Tag Archives: baseball

Colorado, Part 1!

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 :)

Coors Field

At the Rockies Game

With my brother and mom

O, Christmas Tree

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*

Enjoying some wild flowers

Flowers EVERYWHERE

It was too early to check into our hotel when we got into Estes Park, so we went and had some lunch at Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ. It wasn’t quite Bill Miller’s BBQ, but it was still pretty tasty.

At Smokin’ Daves

My parents at lunch

Hummer for our tour

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.

Dave, our tour guide

At the top of our tour

I love this guy.

On our park Hummer tour

View from the top of our tour

View from the top of our tour

Rams Horn Village

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).

Welcome sign on our cabin

The guys working on dinner

Dinner is definitely cooking!

Thankful for family meals

We called it a night early… we would be getting up on Saturday at 5:30 to get ready for our rafting trip!

Chicago Trip, Part 2!

After our morning at the Evanston Farmers Market, we went back to Rachel’s apartment to drop off some produce she purchased. We then got our tickets for the Cubs game and prepared to make our way over to Chicago! Once again, the location of Rachel and Mark’s apartment is really central so we were able to walk just a few blocks to the closest train stop. Once we got on the train and made our first stop, it quickly filled up with other people in their Cubs gear and we followed the crowd off at the Wrigley Field exit. The game wouldn’t be starting for another hour but the ballpark was already pretty full – those fans take their Cubs games seriously!

Game tickets!

Waiting for the L train

Fans getting ready for the game

I was already really excited to be going to a Cubs game with Rachel; Wrigley Field is just such a classic ballpark! But what made this game even better is that they would be playing the Arizona Diamondbacks! Having grown up in Tucson, I was a pretty devoted Dbacks fan back in high school and my first couple years of college. Not sure if I should be proud of it or not, but I know a few too many facts about our 2001 World Series against the Yankees. However after that 2001 win, the team began to do a lot of trades and soon all my favorite players were gone. It was hard to follow the team while living in San Antonio since I know longer had the dependable Arizona Fox Sports channel to watch and keep me updated. Long story short, I haven’t done a great job following the Diamondbacks over the last five years or so. But. I was still very excited that of all the teams the Cubs could be playing this Saturday, they would be playing my old team. I did feel conflicted over who to cheer, but I had to go for the Cubbies! (although I did quietly clap whenever any of the Dbacks I still followed made a good play or got a hit)

Our seats were awesome… Rachel did a great job picking them out! There are a couple of key factors when buying tickets at Wrigley Field. 1-Watch out for the beams. It’s an old ballpark, so there are a lot of visible support beams that can obstruct your view. 2-The ballpark doesn’t have a roof, so don’t sit along the third base line for an afternoon game unless you plan to get a nice tan/sunburn. Rachel got us tickets along the first base line, under the shade of the level above us and in between two support beams. In other words, pretty much perfect :) The game got off to a slow start, but the Cubs soon got the momentum going and eventually won the game 4-1. We actually left the game a little early at the top of the 9th. It was starting to rain again and we were hoping to beat the rush of people back onto the train. We had pretty good timing and didn’t have any difficulty getting ourselves some seats for the ride back.

Ready for the game!

Play ball!

Such an awesome ballpark

Score outside the stadium

Once we got back to Rachel’s apartment in the afternoon, we started working on our dinner plans. We kept our fingers crossed that the rain would let up so we could go back to Chicago and eat downtown and thankfully, it did! Instead of taking the train again we instead drove into the city and had dinner at this great restaurant called Niu Japanese Fusion Lounge. I highly recommend this place to anyone looking for some awesome sushi in Chicago! I’m no sushi expert (I’ve really only had it a few times) but this was rather phenomenal sushi :)

After dinner, we did some window shopping on Michigan Avenue. For all the on and off rain we had had over the weekend, the weather really couldn’t have been any nicer for our time walking around! The only hiccup in our evening of shopping was Crate & Barrel closing at 7:00… what’s up with that?

Walking to Michigan Avenue

View from Michigan Avenue at night

Hancock Tower

We got back to Rachel’s apartment after our shopping, watched another episode of Downton Abbey (season two is intense!), ate some brownies and called it a night to a very full, long day.

We went to church Sunday morning and it was great getting to meet some of Mark and Rachel’s new community. The weather was staying sunny, so we decided to take advantage of the sun and head over to the Evanston beach. Again, Lake Michigan is huge. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a man made beach! We spent an hour or so there reading and laying out in the sun and then walked back to Rachel’s apartment in the afternoon to get my bags packed and ready for my flight in the evening.

I am so glad I was able to spend those couple of days with such a dear friend. I am so impressed at how Mark and Rachel have found their place in this new city, discovering great restaurants and finding new communities. I am so grateful for my friendship with Rachel and hope to be seeing her (and Mark!) sometime again soon!