Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Where the Buffalo Roam

So I’ve totally been putting of posting about our Colorado trip because there is so much to write about! I know that is a totally lame excuse. I should have typed that I’ve been unable to blog about it because I've been wasted every night for no apparent reason. But alas my humor chromosome went on an early spring break. Yeah I know…total a-hole move.

What was I typing about? Oh right…our Colorado adventure! First let me say that the flight out there was SO easy! When we fly, we rarely fly within the US, so this was great! The flight was only 2 hours, no connections, and no needing to pack extra underwear or toiletries in case my luggage got lost. I don’t think I’ve ever boarded a plain with just my purse and book. I could totally get used to traveling like that.

We arrived in Denver and headed to our friends home in Parker. (Jay and John used to be college roommates). The DIA (do I sound local or what?) is out in BFE so we had about a half hour drive. The first thing we noticed that was different than California were these ‘toll roads.’ We were slightly confused what to do as we saw a lot of cars zoom by the tolls not paying. I decided it would probably be best to pay the tolls and not risk getting thrown in the slammer with in the first 2 hours of being in the state.

We made it to Jayenna’s house and it was SO nice and HUGE! I couldn’t get over how in every housing division we saw the homes were GIGANTIC. Most of them probably ranged around 3,000 square feet. I couldn’t believe it. It’s like Colorado is sending out this subliminal message “come to Colorado…buy our beautiful CHEAP houses…have lots and lots of babies…” I mean why else would you need such a huge house? I guess you could fill it with gym equipment, or convert a couple of rooms to a HUGE closet…or a SHOE closet! Ahhh the dream.

One thing we learned very quickly that if you are to buy a home in Colorado, you must make SURE to buy a house on the north facing side. (Or was it South?) Anyway… if you buy a home on the wrong side of the street you could risk having snow in your front yard for a very looooooooooong time. Which also means many backbreaking days of shoveling it. It was really amazing to see the difference just across the street.

One of the biggest highlights of the day, (besides seeing our friends of course), was getting to meet Laina!! She was SO much cuter in person!! I mean I thought she was really cute in all the photos I had seen, but it did not compare at all to seeing her in the flesh! She was such a good baby too…hardly ever cried, and it seems like Jayenna can take her just about anywhere and there’s never any issues. Granted we were only with them for a few days, but you all know those old wives tales about the babies that cry, and cry, and cry right? Why are those tales so familiar? Oh right!! I was one of those babies! Sorry mom!

Here’s a cute photo of Laina eating some dinner:

An even cuter video:

One of my goals while visiting the ‘Centennial State’ was to get a good pair of snowshoes. After our visit to Yosemite last month I realized the hard way that tennis shoes are not really ‘all weather.’ I knew I’d be able to find a better deal in CO than CA, and I did! In fact John and I both did! We told Jayenna of my want, (not need of course), and they took us down to the Castle Rock Outlets. The town looked really neat, and the shops were pretty sweet too. We actually each found a pair of boots for around $30 a piece! Here is a sweet photo of them…don’t they look good in the snow?

We woke up the next morning to snow on the ground! In fact it was still snowing. It was SO pretty, and I was SO excited to test out my new boots! Let me just say that my ‘want’ totally became a necessity!!

Our plan for the day was to drive up to Boulder and check it out. On our way there, we had to drive through Denver, which seemed pretty neat. Although our highlight was seeing Mile High Stadium…and we aren’t even Bronco fans! It looked so modern and slick. It actually made me realize how old Candlestick really is. So sad.

It took a little under an hour to be to Boulder, and when we got there our first stop was to visit with a Realtor that our local Realtor hooked us up with. Since we didn’t know much about the town and knew no one there she was a GREAT source of information. One thing she told us was that boulder is known for its ‘Flatiron’ mountains. There is a hiking trail right below them so we drove over there and took a mini hike up part of the mountain. Here are the flatirons:

One neat thing about being in a new state is seeing all the different shops and restaurants. We came across the Einstein Brothers bagel shop, (near the college), that first morning and decided to try it out. It was definitely Noah’s quality, which was very exiting. We even had to venture there the following day as well.

After our quick snack we gave ourselves a self guided tour of some of the neighborhoods. The Realtor actually told us all the info, so we just went and saw it for our own eyes. The southern Boulder neighborhoods are homes built in the 60s that are slowly getting remodeled (interiors). Our Realtor talked very highly of this area because that is where she lives. I decided to take a video of the area to remember how the houses looked. Little did I know that we would SEE OUR REALTOR IN FRONT OF HER HOUSE! See for yourself:

I totally panicked after filming that…I mean could you imagine her turning around and seeing us drive by with the camera hanging out the window?? We laughed so hard after that, but then laughed even harder after hearing ourselves on the video.

After that we ventured north. On our way I spotted a buck casually walking down the sidewalk! I totally panicked! Well at first I thought it was fake, but then realized it was real! I bet he was even a 3 pointer. Lucky for him it seems like the residents of Boulder are pretty friendly. If that buck had been in Fortuna, it would be already mounted on a wall by now.

The homes in Northern Boulder are all new, and very industrial looking. I actually thought most of them looked like commercial buildings, but almost all of them were occupied. Very interesting. Nice solar pannels though.

Since most of the area is being developed we happened across a huge lot with a bunch of prairie dogs! They were so cute that I had to get a video:

After the tour we headed downtown to the Pearl Street Mall. This actually reminded me of the promenade in Santa Monica, but the entire thing isn’t closed to traffic. I think it should be though. They had some really cute shops and restaurants, and even an ice skating rink! Here are a few photos:

We stopped for lunch at The Med, (a recommendation from Frommers), and the food was SO good! John got some paella, which was the best we had had since I got some from a street vendor in Germany, and I got a pizza. The pizza reminded me of total European pizza. It was so good. I now so many of you would love it too.

That night we decided to see a movie which was located at the 29th street mall. I guess it’s a pretty new shopping area, which was really nice. They had these gigantic outdoor stores like North Face. So different than California. We went and saw In Bruges which we both really enjoyed. It was a pretty bizarre movie, but it was great seeing the town. (Bruges was one of our favorite towns we visited while in Brussels).

The only shocker of the night was that the movie ticket cost $9.75! Geesh! I know that it’s more expensive in LA, but the prices are getting ridiculous.

The next day we decided to head into the mountains to check out a small town called Nederland. The town was just a really small ski town = nothing to do. So I think we drove through it in 30 seconds and then drove out of it in another 30 seconds. What seemed like a waste of time really wasn't because the drive out there was so beautiful. I had never seen anything like the Rocky Mountains before. On the way back we saw a sign for ‘Boulder Falls,’ so we pulled over. It was a real short walk to the falls, however the steps down were totally iced over! We attempted to walk down but it was so slick I just knew it was an injury waiting to happen. So as we made it back up the 4 steps we walked down a family was about to try it. John caught this total spy cam video of them.

Photo of John and the mountains:

When we got back into town we decided to check out the local college, University of Colorado. We first checked out the football stadium, which was HUGE! Well WAY bigger than Cal Poly’s. Most of the buildings were really pretty and made out of stone. It reminded me of UCLA, or of an East Coast college. Totally different than CP where every building is completely different from one another. Here is a photo of a few buildings...the stadium is on the left.

Our plan was to head back to Parker that day, but on the way stop in Louisville, which is about 10 minutes east of Boulder. Our Realtor told us that was a nice town with cheaper housing. (Housing in Boulder is pretty similar to prices here in SLO). But before we hit the road we decided to see another movie. Little did we know that There Will Be Blood is REALLY long, and by the time it was over it was dark outside! We decided to still make the trip and find a place to eat dinner there. We found the main street pretty easy, but it looked totally dead!!! It actually reminded us of Ferndale, but it was pretty eerie how no one was really out.

I did not think we were going to find a place to eat when I spotted the Melting Pot!! I screamed so lout I think I gave John a heart attack. We had actually never been to a Melting Pot, but we love La Fondue, which is in the bay area.

So we head into the pot and the lady tells us that they are totally booked! WHAT? How can that be when the town looked like a ghost town? I guess everyone had a hunkering for fondue? However it was our lucky day because she did have a cancellation and was able to get us in! We were SO excited!! It was great to have different cheese, meat, and chocolate options to choose from then the La Fondue menu. I was even able to customize my chocolate, so I had them add caramel and marshmallow to it. Let me tell you it was SO! Good!! Doesn’t it look good?

As some of you know, eating at a fondue restaurant takes a long time. So long in fact that we didn’t get back to Parker until 10pm! I felt so bad, but we were lucky that Jayenna was still up.

On our last day in Colorado, we ventured into Denver. We first stopped off in Washington Park and had a real nice walk. The weather was SO nice that day! I think it was in the 70s…a HUGE change from the 30s and 40s! We were totally dying.

Overall we didn’t really mind the weather. Only one night I felt like it was a little too cold for me, but it didn’t really seem to phase John that much either. One day in Boulder, when it was 40, he had his window down and was wearing a t-shirt! Crazy I know.

Sorry for that tangent...after the park we headed to the 16th street mall. It was a really neat area with shops and restaurants kind of in the middle of the business district. I’m not sure if it was, but there were a lot of business peeps around. They even have a free shuttle that just drives up and down 16th street.

We met the Hoskinson’s for lunch at Wahoos. Have you all been to one of these? Well it was a whole new experience for John and I. I guess they are mostly in Southern California and are just making there way north. There is a new one in Santa Barbara and a few in the bay area. Anyway it was really tasty, and totally packed!

After we said our good byes (sniff…sniff), we headed back to 16th street and decided to walk up to the Denver Museum of Modern art. We were also in pursuit of finding an Internet café, because I misplaced the printout of what time our flight departed. Smart right? Well we thought it would be no prob. I mean how hard can it be to find an Internet cafe? Well have any of you recently tried to find an Internet café?? Or have you noticed that they are completely NON-EXISTENT? What the crap? We asked a few people where we could find one, and they kept trying to direct us to cafes that had wi fi. Ummmm not really that helpful peeps! The tourist information booth lady told us to try the public library. We lucked out because it was near the museum. So we head in there and it is PACKED. I did not want to wait 20 minutes to use their computer, so we said screw it and headed to the museum.

We didn’t have much time to spend at the museum, but made the best with what we did have. I always enjoy going to museums and they had some really neat pieces. Although this was the first time where I had seen really old pieces mixed with pieces from the 90s! No joke! They had this whole American Indian section with these really old headdresses, todompoles, canoes, etc. Then in the middle of it there would be a bowl from 1994! Like I really care to see something that new? Give me a break! What is worse is that it actually looked really old, so I think they were just trying to fake us out! The nerve!

I thought our flight took off at 5:45pm, but when we arrived to the airport we found out it took off at 5:15pm. Not too bad! At least we saved 30 mins of waiting in the airport.

Overall we really enjoyed Colorado. It has increased our desire to take a road trip as well. We’ve talked bout driving to Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and Moab some day. It’s just neat to explore a new area that you’ve never visited. However…I am seriously going to consider buying a laptop before our next trip. I really felt dependent on needing a computer, and could not believe we couldn’t find an Internet café. I know I’m totally hooked/addicted/dependent to my computer, but normally I don't have to worry if I can find an Internet cafe. Looks like times are a changin' and my pocketbook is not happy.

As I was saying…we really liked Colorado. It’s a whole different way of life due to the climate, which was really interesting. Everyone has nice winter coats and probably 90% of the people we saw in Boulder were wearing some article of North Face clothing. Although I did see one crazy lady in Capri’s and flip flops. I also saw a dude in shorts, but John says he was headed to the gym. I don’t believe him even though he was headed straight for the door marked GYM.

Custard anyone?


Sarah said...

I should have known you guys would get matching shoes.

Big D said...

Very interesting commentary. You should look into being a travel guide in your spare time. I'll bet that University of Colorado doesn't have the pre-game barbeque and free beer like SLO does.

jay said...

I'm impressed by your commitment to the term "Jayenna". Even to the point of saying "Jayenna was still up".

We're glad Ambeegs enjoyed visiting our new state... I know exactly what you mean by the museum, I was fooled by a couple of 'em too until looking at the dates... its a little sneaky.

Not everyone has a really nice winter coat. Hopefully one day I'll own one. Maybe North Face, since its the official apparel of Colorado.

Rachel said...

Houses are huge out here. If you think about it, the weather can hold you hostage for a good part of the year so it is nice to have a house you can spread out in. We still haven't done a lot of things you guys did, hopefully we can explore our State a little more as the weather improves.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you guys had a great time! I forgot how beautiful Western CO can be in the winter. I'm glad you had a good time!

Brianna Heldt said...

Great post and fun pics! (And TOTALLY hilarious about the realtor, how awkward, heehee!)

I just watched some video Kevin took of Denver on his trip, neighborhoods and stuff, and he and I were seriously rolling on the floor laughing at his "commentary"...why is it always so funny after the fact???

Judy S said...

Sounds like a fun trip! That was the fattest
prairie dog I ever saw!

Your snow shoes looked like regular shoes. I
thought snow shoes were those things like
tennis rackets that you strap onto your boots--
you know, like the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police when they are tracking bad guys in the
Yukon. So how are your snowshoes different
from regular shoes?