Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Disney Birthday Weekend

What a weekend! We left the house as usual for a Disney day on Saturday morning, with the addition of a little bit of luggage.

We decided that Saturday would be an Epcot day and Sunday would be the Magic Kingdom (called MK from now on!). We had a good drive over and got a parking spot right at the near end of a row---always a nice bonus.

We were happy to find that the Japanese candy lady was working on Saturday. We had only seen her once before, the Monday we flew back from Richmond. We were there waiting when she arrived at her stand, and even though many others quickly showed up, she asked us what we would like her to make, first off! We decided on a flamingo, and in short order we had a candy flamingo on a stick. Our flamingo is now sitting in the china cabinet in my vase.

We decided it would be a good day to try out the Japanese restaurant,so we went up to check on the availability of reservations. The gal said they were booked up for dinner, but we could stop by later as walk ins, or that they could seat us for lunch (it was almost 1.30). We decided to do lunch there, and it worked out great. They actually have two parts to the restaurant, the steak house, where they do the cooking in front of you, on the very hot surface, and the other part is a sushi restaurant. You probably know which we chose--hahah.

It was all very nice. We had 6 other people with us at the table, two of them teenage girls who appeared to be without parents---I found that interesting! They were very quiet, so it wasn't any problem. Just "different". Our chef was really good, and although Japanese, was from Jacksonville! Mike had steak and I had chicken, and it was all delicious.

We really had a nice visit at Epcot. We left about 2.40 or so to go get checked in at Shades of Green. The resort is really nice---very fancy and well done. We got checked in and went to see our room, which was really nice. After a short rest we headed back to Epcot. We took the SOG bus, and that worked out really well. It dropped us off at the MK transportation and ticket center, and it was just a short walk from there to catch the monorail to Epcot.

We had to deal with some rain in the late afternoon, but it wasn't a downpour, and didn't last too dreadfully long. We stayed at Epcot till closing time and finally got to see the fireworks and laser show there. It was really great!

I will post later about our day at MK on Sunday!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Rocky Mountain National Park

On Sunday we went ahead and made the trek northwest to the Rocky Mountain National Park. If I have to mention that again, I think I will put RMNP, just so you know--haha.

We headed out after breakfast, so we were on the way by 7.45. There was an interesting lack of traffic in parts of Boulder, then we came upon massive numbers of bicyclists. We also saw plenty of bikers, by the way--all kinds of wheeled things going on. The bicyclists seemed to have some kind of race going on. There were three places along the road where the police stopped car traffic to let bicyclists cross the road without having to stop. There were huge numbers of mad bicyclists. We saw them (not all from the race) all day.

The drive to the RMNP was really nice. As we neared Estes Park, we spotted an interesting looking water spot, with mountains lurking behind, all very scenic. We stopped and Mike took some photos. There were a number of people there fishing, we spotted some ducks, some little ground squirrels, and I saw a couple of fish. The one was near the ducks, just swam right by, and he was in such shallow water, his top fins were sticking out of the water. It was really strange!

We drove on, and right there in Estes Park (the town) I looked to the side, and spotted a number of elk, lying in the shade, in a golf course! I thought they were deer at first, it was only later that I realized they were much too big and figured they might be elk. Mike found a photo very much like what we saw (he looked online when we got back) and it said they were elk. So, we were right. It was really strange to see them just lying there, with all the car traffic and so many people around.

We had a great visit to RMNP. I am not sure I can adequately describe it. There were mountains. There were narrow roads, with occasional idiots coming from the other direction who were unable to stay in their own lane. No close calls, but it was slightly nerve-wracking. Most people were able to stay in their own lane, thank goodness, or we probably would have headed back sooner. The scenery was fabulous. It was cool! The weather forecast was predicting 100 degrees or there abouts for the lower areas, like Denver and Boulder, and it was in the 70's at RMNP. It really felt lovely. We were amazed at the number of Europeans we saw at the different parking spots. They have the Alps and they come here to see the Rockies. Interesting! We went high up! We went part of the way along the Trail Ridge Road, which is just about what it's name says. If not actually along the ridge, it is as close as it can be. There was no shoulder at all. The road was curvier than lower down. And, while at a large parking area--- where we got to see some tundra areas---lightning was seen and thunder was heard. We decided, after a couple flashes of lightning in the distance, that caution was the wiser course. We had seen a good bit, we were on a level with snowfields (and maybe some baby glaciers) just across from us on other mountains, we had seen enough. And we were getting hungry! We decided to head back down. We were really glad we did. There was an almost endless stream of cars headed up, as we headed down. It all would have just gotten more and more crowded. Also, we got down to the lower levels and found it had rained. We really would not have wanted to face rain on those higher roads.

We had thought we would stop in Estes Park. They have a nice little downtown area, with tons of little shops, including two quilt shops. However, we got into town and the rain had started, and it wasn't just a sprinkle. It was one of those soaking rains you love if the lawn needs it, and hate otherwise. And there were no parking spaces to be found. We gave it up and headed back to Boulder. It wasn't raining here!

Oh, but bicyclists. We saw them all the way along the roads we followed at RMNP. They weren't part of the race group, just some of the ones who seem to get their jollies riding bicycles up mountains, I guess? The last elevation marker we saw was 11,000 something feet. I don't remember what the numbers were that would replace the zeros I put in. We were high up, in any case.

It was a good day. We took it easy the rest of the day, although we did make a trip to the Pearl Street Mall for a final visit to the Cheesecake Factory. Yum. There was some kind of a craft sale going on, although we didn't take the time to stop and look at anything before dinner, and when we came out, they were all almost done closing down. I did see that there were a number of people selling thrown pottery, and paintings (some really awful modern stuff and some really lovely), and I think some wood work stuff too.

So, a good day, we got out and saw things and it was all good.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Busy Days

Well, we are into the weekend, and enjoyed some sight seeing today.

We made a trip up to a weather research place called NCAR. Not to actually go in, although Mike has been up there before. He was here years ago for a tdy to NCAR. We went up because there are some hiking trails, and for the view---it is pretty high up, gives a better view of the local mountains, and a good look out over the town. Also, there is a little museum in the lobby, although we found it is mostly aimed at kids, it seems?

Mike pulled into the parking lot and as he was pulling into a spot, we saw a deer walk past! It was not all that far away from us, just calmly walking along in the grass, towards the building!

They have a nice little weather trail, that is 0.4 miles long, and has occasional plaques with information about weather aspects of the area. It was really interesting. There were plenty of places for Mike to take photos, and we hope that a lot of them came out well. I found that I finally noticed the change in altitude. Walking along the trail was just enough effort (it rises significantly during the course of the trail) that I quickly found myself breathing harder and deeper, in the thinner air. Not uncomfortably so, but enough to notice---haha.

Later in the morning, we headed out to do the Celestial Seasonings tour. It was easy to find, and although the tour is free, they give you a ticket---a packet of tea! Each tour time has a different flavor, so they can control how many people go in each round of the tour. They weren't actually working there in the factory, as they generally just work 5 days a week during the summer, but at other times in the year they work 7 days a week, and they have 3 shifts all the time, it sounded like. The tour was really interesting. While waiting for one's tour time, they have brewed tea samples so you can try out a number of different teas.

We made our final trips to the spinning/weaving/knitting/basketry, etc, store. It is called Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins and it is a great shop. There is so much stuff in there, it is almost impossible to take it all in.

We haven't finalized our plans for tomorrow yet, but we will probably get an early start, whatever we decide. It was supposed to get up to 98 today, and I think it did, and it is supposed to hit 100 tomorrow. It sure hasn't felt all that hot--but hot enough!

We have had a good time here, but I will be glad to get home. It is always nice to get back to the familiar routines.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Well, we are here! We had a good trip, with all working out just fine. There was plenty of waiting time at the airport, of course, but we definitely prefer that to being in a rush.

There was some turbulence during the flight, but it wasn't too bad. The pilot put the seat belt sign on a few times in response to that. So, all was safe and no worries.

There was a long line of people waiting to get their rental cars, but it moved fairly quickly and we were in a car and on our way to Boulder before too long. Mike had printed out a map from online, so we had good directions. He remembered a lot of it from last year too, so it went pretty smoothly.

After getting settled in our room, he took me to check out the Pearl Street mall area---this is an outdoor mall type area---lots of walking and pedestrians, restaurants, some bookstores (we haven't been in any of them yet), and street entertainers. The majority of the entertainment yesterday were musicians, of widely varying abilities. There was a group of 2-3 people singing (not well), with one guitar, and a hope for a donation. There were larger groups who were much better! There was a man playing a didgeridoo, who had an assortment of hand/foot instruments that he played too, while puffing on the didgeridoo. There was a group of 4 (I think it was 4) people, three of them playing violins, the fourth playing a cello, who were playing something by Beethoven. They were really good, far and away the best of the musicians there.

On our way back to the car, we spotted a statue, sort of bronze looking, a woman in a long dress, holding something in the palm of her hand. I noticed a paint can type pail at the base of the statue, with some money showing. I took a closer look at her and told Mike it was a real person---and it was! About then, Mike noticed her blink, and then the breeze ruffled the skirt of her dress a little bit. Then a little boy came up and started to lift and look up her skirt! His parents quickly intercepted him, and she adjusted her pose---bent down a bit and waggled her pointer finger at him!

An interesting thing I noticed was that a lot of the restaurants seem to have adjustable glass fronts, and they had the window sections moved so that the restaurants were open in the front. I don't remember seeing anything like that in the States before.

We ate at the Cheesecake Factory, a first for me. It was really good! We brought back leftovers, so I definitely won't have to go find lunch today.

We were up at about 5.30 this morning (we finally gave up on getting any more sleep) and I have a feeling that might be our norm the whole time we are here.

Well, I guess this is enough for now. Take care!

Friday, July 04, 2008


I haven't been recognizing birthdays as much on here as I used to. I don't blog as much as I used to. Such is life, right?

But, this is a big birthday and I wanted to say hey to Anne. Anne's first birthday as an old married lady--lol.

Anne, we hope you had a good day, a great visit with your friends, and much happiness. Be sure to wring as much happiness out of each day as you can!

We love you!

Mom and Dad