Chip and I just got back from one of the prettiest places we’ve ever been to: Colorado. We spent four days there on a family vacation with my parents and brother. With Chip and I living in San Antonio, my brother spending the majority of his time in Omaha at school and my parents in Tucson, my mom really wanted us to all take a vacation so we could spend some time together apart from the holiday season. She’s had most of this trip booked for months, so we’ve had plenty of time to look forward to this trip! (I’d like to take this moment to thank Tripadvisor for all the tips and recommendations my mom found through this site)
Chip and I flew in to Denver Thursday afternoon and met up with my parents, who had arrived a few hours before us, and my brother Alex, who landed around the same time we did. I do have to say that Denver was not what I expected when we first flew in. I clearly haven’t looked at a map of Denver before, but I really thought we would land in a city completely surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains. Truth is, the landscape looks a little bit like Kansas when you first land. I had a Home-Alone2 moment where I was convinced we had accidentally gotten on the wrong flight, but luckily the flight attendant announced that we had landed in Denver. Lesson learned: Denver is not, in fact, nestled in the Rockies.
After getting through a bit of traffic, we made our way to our hotel to check in. We lucked out and got to stay at a great Embassy Suites downtown. Turns out all those trips to visit us kids in San Antonio and Omaha had paid off and my parents got to use all those hotel points for our stay in Denver. Once we dropped everything off at our hotel, we made our way over to dinner to meet up with my brother’s girlfriend’s dad and brother for drinks and dinner. My brother has been dating his girlfriend Teresa for a year now, so it was so great to meet her very kind dad and smart brother (he starts his college freshman year this week!) and hear stories about what a wonderful woman her mom was. After dinner, we walked over to Coors Field for a Rockies game. Now the Rockies aren’t having their best season, but we lucked out and saw them actually win a game! We also had some great seats along the first base line… so good that we were in foul ball range and actually had a ball land two rows in front of us. I would like to thank Chip and Alex for allowing me to pull them up off their seats and block me from this potentially dangerous baseball :)
We started Friday with a great breakfast at the hotel; really, Embassy Suites have the best continental breakfast around. We then made our way over Estes Park where we would spend the majority of our vacation. Estes Park is a little over an hour away from Denver and is a very pretty drive. As we entered Estes Park, the road was lined with different pine trees, which I loved. For those of you who don’t know, I’m mildly obsessed with Christmas. And by mildly obsessed, I mean I wouldn’t stop talking about decorating as many trees as possible if I lived in Estes Park. There were also very beautiful wildflowers everywhere. Not going to lie, I was pretty jealous of all the colorful flowers in Colorado while I thought about my dying flowers in Texas… *sigh*
After lunch, mom mom had booked for us an off-roading Hummer tour of the national park with Rock Mountain Rush. In true momma Lopez fashion, she had seen great reviews of this company on Tripadvisor, and specific positive feedback on one of the tour guides, Dave. So naturally, my mom booked us a tour with him. Dave was awesome. It was easy to tell how much he loves the land and he was able to teach us a lot about the national park, including these two tidbits:
– If you rub an Aspen tree, you can use the powder as a light sunscreen.
– There was a serious pine beetle problem going on and was the cause for many of the fallen pine trees in the park.
Dave also let us know that he has been off-roading since he was 14, so he definitely had a lot of experience under his belt. He’s great at reading the dirt roads and bumps and successfully got us pretty air-born on multiple locations (he called it the roller-coaster tour). It was such a fun excursion and we would definitely recommend this company (and tour guide!) to our friends.
After our tour ended in the afternoon, we went over to Rams Horn Village to check in for the rest of our time in Estes Park. Another find on Tripadvisor, my mom really liked that at Rams Horn we could all stay together in one cabin as opposed to being in a hotel. This place was awesome and we absolutely loved that it gave us a home-away-from-home feeling. We quickly went to the grocery store to stock up on some food for the weekend and got back to make dinner. While the guys grilled steaks outside, my mom and I made a salad, sangria and some cookies for dessert. We haven’t all been together since Thanksgiving, so it was a lot of fun to just sit around the table and enjoy a meal together (and in true Lopez form, tease everyone a bit, too).
We called it a night early… we would be getting up on Saturday at 5:30 to get ready for our rafting trip!