Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Springs - Day One & Two

Well, okay. I didn't make good on my promise to update you guys on what was going on as quickly as I'd hoped. But better late than never, huh? :) Brad and I left on Thursday, May 12 for a little mini-vacation. We knew in April that we had a small window of time to get out of town and that we wanted to go somewhere "new." Brad had never seen the mountains and I hadn't been to Colorado in years, so we decided to go to Colorado Springs. It was BEAUTIFUL and a much needed getaway for us. 

We left at 7am on Thursday morning and had almost made it to Kearney, Nebraska when Brad got pulled over for going 8 over on the interstate. (Come ON! Everybody speeds on the interstate a little....dang it.)  If you look closely at the ticket, you'll see that the lovely officer circled the damage. That's right folks, $73.00. Barf. He must have been really super bored. Anyways, enough whining.

The drive in was pretty funny - kind of eventful, actually. We had been told that Denver had  been in the 90's all week (weather wise) and that it was supposed to be kind of warm. Having been to Colorado before, I know that it can get pretty cool at night and snow in May...all sorts of crazy weather. So, I packed everything from shorts and t-shirts to jeans and sweatshirts. Unfortunately, while I was worried about my own packing, I neglected my poor husband. I didn't ever tell him about the crazy weather changes, and having never been to the mountains, he was none the wiser. When we hit Castle Rock (between Denver and the Springs), it was snowing. I mean...heavy, wet snow. Needless to say, we stopped and bought Brad a sweatshirt.

We made it to Colorado Springs by about 3pm mountain time, but we were hungry. So, we dropped our stuff at the hotel and headed out to find something to eat. We landed at a little pizza shoppe downtown. By far, the best pizza I have had in a long time.

After dinner, we were pretty tired, so we stopped and got some local beer and went all "white trash" on our vacation. We laid around in our hotel, watched tv and hit the hay pretty early so we'd be up and ready to hit the town on Friday.

We both woke up pretty early (obviously, Brad was up, but even I was up this early!) and were ready to leave the hotel at 7am. We planned on making the most of our day and were ready to get started. We began at Garden of the Gods. It's beautiful - but nothing like I remembered from when I was a kid. So, it was just like a whole new experience. Brad was very excited to be in the mountains!

After we left Garden of the Gods, we headed to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. They were built about 700 years ago and inhabited by the Anasazi tribe. (Impressed with my knowledge, eh?) They were pretty cool, just because it wasn't like a normal museum. You could go inside the dwellings and touch the walls.

We then went to Seven Falls. It is a natural waterfall and it's pretty. But that's about all I have to say about it. Not too exciting. Oh, but there were about 8 millions stairs you could climb to get to the top. Mixed with the high altitude and lack of gym time lately, I felt like there was an elephant on my chest. Brad, however, is the stair climbing master every morning at the gym, so it was quite a bit easier for him....

After Seven Falls, we stopped and ate our lunch we had packed in the cooler (Deli meat sandwiches, bananas and juice boxes! Note: I'm actually the only one that drank the slightly childish juice boxes - Brad drank vitamin water). We then headed for our tour of Pike's Peak. You can either drive up the mountain (which takes a long time and is slightly dangerous) or you can ride the Cog Railway. It only took about an hour and was actually pretty fun. When we got to the top, it is LITERALLY breath-taking. Obviously, the scenery was beautiful, but there is not an excess of oxygen when you get 14,000 feet in the air. We popped in the gift shop and got one of their world famous donuts. I must also admit that on the way down, I gave away Brad's donut. You know, the one that he was waiting to eat until later....the one that you can ONLY get at the top of Pike's peak and will probably never find another like it. Yeah. That one. I'm an idiot. When the lady across from us was saying she didn't have time to get a donut, I offered to give her our "extra." Moments later, I remembered that it wasn't an extra donut - it was Brad's donut. Luckily, Brad was very gracious and kind about it. Thanks honey. :)

After we got back from Pikes Peak, we stayed in Manitou Springs (the most adorable little town) and hung out, drank some beer, and ate chips and salsa at our favorite place there...The Keg.

We also found this cute little outdoor arcade that used nickels and pennies. It had apparently been around since the 1930's and had most of the original games. I unfortunately talked a lot of trash, but got my butt whooped at Skeeball. My husband has a lot more humility when it comes to skeeball. :) 

We left Manitou Springs and went to dinner in downtown Colorado Springs at "The Ritz." I wish I had gotten a picture of my meal, because it was the BEST meal I have ever eaten. Oh my gosh - I could barely walk when we left...which was unfortunate, because we had parked several blocks away. :) That's all for now. I'll be back later with days 3 & 4!