Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Roadtrip Recap Part 2

Monday morning we headed west for home and mountain adventures. On our way east the week prior, I had noted some signs for a funky roadside attraction that boasted an 8ooo pound prairie dog, and a whole host of other animals "not seen in zoos". I made a mental note to make a stop on our way home. The thing is I had seen this place years ago on my previous across country treks and wished I had stopped. Now, with kids as my excuse, I could! The place was very run down and quite sad to see, with the animals cooped up in wire cages, but it was worth the stop for one thing: The prairies dogs! Real live prairie dogs running around inside the fence and out. Below is E trying to get up close and personal with one of them:

The girls were so excited to see them, they barely noticed the rest of the animals. Foxes, coyotes, badgers, racoons, bison, many different birds, pigs, goats, cows, rattlesnakes. Well, the baby goats came in second, because you could pet them!

And as for that 8000 pound prairie dog? Concrete. With a big wall to hide it from the traffic on the highway. So, there you have it. Next time you are passing through Oakley, KS and are tempted to stop for the big prairie dog, think twice. Unless, of course, you want to see the real ones running around free.

We made it all the way to Denver the first day, with a little detour to figure out how to get to our hotel, which you could see from the highway, but not get to. Slightly frustrating since it was late and we were tired. The next day we headed out for Steamboat Springs. We made one detour over Loveland Pass, stopping to hike to a patch of snow and take in the scenery. Below is E running down the mountain, barefoot no less, all by herself, taking her own path to the snow:

A passing hiker commented to me about my "adventurer" as I was taking this picture. She sure is! C and A took the actual path down, while I sat on a rock and soaked up the mountain air. In the picture below with me, the girls are grumpy from lack of oxygen after climbing back up from the snow!

Back in the car we went and drove the rest of the way to Steamboat. When we got to my friend D's house, he was anxious to go check out this ski jumping competition being held in town. You could hear the announcers from his house. Ski Jumping. In the summer. We had to see that, so after unloading the van a little, we went.

The mountain was covered with an artificial grass-like carpet. It was pretty cool to see the jumpers flying down the hill. One of the jumpers was only 11 or 12 years old. After watching for a while, the girls were done, so we walked over to check out the alpine slide. The girls had decided it was something they wanted to do, but when we got there they were closing. We put it on our list for the next day. Also being held in the park at the base of the ski jump/alpine slide mountain, was the rodeo. We had to stop to say hi to the horses, of course. Here is D and A giving a horse some grass:

After eating dinner out at a BBQ place, we went back to D's and caught the fireworks show from his deck. This shot was what I thought was a total mistake until the shutter finally closed and this was revealed on the lcd:

The fireworks show was great and made a nice ending to the day. The next morning we got up and decided to take the gondola up the mountain. This is the view from the top of the lodge, looking northwest-ish.

While we were up there having a picnic lunch, they closed the gondola because of a threatening thunderstorm. We ended up being driven down the mountain in a shuttle bus. That was fun! Before we went down, D took this picture of us, ski runs in the background. We will be sure to go back in the winter to ski sometime!

After a nap (for C) and some games at home (for the rest of us, mancala and a cool marble solitaire), we went back to the alpine slide. E wanted to go down with D and A needed her mother. C was left going alone. I rode up the lift with A, and E got upset because she had wanted to be with me for that part. When we got to the top, both girls wanted to ride with me. It was quite the dilemna until I told E that D had done this before and knew what he was doing, unlike me who had never ridden an alpine slide before. It took her two milliseconds to decide who she was going down with! She and D, and A and I, went down side by side on the two tracks. I let A control the slide all by herself. She was hesitant at first to go very fast, but by the end was speeding down the track! E kept telling D to go faster, but would make him stop to wait for her sister when they got too far ahead. Needless to say, they wanted to ride again when we got to the bottom. Since it was getting to be dinnertime, we told them we could go down one more time in the morning before we headed home.

We headed home and had a lovely dinner back at D's. His roomates' granddaughters were there for the night, so the girls had fun with them while C and I got a chance to catch up with/get to know D. It was a very nice ending to a very nice visit (Thanks, D!). In the morning we packed up and got ready to head for home. But not until one more ride down the alpine slide! This time E went with me and A went with Daddy. We all raced down the mountain. It was a great way to say good bye to Steamboat!

A few shots on the way home:

So, that was our trip. Hope you enjoyed it!

1 comment:

sissi said...

Looks like a great family trip! My daughter loves to read your blog and she is very fond of E.
I have a new blog dedicated only to unschooling since I am trying to educate france about it, not easy being a pionneer.
I have some posts in english.