Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 19 - July 3, 2010
Odometer reads: 4803 miles

Got up lateish, left Denver, and arrived in Rocky Mountain National Park early this afternoon. Got Kat some pants on the way there, since it is freezing in the West and she didn't pack anything except shorts. The drive was amazing, the mountains were hidden by the leaning cliffsides, the space on the roads was minimal, we were so close to the edge of the cliffs and the walls. The park was packed because for 4th of July weekend and it seemed everyone in Colorado and Utah had arrived to play. At 2 miles above sea level we arrived at our campsite #100, the only one unoccupied, and set up our tent quickly so we could get moving and see the rest of the park. Only having a day and night to spend in the park we decided to do the infamous 50 mile drive along Trail Ridge Road that cuts right through the middle of the park and has pulloffs for picture taking and elk gazing. By the way it was freezing up there. Notice there is ice all over the mountain tops.

The meandering river in the valley was pretty cool. Anyways there were elk everywhere, Kat loves them and couldn't stop taking pictures - some of them had antlers that were 3 and 4 feet long!

After sightseeing for a couple of hours we got back to our campsite to fire up the grill, or fire pit and successfully made corn, grilled zucchini, and Rice-A-Roni in our little pot.

Obviously Kat is more attentive than Smalls.

After enjoying the view and a lovely sunset from our site we headed into town to grab some home made ice cream. We returned and just before going to bed we heard a woman in the next site scream quite hysterically, as we looked on we noticed a fair sized brown animal make its way by our neighbors tent and slink towards the cars. At that moment, Kat made us both get inside the tent and go to bed.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 18 - July 2, 2010
Odometer reads: 4612 miles

To Denver we ride this fine morning, Pueblo Park was beautiful but we must move forward. Before we got on the road we figured it would be nice to stop in Starbucks to grab some food, map our destination, and to use the internet to catch up on the blog a bit. We ended up staying for a couple of hours actually; Kat did the blog while Smalls took the car down the street to a carwash for a much needed debugging. The poor car has been getting pretty gross and the ride through Colorado painted the bumper in gnats, lets just say it was getting difficult to read the license plate. After doing our homework for the day, we set out for the city. It took us a couple of hours to get there but when we arrived in Denver we noticed how small it was and how young the visible population seemed. Everyone there either drives a moped or a 4-wheel drive vehicle with roof racks and there are coffee shops everywhere. It was cute and we felt as though it was time for a mellow night so we found a place to stay just outside of town, a Motel 6 where we freshened up with showers to head out for dinner and one of our favorite past times, a movie! yay! We headed into town past Coors Field, the Colorado Rockies stadium which was packed for the nights game, leaving more room in downtown for the two of us. We found another restaurant featured on Man vs. Food called The Cherry Crickett where we ate amazing oversized burgers with delectible fries and a few drinks. The place was small and dark with pictures covering the walls, they had a friendly staff of people our age or near who seemed to live life to its fullest, near tattoo parlors and cannabis gardens.

After our dinner we traveled 5 minutes to the theater where we saw Avatar: The Last Airbender. All about element benders mixed with karate and a little boy monk with super cool tattoos, it was an entertaining movie, and it was able to fill our desires of air conditioning and a giant screen. The movie brought us to a late night and tired eyes so we went back to the motel to get ready for our trip to the Rockies and got to bed. Goodnight.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 17 - July 1, 2010
Odometer reads: 4468 miles
After a rough day, we allowed ourselves to sleep in until 10:30. Checked out and got some sandwiches to stuff in the cooler, then headed to the sand dunes! As we approached the dunes, they looked small compared to the looming mountain range behind them; but as soon as we got within a mile or two, their size was apparent. The tallest dune stands about 800 feet high, and as we looked at them from the visitor center we could see tiny, needle-point sized people climbing them (click the picture and you may be able to see them). We stocked up on water and batteries for the camera and took off for the top. Smalls led the way, and Kat did her best to keep up... walking in sand never seemed so hard at the beach. After a strenuous hour and a half, we sat on top of the tallest dune looking out over an ocean of sand and the hike was plainly worth it. Stayed up there for awhile and rested, dumping sand out of our shoes and talking with a nice Colorado Springs family.

We made our way down the sandy slopes and back to the car to down a few Gatorades and get on the road towards Denver. Made the joyous discovery that Colorado has 7-11's! So naturally we had to get slurpees. We both decided that the drive was a bit far for the day, so we found another desert oasis, Pueblo Lake State Park. This place was obviously the place to be for July 4th weekend - hundreds of people had reservations, but we squeezed into a site for the night. We played with the tarp for awhile, worrying that it might rain and puddle up in our tent, but eventually gave up, had a beer and got ready for bed. Watched Will & Grace for a couple hours and fell asleep.
Day 16 - June 30, 2010
Odometer reads: 3922 miles

This day started a bit earlier than normal, when we both woke up around 3:30 a.m. for a usual restroom/flip-over-so-my-back-doesn't break moment and heard drumming in the distance. We laid there and listened for awhile, trying to figure out where it was coming from. We saw what looked like a huge bonfire about 15 miles off in the distance (about the same amount of land between us and the Apache Reservation). Both of us tried to go back to sleep, but it seemed to be getting louder, so like the suburban girls we are, we started making up horror stories in our minds as we ran to the car clutching our pillows. We stayed there for awhile, googling Apache violence and other bedtime stories. After an hour or so we decided we were being silly and headed back to the tent to sleep, like our peacefully-slumbering neighbors.
A few hours later, we got up and hung out for a bit while laughing about our midnight scare, then it started raining yet again and we packed up our wet gear as quick as possible. After stuffing our dripping tent and tarp into the car, we took off for a full day of driving. Got to Albuquerque - which is surprisingly adorable - and found a "Road Food" location called Modal's Pharmacy - a small place that is a combination diner-drug store. We got there a bit too late for lunch, but Kat had an awesome milkshake and Smalls had homemade blackberry cobbler (jealous, Mo?). Left Modal's and snooped around town for a bit, eventually finding a Boston Market and eating our weights in comfort food.

Drove some more... drove... drove. Finally, around 10 p.m. we arrived at Great Sand Dune National Park and found a depressingly full campground. Turned around and trudged 30 miles back to the nearest town only to find every motel and hotel we called, FULL. Back-tracked another 18 miles to Monte Vista, Colorado to a tiny motel owned by a friendly hunting enthusiast from Alabama. Brushed our teeth and slept wonderfully.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

not really much of an update...

...and I don't have our notebook to make a "Day" post, but I feel like writing. It's 11:01 p.m., and I'm currently sitting in a parking lot in Bryce, Utah, mooching off of an RV park's WiFi while waiting for Smalls - who is mooching a shower off of the same RV park. We don't usually do this, it's a unique evening because our campsite hosts are stingy and charge a quarter a minute for a shower. Hope everyone is enjoying reading this blog as much as we enjoy writing it (when time and location permit); miss you all, see you soon :)

...I'm a child.

p.s. Smalls is making fun of me for the URL of this blog... so just so everyone knows, that one was my idea. Meant to be a joke.

Friday, July 9, 2010

**Pictures are not cooperating at the moment... I'll add them another day.

Day 15 - June 29, 2010
Odometer reads: same

Smalls was up early due to our tent placement, just outside the shade of our overhang, and sat writing postcards for awhile. Steve came over just a minute before he left and gave Smalls a thank-you note for dinner with his name/number, and a bottle of pepper spray just in case us girls weren't "packing heat". Not a bad trade; Steve was nice, hope his trip is going well. Kat slept for another couple of hours, oblivious to the temperature or commotion.

We got moving a bit later and took the car to downtown Roswell for an oil change and a rinse: brand new! Next we headed to a nearby laundromat with bars on the windows to clean 14 days of dirt off of our wardrobes. While we waited for the laundry, Smalls found a videogame in the corner with a spinning ball as the control unit; it didn't spin because it was so dirty and covered with scum. Naturally, she wrote our names in the scum and then ran to the car to return with wet wipes to clean it off... Tidy Smalls :)

We headed back to the campsite to try to have another successful cooking experience, but it was incredibly windy and took us an hour to light the coals. Finally, after heating the grill up we made an attempt at Ramen noodles... which failed. PB&J's are both the foundation and fall-through food of the trip; always have PB&J makings. It started raining around 3 o'clock and didn't stop until 6 p.m., so 3 hours was spent in the car, watching Will & Grace on Kat's computer. When the rain finally started to die down we quickly rearranged the tent next to the shelter, and fastened the tarp over it just in case it rained again. It was a good thing... as soon as we finished building our little home, it started pouring again. The best things about the rainstorm were the awesome sunset and the biggest, brightest rainbow we've ever seen. We watched the sunset from our shelter and headed to bed.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 14 - June 28, 2010
Odometer reads: 3697.5
Got up and packed quickly, and spoke to our neighbors - Mark and Cindy - about where we were headed next. Turns out they were headed to Roswell too, and advised us to stay at Bottomless Lakes State Park a few miles outside of Roswell. We got on the road and realized we'd hit our 2 week mark! Kat's car needs an oil change soon...

Not too long of a drive, but the entire drive was desert between Roswell and the campground, so we weren't sure of the place we'd be staying in. We drove over one last hill and saw our little oasis of a campground, a small beautiful, clear blue lake at the base of red cliffs. We set up camp and headed straight into town for food and the International UFO Museum and Research Center! The museum was interesting to say the least, even if it was a bit hokey. The biographies and the Roswell incident were very well researched, but we couldn't figure out what was true or not - but I suppose that's sort of the point. It's unbelieveable how much of Roswell's marketing plays off of the UFO legend.

After the museum, we headed to Albertson's for some dinner groceries, and a couple of fireworks from a tent in the parking lot. Headed back to our campground to swim in the lake, the sun hitting the lake and cliffs. The lake was so nice; the water was perfectly clear and warm. We also met our neighbors - Mark and Cindy from Guadalupe! And Steve from New Jersey, who was driving his Harley across the country. He offered us a few dollars for some dinner, and since it was our first successful cooking-dinner-on-the-grill experience, we were eager to give him a plate of food. We all talked and ate for a couple of hours, all the while being attacked by moths. Big ones. We said goodnight early and headed to bed.