Night number two has descended upon us in Colorado Springs. It's been fun, the kids have done great. After a hours of travelling through a flat, dry and ascending Kansas farmland, we finally crossed into beautiful Colorado. There was something magical about crossing the stateline; the sky changed, the landscape changed, and the speed limit changed!
Did I mention missing an exit? Tara and I were busy working on her laptop and listening to my iPod, and we - the lead car, were the only ones to miss our exit off of I70 onto SR24 to Colorado Springs. So we doubled back for a break at McD's. Everybody got a milkshake. I greedily sucked down my strawberry one, and yearned for another one. So I was delighted when Levi and Isaac only finished off half of their chocolate ones. But then after downing theirs, I wasn't feeling so guilty anymore...but I couldn'te help myself, and after we arrived at our hotel, I found Emma's chocolate shake and finished it off...uggh. Stupid milkshakes.
Anyway, SR24 into Colorado Springs was stunning, big rolling hills leading us right towards the towering Rockies. It was hard driving so fast up and down the hills while trying to take in on all the panorama. Tara got some neat pics.
After getting settled in, we went for a quick dip in the pool to wake up and play for a bit; then off to the Flying W Ranch.
We should've gotten there an hour earlier, for there was much to see - old cabins, schoolhouses, shops, horse barns, all sorts of neat stuff from the old West. We had just enough time to pick up some souveniers and then off to a tasty meal with potent beans and a hand-clapping good concert of old style country gospel under the open mountain sky.
It was a late, late night for the kids getting to bed, but then we didn't have to travel the next day, so sleeping in was at the top of the to-do list.
This morning Tara and the kids, along with Mum and Dad, S&F went to the HQ of Focus on the Family while I stayed behind to read my James Michener novel, Centennial. It was a beautiful morning, the Rockies in the background, a fresh breeze. After frolicing at Focus on the Family, the family swung by and picked me up for lunch at McD's and their playground. And surprise of surprises, there was a Starbucks right next door!!!!! So after another milkshake (one of the green swamp ones) and another round of playing we packed the kids up and headed off to Manitou Springs (after, of course, Tara rounded up some tasty Starbucks coffee for me and an orange creme drink for everyone else). Sadly, on the way, Emma threw up her drink - we pulled off the highway, Tara got her cleaned up, and then we got back on the road (she took a little snooze and then felt a bit better). This is Emma with a new t-shirt and a beautiful smile, snuggled into Eli's carseat...what a silly girl!
We took a nostalgic drive through historic Manitou Springs - I attended a camp there in the summers following my tenth and twelfth grade year.
The first trip there was a great family vacation - all six of us, along with my best friend Donnie Gentry - and took the long route to Colorado. So it was fun to see the the camp hotel again, drive the winding, steep streets. Then we headed off to Garden of the Gods - we had to get a new t-shirt for Emma, as well as see some gorgeous rocks. We met up with Jerm, Maria, Eva and Lydia - they were getting ready to head to Denver for a ballgame. We said goodbye to them, and then we headed off to a nice walking area with double strollers, camera and a fresh breeze to our back.
After another romp in the pool - this time with floaty tubes and little Eli joining the fray - we ordered room service following baths. While the kids wound down, Tara and I cleaned up the van; then tucked the kids into bed - and now we relax.