Monday, July 16, 2007

Only ONE month late...

I'm finally here to share with y'all about the Estes Park Wool Market. Yes, there will be photos too. Woo. (note, they were taken alternately with my Canon DSLR and my cellphone, because SOMEONE *sheepish smile* forgot the camera in our cottage at one point. Really, I just didn't feel like carrying it. So pardon varying quality in the images.)

....ooookay. Maybe there WON'T be any photos. Not yet, anyway. I know Ceci uploaded them to my gallery, but she didn't put them anywhere that I can find. Meh. I'll add the photos to this post later. Warning, I'm going to make a long story EVEN longer.


Woke up early, even though I had taken the day off of work. Pre-trip excitement and all of that. Got packed up, loaded Renee, Ceci and the munchkin, and our schtuff into the car, picked Dad up (he agreed to drop us off at the airport and wrangle the kid until Ceci's husband got off of work), and started our list of errands to do before leaving. We stopped at Robin's house superfast so I could make sure the chinchilla and cat would be fine food-wise until we returned on Sunday (picture the confused look on the chinchilla's face as I give him his food in a bigger than usual bowl that says "MEOW. It's a cat thing." on it), then we swung over to the Greek Pita House in Pflugerville to eat lunch. Zakiya (I hope I spelled her name right) was, as always, a wonderful hostess. I mean, how many restaurants can you think of where the owner runs the counter, recognizes you on sight, AND greets you with a hug? Renee is now also enamored of Zakiya and the REALLY good Greek food, and Zakiya is enamored of the idea of learning to knit and having us meet at her place for knitting sometime. With a photo to commemorate the beginning of our trip, and the gift of a scarf from Renee to Zakiya, we got back on the road to the airport.

We stopped to fuel up Bloo on the way, and that was about when it started RAINING. Not raining, RAINING. As in, rain going sideways so hard that I got SOAKED while gassing up the car well under the awning. We laughed about it and Renee, the airport veteran among us, drove to the airport. We unloaded and Dad left pretty quickly because the munchkin was passed out asleep and we didn't want him to wake up and freak out at Ceci leaving. I'd already printed boarding passes for us so we were able to go straight to our terminal...well, almost. Ceci got stopped by security because she didn't stop to check her bag before we got there, and they confiscated her lotion bottle (well, that one I warned her about and she was okay with it), and a little mini-Leatherman-esque multitool of mine that she had forgotten she had. Oh well. Only a minimal delay and the security people were all in all very friendly. Many kudos to them, they have a ROUGH job. Being able to do that day in and day out and still smile is a rare gift.

We chatted and knitted (of course) while we waited for the plane, and then boarded. (Amusing little side note: The Frontier Airlines planes each have a different named animal on their wings/tails. On our plane on the way to CO we had a heron whose name I can't remember, and who we forgot to photograph.) Yes, I got silly on the flight up and photographed (well, Ceci took most of them as she claimed the window seat) the ground below, the cloud cover when we got high enough, our WIPs, the altitude tracing thing on the neat little TV screens on the seat backs in front of us, and so on. Yeah, we were probably the obnoxious ones in our section of the plane. And then, we were in Denver.

Okay, I've had little to no experience with flights and airports, so my knowledge is limited to a handful of smaller airports, Austin, DFW, and now Denver. Of all of them, I think the Denver airport was the of them all. Huge, busy place. (And Renee walks FAST.) We took a shuttle bus to where our rental car was (can we say HUGE rental car lot?), got our car for the weekend, and then headed on our way to Estes one wrong turn and an extra loop around the airport. Did you know that the Denver airport (or at least part of it) looks like a giant spikey caterpillar? Now you do.

The drive up to Estes Park was at first pretty normal. EXPENSIVE toll road, normal highway, truckstop diner with REALLY good food and evilevil desserts, more normal non-interstate highway, and then...we hit highway 36. Okay, you know how people talk about those twisty, turny roads on the sides of mountains with a rock wall on one side and open air on the other? This highway wasn't QUITE that impressive, but it sure felt that way to me. (TONS of pictures of the drive up because we got snap-happy.) It took us longer to get to Estes Park proper than I thought it would, but I wasn't about to complain. I mean, the stuff we saw on the way up was GORGEOUS .... except for that giant chicken statue. That was just amusing.

Have you ever researched a place so much, looked at so many maps and read so many directions that when you get there you know which way to go even though you've never been there before? Yeah. That was Estes Park for me. I didn't need the directions I'd written for myself to get to the cottage that I'd reserved, and when we pulled in, Mr. Bradshaw himself was waiting for us. Very very sweeet and wonderful people, the cottage owners/managers. And our little cottage was tiny, quaint, and PERFECT. Now, when they told us the cottage backed up against a river, I expected the little house, maybe a bit of yard and some other stuff, and THEN the river. Nope. The little cottage was literally on the edge of the river, as in one foot closer and it would have been IN the water. Very cool, and amazingly soothing when we'd open the windows and hear the water rushing by.

We still had about an hour of sunlight left and Ceci and Renee wanted to see what we could before dark, so we took off walking. Everything seemed to be in easy walking distance. We stopped into a glassworker's shop that had some beautiful stuff but didn't want to spend all of our time there, so we vowed to return and continued on. Then we took lots of silly photos as we wandered about, and ended up in a fun little touristy T-shirt shop. Nothing really caught my eye, but Ceci found two things: a tshirt for the munchkin, and a little chipmonk looking critter hiding in the racks of shirts. The shop manager tried to catch the poor little critter (I at least got a photo of it), but it was just too small and too fast. We left there with Ceci worrying about it.

Then, it was dark and stores were closing so we went back to the cottage. Ceci and Renee went out to look for a grocery store for snacks and breakfast fixings for the morning, I stayed at the cottage and napped. (The river sounds are just that soothing, okay? Not to mention I got less than 4 hours of sleep the night before.) Then we spent the rest of the evening knitting, chatting, watching TV, and generally relaxing. GREAT first day.

(to be continued)

entrelac at 10:00 AM :: |