Let's rewind. Friday morning Ryan and I left Aurora with the dogs and made our way to Freeport. We left the dogs at the kennel in Freeport, and grabbed our "ride" for the week (a super awesome, cool looking, wait for it...mini-van). Then, Mom, Dad, and Ry and I jumped in the car for the first leg of a very long drive. We drove the 2 hours to Joey and Andy's house in Iowa, packed up all their stuff into our already low riding van, and we were finally on our way. We drove through the night and made it to Fredrick, Co (where Jane and Dave live), near Denver, around 4:00 am Mountain time. At that point, we'd been driving for about 14 hours total.
Jane and Dave had a whole breakfast spread set up for us at 4 am when we got there. We had pancakes, fruit, yogurt, juice, and just about anything else you could have wanted to eat set up and ready for us when we walked in the door. Dave even had beers ready and waiting with Andy and Ryan took full advantage of. Maybe not the best idea since neither of them had slept more than about an hour for the whole night, but boys will be boys. We hung out for a bit at Jane and Dave's and then got back in the car for an adventure to Rocky Mountain National Park.
**Note that awesome hot rod in the back! Yep, that baby got us all the way to Colorado (and hopefully back).
That's the whole family, minus Dad, since he was taking the picture. Cousin Joe even woke up super early to see us. He's going to come and hang out with us on Friday later this week.
We left Fredrick around 7 am and headed to Estes Park. Estes is about an hour drive from Jane and Dave's and it is a huge national park. We did some hiking in Estes and spent some time just enjoying the scenery. When we finally got out of the car all we wanted to do was walk around and stretch our legs. The 4 kids set off on a small hike. We had grand visions of doing a 4 mile out and back for a total of over 8 miles, but the altitude was tougher on some of us than other (yes, me) and we punked out and did a 2 mile out and back instead. Mom and Dad stayed back and did some exploring near a small lake called Bear Lake and took some amazing pictures like the one above with Dad and the lake in the background.
*We took this at our final destination (Beirnstein lake). Didn't we do a good job of looking like weirdo's?
One of the coolest parts of our trip in Rocky Mountain National Park was getting to see the Elk. We searched and searched as we drove throughout the park and we finally saw 3 of them laying down checking out the outlook. Of course, they were at the very tippy top of the mountain (at around 12,000 feet in altitude), and of course, I wasn't doing so well with the altitude change so I was less then excited to be stopping again, but, now that we are back down, and I'm looking at the pictures, I am very glad we got to have this experience.
Phew...this post is getting long. Sorry guys, but just think, we've been driving for around 18 hours at this point. Sorry Andy and Ryan that you guys didn't get to slide down the snow hills in the garbage bags, I was feeling really really sick at this point. My head was spinning and I felt like puking...like a hangover without the fun part!
So, after we hit the highest peak and got to check out the Elk, we finally started our descent. I'm not really sure if anything else cool happened as we drove down the mountain as I had my face stuffed in my pillow and was trying to convince myself not to throw up and praying that we would be down soon. Once we finally left the park, we still had about a 3 hour drive ahead of us until we got to the condo in Vail. We stopped along the way for lunch and kept on keeping on. At this point we were all pretty tired, getting grumpy and just plain ready to be out of the car and at the hotel.
I've been blogging for about an hour now and the rest of the crew is ready to start the day so I'm going to cut the rest of this short. There isn't much left to the day, we got to the hotel, did some grocery shopping and topped off the night with a little dip in the hot tub. We were all pretty dang exhausted so we hit the sack around 8 pm (which in our defence is really 9 pm back home).
Can you tell we are all laughing pretty hard here and Dad has a surprised look on his face? For this picture to happen we had the camera on a timer and Dad had to hop into the hot tub quick to get into the picture. The step was a little lower than he expected and he almost did a huge belly flop into the water so we were all pretty entertained by that. Notice me repping the Packers as well *smile*.
So, long story, not so short, nearly 25 hours after we left Freeport, we finally arrived for our week long vacation in Vail. Stay tuned for more updates and pictures as we've got a pretty exciting week planned!!