Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Colorado trip report

"If for some reason, the flight becomes a cruise..." -- United Airlines crew member, on water landings

I came back from Colorado early this morning. It has to be one of the most amazing places we've ever visited. The trip was a great way to end the summer.

Day 1

The flight to Denver was in the afternoon, leaving lots of free time. Dad took us to Stanford Shopping Center so my mother could redeem a Macy's coupon. Speaking of which, she also had a voucher for a free Chocolixir from the Godiva store. Sweet!

Upon arriving at Oakland International Airport, my family had lunch at a Mexican restaurant as it was around noon. The flight was mostly uneventful, although the flight attendant going over the emergency procedures was hilarious. Given that it was past 10 p.m. when we landed in Denver, my parents and I went to bed after arriving at the hotel.

Day 2

The day began with the Hammond's Candies factory tour. It was interesting to see how hard candies are made. That was a neat experience - aside from having to wear a silly hat. There were also free samples, but only two pieces per person. Stingy bastards.

We checked into our hotel in Estes Park before exploring the area. The town was absolutely beautiful, especially in the fog. The place reminded me of our stay in Canmore six years ago. I wish we had a few more days here.

Our stroll was cut short by a sudden thunderstorm. The weather was intense; there was thunder and lightning every minute or so. This was kind of scary but also made our stay in Estes Park much more memorable. The storm subsided almost as quickly as it had appeared, after which we went outside again to enjoy the fresh air.

Mom and I watched Mr. & Mrs. Smith on HBO later in the afternoon. It was funny and stupid at the same time. I also saw Solar Attack and The Volcano Disaster on the Sci-Fi Channel after dinner. They were pretty much on par with other made-for-TV disaster movies. I liked Solar Attack better but missed the ending because Dad insisted on going to the spa before it closed. Oh well.

Day 3

Rocky Mountain National Park awaited us in the morning. Though I had often seen pictures, this was our first time here in person. The scenery was better than anything in the Bay Area. I could spend the whole day here.

Before leaving, my parents and I stopped at a gift shop and bought two CDs: Country Mountain Bluegrass by Green Hill Music and The Sounds of the Rocky Mountains by Orange Tree Productions. I loved both albums and would have bought more if they weren't so expensive. Perhaps I should start checking eBay or something.

Our final destination of the day was Frisco. Great views aside, there was nothing special about this town. On the other hand, I spent the afternoon watching MythBusters on the Discovery Channel. MythBusters is easily one of my favorite TV shows.

Day 4

The highlight of the day was the Royal Gorge Bridge. At 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River, the bridge is the highest in the United States. The gorge was an incredible sight, although not for the faint of heart!

We browsed the stores and had lunch at one of the restaurants. The weather was fairly warm but not unbearably hot. On the whole, the Royal Gorge Bridge was my favorite stop. The funny thing is that we almost turned back at the entrance because it looked unassuming from the outside. I guess that's why they say not to judge a book by its cover.

Our last stop of the day was Colorado Springs. The 2005 remake of Assault on Precinct 13 was on HBO. I only saw the last 20 minutes of the movie but really enjoyed the action.

Days 5 and 6

The three of us went on the Patsy's Candies factory tour after breakfast. In my opinion, this tour was better than the one at Hammond's Candies. The samples were more plentiful and tasted better too. Hammond's Candies has a lot to learn from its competitors.

Our last stop in Colorado was the United States Air Force Academy campus. Security was tight as this was considered a military installation, but people here were very friendly and down-to-earth. The Cadet Chapel was closed for a private event but still made for some nice pictures.

It was then time to return to Denver International Airport for our flight home. One thing I wanted to do was visit Mrs. Tseng, one of my math teachers from LAHS who now lives in Aurora. However, this wasn't possible due to time constraints, not to mention we didn't even have her contact information on hand. Oh well, that's something to consider for a future trip.

We arrived home about 10 minutes after midnight due to unexpected flight delays. I guess that technically makes the trip six days long. All of us were completely exhausted and went to bed after unpacking.


On the whole, this was one of our most memorable vacations. I had no idea Colorado could be so beautiful. The best part of the trip was the Royal Gorge Bridge, although Estes Park comes a close second. The memories from this trip will last years. Feel free to look at the pictures.

At any rate, I should probably start preparing for my classes as the fall semester begins on the 26th. It has definitely been an awesome summer!

Currently listening to: The Sounds of the Rocky Mountains by Orange Tree Productions

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