorabilia from the older “classic” ballparks and their players. We saw treasures from greats like Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, and Babe Ruth. Gavin was in heaven and Connor managed to entertain himself. I don’t think Gavin would have minded spending weeks in the little museum, soaking up every inch of baseball history.

After the museum, it was time for some baseball. We got into Coors Field the minute the gates opened and were able to see lots of the Dodgers warm up. Aliciana even snatched a baseball out of the air barehanded, like an eagle, when a player tossed it up into the stands. We were all quite impressed with her reflexes… especially the guy behind her who lost out on a cool souvenir.

After pushing through a rain delay in the first inning, and some cold weather the rest of the game, the Dodgers ended up losing with a score of 3 to 7. The game didn’t wrap up until after 10pm, so it was an extremely long day for the boys, but they had a blast.