Colorado vacation

What a great week we had traveling to and from Colorado, with a delightful 3 days spent in Beaver Creek, Colorado.  

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Good friend Susan spends a month in Beaver Creek each year and invited Carol and I for a visit.

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 We decided to drive and see the sights both coming and going.  We made a few stops along the way in Kansas.  We stopped in Hesston and went to the Dyck arboretum.

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 We just drove around and looked because it was 98 degrees.  Then we went to the town of Lindsborg, Kansas.

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 This town was settled by Swedish immigrants in 1869.  30% of the current residents are of Swedish descent.  There are Dala horses all over town.  The local Swedish gift store, makes and paints even more to sell.

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 The Dala horse is a traditional painted wooden statue of a horse that originated in the provide of Dalarna, Sweden.  I thought I might pick one up to bring home, but they were a bit pricey, so I opted for socks with Dala horses on them!  The downtown was delightful, with a myriad of quaint shops in the downtown.  Our last stop in Kansas was in Goodland at the world’s largest easel with a replica of Van  Goh’s sunflower painting

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—since Kansas is the sunflower state.  Of course, we did stop at a couple of  restaurants and one hotel along the way.

We entered  Colorado and made it through Denver.  We were going to stop at the Denver Botanical Garden, but it was 99 degrees so we didn’t think it was a good day to tour a garden.  Interestingly enough, it was hotter in Denver than Little Rock that day.

We soon saw the mountains as we left Denver.

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 We were excited to head into them, and the scenery was breathtaking.  I was not quite as excited once we were deep into the mountain ranges, since there were quite a few steep inclines and a lot of traffic.  As a first-timer, it was a bit harrowing.  Those that knew the terrain were flying by, but not us.  We were both happy when we arrived in Beaver Creek.  The first afternoon we went up to Beaver Creek Village

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and got the lay of the land and had dinner.  The weather was cool and delightful.

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 The vistas will take your breath away.  The next day we went for a walk, and then drove into town to see more of the local towns.  It was much warmer than we expected with highs in the mid to upper 80’s, but no humidity—but no air conditioning in most of the shops.  That evening we had an amazing dinner at Mirabelle.

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 Thursday was a full day in Vail, Colorado starting with a tour of the

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Betty Ford Alpine Garden,

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then we attended The Chef in the Garden lecture/demonstration.

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 We had a great food lecture from chef Pollyanna who showed us how to make ahi tuna poke. She also gave us many helpful cooking techniques, and we got to sample the dish. 

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 Afterwards, we walked the gardens a little more

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and then had a wonderful lunch at Sweet Basil,

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then explored more of Vail.

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 Everywhere you looked at both Beaver Creek

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and Vail,

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there were wonderful displays of seasonal color. 

When we sadly left Beaver Creek,

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we drove to Aspen and walked around and ate lunch, before beginning the drive home.  We went a different route out of Aspen.  We took Independence Pass on Highway 82.  

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While this is a photo from the past, today the route is still narrow with sharp drop-offs and windy roads

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—but well-paved.  Once again, I took it slow.  We stopped at the top at the Continental Divide

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and walked around a bit before finishing the drive down.  

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We made it as far as Trinidad, Colorado before calling it quits for the day.  Dinner was interesting with singing waiters!  Before we left Colorado on Saturday, we stopped in at a local nursery,

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then cut through the tip of New Mexico, the top of Texas before getting into Oklahoma where we stopped at another nursery

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and spent the night in Shawnee before getting home by noon today.

We drove close to 2000 miles and traveled through 6 states and two time zones.  We saw a lot of sites.  One thing I expected to see in Colorado were lots of wild animals.  Luckily we could pretend.  

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We saw only two chipmunks until our last two hours in Colorado when we saw a few mule deer and pronghorns.  We also saw a field of bison or buffalo but they were being commercially raised.  In Oklahoma we saw more pronghorns and deer.  The weather in Colorado was lovely, but warmer than we expected. It did cool down some at night, but we never wore a jacket.  We took warmer clothing than we needed, so we did get a bit warm at times, but there was little humidity so it felt great (a lot better than it does at home right now!).  Each day we were there it clouded up and we had a few raindrops and some lightening, but we never got wet.  It is beautiful country and quite diverse.  We packed a lot in a week.  We had a great time and made lots of new memories and developed deeper friendships.  We also met a lot of fun people along the way.  Traveling by car is great if you have the time.  You see so much more of our great country.

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