Wow what a spectacular part of the world!
Our main reason for visiting was to see where our eldest daughter Kirsty had spent a very happy year of her life.
She was lucky enough to go on a Rotary School Exchange. We were excited to meet her friends & host families in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale.
We flew into Denver, Colorado’s capital and Mile High City, from New Orleans. This was the first section we hadn’t covered by road, because of the approaching tornadoes I mentioned in the previous post. Probably a good thing too, because it cut 24 hours off our travel time and possibly prevented the tornado from picking us up and dumping us elsewhere, as happened to a few storm-chasers, who ‘died doing what they loved!’ Not my choice of how to end my life.
The Rocky Mountains, we both agreed, would be right up there with any scenery we have seen, anywhere in the world. Simply stunning. Majestic peaks, green valleys, dense forests, amazing canyons, snow-capped mountains, crystal clear white water streams, it has it all.
Denver was a great city to spend a few days in. We were lucky enough to snap up an incredible Memorial Day weekend bargain at the Hyatt Regency, which was only one block off the 16th Street Mall. Being Memorial Day weekend there was a fantastic free rock festival going on called ‘Denver Rocks.’ It featured 25 bands playing on 5 stages and was lots of fun.
There was also an Art Exhibition going on concurrently, with various artists featuring their work in lots of small marquees just off the mall. Some nice stuff. The city provides free shuttle buses and there are lots of pianos dotted along the mall as well. People are encouraged to play them at any time. Lots of people do and some of them are very talented!
Saturday, May 25th was the Memorial Day Parade. We rose earlier than usual to appreciate our complimentary buffet breakfast before venturing out to gain a good vantage point. Prime positions were there for the taking along the route. It was a great parade, with the typical red, white and blue American patriotism on display! The armed forces were all there. But the highlights for us were the Harleys, Corvettes, old Fords and all the El Jebel extras that were featured in the parade. The parade ended in front of the congress building, where we were treated to a protest against the use of pesticides and genetically engineered foods.
And our value meal in Denver? Taco Bell was selling a burrito, a taco, a wrap and a large drink for $5.49 Hard to beat that!
From Denver we tried another form of transport…. train! And we would recommend this trip to anyone: Denver to Glenwood Springs. Although it takes five and a half hours, plus delays, the scenery is just amazing and the cost is virtually the same as a bus. While we took it as basically just a ‘train trip,’ there was a big group on the same train travelling on ‘Great Train Journeys of the World!’ And we saw why. As you wind your way through the mountains and canyons, including a number of tunnels, the scenery is spectacular. I think we had picked the perfect time, Spring coming into Summer, because everything was unbelievably green. Highly recommended! Being mooned by a number of rafters on the river as we passed by was an unexpected bonus. Hash House Harriers perhaps?!
In Glenwood Springs we were looked after magnificently by two of Kirsty’s host couples from her High School Exchange in Carbondale: the Moores and the Kramers. We received the royal treatment from both couples and were given a great taste of the whole district. This included: Aspen, playground of the rich and famous, Glenwood Springs, a BBQ, local restaurants and pubs, Maroon Bells, (a brilliant national park), the local diner and a magnificent fun park right up on top of a mountain. Thanks to free tickets from the owner, a Rotarian friend of Scotty’s we spent a fabulous day at ‘Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.’
There we rode the roller-coasters, zip-lined, watched 4D movies, visited the caves and were catapulted out over the edge of the mountain strapped into a giant swing. Scary!
We also attended two local Rotary clubs that had hosted Kirsty. There we met our first US senator and many of the people who had looked after Kirsty.
Great times: thanks to our hosts, Bob and Wendy Moore and Trish and Scott Kramer.