September 14 - 23, 2018: Littleton, Colorado
As we left Kansas and and rolled into Colorado we were still on Highway 36 and...it was pretty flat even into this part of Colorado.
We arrived at Mark and Crystal's place who are Craig's cousins. They have 4 acres in Littleton and...an amazing place and views! Smack in the middle of Deer Creek Canyon and the red rocks. Before we even finished setting up the trailer, I never wanted to leave. I kept teasing them that we would build a little guest house and stay forever. Below are the amazing views from our trailer and a sunset from one of the evenings.
During our stay we did so many cool and amazing things. Below are the highlights:
Mark, Craig, and I went to a Hot Rod Hill Climb in Central City, CO. Way way cool! It is a giant car show with mostly rat rods, model T's, and custom vehicles that they then "run" up a hill for top speed. This is held in the old mining town of Central City and most of the buildings are still intact and some have even been restored and are functioning businesses. Great vehicles, people watching, food, and live bluegrass music.
Craig, Mark, and Holly
There were a couple of female racers - very cool!
LOVE this hood ornament - it is called the Thumb and Devil
Incredible custom built car, nice front grill
Custom built with a Straight 8 - the female raced this one a couple of times up the hill
Mark's buddy John who was racing his car on the right
I didn't realize how close we were to the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado. This is suppose to be an amazing venue, so on our first day in Littleton, we looked at concerts and...found a great one I really wanted to attend. Craig, Heather (Crystal's sister who happened to be visiting/staying with them during the same time), and I attended Gillian Welch and The Punch Brothers. What an amazing venue! The acoustics are phenomenal, the scenery of the red rocks, being able to see downtown Denver off in the distance, the clear blue sky and moon...made for a night we'll never forget. Not to mention that Gillian Welch was...outstanding!
Driving into the Red Rock Amphitheater
Red Rock Amphitheater with the skyline of Denver in the background
Racoon having a little snack before the concert
Heather, Craig, and Holly
There is also a Visitor Center at Red Rocks that lists all of the artists and their memorabilia that have played there since it opened in 1908. This is the layout of the venue.
Gillian Welch - bluegrass music. Incredible acoustics for in this venue!
Punch Brothers - great eclectic music and voices
During our stay we had a chance to visit with a lot of family and catch up. Thanks Debbie, John, Ryan, Dave, Sandi, Jeff, Diane, Bob, and Heather for visiting with us!
Crystal, Debbie, Brynn, Mark, John, Ryan, and Craig
Craig, Holly, Crystal, Clark, Dave, Sandi, Jeff, Brynn, and Mark. Camille was not able to make the picture
Dave, Craig, Mark, Jeff, Sandi, Crystal, and Brynn
Craig, Holly, and Diane
One of the days Crystal, Heather, Craig, and I drove to Lafayette, Louisville, and Boulder. These towns have been on a bucket list of mine since 1985, so...we had to go and check them out. We had a long and fun filled day seeing the area, eating at a few different places and of course trying Sweet Cow Ice Cream. Check out our Activity Catalog as to what we rated this!
Mile High Stadium as we passed through Denver
Waterloo has a rooftop dining area and this is the front check in desk - an old radio and an ashtray stand for the mints after your food
We ate lunch at the Waterloo in Louisville. If you are even in this area, this is the coolest restaurant with awesome food!
This is the downstairs restaurant check in desk...an old TV filled with water and...Elvis walking among the fish
On the rooftop dining area:
Crystal, Heather, Craig, and Holly
A water fountain with a guitar that has the water running down it. WAY COOL!
Rooftop patio that has astro turf on the bottom and old bathtubs for planters
Craigy with the side of an old car that is mounted to the wall
We were so stuffed from lunch that we got a 'tiny' scoop of ice cream to try
Sweet Cow has astro turf outside of the shop and...cows
Oh Oh...doing a little cow tippin in Louisville
Mark met us in Boulder and we hung out on Pearl Street and then picked up some Indian food for dinner. Gorgeous flower beds on Pearl Street.
Heather and I both like to hike so we drove to Vail and hiked the Booth Falls Trail. And were trying to meet one of Heather's friends in Breckenridge for Lunch, however that did not work out. We did not hang out in Vail or Breckenridge because it was all about the hike and seeing how far we could get. What a gorgeous hike! It was about 5 miles round trip and pretty strenuous at the beginning. We hiked to the Falls, but did not make it to the Lake. The trail wound through an Aspen forest and with the colors changing....WOW. This...is what Colorado hiking is suppose to be like!
Driving around Breckenridge and Vail, gorgeous fall colors
On the trail looking back towards Vail
Through the aspen forest, the ground was covered with leaves, they were dropping off the trees like snowflakes
Booth Falls water fall
Oh, I almost forgot. More truck work : ( We woke up on our 3rd day in Littleton and...the truck would not start. After Craig inspected and cleaned the battery terminals, he thought it was a battery issue. So, he borrowed Mark's vehicle went into town and purchased 2 new batteries and...it worked like a charm! We also took it into Mark's automotive shop (one of his businesses) and had them change the oil since we've been on the road for about 5,000 miles.
Craig and I took a day and rode the motorcycle to Mt. Evans (elevation 14,130 feet). The drive through the mountain canyons was beautiful and once we got into the Mt. Evans area and higher elevation, we drove through sub-alpine forests, spotted some mountain goats along the highway, and the views of the Rocky Mountains was amazing. The road to Mt. Evans is the highest paved road in North America and you can actually drive to the Mt. Evans Peak! Unfortunately, the road was closed about 3 miles from the peak, so we stopped at Summit Lake Park (elevation 12,830') and read about the former icefields and lakes that now stand in their place. We hiked up the road for a bit towards the peak so I could say "I bagged a 14,000 in Colorado", however we were running short on time and figured that a 6 mile round trip at 3:30pm did not give us enough time to reach the peak. We were cooking dinner that night for the family at 6pm and would never make it back. Guess we should have gotten rousted earlier in the day for this adventure! I'll save this one for my next visit to Colorado. Oh...if you haven't realized it yet...I have to come back to explore the State of Colorado and bag some 14,000 peaks!
Yes, it was cold at the Summit Lake so we kept all of our motorcycle gear on for our small hiking bit
Mountain goats on the side of the hill on the way UP...
Mountain goats in the middle of the road on the way DOWN...it was the same set and they decided they wanted to hold up traffic, they just kept walking down the middle of the lane. Little brats!
One of the great things about where Mark and Crystal live is they are very centrally located to everything. Craig and I rode our bicycles to Morrison, CO which is also where the Red Rocks Amphitheatre is located. We rode the back trails, scenic byways, and saw absolutely amazing country again. Thank god for the electric bicycles on these roads! Morrison is a small old mining town so we enjoyed an ice tea while people watching.
Craig riding on the trail, incredible rock formations
Downtown Morrison, yes...those are cars driving. The road is packed going both ways partially because of it's proximity to Red Rock, there was another concert that evening so people come early to eat dinner then go to the concert
This is one of the homes we rode by on our way, great view out their front windows
Mark and Crystal have this awesome private forest planted in their yard by the former owner. The trees have never been pruned, so you guessed it. We pruned a little over 30+ pine, deciduous, and fruit trees out of about a 100 surrounding their house. The yard around their house is surrounded by a deer fence, so it was easy to chuck the cuttings over the fence and Mark will chip or remove them later. However, before he can do that, about 10 local deer came one evening and enjoyed the leaves and crab apples from that trees clippings.
Crystal wanted this area pruned for a hammock. So once it was finished, Craig had to test the hammock to make sure it was stable : )
Crab apple BEFORE...
If you look real close at the center, you can see Craig in a blue shirt. He had already cut about 1/4 of the tree
Crab apple AFTER...now there is a great view of the mountains out the front window!
These are some of the houses around Mark and Crystal's. The 2nd house has part of the rock built INTO their house. SO.....VERY COOL!!!
We enjoyed hanging out with and harassing Mark, Crystal, and their kids Clark, Camille, Brynn, Marley the dog and Stella the cat. And...we cannot forget Heather!
Brynn painting Keg (how she pronounces his name) big toes. One toe is gold, the other is purple
Keg, Brynn, and Holly with our painted toes and fingers!
After I painted Brynn's toenails and fingernails in rainbow colors, she painted my toes and thumbs in rainbow colors
Mark, Crystal, Holly, Keg (Craig) and Brynn
Thank you Mark and Crystal for letting us boondock at your place, what an amazing 7 days!!!