Colorado – Family and Friends and good, good beer!

Dad and I continued north into Colorado with our first stop at my cousins house in Colorado Springs. We got to enjoy one of the last weekends that Richard and Nicole will have in Colorado Springs before they move to Fort Collins by the end of the year.

I’d only met Nicole at their wedding, and I had not met any of the kids, so this was a fantastic visit. I enjoyed getting to know everyone and playing with Richard and Nicole’s incredible kids – Ethan, Ellie, and Claire. We also managed to time the visit on Halloween which added a special layer of fun!

But before the trick or treating started Nicole took Dad and I up to the Garden of the Gods so we could see the balance rock. The red rocks where just amazing. The youngest of the kids, Claire, favorite activity on the plant is to hike! She is such a Colorado girl. We played on the rocks for a bit before heading to Manitou Springs.

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Manitou Springs is a super cute town on the eastern face of the Rockies. It’s famous for its 7 springs of healing water where people with TB would come to drink.  I did try two of the springs and the water tastes like salty soda water. We went to a brand new cafe that had just opened that day. The we wandered around the town a bit. They have an old school arcade with old quarter rides for kids. They also had skeeball for me. (yes, I know, addiction). It was a super fun afternoon, but we had to head back to get ready for Halloween!

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I love Halloween and always want to dress up. However, since Dad and I had been on this road trip, I didn’t really have supplies for a costume. Luckily, I saw an idea to paint my face as a doggie online and I found a super cheap face paint kit. I was all set. Dad was very resistant to dressing up. I did make him wear the alien glasses for a bit.

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Of course all the kids loved dressing up. We had a storm trooper (Ethan), Bo on the Go (Claire), and a good witch (Ellie). Nicole dressed up as a renaissance woman. The men avoided dressing up because they are party poopers.

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We had a fantastic chili and cornbread dinner to get the kids ready for their trick or treating adventure. And the adults all enjoyed some of Richard’s fantastic home brew. He had a super tasty milk stout on tap.

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All the kids and parents headed out to trick or treat, and Dad and I stayed back to give out candy. This was nice because it was a bit colder than I wanted to be out walking in and both Richard and Nicole got to enjoy their kids trick or treating. The kids all came back completely loaded down with candy!

A house in the neighborhood had build their own haunted house in their garage. We went over to check it out to close out the night. For a home grown haunted house, it was fantastic! Lots of effects and definitely spooky for the kids. What a creative treat to experience.

The next day, I went with Nicole and the girls to check out Rainbow Falls and Dad went with Richard and Ethan to watch Ethan’s soccer game. Rainbow Falls is a water drainage carrying the drinking water for Colorado Springs and it comes out under an overpass bridge. The waterfall is very pretty, and the bridge structure and surrounding rocks are all covered with street art and graffiti. It was a very cool place to check out.

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Then we headed back to the Garden of the Gods to hike around on the rocks again. This place is so beautiful I could enjoy hiking there constantly. Ellie and Claire also had fun playing on the rocks.

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We then met back up with the boys for lunch at Colorado Mountain Brewery. The pizza and burgers were tasty and the beer was fantastic. I enjoyed the Brewery’s Amber Ale, Old 59er. After eating, we drove up a canyon to see Helen Hunt Falls which were super lovely. However, Dad did manage to fall and land right on top of Ethan when they were goofing around on the rocks. Dad can really forget that he’s a golden geeser at times!

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I like good beer. My cousin Richard loves good beer! So we were definitely in good company. After the falls we hit up a taproom to try some local beer. Green Man Taproom is built in a beautiful old church that had been the first African-American church in Colorado Springs. They only served draft beer and the selection was fantastic.

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After a fun day exploring, we closed out the night playing xbox connect games. What a great family game. It was fun to watch Dad play and get completely into into it. Dad and I boxed and I got my butt kicked by him. But it was super fun and I couldn’t stop laughing.

The next morning, we said our goodbyes to continue north to Fort Collins. We did make a quick stop in Denver to check out a cafe that is rated as one of the best in the country. Little Owl does not disappoint. The cafe is beautiful, super modern decorated in glass, chrome, and white. Dad loved his coffee and my cappuccino was excellent. It was definitely a fantastic treat to make that detour into Denver.

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Fort Collins was a must stop on the journey because my college roommate Emily lives there, and I’ve been out to visit in 6 years so I was overdue! I finally got to see Emily’s beautiful house and meet Tahoe and Seymour. More animals for me to love is always a good thing!

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We headed out to explore the area and check out a few of the many breweries in Fort Collins. Fort Collins is a super cute town and I would definitely say one of the beer places I’ve ever been. We tried Odell’s, Fort Collins, and Coopersmith. All of them were fantastic. It was also great to catch up with Emily and just get to hangout for a while. Foodwise, the highlight was the bacon wrapped pretzels that Dad enjoyed so much he ordered a second helping!

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The next morning before we continued on we fueled up at Lucil’s Creole Cafe. The brunch was excellent. Some of the best grits I’ve had on the trip. Plus, the restaurant was built in an old home so it was super quaint.

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It was time to head west across Colorado. We had planned on going through Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, but there was a big storm that came through overnight. We were even woken up in the car by hail. Unfortunately, that also meant the mountain pass through Rocky Mountain National Park was closed due to snow. It was also still pouring rain when we started out, so Dad and I figured we couldn’t see anything if we went to Estes and I was worried about snow on the passes on I70 so we just head south through Boulder to I70.

Driving through the Colorado Rockies was incredible. The mountains are breathtaking, and the tunnels add to the adventure. We did hit snow over the Vail Pass so Dad slowed down a tiny bit. He only spooked me badly once when things got really slushy. But we did the drive across Colorado with only one stop for fuel in Grand Junction, so we didn’t stop to see any of the mountain towns. I guess I was in a hurry to make it across the next state line 🙂

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