Wednesday 12th December
Today was mostly uneventful due to a large amount of driving. The breakfast was pretty average compared to the other motels we’ve stayed at. We didn’t check out until around 10:30am or so, then drove through the Colorado National Monument, which is an absolutely stunning canyon area. The snowy parts of the road was a little scary, but we didn’t slide off the cliffs, so that was an advantage!
By the time we got back to I-70, it was already lunch time. So we headed back to Grand Junction to have lunch at the Village Inn. My lunch was more breakfasty, as it consisted of hash browns, sausage and strawberry & cream crepes.
When we headed off after lunch, we drove straight through on I-70 (a very picturesque drive, by the way, and we also passed an amusing town called “No Name”) until we got to Denver, then took some streets to get to Parker, where my cousin Kathy lives. I tried calling all my relatives that live in the area to let them know we were coming through, but I couldn’t get hold of any of them.
When we actually got to Parker, we found out how specifically to get to Kathy’s house, but no one was home. So we went out to Chili’s for dinner. That was a pretty good meal, too. We then tried one more time to check if Kathy was home, to no avail. So we checked into the local Super 8, as it was already after 9pm. It was more expensive than I’d have liked, but there wasn’t really any alternative.
Doyle fell asleep on the second bed in the room, so I put a blanket over him, stuck two pillows either side of him, and let him sleep there. When he woke up for his midnight snack, he had almost crawled off the bed before I got to him! I don’t think I’ll be letting him sleep on a bed by himself again anytime soon…
Thursday 13th December
Breakfast this morning wasn’t significantly better than yesterday’s, but at least there were bagels as well. Doyle had oatmeal while he was crawling around the floor, and at one point he said “up” when he was trying to use my chair to help himself into a standing position. Coincidence? Probably. But he’s still at a very cute stage right now. I’m sure his grandparents will notice vast improvements when we get home, and are probably a little disappointed that they’re missing out on all these things.
After breakfast, I tried again to get in touch with the folks here. I eventually got in touch with Kathy, still in Laramie looking after Aunt Cora. But she told us how to get in to her house, and that her husband would be home tonight, so we didn’t have to spend another night in this motel.
So we packed up all our things again and headed for Kathy and her husband Gary’s. We let ourselves in and made ourselves at home, and waited until Gary got home before having an early lunch and heading out.
We drove to the nearest light rail station and took the train into Union Station in Downtown Denver. Then we took the free mall bus to the other side of the 16th St mall, and did the walking tour described in a magazine Jeremy picked up at the motel this morning. Our tour took us to the State Capitol Building, the Civic Centre, the library, art museum, natural history museum, US Mint, 16th St Mall and the Denver Pavilion, a spa hotel place on 17th and Tremont, a building that was the tallest building west of the Mississippi when it was built in 1909, the Denver Convention Centre and Performing Arts Centre, Larimer Square and The Oxford Hotel, which is the oldest hotel in Denver or Colorado or something. So I guess you could say we saw a lot of Downtown Denver. Despite how many times I’ve been to Denver, I don’t think I’ve seen any of this before.
Then we headed back to Union Station and took the light rail back to Lincoln. On the way, I realised there was a station for the Six Flags theme park – again, another Denver attraction I’ve never been to, though closed in winter or I’d probably have gone on my last trip to the States. So I need to make a note of that for next time we’re in Denver. I would like to go there some time. I’m big on big theme parks with big rides. Adventure World back home is pretty tame compared to the theme parks I’ve been to and enjoy most.
So then we got back to Kathy and Gary’s, and the disappointment of not being able to cook something interesting with Kathy again began to set in. Next time we shall have to organise it better! Dinner consisted of finally using up our can of turkey and beans, on top of the bagels we snatched from the motel this morning, like we were eating sloppy joes. We didn’t hear from Kathy’s brother Roy or his wife Betty, either, which was a shame. I wonder if I’ll find out what was up.
When it was time for bed, Doyle woke up too many times than I cared to count, and the only thing that settled him was my breast. I think he might be starting to cut his top teeth now. In the end, he found his way into our bed for the rest of the night. He slept a lot better then.
Friday 14th December
We knew it was coming up, but it’s finally here. No more United States. Well we got up around 7am and got ready to leave the country. We were out the door a little after 8:30am, and dropped off the hire car about an hour later. Then we managed to check in just fine, but our flight left about an hour or so late.
The flight itself was pretty good, even though it was during lunch time and they only gave us drinks and pretzels. I sat next to a Vancouver local named Rachel, who was very nice and friendly with Doyle before the plane took off. We also chatted a little between us. Doyle fell asleep soon after takeoff, which coincided perfectly with the inflight movie, Stardust. I actually quite enjoyed the film, so was glad that it was selected for the flight’s entertainment. There wasn’t much time for anything else, as the flight itself lasted less than three hours.
When we got into Vancouver, was passed through this neat native display, with real live birds! We also got pushed into the short queue through customs – Doyle being our ticket to the front of the line. It didn’t really help us much when we got to the baggage, though. Even though we were one of the first there, we were also one of the last to leave. Why? Because some of the bags had fallen off where they’d been clogged up, out the back, and we didn’t want to leave without Doyle’s bed! When it was finally sorted, we grabbed a map of Vancouver and hopped into a taxi to our motel.
Jeremy ended up not being so sure about the location, but I thought he cared more about the price than the location. I’m sure it’ll be okay anyway. So we dropped off our things into our room then headed next door to McDonald’s to get something to eat. Well, if you’d only had pretzels for lunch, you’d have been hungry by 5pm Denver time too! We didn’t have much, but it was enough that we didn’t also need dinner later.
When we got back to the motel, Jeremy realised he accidentally brought our Denver rental car’s keys with us. Um, whoops? I guess we’ll have to post them back tomorrow. I was in such a stressed rush this morning, worried we wouldn’t check in on time, that I took everything out of the car while Jeremy checked it back in. Perhaps I’d have noticed if I’d stayed in the front with him. I really hope they don’t charge us for the mistake, but I have no idea how they’d move the car unless they have spare keys!
Doyle was a bit funny trying to sleep again tonight, but hopefully it won’t be as bad as last night.