Wednesday, February 4, 2009

First Trip of the New Year - Denver!

January 16, 2009 – January 21, 2009

I’m a bit late in writing about our latest adventure. No excuses, just lazy I suppose. Last month Robert and I packed up the Honda Element and took off for Denver, Colorado again. This time it was to meet the newest addition to the family, Jerry Owen Vann, but let me start from day one….

Day 1 – Hit the road about 11pm Friday night. We decided to take a different route through new territory. It added quite a bit of extra time to our trip, but it was nice to see some new scenery. Headed east on I-8 into Arizona. Made good time and cruised through Tucson about 7am and watched the sun rise over the Dragon Mountains. Our first day goal was to reach Las Vegas, NM. As in typical fashion we left I-10 and headed north at Lordsburg on the less traveled Hwy 90, through the picturesque Gila National Forest. We saw quite a few deer, a roadrunner, a huge hawk, and a wild pig! At Silver City we headed east, traveling on Hwy 152, through Kingston, to I-25. Stopped for fuel in Truth or Consequences, drove straight through Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and arrived in Las Vegas about 2:30pm, Saturday afternoon. We stayed the night at the beautiful Historic Plaza Hotel, which they say is haunted.

Day 1 Driving Time: 16 hours, 58 minutes
Day 1 Traveling Distance: 950.2 miles

Day 2 – Neither of us could sleep very well, since we were still trying to adjust from night shift to being awake during the day. It didn’t help we fell asleep at 6pm! We awoke rather early, around 2 am, and lay in bed watching TV while the rest of the world slept. The Historic Plaza Hotel was built in 1882. In 1899, Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders held their first reunion at the hotel. Other guests included Doc Holliday and Big Nose Kate, and Tom Mix. And of course the ghost, Byron T. Mills still resides in Room 310. Not really sure why he still hangs out at the hotel, but guests, especially women, staying in Room 310 have reported his presence and he wasn’t very nice. Since we couldn’t sleep we decided to go ghost hunting. We were just down the hall in 303….There is no quite way to creep through the halls of a historic hotel. With every step the wooden floor creaked loudly. I think Room 310 was occupied (by a human). We didn’t want to freak out the guest, so we snapped a few pics of the door and the hallway and then scurried back to our room, giggling all the way. After a nice breakfast at the hotel’s Landmark Grill (we had dinner there too – yummy), we hit the road about 8:15am. New Mexico was really beautiful, but we still had a long drive ahead of us and didn’t dally. We hit some traffic as we neared Pueblo, Colorado and as much as we wanted to stray from the main freeway, we stayed on I-25 all the way to Denver. We stopped for a quick lunch at Sonic in Colorado Springs about noon, picked up a baby gift at Super Wal-Mart and then headed to Carrie and Jeremy’s house to see the baby. Robert’s mom, Lois, had been staying with Carrie for a few weeks to help with her newest grandson, so it was nice to see her too. Robert’s Aunt Carol and Uncle Todd were kind enough to let us stay at their house for a few days, which meant I got to see Maynard again!

Day 3 – After a quick breakfast at the Waffle House, where Robert “borrowed” a Waffle House coffee cup, we headed over to Carrie’s house. It was another wonderful day visiting with family. Little Owen is the cutest baby I have ever seen. He looks just like his older brother, Jacob. Thanks to Jeremy we got hooked on Guitar Hero while we were there! We stopped at Target on the way back to Carol and Todd’s house that night to get them a ‘thank-you’ gift and I ended up buying Guitar Hero for Robert for his birthday. When we arrived at Todd and Carol’s, Todd and his son, Brad were playing Guitar Hero. We stayed up until midnight playing. Another great day spent with family.

Day 4 – Today we decided to go to the Denver Zoo. We’ve been before, but I absolutely love it. It must have been kids-free day, because there were little children EVERYWHERE! It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I found the parents more irritating than the kids. We were having a great trip, a great day, but one stupid person just pissed me off. We were leaving and I had my car door open. A family – mommy, daddy, and three screaming toddlers – had parked next to us. The daddy thought my car door was touching his car and got upset and made a comment to me. And if you know me, if someone confronts me I’m not one to turn a cheek. I will say something in return and this time was no different. After I got in our car and shut the door, the dumb mommy runs over and literally puts her face against her car to look for a scratch. Of course there were no scratches since my door hadn’t touched their car. Her behavior was absolutely hilarious. As we pulled away, they gave us the mad stink eye. Robert waved. She waved. I gave her the California salute. They were just one more reason why I dislike people, but Robert explained that they were angry because it was obvious their lives hadn’t turned out liked they had hoped. It made sense and I felt a bit better. After the zoo we had lunch at Annie’s Diner (both service and food sucked) and then went to see baby Owen one last time. We planned on leaving early the next morning.

Day 5 – 3am wake up call and on the road at 4am. Breakfast consisted of Zingers, OJ, and coffee from 7-11. We left Denver via I-70, a route we’ve traveled before. We hit lots of snow, but the freeway was clear. We stopped in Grand Junction about 8:40am and had a quick breakfast at Sonic – gross – I will never eat there again! Crossed into beautiful Utah about 9:30am; still lots of snow on the ground. The country is so wide open and empty. I love Utah. Rest of the trip was rather uneventful. Drove straight through to Las Vegas, Nevada; stopped for gas and food at a truck stop. I fell asleep and when I awoke, we were home. Time check: 9:20pm.

Total Trip Distance: 2,596.8 miles
Total Trip Driving Time: 50 hours, 42 minutes