Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 9, 2016 - Morrison & Thornton, CO

We spent the morning catching up with Carmel before we headed out to Thornton, CO.  We informed her that we were going to be away most of the time until Sunday night.  

The day was very lovely.  There were many blooms on trees.

We met Keri, Dustin and their kids at The Castle (Hilton). Their three oldest girls, Sasha, Nikkol and Zella, are particiapating in Little Miss Colorado pageant tomorrow.  Their youngest son, Hunter, is participating in Boys category and has two routines.

The Castle
Keri needed one more head foam for one of the girls’ wiglets, so we went to JoAnn Fabric store nearby. They had plenty on hand and we got one.  While there we grabbed quick lunch at Atlanta Bread.  Jacksonville, FL used to have Atlanta Bread and we would eat there sometimes when we lived there, but all were closed up few years ago.  

Back to the Castle we spent time with the family and Edith offered her helping hand in whatever Keri needed for the girls' stuff.  

The girls practiced their routines, were fitted with outfits to be sure all are in good condition.
Kalista Hope (14 months old)
Keri fitting Hunter's outfit for one of his routines
We, along with our family, had supper at Panda Express after we found out the waiting time to get a table at Olive Garden was 2 and half hours.  It turned out there was a prom event going on in the town, so many tables were reserved.

Back to the hotel Sasha, Nikkol and Zella went through their routines again.  Keri had a hair/makeup lady fix the wiglets for the girls' hair.  

There was a lot of things going on to be sure that everything is in order before tomorrow's big event.  We and Keri waited in the line for registration and it was 45 minutes before Keri was called in.  The numbers were given for each participant to be worn on the stage tomorrow. 

Hunter's first routine is at 8:30 am tomorrow morning.  It is going to be hard for young kids to be up so early and ready to perform, but we shall see.

Back to Morrison, CO to spend the night.  We needed to leave around 6:30 am tomorrow morning.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

April 8, 2016 - Colorado Springs to Morrison, CO

We could have stayed a couple days more here, but we needed to be in Denver metro area by April 9th to meet Keri and her family.

As agreed, we met Alan at Gardens of Gods Gourmet for breakfast. It was wonderful to see him again. He looked so great.  We spent over 2 hours catching up on news and our lives.  His daughter and grandson live not too far from the restaurant.  Alan is visiting with them for few days. 

Edith & Alan
Our breakfasts were great and we enjoyed every bite of it. If you are visiting or living in Colorado Springs be sure to look up Gardens of God Gourmet restaurant.  We gave it 5 stars! 

After bidding Alan so long we returned back to the campground. It did not take very long to get our Lil' Home ready for the road trip. 

Erwin wanted to take I-25 N because it was much faster to get out of Colorado Springs than using the backroads.  Then near Monument, CO we took the exit to get on CO 105 because there was a traffic jam on I 25 northbound. Even though the lane was rather narrow on 105 for a big rig like ours the view was unbeatable.  Not much traffic! Oh, what a beautiful countryside!

The road connected to N. State Highway 67, then turned left to N US Highway 85.  Then it was merged onto CO-40 West, which lead us to Morrison, CO.  This is where Erwin’s great niece, Carmel and her family live in.  

It was good to see Carmel again after a year and half when she, her husband Patrick and three kids came to visit FL during Thanksgiving 2014. Carmel told us that we could leave our LH by the side of her property for few days.  

Carmel was responsible for a fundraising event at Skate City this evening and asked us to follow them to Rocky Mountain Deaf School (RMDS), so she can pick up forms.  Carmel’s two kids go to school there. From there we continued until we arrived Skate City where there was an event for deaf kids and adults to skate for two hours. 

We did not rent skates, decided to just sit back and watch the skaters.  Carmel’s youngest son, Hudson, did not want to skate with his daddy, Patrick and wanted to wait for Carmel. She was busy getting the event started.  Carmel’s middle child, Jathan, was very good at skating with inline rollers.  The oldest child, Rhiannon, was out of town with her schoolmates for an event at Rochester Institue for the Deaf in Rochester, NY.

Patrick and Hudson
Erwin watching the action
Hudson was waiting for his momma
to come skate with him
While waiting for his momma Hudson
allowed great great Uncle Erwin to hold his hand while skating

Finally! Here comes Hudson's momma, Carmel,
to skate with him for a while

Here comes Momma to rescue Hudson after his fall
Now he is a happy skater!

Everyone had a good time.  We met some new faces.  

The sunset was lovely.  Nice view of the mountains on our way to Thornton, CO to meet Keri and her family at a motel.  It was lovely to see our adopted family again.  So good to see our 6 "grandchildren". 

It was getting so late and all of us were hungry and Dustin, Keri's husband, wanted to eat a 7 lb burrito at Jack-n-Grill in Westminster, CO, so we went there.  Dustin did not finish his meal, let Connor eat some.  It ended up in a to go box.  

NFL Champions
That's A LOT of freshly made tortillas!

Dustin and Kalista and his 7 lb burrito
Here is a 7 pound burrito!
If you finish it,  it is FREE! ($24.99)
After discussing with Keri for tomorrow's plan we left to go back to Morrison, CO to spend the night.  The traffic was not too bad, but it took more than 40 minutes from Thornton to Morrison.

April 7, 2016 - Colorado Springs, CO

America the Beautiful
After arising we discussed and decided to stay in Colorado Springs one more day because there are a couple places we wanted to visit today.

We checked with the campground office to see if we can stay at site #30. No, it is not possible because it had been reserved for one week starting today.  They assigned us to site #6, right across from #30, so it was an easy and quick move.  

We went over to Anna and Brian’s house for breakfast. Brian prepared french toast with blackberry topping and fresh bananas.  After discussing plans with Anna we decided we were going to drive up to Pikes Peak Summit this morning while Anna and Brian had things to do.  

We  did not know if we were going to be able to drive all the way to the top of Pikes Peak because of the snow, but when we got to the entrance gate there was an electronic sign that said “Open To The Top”.  We could hardly contain our excitement. After paying $18 ($20 minus $2 discount coupon that Anna printed online) we started the journey to the Summit.

There were several good pullouts allowing visitors to get out of the vehicle, taking pictures of the scenery and enjoying the view, as well. At Mile Marker 13 we checked out the gift shop, bought snacks, checked out the gift shop.  

Looking way off yonder!

Still have ice on lake!

Tattoed Tree
(Reminder: please don't tattoo any tree)
Gift Shop (it was closed)
We posed with Bigfoot!

Still climbing!
2nd Gift Shop at Mile Marker #13 (it was open)

Is Erwin trying to tell Edith she got FAT ASS?
Hey, DON'T eat the yellow snow!

You do get out of breath at the top, especially if you lived at sea level for a few years! 

There was a sign letting visitors know that we made it to the Summit at 14,115 feet.  The temperature was 32˚, but the wind was not blowing, so it was bearable to walk around without wearing heavy winter attire. 

Our GPS needs elevation calibration!

Yes, You all should be here!

At the observation deck there is a plaque of ‘America the Beautiful’ poem written by Katherine Lee Bates (1859-1929).  She was inspired to draft the poem when she and other teachers went on a trip to the Summit in 1893. At that time she was a teacher at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.

The view all around was so breathtaking especially with the snow present.  Edith remembered visiting an interpretive center or some kind of museum on the Summit in 1973, but there is none.  There was a gift shop and cafe.  Visitors were streaming inside for cup of hot chocolate, coffee, donuts and fudge after they got off the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.  After having a quick lunch and photo opps we left the Summit to go visit Manitou Springs, CO.

Checking time!

Getting ready to go down from the Summit

We are in love with Pikes Peak and each other!

Santa Claus' North Pole was closed and is not due to open until mid-May.

The parking meters are almost everywhere within the town.  After feeding quarters to the hungry machine that will keep it fed for an hour and half we started strolling up and down the street. At one point we bumped into a deaf couple, Danny and Sue, from Woodland Park.  They knew some of Erwin’s deaf relatives who live in Colorado Springs or went to Colorado Deaf School.  

Jackie texted Edith to let her know that her husband, Alan, was flying into Colorado Spring today and was staying until Tuesday. Alan and Edith worked for Food and Nutrition Service for over 20 years.  The last time they saw each other was in 2002 when Edith retired from the service.   

Anna and Brian had an appointment at 7 pm, but suggested that we come back for breakfast tomorrow morning.  Edith checked the restaurant list on TripAdvisor and found Rudy’s that was not too far from the campground.  

Rudy’s was packed, but we were able to find a table.  Erwin got pork loin and Edith had moist brisket after we had samples of both.  We got sides to go with our meals.  Delicious!!! 

Moist Brisket
Pork Loin
After getting back to the campground Edith texted Alan to see if it was possible for us to meet tomorrow before we leave Colorado Springs for Salida.  Alan suggested to meet at Gardens of Gods Gourmet at 8:30 am.  We checked the map to see where it was. Guess what?! It was right across the street from the campground!  Perfect!

We went to Gardens of God for sunset viewing. There were several mule deer grazing in the field.  The sunset was not spectacular, but still pretty.  Edith saw two climbers on top of one of the rocks.

It was a great day for us. We had fun and the weather cooperated greatly.  We cannot ask for a better day than this.