Thursday, August 4, 2016

Colorado 2016 - Part 2

Friday: When I was like 6 years old, we rode the Cog Rail up to the top of Pikes Peak. I remember I was terrified (thinking for sure this hummer was going over the side for some unknown reason) and a nun sat across from me. I wondered if this meant we were protected from falling off the side of the mountain or an Omen ...

I mistakenly did not book tickets on the Cog rail beforehand and they were sold out the entire week we were there. We opted to drive up to the top. I need to add a disclosure that I had been suffering from mild altitude sickness since we arrived (hard to breathe in thin air), going from 500ft to 8,000ft was a bit shocking for my system, apparently. The boys were forced to get off the pacifiers (screens) while we drove up and look at the beauty around them. I'm not sure who that act was more painful on ... us or them?

When we reached the top (14,220 ft) and I exited the Tahoe, the world began to spin. Hating any attention on me (medically anyway) I pretended it would go away and began walking to the gift shop. It only got worse and having previously discussed the gift shop having an "oxygen room" I immediately asked Nate to go find it. He asked the attendant who followed him to find me, and as I began to ask why we were there (getting confused), it bought me a trip to the full-time EMT they have working there. I was escorted to a back room where he presented a rickety old 1960s wheelchair. As I proceeded to tell him there was no way my "fat-ass would fit in that" I was slowly melting Maysen off the chair nearby and basically sitting on his lap.

"Bryan", the hot EMT, put the pulse oximeter on my finger, which tells you how oxygenated your blood is. The goal is anything higher than 90%. Usually anything below 90% requires oxygen. As it registered my reading, I looked at it and said "Oh, 95%, that's not bad!" He told me to turn it around (as I was reading it upside down) and I saw the problem: 56%. Not to mention my pulse was running about 140 to compensate. That bought me an non-rebreather oxygen mask and many faces peering at me - you know how cats will look at bugs as they crawl in front of them with that face-half-cocked look? I had Maysen and Griffin looking at me that way. After about 10 minutes I was good as new and away we went down the mountain. 

Fargo's Pizza was an iconic place in Jenn and I's minds. Lots of old clocks, women in 1800s dress, and your order number would eerily appear silently in the mirror. It was as good as I remember, but not as busy.

We all then went and watched Jason Bourne. Jo fell asleep through part of it, and I was right behind her. She and I both were struggling a bit with the altitude and I think after being up so high, we were both just pooped out. All of the boys liked it though.

Saturday: Cave of the Winds was something that you never forget. The smell of damp, clay, and dirt all mix in your nose as you get goosebumps from the chill in the cave. I've been so many times I could recite the welcome speech when your group meets. Dad and I had discussed going to look at some of the awesome antique stores in a nearby town called Florence, so Nate took the boys to Cave of the Winds.

Now, it's been 15 years since we were last there. This place is no longer just an attraction for people to sign up and get a tour of the cave. Oh, no. There were zip lines, food carts, balance contraptions, raptor rides, and the list likely goes on. 

The boys were pleasantly surprised to not have to only have to walk through a cave but they also got to swing from things and eat things out of a truck. Score! 

Also having said that, I think if none of that was there, the boys would have enjoyed it just the same. Look at this face. You would have gotten the eye roll face, not this one. I got a call on our way home from the Antique Market telling me about the part where they shut the lights off during the tour to show how dark it is. "And guess what? You can REALLY go blind if you don't see light for 6 weeks!!!" like he's somehow wanting to either prove that right or prove it wrong. That was quickly followed by "you would have hated it though - too closed in." They know me well! Haha.

I found a kitchen clock from 1868 that I really wanted, but they wouldn't budge on their price. Plus I was picturing how to get that hummer on the plane to bring home:

"Ladies and Gentleman the captain has turned on the Fasten Seat--"

"BOOOONNNNNGGGGG .... BOOOOONNNNNGGGG..." (while looking forward, eyes as big as saucers, avoiding eye contact) while I held it in my lap.

I'm 6. Sitting with my best friend Cherina, who lives across the street. Her dad is behind the bar at the American Legion serving us popcorn and soda out of those guns where you choose on the handle which soda you want to pour. (I always wanted to run one of those). The Legion was packed waiting for the melodrama to start. There was a buzz in the air; the HISSSSS, and BOOOOO signs were leaned up against the piano as the pianist played light-hearted music. This was my memory of "The Melodrama" from growing up and I hadn't been to one in 25 years. The last one I went to was when my father, so out of character for him, was asked to play the part of the town drunk (and did so swimmingly). So when I saw there was one playing in Manitou Springs, right where Dad and Jo were staying, I went for it.

The title was Mary's Peril, a tale of a beautiful wealthy daughter who inherited a fortune being manipulated by a man who was after her money. Of course the handsome Sheriff shows up and saves the day.

Dinner was served first and it was a family-style of dinner. We all had pot roast and they brought out huge bowls of mashed potatoes, green beans, and rice. It was absolutely delicious. After apple cobbler dessert, we went up to watch the melodrama. Maysen hadn't been getting too good of sleep so his attitude had been a problem that day. Everytime someone would BOOOOO or CLAP he'd jump, cover his ears, and act like he was being shot at. Stinker. We asked for a family photo before going into the play. As you can see in the picture, we were photo bombed by the Sherriff in the play waving from behind us all. The gentleman we asked to take our picture was actually the comedy-relief-sidekick to the Sherriff in the play. As I sat down to see how our picture turned out, I found this:

I guess he really wanted us to have a picture of him, too! It was hilarious to find and unexpected, as he never let on that he was doing this. It was a terrifically fun night. 

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