Day 1: SLC Trip – Kansas City, Missouri to Vail, Colorado

Scott has a two week training course in Salt Lake City, Utah these next few weeks, so we decided to drive out and enjoy the views. Scott took some vacation days, tacked on to the end of the trip, so we could go a more southern route back home.

On Saturday we (endured) the drive across Kansas. I think the countryside and Flint Hills of Kansas are interesting and unique, but……for hours and hours and hours on end. Not so much.

We left Kansas City at 7am – excited and ready for our adventure!

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We had JUST turned the corner from home and saw this BEAUTIFUL morning site in a neighbor’s yard. The sunbeams…the tire swing…the roses…the picket fence… I made Scott turn around and stop so I could take a picture. That’s, my friends, called ‘foreshadowing’ of the day ahead! – ha

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The clouds were all separated and so fluffy white. Everywhere you looked were clouds in the sky and their shadows on the ground. I liked the view from my passenger window: clouds in the sky, in my side mirror and even reflected on our car.

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I love the site of wind turbines. There is something very European or Scandinavian about their design. I also loved the juxtaposition of new progress to old stand-bys…

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So many state signs merely appear on the side of the road with little to no fanfare. It’s always funny to me that Colorado has an actual area to pull off and take pictures under the sign. They KNOW that people are excited about their trip to Colorado. There was a group of cars there as we pulled off. Each of us taking the other groups pictures and visa versa. Maybe Colorado isn’t so magnificent. Maybe it’s just because you’ve spent all day crossing the endless plains of Kansas!

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We drove by the city of Denver, but wanted to get up into the mountains before the sun went down so we didn’t make a stop in the city.

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We stopped at some outlook points along the way through the Rockies. We stopped and talked to many friendly tourists and a few locals. Everyone was so helpful with taking pictures as well as pointing out places we definitely needed to see – always ending with a sincere, “Enjoy your visit!”

The below picture was merely to point out where we were standing and the specks down below that were the cars on the road below.

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Is it an accident that Scott’s Alzheimer’s shirt has an arrow pointing directly at me?!?!

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As many times as I’ve been to Colorado, the majesty of it never ceases to amaze me. Awe me. It was equally (if not more so) fun to experience it with Scott. Both of us were gawking out the windows and erupting in “Look over here!” and “Check out this side!” After quite awhile of driving and madly taking pictures, Scott wrapped it all up: “This freakin’ ROCKS!!!” Followed later by, “I’m having a BLAST!” We were both unable to contain the excitement and adrenaline that comes from absolute beauty as far as the eye could see.

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This restaurant had the coolest sign – and it was for sale. I totally think we should buy it…

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(This might be the one that we could more accurately afford…)

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I kept commenting on the evergreens. I kept thinking about one evergreen in the yard of a house and how large it can be. But then to multiply that by millions…they seemed so small, comparatively, but when you stopped to hone in on how large they are in real life – it kind of blew my mind.

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We were visiting Colorado at a really great time. The mountains were mostly still capped with snow, but the streams and rivers were roaring and white-capping from the melting snow. Most of the ski resorts, of course, were closed, but this one still had a few snowmobiles zooming around.

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Did. Not. Like. Driving. Through. Long. Tunnels. Through. The. Mountain. It got too freaky thinking the ‘What ifs’ – and it didn’t help seeing Fire Exits along the way. ugh. Certainly not one of my favorite things.

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You guys. This little event really freaked me out. We came out of the Eisenhower Tunnel and started a very steep downhill decent. A vehicle in front of us blew out their tire. Cars were swerving around the van to get out of the way – and there was really nothing anyone could do. Scott kept saying, “Why aren’t they getting off the road?! Why don’t they pull over?” It would have been difficult to do, but there was a shoulder. The vehicle kept getting over to the right, but kept driving. The smoke was billowing out the back from the burning tire that was shredding more and more as it kept going…

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I kept taking pictures. I don’t know why, but I did…

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When we got up next to the driver, as we drove around the van, I glanced over at the driver. I gasped and my hands went up to my mouth, “It’s a girl! OH NO!! She was so young – had a cute ski hat on, with braided pigtails out the back. She looked like a cute, young snowboarder. She was gripping both hands on the steering wheel and was leaning WAY forward. All I could imagine was how absolutely PETRIFIED she must have been!!! We had passed a Vehicle Assist vehicle just a little while back, and knew it would be coming up on her shortly. In my side mirror, I saw her finally pulling off to the shoulder. It must have taken some work to gain control of the car. And just like that, I started crying. Crazy. The stupidest things overwhelm me to tears sometimes. I felt so, so, SO sorry for her. I just kept praying that she would make it home alright and never have to drive down the side of a mountain again for a VERY long time!

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Then the aspens began appearing. The sunset was shining through their glistening leaves. It was a beautiful “Welcome to Colorado, Scott and Greta!”

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We drove to Vail and decided to stop for the night. We secured our hotel – on the side of a ski resort – then drove down and walked through the a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e Vail Village. Oh my. We were in a whole new echelon of life. Wow. 

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We ate at this delicious pizza place. We sat by the open windows in 70 degree temperature and enjoyed the wonderful sites and sounds.

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The walk of aspens behind our hotel…

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I’m not sure why, but there were two sweet huskies laying in the lobby of our hotel.

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And this was the rushing creek behind our hotel. It was loud and mesmerizing! So gorgeous.

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We were tired and happy to be sleeping in a beautiful state – enjoying the sites together. What a fabulous first day we had!

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