day 3: the mile high city (and then some)
Colorado has never let us down yet. Today our destination was Glenwood Springs, with lots of stopping in-between. After a breakfast of hard boiled eggs, waffles an fresh nectarines, we left Ogallala at 8am, and headed west.
The first stop was LaFiesta Mexican restaurant in Denver, as a former resident of the mile-high city, Rico's favorite chile' rellanos were calling his name. He was in absolute heaven, and the rest of us were not disappointed either - fresh tortillas with cheese and rice for Yoda, marinated beef burrito, for Kooka, chicken enchiladas with green chile sauce for me, and for Punk - a cheeseburger (we do what we can, but we're not miracle workers). He did love the crushed chile salsa though, so we can score one for new experiences.
Another new experience for most of us was a ride down the alpine coasters at Heritage Square in Golden, Colorado. We rode the ski lifts up, then coasted a mile down the mountain. Punk and Rico beat everyone down but even Neeks was shouting "Woo-Hoooooooo!" as we flew down the half-pipe. One quick carousel ride later we were back in the car, headed for another first.
Phoenix Gold Mine in Idaho Springs, Colorado is owned by a third generation miner. For five bucks a pan you get a lesson from an experienced miner and access to the mountain stream for as long as you'd like.
Oh, and did I mention the unlimited, overly friendly chipmunks?
Four of us thought they were adorable, feeding them large handfuls of sunflower seeds, (which the miners generously dole out to anyone who asks). One of us though they were Hitchcockian. Seriously.
Not only is too much of anything freakish, but these things were FEARLESS. Call me crazy, but nothing about hordes of fearless, starving rodents is entertaining. And it goes without saying, that where there are that many chipmunks, there are also things that eat chipmunks. Punk did convince me to feed one, and well, it was just a little bit adorable, for just one second.
Didn't stop me from slamming the van doors to keep them out of our stash of Veggie straws.
Upstream, we managed to find a few gold flakes, and a lot of dust.
There are two types of gold miners:
Needless to say, neither of them found more than dust, - none of us did - but we had a great time trying, and even when Yoda fell face first into the creek, she wanted to keep panning. Then again, she insisted that every tan or yellow rock she found was gold, so strike a point for optimism.
Dinner was Pazzo's Pizza in Vail Village, followed by dessert at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
Our stop for the night is Red Mountain Inn, in Glenwood Springs. Tomorrow is Utah, with more adventures, and (hopefully) fewer rodents.