May 29th - June 5th, 2010
Took the Amtrak from Galesburg, IL. The train ride was enjoyable. Spent the night on the train.
Arrived in Denver, CO in the morning. Picked up a rental car (Toyota Avalon). Walked through the City Park. Went to Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Drove around the city, visited the Botanical Gardens, and hit the 16th Street Mall. Went to Wynkoop Brewery for dinner. Enjoyed complimentary milk & cookies at our hotel - the Magnolia - and called it a night.
Hit the Art Festival near the 16th Street Mall and bought a nice limited print. Traveled out to Red Rocks Amphitheater and hiked around. Drove to Vail, a small ski-resort town. Momentarily went to the pizzeria, where we picked up a pizza (because Ann's stomach couldn't handle the overwhelming aroma). Walked to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. Headed back to the Sonnenalp Hotel and had more complimentary cookies and went to bed.
Travelled to Glenwood Springs and toured the Glenwood Caverns. We arrived at our hotel, the Lodge and Spa at Breckenridge - a nice log-cabin style hotel sitting atop a mountain. We walked around Breckenridge. Hit the Breckenridge Brewery for dinner. Headed back to the hotel and called it a night.
Leaving Breckenridge, we stopped and hiked a trail near Frisco at Sapphire Point. On our way to Boulder, we travelled Loveland Pass over the Continental Divide. They were still plowing snow on the mountains - quite a sight in June! There were also people skiing near the top. On our way to Boulder, we pulled off the highway and spotted some Big Horn Sheep on the side of a mountain. Upon arriving in Boulder, we checked in at the Boulder Outlook Hotel and Suites - definitely our least favorable hotel experience of the trip, and of course it was the only place that we stayed at for two nights. We walked around the campus of University of Colorado. Ann wasn't feeling too adventerous, so we went to Wendy's for dinner and took it easy for the rest of the night.
We toured the headquarters for Celestial Seasonings (the tea company). Got to see the tea-preparing process and sampled several of their offerings. Drove to Rocky Mountain National Park. We hiked around for several hours, including the Glacier Gorge Junction trail leading to Alberta Falls, and a stop at Bear Lake. We wanted to hike around Bear Lake, but it started to rain. It's amazing how many elk are in the park - it's almost too many. We saw at least a hundred elk, just from our car. There were mule deer all over the place, too. We also caught a quick glimpse of a turkey (Merriam's). Headed back to Boulder and went to the Pearl Street Mall. While at the outdoor mall, we hit BJ's Restaurant & Brewery for dinner.
Headed back to Denver. Drove around town and explored a few more parks. Returned our rental car and dropped our baggage off at the Union Station. We walked over to the 16th Street Mall. After walking around for a bit, we stopped at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. We then made our way back to Union Station to catch our train. It was hot in the station, and our train showed up about two hours late. Apparently a piece of equipment had broke down in a tunnel and held up our train. After finally boarding the train, we started a long, slow journey back home. It took a lot longer than normal because of some really bad flooding. We spent the night on the train.
We arrived back in Galesburg and headed home!
See pictures here