Summer Vacation 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

In the Aspen Gondolas...I was totally scared at first...it
goes up over 2,500 feet...yikes!  But breathtaking views...
Chloe's working on her Ipad Movie....

After our nature tour of Ajax Mountain, Chloe was looking
for a bear or porcupine....

This little fella was adorable, Chloe loved watching him...

After lunch at the Sun Deck on Aspen Mountain,
Chloe wanted to bungee jump....she said it was
scary but she had a good time!

After the gondola ride up the mountain,
Chloe noticed this sign, it looks very much
like our Whit

Chloe and I at the overlook at Ajax Mountain
Here's Jackie and Chloe just a couple miles
from Aspen, the Rio Grande was getting busy
later in the day and very few people were going
up like us from Glenwood Springs, most everyone
was heading down with the river! :)

A view from the gondola ride up Aspen (Ajax) Mountain
(I have no idea why blogger is uploading these pictures like this...)
Frisco, Colorado...a neat small town, elevation 9,000 ft plus
Afternoon thunderstorms were a daily occurrence last week

The first hill just outside of Glenwood Springs, Co

This lady was pulling that dog, the dog had goggles on even
though he was inside a zipped up human baby carrier.  This
was quite a sight...we were breaking at the picnic table across
from the road outside of Basalt, CO

We crashed the Spidell's 13th anniversary so we took them
out to eat at Florindo's in Glenwood Springs, it was
delicious and we had a fun time celebrating!

You knew I had to take a photo of Jackie
and his pannier bags...he hauled our bags for
the 3 day trip by bike

Taking lots of breaks was key for Chloe, here we are just
outside of Glenwood Springs

A lot of the Rio Grande Trail is right on the Roaring Fork River

The first day of the trip we all went down the Colorado
River....Sol was our guide in the back.  He gave us lots
 of history of the area and had tons of recommendations
to go out to eat in Glenwood Springs

Chloe's down front and took many a "hit" from the river...we
had a ton of laughs and were very appreciative of Sol having
a sweatshirt in the back that she could dry off with and cover up
during the shady parts of the trip
Sunday, July 29, 2012

I came up with the idea to ride bikes in Colorado after Chloe asked her dad if she could float the Colorado River this summer.  Chloe watches a ton of National Geographic Channel and PBS that take viewers all over the country and world hiking, floating and seeing how animals survive in the wild.  So Jackie planned our 10 day vacation even though we only made it 8 days because Chloe was ready to get back and see her dogs Biscuit and Gumball!

Here's a run down of our trip, I'll blog about the restaurants and places you need to see later this week.  We left Birdeye last Sunday and spent the night in Oklahoma City with mom to take 6 hours off the 18 hour trip. We left Monday, July 23, at 6 am for the 12 hour trip to Glennwood Springs, Colorado.  Martin's college roommate from Oklahoma State lives there and I asked he and Michelle if we could stay with them a day or two and leave our car there so we could ride our bikes down the Rio Grande Trail to Aspen, Colorado and they graciously said yes. Matt and Michelle are super sweet and have a wonderful house that has two rentals on the property that are constantly booked.

On our agenda while in Glenwood, which boasts a wonderful canyon on either side of I-70 on the outskirts of Denver to Glenwood Springs, was to float down the river.  We shared a raft with Matt and Michelle from Whitewater Rafting.  Our guide was Sol, a native, who was a ton of fun to be with and gave us an extra wet ride!

On the last day of our trip, we went swimming in the hot springs pool in Glenwood Springs.  Matt said the pool is naturally filled 7 times a day from the springs, then it empties back into the Colorado River.  It was a warm, salty pool that was totally packed.  They also had lanes for lap swimmers.  I took advantage of the lanes for about 20 minutes still practicing my total immersion swimming technique.  (I've been taking lessons this summer to help me with the Mighty Mite swim leg of the triathlon and it really paid off.)

In between our time in Glenwood Springs, we rode our bikes 48 miles one way to Aspen, staying over in Basalt, Co.  The first day we rode 27 miles and stopping half way between Glenwood and Basalt in Carbondale at a bike shop to get Chloe some padded shorts and a better fitting helmet.  The shorts made a big difference to Chloe and I had my own pair on that helped out but we both were still worn plum out by the time we got to Basalt.  Jackie had no trouble at all on his fitted Specialized Cross Tour bike with 2 panniers weighing around 20 lbs. each.  So a note to self here, when you get a bike, get one from a bike shop that's fitted for your body.  I had David Reagler's Pro Flex updated and fitted to me but I still had the burn mainly because the bike is a mans bike after all.  I did have a ladies seat put on her but it still gave me a good challenge on the trip.

The second day we only rode about 19 miles from Basalt to Aspen.  We started earlier in the day and  enjoyed the cooler weather and lunch at the famous Woody Creek Tavern.  We had a wonderful hotel in Aspen called the Annabelle Inn.  It was cozy and clean and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.  It's just blocks from downtown Aspen and we chained up our bikes there while we spent two days in Aspen.

In Aspen, we rode the Gondolas up the Aspen Mountain, or Ajax Mountain to have lunch and go on a nature hike.  We also got to see their famous farmer's market and the Aspen Arts Festival.  We rode the bus back to Glenwood Springs under the request of Chloe, who said she didn't want to ride her bike for a while...I wonder why?  I did have to wrecks on David's bike and I'm blessed with 2 large blackberries on both sides of my back side as well as an elbow scrape and sore arms.

So that's about it on our 7 day trip that took us a day and a half to get there and back.  We had fun, got to really see Colorado from a bicycle, and there were dogs and bikes everywhere, I mean everywhere, and enjoyed the company of Matt and Michelle.  It was a great trip!

Here's our trivia that we enjoyed talking about last night while rehashing our trip with Matt and Michelle:

Elevation of Glenwood Springs: 5,761 ft. (I had the most trouble in Frisco when we got to Colorado at  9,075 where we had dinner on the way to Matt and Michelle's but we drank a ton of water and went to bed early so the rest of the trip was a-okay)
Elevation of Basalt (after riding 27 miles uphill): 6,611
Elevation of Aspen (18 miles later): 7,890
Elevation of Aspen Mountain (where we hiked): 11,211
Elevation of Birdeye, Ark (home): 249 ft.

Number of wrecks I had clipped in: 2 (with two large blackberries to prove it and a skinned elbow)

Number of wrecks for Chloe and Jackie: none but Chloe had a few close calls with a pole and Jackie's bike

Number of bloody noses: Jackie none, Chloe none, me 2 big ones

Number of days Jackie wore the same shorts and socks: 7 (and that's without washing them just in case you didn't know this)

Aspen Farmer's Market had two Alpacas that
I couldn't get Chloe away from...how is she going
to take care of an animal like this when I end up
doing all the foster dogs and Jackie does the
chickens???  Those two are talking under the table
about getting an animal like this but hands down
it's the worst decision and would only be cruel
to put an animal like this in 108 degree summers
in Birdeye....I'll stop there but my list is long of cons
Favorite restaurants on the trip: Chloe, White House Pizza in Carbondale, Co; Jackie, Woody Creek Tavern in Aspen, Co, me, Juicy Lucy's Steakhouse in Glenwood Springs, Co

Chances of Chloe having (and even taking care of) an Alpaca: ZERO

Number of desserts Chloe had during the trip of 11 meals: 6 desserts that she is very proud of...

Number of Redbox rentals and states:  11 in 4 states:
Wynne, Ark.;2 rentals returned in
Edmond, Ok.; 3 rentals returned in
Hays, KS; 2 rentals returned in
Frisco, CO; 4 rentals and returned in
Edmond, OK
(Thank God for portable DVD players!)

Many thanks Matt and Michelle for being such wonderful hosts in your fabulous town!  And go Jimmy John's that they are opening this fall, I cannot wait, I love some Jimmy John's! :)

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