Pike’s Peak – Day Two

After yesterdays breakfast, I knew todays was going to be just as good. I almost couldn’t wait to get out of bed, almost.

Knowing we had to tire the dogs out before leaving them at the hotel, the Hubs found a disc golf coarse (golf with a frisbee) 25 minutes away. Every time we go somewhere new, we check out their disc golf courses. We were’t disappointed, the puppies were pooped.

There was a foot trail that circled the park and I decided to tire the pups out a little bit more. A quick run never hurt anybody, right? Wrong, we got lost, it didn’t circle the park and the Hubs had to come pick us up, miles into the country, oops.

I just love how much fresh water is running through Colorado. This was taken while we were getting lost (but didn't know that yet).

I just love how much fresh water is running through Colorado. This was taken while we were getting lost (but didn’t know that yet).

Bella enjoying some that fresh water.

Bella enjoying some that fresh water.

After we got back to the hotel, we checked out The Cog Railway Train Adventure and were disappointed to find you were required to schedule the ride 24 hours in advance. Matt really wanted to go on top of a mountain.

Plan B! We can drive up to Pikes Peak, even better! So we drove the 20 miles to get to the base of the mountain to begin our trek up, and man was that a long way down.

The views from the side of the mountain were anything but ordinary. Breathing in that fresh mountain air was rejuvenating, even with the altitude trying to take your breathe away.

We stopped to hike up some rocks before getting to the tops and this is where the picture below was taken.

Matt taking in that mountain air. It really is hard to take a bad photo when everything is so beautiful. This picture is one of my favorites though.

Matt taking in that mountain air. It really is hard to take a bad photo when everything is so beautiful. This picture is one of my favorites though.

I dared myself to get out of the car and near the edge. This picture is proof and so is my face. Mommy!

I dared myself to get out of the car and near the edge. This picture is proof and so is my face. Mommy!

I wouldn’t say I have a fear of heights, but rather a fear of falling. I’m pretty proud of myself for standing on the edge. My knees didn’t give out, hallelujah.

To the top of the summit is 14,115 feet above sea level. Fun Fact: The view from the summit inspired Katherine Lee Bates to write “America the Beautiful” in 1883.

Before you get to the summit, you travel up roads that are a little to close to the edge for my taste, guardrails only on the sharp turns. Due to ice and snow we couldn’t make it all the way to the top, but we got pretty close.

We made it to Boulder Park, 13,380 feet above sea level. We got out, trampled through feet of snow ( with improper clothing, I was wearing capri work out pants, yikes!) and hiked to the top of the boulders, trying to get as high in the clouds as possible.

I'm surprised I didn't trip, my kind of luck is funny like that.

I’m surprised I didn’t trip, my kind of luck is funny like that.

It is a long way down to the bottom, but the view is unbeatable.

It is a long way down to the bottom, but the view is unbeatable.

I think Matt was done with my obsessive picture taking, or he really is embracing #TheBeardLife.

I think Matt was done with my obsessive picture taking, or he really is embracing #TheBeardLife.

My, "I can't believe I'm climbing this, already up to high" face.

My, “I can’t believe I’m climbing this, already up to high” face.

As we drove back down the mountain, we stopped at the Crystal Reservoir and took the self-guided nature trail. The reservoir was frozen over and we got to read about the Big Foot sightings.

Yes, you read that right. Big Foot was spotted by a guest in Pikes Peak back in 2001. A sign was added to commemorate the sighting. You can read here about more tales of Big Foot and the Sea Monster in Mystic River.

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That's a big, foot!

That’s a big, foot!

We got back to the hotel, ate dinner and passed out before 10 p.m. and if you know me, that’s a feat all in itself. Goodnight!

Day One – Colorado Springs

The first wake up always feels so good, you have your whole trip ahead of you. The hotel bed feels amazing, you couldn’t get anymore comfortable and you don’t have to clean anything. Plus, free continental breakfast and if my husband was writing this he would tell you, it’s not a real free breakfast without a waffle iron. (For the record, ours did.)

When you walk into the lobby, a business center with way to many plush couches are set up around a faux fire. To the right of that, the indoor swimming pool is front and center, and the restaurant (where our breakfast was served) is up and to the left, additional seating on the ground level.

There were tables upon tables of good breakfast food, buffet style. They also had a ‘omelette guy’ who made to order omelets right in front of you. Let me tell you, this is the best breakfast I’ve ever had to not clean up after.

After we finished out breakfasts, we gathered up the pups and went to check out Garden of the Gods. It’s rated as one of the best parks in the country and as an added bonus, it’s free! On the drive down we noticed the abundance of dogs being walked, all over the place! Colorado Springs is shaping up to be just as good as I expected.

As we pulled up to the parking lot for the park, the Hubs and I were both awed by not only the size and shapes of these boulder rocks, but the color of them on the backdrop of the mountains behind them. This place is awesome AND beautiful.

The entrance gate to Garden of the Gods, pictures don't do it justice.

The entrance gate to Garden of the Gods, pictures don’t do it justice.

Again, how could you not be awed?

Again, how could you not be awed?

We briskly walked all over the park, making sure to check out each designated spot on the map. We saw climbers on the tops of the rocks and birds flying out of holes at the tippy top of those same boulders. These rocks were huge, I loved it!

The park also had a number of trails that varied in length, feeling frisky we went for the big one, in total it would be a little over 8 miles, but it promised a big rock balancing on a smaller one, who wouldn’t want to see that?

The Hubs and Da Puppies in front of the 'balancing rock.'

The Hubs and Da Puppies in front of the ‘balancing rock.’

As we hiked around the mountain, I was surprised how hard it was to breathe, that altitude is no joke! My heart didn’t race this much while I ran a 5k or did the StairMill at the gym for 30 minutes, as expected, the views were worth the gasps of air.

The view from the top.

The view from the top.

That coloring, it's gorgeous.

That coloring, it’s gorgeous.

"Through the Looking Glass"

“Through the Looking Glass”

I can't believe I climbed up to this thing, it was worth the knee shakes!

I can’t believe I climbed up to this thing, it was worth the knee shakes!

By the time we got back to the hotel, puppies and parents were pooped. Everybody took a nap, except me … I began my blog writing, took a bath and read some more of my book, relaxation at its finest.

Around 4:30 we perked up again, and decided to check out the downtown historic area of Manitou Springs, about a 15 minute drive from our hotel. The buildings were old, the floors creaked in each boutique and as it should be, there was a penny arcade. Hubs and I won 62 tickets, he got a Butterfingers and a popper.

As we ate dinner our eyelids grew heavier and we were all in bed by 10 p.m. I hadn’t been that tired in a long time, but I had a sneaky suspicion we would be, if not more, because we had three more fun-filled days before the drive back to Texas, whoop-ee.

Bella (right) Bailey (left) My two babies.

Bella (right) Bailey (left) My two babies.

Road Trippin’ The Weekend Away

Ahh–vacation, it’s finally here! Today me and the Hubs are driving up to Colorado Springs for a long weekend, it lieu of our Spring Breaks. The beach did have its appeals, but the mountains won out. Plus, it’s a dog friendly city/state and there’s plenty to do with your pups, a win-win for us.

While we trekked into new territory, it still looked pretty similar to home. Texas is ginormous, but it generally has the same feel. A lot of farm land, old rusty cars rotting away into the dirt piles and way too many cows. Did you know that there are more cows in Texas than people? “Let’s hope they don’t figure that out,” as my husband would say.

As we drove north west, nothing but open road, we rocked out to oldies but goodies. We rapped Lil’ Wayne, Eminem, and a mix of old southern rappers, Crime Mob anybody?

After knuckin’ and buckin’ we turned the music down, randomly told stories, and posed questions to stir up more random conversation, the kind you only have when you’re stuck in a car with nowhere else to go. Then, we enjoyed the silence and scenery.

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Still in Texas, only two hours into the trip, not desperately wanting out of the car, yet.

One of my two, Hurricane Bailey, or just Bailey.

One of my two, Hurricane Bailey, or just Bailey.

I think it’s more telling when you can sit in silence with your significant other, not having to entertain each other, or feel like there needs to be a conversation in order for us to be an awesome couple. I think when you find someone you can enjoy the silence with, that speaks louder than words.

We made our way through Wichita Falls, Amarillo and other small farm towns before we hit New Mexico. I was shocked by how quiet these small towns were. Not many people on the road, except the few cars that were driving through, and the one flashing yellow light on Main Street. Not official ghost towns, but close enough.

A quaint building in small town, Texline.

A quaint building in small town, Texline.

As we entered New Mexico, the scenery hadn’t changed much. When you enter a new state the scenery should immediately change, especially for people who have been in a car for 5 hours already. Though, it was starting to get hillier, the clouds were getting lower and that dirt mountain rock began to appear, we were inching closer and closer.

Finally out of Texas. Two more states to go!

Finally out of Texas. Two more states to go!

"Rocky Mountain Dirt Stuff"

“Rocky Mountain Dirt Stuff”

About 25 minutes upon entering New Mexico, the Jeep overheated and we couldn’t go above 40 mph. There was a loud grinding noise and we had to pull over. What kind of car overheats in 60 degree weather? Thank Zeus for Google. The Hubs got onto a message board, found the trick, and after a mini freak out from me, we were on our way again.

(Apparently, other Jeep owners had this overheating problem also when they drove 75-80 mph for a long period of time. If you find yourself in this problem, put the car in neutral, wait for the transmission light to go off, and wah-la, you’ll be on your way.)

As we entered Colorado, FINALLY, The Rocky Mountains, with their thin blue mist, were to the west driving with us the last 3 hours of the trip. The change in scenery helped, a little, but we were all ready to be done. That last leg of the ride always takes the longest.

The Hubs with the Rockies in the back.

The Hubs with the Rockies in the back.

While we wound up and down and around the mountains, we noticed a few historical signs talking about some memorial, we decided to Google, nothing like a little history on a long trip.

Ruins of Ludlow - Wiki

Ruins of Ludlow – Wiki

The Ludlow Massacre was an attack on the miners and families of Ludlow Colorado, by Colorado National Guard and Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. At the start of the fighting, any where between 19-26 people were burned to death in a single tent, women and children alike.

The strikes lasted from September 1913 to December 1914. It was dubbed one of the worst and deadliest incidents in southern Colorado history. The strikes were led by the United Mine Workers of America, and were fighting for better working conditions.

Interestingly enough, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. was the chief owner of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. The results from this massacre, led to 8 hour work days and chill labor laws.

Historian Howard Zinn described the Ludlow Massacre as “the culminating act of perhaps the most violent struggle between corporate power and laboring men in American history”.

In total, around 200 miners and their families lost their lives. The remains of the burnt town can still be seen in the completely abandoned city of Ludlow Colorado in the southern part of the state.

As we pulled into our hotel parking lot, It took everything I had to not run underneath the bed covers and fall asleep. It was dark by the time we pulled in to Colorado Springs, so I could only see shadows of mountain tops, but it was nice to know they were there.

In the morning, it was going to be a beautiful sight and I can’t wait to get the party started, vacation never felt so good.