Monday, May 2, 2011

Weekend Get-a-way

Over President's Day weekend we took a little family vacation.  Maybe it would even qualify as a staycation.  'Cause we didn't really go that far, but we saw all sorts of new sights--all within about a 100 mile radius of our house.

We started with the 700-year-old Anasazi cliff dwellings just outside of Colorado Springs. The girls loved this place.  Everything in it is size small.  And everything was "hands-on."  We climbed in and out of the dwellings.  The girls thought it was like a big doll house.  I kept wondering how pregnant ladies got in and out of those little doors every day.

Our next stop was the old mining town Cripple Creek.  Most of the touristy things were shut down for the season, but there was the Annual Cripple Creek Ice Festival going on, which was actually really cool (pun slightly intended).  I'd never seen the "making of" process before, so it was fun watching the dudes with their hair dryers and chisels.  The theme was "Children's Stories" so there was a Dr. Seuss display, Chronicles of Narnia, a couple ambiguous sculptures and an ice slide.  Good times.

We also spent some time in the town's museum learning about mining and how big a part of our state's history it is.  And I'm just gonna pretend that I knew about the link between Colorado's gold mining and the fact that there's a US Mint here in Denver.  'Cause the lady explaining it looked at me like I really should've known that.

After the lady at the tourist center told us that in all her life she only knew "a handful of people who had died on those narrow roads," we opted to take the road more traveled to our next destination, rather than the (in)famous Phantom Highway.  We got to Canon City just in time for dinner and a swim in the hotel's outdoor heated pool.  It was, according to our girls, the "best part of our trip!!!!"  And might I just add that John Wayne, John Bellushi, Jane Fonda and many other movie stars had stayed in that hotel?  They've got signs on all the room doors telling you who stayed where.  Our room had once been occupied by the lovely Goldie Hawn.  Apparently there were tons of cowboy flicks filmed in the area back in the day.  And the Quality Inn there housed them all. 

The next morning we headed to see the "second highest suspension bridge in the world!!"

Royal Gorge Bridge is suspended over the Arkansas River (I'm also gonna just pretend I knew that the Arkansas river runs through Colorado) and it is AWESOME!!  They've got a whole park built around the bridge--which is good and bad.  If you have a few hours, it's lots of fun.  But if you just wanna walk over the bridge and not do the other stuff--you still have to pay the park's over-priced entrance fee.  Unless you're with me, of course!!  I somehow talked the lady into letting Reid and the girls in for free if I paid my entrance fee. It probably helped that their biggest attraction--the Tram--was closed.  And it was off-season.  And we were the first ones there.  And i just have magical powers that allow me to do that sort of thing.

We had fun walking across the bridge.  And Eliza, for whatever cute reason, was absolutely convinced that hundreds of feet below her she saw "cwocodiles!!"  It was the cutest thing.  She was screaming it, over and over "I see cwocodiles!! I see cwocodiles!!"  And then she'd throw herself back down on the bridge to look through the cracks to see them some more.

The girls thought it was pretty cool watching Reid's spit take 15+ seconds to reach the river below.

And me?  i just panicked every time a car drove across the bridge while we were on it.  I mean, who decided that suspension bridges actually work anyway?  'cause I'm not sold.

On the other side of the bridge was the Mountain Man Encampment, the Wildlife Park, and the (closed) petting zoo.

And last, but not least--the Royal Rush Skycoaster.  We thought our girls would get a kick out of watching people do this, so we sat down and watched two ladies on this ride.  (We didn't know that they were Mrs. and Miss Potty-Mouths, or we probably wouldn't have been so close.)  But you know who else got a kick out of it?  Reid!  So much so, that he decided to do it!  Never, in a million years, would I ever consider doing this, so I welcomed my built-in excuse (thank you, unborn son o' mine).  But Reid got all gutsy and took the dive!  And, unlike the previous riders, when he dove head first toward the cement, he omitted the four-letter words and merely screamed like a school girl.  But by the time he started to swing out over the canyon, he was loving it! It was pretty awesome.  And i was totally impressed that he did it!  That's my man!   (note: my camcorder died moments before he plunged.  He denies having screamed like a little girl.  So it's just his word against mine... who you gonna believe?)

Our last stop was the one and only castle (that i know of) in Colorado.  I'm not sure what it takes to qualify as a castle, but the guy that built this thing-- with his own hands, from scratch--calls it a castle.  And if he wants to call it a castle?  I'm gonna call it a castle. 

I'd heard about Bishop's Castle several times.  But i never imagined that it was going to be so insanely HUGE!!!  It was amazing. 

Although their parents were panicked about the structural safety issues of the castle (e.g. steep staircases with no hand rails, a waiver that everyone has to sign, the fact that one dude just built this thing to tick off the government, etc) the girls absolutely loved this castle. 

Especially the "ballroom"

And what girl doesn't dream of dancing with her prince in a real ballroom?!?!

It was a fun little get-a-way weekend.  We loved spending some time with our kids.  They're at such a fun and easy stage to travel with.  And this was perhaps the last time our family will all fit in one hotel room!  I'm just glad we could share that room with Goldie.