Friday the 10th - I got married. Had both of our immediate families (plus my Aunt) join us down at the courthouse for a wonderful ceremony administered by Judge (Larry? - I need to look this up). Went out for lunch afterward with more family and had a great time. Fast forward to Sunday and, as some of you know, had a fun little get together in Elmwood Park. The food was great, company was very welcome, and a good time was had by all.
Monday morning..er rather... 1pm... we took off for Denver. Saw some storms, enjoyed the sandhills area, visited my small town house where I grew up (Windsor, CO) then stayed in a hotel. Next morning, we ate breakfast with my Uncle Dale (hope you feel better soon!!) then headed into the mountains. The first stop was Hanging Lake near Glennwood Springs. I've been to this area twice, but that was many years ago, when I was younger. I had forgotten how tough the hike up to the lake was. You could almost call it a mild mountain climb. Michelle was not happy about it, but she soldiered on and was very impressed with the view. That view (in my opinion) was slightly tarnished by a group of Spanish foreign exchange students who did not read the sign saying it was illegal to swim in the lake. They had a great time, but the pristene quality the lake is supposed to have was amiss. Anyway, we then headed to the next town over, New Castle, to stay at relatives house(Thanks again, Bruce and Joy). We were tempted by their offer to stay another day and go rafting, but this was the very beginning of a long journey, so we had to keep on keepin on.
We next traveled across Utah and saw many great scenes. I will make a later post of pictures or creat a link to a flickr site or something. That will come after we get fully unpacked and settled back down. Utah was pretty quick, but most noteably there was beautiful canyons and Lake Sevier. Very odd to bike ride on. It had a hardish crust, but underneath was sand, and moisture. I really liked the landscape of Utah and I want to visit more of it instead of just pass through like I have the past couple times.
Nevada was D E S O L A T E along Highway 50. By this time, we'd hopped off the interstate to make our way straight across to Lake Tahoe. Highway 50 was the way to go and I see now, how it came to be known the lonliest road in America. The image about halfway down the linked page is one we saw often. You'd go up and over a mountain pass then see a valley many miles wide with just a straight road going across it and not much else. One cool place we stopped was Sand Mountain. I'm really kicking myself for not getting pictures of it, but hour camera had run out of power by this point. We saw a couple of Black Widow Spiders and some lizards on a little trail hike we took. Very fun stuff.
After surviving the Nevada leg, we got to Lake Tahoe. South Lake Tahoe to be precise. Very busy touristy town, but we had relatives living there. We visited with them and were quite jealous of their house which (itself was amazing) sat across a beatiful field where they went hiking about every day. They had a sailboat that needed some repair, but once we got that taken care of, we set out to sail away. Well we tried at least. The wind wasn't quite right. At about 3 knots, we got going, at most, 2 knots. FULL WADING SPEED AHEAD!!! It was nice to get out on the water though.
At the recommendation of the relatives at Lake Tahoe (Thanks again Tom, Jean, Nick, and Betty!) we headed for the coast and Highway 1 after a stop by Yosemite park. It was free entry weekend at Yosemite(which we didn't know) and the place was PACKED! So that potential stay was nixed. We enjoyed the views and almost made it to one of the great falls, but Michelle did not want a repeat of the mild mountain climb up to Hanging Lake. This is where the traffic of the West Coast really started to hit us. The amount of people in Cali is just mind boggling. Fun place to visit, but I don't think I could live there.
After Yosemite, we stopped by Monterey Bay to eat and try to see the ocean, but there was way too much fog to enjoy the view. Along Highway 1 and Big Sur, we saw some of the bridges the Tour of Cali goes over, but again, with so much fog, it was just so-so. We kept on down the highway till we got to the town of Ragged Point. It was basically just an Inn on the highway. It was a great place to stay and I'd highly recommend it when the fog isn't in full swing. After a great night's sleep, we got going to make it down to Laguna Beach. We stopped by to see the Sea Lions near the Hearst Castle. They were quite funny to watch. Again, I have many pics and videos that I hope to be able to share once I figure out the best way to do so.
Michelle, being an avid online game player, wanted to visith the World Of Warcraft art exhibit at the Laguna Beach Art History Museum. I just tagged along, but she was quite happy to see everything. Our next stop was Sea World by San Diego. We didn't get to see all of Sea World because of Shamu. We stopped by the Penguin area, the Arctic area, and the Shark place. Then, a show to see Shamu the killer whale was coming up, so we got a good spot. And by good, I mean in the "soak zone." This is where that blasted whale uses his huge tail to splash the crowd. They were selling towels and ponchos but we figured we'd tough it out since we were hot anyway. That was a mistake. After some amazing acrobatics with the whales and their trainers, the splashing began. Shamu must have had a thing for Michelle because I didn't see anyone as soaked as her. It was a blast and Michelle had fun, until the salt water, sun and crappy food got to us. Soon we were uncomfortable and just went to the hotel to relax.
Another short trip North and we were in Las Vegas. We got their in the afternoon when it was 105 degrees out. I have been there before, but I don't remember driving down the Strip. So, of course when I wanted to show Michelle a "quick rundown" of the Strip by car, there was traffic compounded by construction made worse by the heat. So we fled that scene and stayed at the Orleans casino/hotel which was a good half mile off the Strip. This place was an all in one deal - bowling alley, movie theater, multiple restaraunts, casino, sports arena, etc. We had planned to go back to the strip in the evening when it was only 97 degrees and not sunny, but it started to downpour and lots of lightning kept us away. So we again just relaxed in the hotel and gambled a little at the casino.
We were pretty much ready to be done with the trip at this point. We were both tired and just forgetting things. So we made a mad dash for home from Las Vegas, stopping by Green River in Utah, then home the next day.
It was a long journey and we got to see way more than if we'd flown, but I don't know if I can do one of these trips again. Maybe with more drivers to share the load. Definite places to go back to eventually are: Glennwood Springs to go rafting, Utah to see more of the state, Yosemite when it's not so busy (doubt that'll happen), Sea World with a change of dry clothes, California coast when it's not so foggy, and Las Vegas to stay at a place on the Strip. I'll update this post or create a new one when I figure out what I'm going to do with the pics and vids.
Thank you so much to all who sent us well-wishes, joined us for the wedding celebration, sent gifts/cards, or helped us out for our honeymoon. It was a great time and I look forward to taking many more road trips and maybe eventually family vacations in the future.