The Waffle House Chronicles...

Friday, September 19, 2008

One more Colorado Post

We had a really nice last day in Colorado. With the exception of snow in the highest of elevations the weather was perfect (low 70's every day!) The last day was pretty laid back. We went to the outlet mall and checked some stuff out (you could try on Pearl Izumi stuff!) Also watched some people fly fish. We then headed back down to Breckenridge, 'cause when in doubt just go to Breck. Got to Breck and had some sweet slices of pizza! Good eats! We then explored as last time we were there I stumbled upon this crazy ropes course that I couldn't find when I wasn't on my bike. We finally found it this time and even saw some other cool stuff. Jess and I both tried it (bum ankle and all, oh well.) Went back up and found this beautiful resevoir which had tons of trout (you could see several anywhere you looked.) Then I went to ice my foot in the stream again, doesn't get any more perfect then the park in downtown Breck. Once that was done we were kind of at a loss for anything to do. Jess had wanted to go on a gold mine tour but they were closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so that sucked. But I told her we'd drive up to it and check it out. We went to it and the road looked cool so we went on and on. Pretty soon it was pretty much like a 1-lane road maintained for AWD cars, but the Avalon is never scared. We ended up climbing a mountain pass and came upon the Sally Barber mine. We couldn't go in anything but it was really neat. We found lots of (probably fools) gold up there. It was sweet! The drive back to town was even more sketchy but no worries, we made it down good. Got back to Breck and headed back to Dillon. Packed some stuff up and chilled. We then went to Ruby Tuesday's. I highly recommend the Triple Prime burger (sorry, forgot the camera) as it might be the new number 3 burger. Really good. Watched the movie Get Shorty (good flick) while we packed up. Then to bed.
Got up super early so we could get out before Denver rush hour. Made great time out and had Taco Bell for brunch. Our plan was for an early supper at Dave & Busters in Omaha at about 3. Of course they don't open until 4:30 so we drove on to Des Moines for some pasta bowl instead. We had a hotel in Des Moines that night and we watched Jerry Maquire. What an excellent movie, I forgot how good it was. Thursday we had some things to take care of in Des Moines quick, washed that all down with some Sonic and headed back to Madison. Got here about 1 and was at work by 1:45. :( Worked until almost 7 and headed home. I got Grand Theft Auto 4 for PS3 (ebayed it before I left, waiting when I got home) and played that for a while before bedtime. Now I get to not play basketball this morning (or tomorrow morning) so the weekend will be laid back!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Colorado Post

So Day 3 has come and gone. It was weird trying to do things in the mountains when you can't walk much. Fortunately there are many beautiful sites you can drive to so that's what we did. The day started off early however as we needed to make the trip to Daylight Donuts in Breck. Awesome food, cool atmosphere and great prices make this the place to go for locals. Fortunately on a Monday morning in September the line didn't reach out the door like it did in the summer. Good start. We then headed up to the Quandary Peak trailhead at Blue Lakes. That is the start of the harder but shorter climb but it is also very scenic. Having a messed up ankle and all there would be no climbing but it was so beautiful to be there. We headed back down to Breck and then up Boreas pass which is a gravel pass that used to have the old railroad. The drive was insane with some spaces being wide enough for barely one car and exposure too. The views were excellent as you could view Quandary and all of Breck. We got to the top and they had some of the old railroad buildings. We spent a little time up there and decided to go back down the other side (which would leave us a long trip back.) We decended the other side and then got stopped at the bottom. There was a Med Flight chopper and some guy on a stretcher with his neck strapped in. His foot was all bloody as well. He was moving around and talking so that was good, no idea what happened and they also sent an ambulance up the pass which makes me wonder if another was injured. We headed back up Hoosier pass to Breck (and getting to see some more 14k mountains.) We decided to hit the Empire Burger again, it's the best thing going in Colorado.

It was 70 and sunny in Breck so we got to eat outside even!After that we strolled around the town for a bit. I soaked my ankle in the super cold blue river for a half hour or so. It was nice to take it easy and relax and Breck is the coolest town I know. We headed back to the condo to rest for a while. We worked on a puzzle and watched some movies. We then headed out for supper at the Dillon Dam Brewery. And since this blog is about food I'll post my mashed potatoes and chicken! :) After the brewery it was dark and the moon was full so a nice moonlit drive on the Dillon Dam was in order. This picture doesn't do this justice as the reflection of the moon on the resevoir and the outline of mountains made it almost surreal.It is now Tuesday morning and this is our last day here. Probably more of the same in store but we'll see!

Monday, September 15, 2008

How Mark ruined a Colorado Vacation

Above is the view out of our condo window on a crisp Sunday morning. After lazing around we got going and headed out to Winter Park. Winter Park has one of the best bike parks in the US having just hosted the Crankworx festival last month. We were pretty excited. We decided on the way to take Hwy 6 over Loveland Pass. Of course decending downhill in the mountains in a car your speed can get carried away. I got caught doing 69 in a 50 zone and I wasn't even trying to speed. Fortunately the ticket for 19 over is only $70 in Colorado, not too bad. We got up to Loveland to check out some mountains. There are some pretty sweet ski resorts here, I just don't even know how you would choose one. I guess you can't go wrong anyways. We got to Winter Park and decided to have lunch. Low and behold the Packers game was just starting and we found a brew pub with the game on. By the time we were done eating the Pack was up 21-o. Headed to the park and bought some lift tickets and got ready. (Fear the Yeti!) Lift riding is the life, all the crazy terrain you want without having to kill yourself physically to get there. First run was nice, we had to take Long's trail as they had a Super D on the Cheyenne trail. Longs was a great trail. Got to the bottom and the Boot Camp trail was open. They still had all the Crankworx stunts there but not for us to ride (not that I can see how anyone could ride any of those.) They did have the dual slalom course and some dirt jumps and a pump track available so we tried those out. We rode Cheyenne later (fastest fun trail) and the boulevard (lots of nice jumps.) On our 4th time down we did Cheyenne then some other trail then I had Jess go ahead of me on Boot Camp to get photos. Here is me over a wood riser. I did some table tops without photo then I went to ride the wall ride. (This is about 1/8 of the ride as it loops around like a big horseshoe and if you have like 15mph and stick the tires at a good angle it is insanely fun.)I rode it once earlier and did it ok. This time however I was convinced to grab more speed. Of course I entered it well but I caught my left pedal on it and I was down. While I was sliding around however my shoe caught a plank and bent my whole ankle around, it was awful. And it was the end of the day and end of anything athletic this trip. While I am convinced I haven't broken anything I have a very sprained ankle (I can barely walk) and I bent my achilles and ankle both about 90 degrees to the left. So I can't really move my ankle and I can't put much weight on it (I can get around with a mean limp though.) I haven't had pain like that in a long time as I couldn't even get up to move me. Of course I got to see the next 20 people ride along the wall ride perfectly as I lay there in pain. And unfortunately Jess was on the other side of the ride to get my photo coming off of it but no photos. Next time I will run less air pressure, keep my pedal up and corner with a little more angle. We rode back to the car and packed up and headed back. The trip back was uneventful. Hit Wendys for supper as a Frosty seems to always make things better. We settled in with the movie Baby's Mama and I fell asleep to that around 8 not awaking until 6:30 this morning. I'll post more about today later (we are making the best out of it, secretly Jess is happy as I am not going to make her try to climb any more mountains.) The weather here is beautiful (70 and sunny today!)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Colorado- The Trip Out and Day 1

So here I am, it's 5:44 on a Sunday Morning in Dillon, CO using a 1 bar strength boot-legged Internet signal. We don't have cable TV so we live and die newswise through this little signal.

We left Friday at 1:20pm. The day at that point was going pretty well already (I had just gotten Pain Amusment Park for PS3, had some good basketball, got caught up at work, won an ebay auction for another PS3 game and got alot of work done around the house and the car packed.) We headed out for our journey to Omaha. As expected the nicest part of the trip was to the Wisconsin border, good weather, no traffic, etc. From Iowa on it rained. And harder and harder. Throw in about 15 stretches of construction and that was the drive. But all was not lost, got to hit the world's best burrito place in Des Moines, IA. (Bandit Burrito)

Got to Omaha at about 8:45 and we had a reservation at the Clarino hotel. Turns out it was a Clarion hotel that got dropped by Clarion so they just changed two letters around. Hilarious! And good night by 9:15.

Woke up at 5 as there were two summits waiting for us in Colorado. Driving through Nebraska and the first three hours of Colorado is bad. Satellite radio is nice though. We get about 80 miles out from Denver and see the mountains. Jess' first comment was, "looks like they are all covered in snow." I told her the rocks were just really gray as it is early September and that is usually the time with the least amount of snow. Of course getting closer and closer I got worried too. Yep snow, everywhere! We fueled up at a Subway and Super Target convinced it would be just a light dusting that would melt. We get to Idaho Springs to go up to Mount Evans. I never made it to the true summit last year when I rode my bike up (I was about a 200 feet hike away) so we wanted to make it up to Summit Lake and climb from there (2k vertical, class 2-3 scramble.) But we get to the road and it says it is closed. Stupid snow. But me being me I want to get up there some time this trip so I find the ranger station and find out the road was just opened an hour ago (not to the top, just to Summit Lake) and we should go. We get to Summit Lake and begin our hike. 3/10 of a mileup the road and then straight up a coulour (valley face) to the top. Except the snow drifts were so large we never found the trail (we went about a mile.) We could see Denver from where we were, it was insanely small (so small a blog photo wouldn't work.) So we head back to the car dissappointed. We do meet a couple however who inform us of an open trail to the summit. They tried and got about 1/3 of a mile (it's 2.5 miles each way) and turned around. Jess and I grabbed our cramp ons and were off. It was the hardest .6 miles I've ever walked. Clouds came rolling in and we decided that there was no way we could summit and make it back. And it was very unsafe. We wanted to hike a saddle to another summit from Evans as well but both were out of question on this day. We did get high enough (an extra 500 feet or up to over 13,3oo feet) and saw some excellent views.

The drive down was much better than my bike ride down. We didn't see any mountain goats but did see a couple marmots and some pika (alpine chipmunks.) We got back down pretty swiftly and then to our condo in Dillon. Of course we drove by the other three summits we wanted to hit as well and each had well over a foot of snow. I am still hoping to do one but the other two we can't even make it to the trailhead. Oh well they are mountains they will always be here! My car did hit 150,000 miles, I was hoping it would be in the Eisenhower tunnel but it was about 7 miles earlier instead (if I would've only rode my bike to work 2 more times.)

The disappointment of having to change our trip from summits to other things would not last long though as we headed for one of our favorite restaurants (Empire Burger) in Breckenridge. Breck had their whole Main Street shut down for Octoberfest and the drunks were out in full force. But we got in just before the rush and had a great meal. Jess had one of her top 3 nachos and I one of my top three burgers. Life was good. On the way out I caught this license place and thought of my boxer. He loves it when we leave as he gets to play all day at the kennel. Popeye I think isn't a fan though but oh well.

Today we are going to ride the Winter Park Bike Park. They just had crankworks there last month so it should be dialed (but chilly.) My new bike is ready to rock!!!