Tuesday, July 19, 2011

City Mice, Country Mice

Before we went on our western United States road trip a few weeks ago, Dan and I got to spend a weekend, celebrating our anniversary in downtown Denver.  This was a departure for us, as we almost always get off the beaten track on vacations, spending most of our time hiking or four-wheeling or just soaking up the country somewhere.  But, we thought it might be time for something a little different.  And, though, I can't say I'd want to make a habit of spending our precious down time in a city atmosphere, we were both pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed ourselves amidst the hustle and bustle of downtown Denver. 

It was a good time, literally living the high life in the Mile High City.  We got a room in a high rise (on the 31st floor!), and spent our days wandering around on concrete sidewalks, seeing the sights, taking in the sounds, doing some people watching.  (And there are some veerrry interesting people to behold in a big city, oh boy...)   The most enjoyable sight-seeing were the tours we got to take of the historic homes around the city, though, and the walk down to the Platt River bridge (and the awesome restaurant we found there) was a lot of fun.  And we got to meet Kevvy to catch a Rockies game!  Super fun!  There's a lot to do in the city!  I'd lived in the suburbs of Denver for over twenty years and had no idea there were such great parks and restaurants so close to downtown!  Go figure.  Dan and I were both pooped by the time we got home to our home in the hayfield -- and our feet were killing us!  But it was a blast. Though I'll always be more of a country mouse, I can sure appreciate the city mouse's digs!

 Here are a few shots of our city tour:

There were several of these beautifully painted vintage pianos throughout the 16th St. Mall in downtown Denver.  Folks were encouraged to sit down and play.  Very cool.  Some people were amazingly good, some not so much.  I so wished I had a couple of my piano playing youngins around to show off!

Here's my better half at a restaurant near the Platt River, downtown.  Super atmosphere; great food!

Check out "mirror man"!

The  bridge over the Platte River.

 But, then we went on our cross (western) country tour, and got to see so much beautiful country -- I just don't have the time to download all the pictures we got of beautiful scene after beautiful scene. Needless to say, the countryside all around Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming was gorgeous. The big sky country of Montana was breathtaking -- and, just as you'd guess -- amazingly grand and expansive.  The beautiful hills and trees of Washington state were lovely; the Columbia River Canyon in Oregon was unexpectedly magnificent; and the beaches of southern California were -- well, they were the beaches of southern California!  But, the countryside that stayed with all of us as the most truly spectacular were the Redwood Forests of northern California.  We all wished we had more time to spend exploring the paths, looking for the biggest trees!  Here are a few shots from the area around the Avenue of Giants:

Sometimes you find crowds in the country --
 (You even catch some PDA occasionally -- that's Kev and Emily there, and the rest of the gang....)
Check out our trip tees.  :)  They quote Tolkien:  Not all who wander are lost...  Really.  They're not.  They just look like it sometimes.  We got more comments from folks about these tee shirts!  Made for lots of fun, having them.

William thought these great big trees were really neat, but what he really wanted to know was, "So, where's Bigfoot?"

Here's a shot up the center of a hollow giant redwood.  Amazing, huh?

And here's Dominic climbing up the outside of one -- backward. (I don't know why...)
And here they are, all the way up to the sky...

Winding out of the woods, heading toward the orange groves in central CA

But, one last look at the beautiful, verdant forest...

And , hey, what's that?  Look! -- Could it be?  Is it Bigfoot??
But to sum it all up, I have to say:

The city is great; the city is fine,
But we'll take the country most of the time.


Bia said...

those trees are AMAZING!!! they remind me of muir woods outside san fransico ... have you ever been?

on a side note, how do you download photos so that they are "framed" by those black squares.

i feel as if it should be something i know how to do ...

Alexandra said...

You are bringing back memories for me of my childhood. :) We used to stop over for a few days in Denver and California on our way back to the states from Japan for home leave. The Redwood Forest is/was my favorite as well. I remember panning for gold, a old fashioned railroad ride(near Denver?), and an old western cowboy saloon with a lady painted on the floor. My memory is a little fuzzy on where some of these things where - I was only six, seven, and eight when we took these trips.

Great pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Cheryle said...

Oh Lisa! I wouldn't live there with kids again, but I miss my SoCal!! I miss my orange groves and my beaches. Sniff sniff... You have made this Cali Girl quite homesick!!
Good thing Jess and I are making the trip next month!! I am sure to get my fill and be happy to come back to the Springs.
We have done the 16th Street mall a couple of times and there are always neat things to see.
Glad you had a wonderful time both in Denver alone with Dan, and on the western tour with all the kiddos!