Roadtrip: Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado…

I just got back Wednesday night from my roadtrip to Denver to see my friend Juliana, her husband and their new baby.  It was such a wonderful trip!

The drive was fantastic, although I’ll admit it’s really only something I’d like to do once.  We also had planned to come back a different way to mix it up (go down through the mountain area near salt lake and then cut back up to Wyoming), but the day before we left it suddenly went from upper 70s, sunny, and gorgeous to cold, dark, and snowy/rainy!  So we figured for safety sake we should go back the way we came.    Also, we had contemplated going up on a more northern route through Wyoming and stopping by Yosemite but we ran out of time.   We probably should have left Denver a day sooner so we could do the Yosemite thing, but I just didn’t want to leave!

Anyway, so the point is that we drove the exact same way there and back.  But all was not lost (in terms of any possibility of being bored just seeing the same things again) because on the way back it was light in areas that had been dark on the way there, and in Wyoming there was snow which was BEAUTIFUL! Becky (my roadtrip partner) and I were both taking pictures the whole time, even whichever one of us was driving 😉  So, almost all of my shots were taken while in motion, and most of the time through the windshield or side window glass.  I’m amazed some of them turned out as well as they did given the circumstances!

On the way there, we drove Portland to Nampa, Idaho (about 6 hours) and then stayed the night there before continuing on to Denver (about 13 hours) the next day.   On the way back, we did the same thing (stopped in Nampa).  We also stopped in Hood River where Becky is from (about an hour before getting back to Portland) for a late lunch and a little shopping 🙂

All in all, the road trip part of the experience was awesome!  People had told me Wyoming would be boring (scenery-wise) but we LOVED Wyoming!  I have a huge album up on facebook for those of you that are my facebook friends, but for those who are just happening upon my blog, here are a few of the pics from the roadtrip:

Driving in Northern Utah

Driving in Northern Utah

One of many types of varied terrain in Wyoming

One of many types of varied terrain in Wyoming

More Wyoming :)

More Wyoming 🙂

A little Colorado on the way back...

A little Colorado on the way back...

(Admittedly, I didn’t get a lot of Colorado scenery because it was dark on our way there, and then it was just getting light on our way out.. but it looked a lot like the pics from my last trip to Colorado with rolling hills and mountains off in the distance :))

Colorado has some red rocks too :)  (w/ Becky's hand)

Colorado has some red rocks too 🙂 (w/ Becky's hand)

Snow in Wyoming :)

Snow in Wyoming 🙂

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Me using my Giant-Skills to touch the Utah sign :-)

Me using my Giant-Skills to touch the Utah sign 🙂

More Utah... I was a big fan :-)

More Utah... I was a big fan 🙂

Southern Idaho was mostly brown, flatness.. but also some very lush green crops

Southern Idaho was mostly brown, flatness.. but also some very lush green crops

The Columbia Gorge (back in Oregon)

The Columbia Gorge (back in Oregon)

I’ll update more later on our time actually in Denver, but for now, I hope you enjoyed the pics I posted from my pictures while flying by at 80MPH skills 😉

24 Hours in ColoRADo!

The morning after our trip to Acoma, we (Adam, Krissi, and I) packed up the car and headed to Colorado.  Adam’s parents have a cabin up a gravel road near the town of Westcliffe.  The cabin is self-suficient (solar panels for electricity, well water, etc.).  The views are breathtaking, there is plenty to do outdoors around the cabin, and the cabin itself is very cute and quaint.  However, the only downside (which also can be considered an upside) is that there is no phone line, internet, or cell service available.  For someone like me, who is used to being so connected, it always takes a little getting used to, but I like it.  However, it also turned out to be a downside of the trip because Adam’s family wasn’t able to get in touch with us until we went down into the town around 3pm the following day.

Anyway… back to the beginning.  The drive was pretty easy.  It was about a 5 hour drive from Albuquerque and we drove into a pretty crazy storm at one point, but overall it was an easy and enjoyable ride.  Oh, and at one point I desperately needed to use the restroom and there wasn’t one for miles and miles and miles.  This was reminiscint of the the last time I was roadtripping through New Mexico (on the way to Houston, TX).   I can’t think of New Mexico now without thinking of desperately needing a restroom with nowhere to stop.  Boys have it so easy 😉

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So we arrived in the town around… shoot… I have no idea what time it was.  We unloaded our stuff at the cabin, and drove back down into Westcliffe to get some pizza at a delicious place Adam & Krissi had tried before (I think it was called Pizza Madness?) .  The pizza was extremely delicious.   Also, I had a very awkward encounter with a worker there who essentially told me that being so tall was “hott” after asking about our food, and then he walked away.

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From there, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up some yummy fresh stuff so we could make our own meals over the next few days.  At that point, we had no idea we’d be leaving so soon.  Oh, and I need to throw this is here to throw it in somewhere… There is a field nearby their cabin with lots of Llamas!  When Krissi pulled over so I could take a picture, they all posed there.  So cute!

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When we got back to the cabin, we were planning to put the groceries away and settle down for a fun round or two of Settlers.  However, we made an unfortunate discovery: mouse poop.  As we began to investigate further, we discovered a LOT of mouse poop (in all of the corners, cupboards, in the TOASTER!, oh man… some field mice went CRAZY!).  So, we ended up spending quite awhile cleaning everything up, setting out new poison (sorry mouse lovers), and binning up all the food so the mice wouldn’t have an alternate food source.   The cabin isn’t occupied very often, and they just got it in the winter, so they hadn’t had to worry about the possibility of field mice before.  I think everyone will be very careful with food now and it shouldn’t be a problem.  Krissi was doing most of the work because I’ll admit I was pretty freaked out about reaching in anywhere and having a mouse run over my hand or something.  After we had done all we could in the cleaning department, we did sit down for a game of Settlers although I can’t remember at all who won.   That night, I slept with a light on, and with my iPod playing because I figured the mice probably wouldn’t come out if they thought people were in there and awake.

The morning was much better.  We had some coffee and fruit out on the porch.  The weather was perfect.  Sunny but not too warm, perfect breeze… it reminded me of the scene at the end of Evan Almighty when the family is walking/hiking through that field and a breeze is blowing (random reference, I know).  The point is: it was very calm, and beautiful outside.

The "Cabin" :)

The "Cabin" 🙂

Later, we got dressed and hiked to the top of Pocahontas Hill, which I had always thought was a nickname Krissi gave it, but apparently is the actual name of the hill.  We thought we’d have cell reception at the top (although that was not our only reason for going), but alas we did not.   We did run into a couple of women hiking together, and at that point, for the first time since we arrived, my “worst case scenario” persona kicked in and I started getting freaked out about the possibility of a complete stranger coming into our cabin.   One of the women mentioned that at one point a few years ago, she and her husband had driven up the road to what is now Adam’s family’s cabin and looked around because it looked unoccupied.  So that was the first time it crossed my mind that someone else might actually come up to the house.   Let’s just say I won’t be staying alone at a cabin with no phone line or cell phone signals any time soon 😉

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The Top of Pocahontas Hill

After our hike we decided to head down to the town because we really did need to make a few phone calls and I wanted to try the coffee shop and check out some of the antique shops before they closed.  Last time she was in Colorado, Krissi got an adorable necklace at an antique shop for $3 and I was really hoping to find an adorable necklace of my own.. but no such luck.  While at the coffee shop I logged onto facebook and saw a recent update from Adam’s brother that their grandma was being moved into hospice,  and we all decided to get back to the cabin, repack our things, and drive through the night (about 16 hours?) to Houston so Adam and Krissi could be there for their family.

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Wow, I realize it is an awkward way to end a post, but that was the end of my experience in Colorado.  It was really beautiful, and I’d love to go again soon!

Coming soon…. posts about my time in Texas, plus some random airport notes, and then Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Tahoe updates!