Friday, June 5, 2015

Vacation mode

We had a great time out West!  We've already been home a week, and we are still getting back to "normal."  The re-entry was a busy one.  But here's a brief recap of our trip.

Mom looks great at almost 93, better than she did the last time we saw her!  She uses a walker now but that really helps her balance and she seems confident walking around, even on the busy streets of Golden, Colorado.  Our first day, which was unusually drizzly and chilly, we visited the Wheat Ridge Historical Village, a small area carved out of a development only a few miles from Mom's house.  Two historical houses formed the base, and I'd read that one was a "soddy." 

Having just read No Time on My Hands by Grace Snyder, I wanted to see what Grace might have lived in.  The walls are two feet thick, and the house has been stuccoed over, outside and in.  There were some simple quilts on the beds which I think were made by volunteers who had another quilt on a frame inside the brick Victorian house that they have been tying.  I need to dig out my copy of the book and mail it to Jessie, the volunteer who showed us around.

After a few days in Golden, we headed still further west to Moab, Utah, wending our way south on a very scenic back road along the Colorado River which was quite high due to all the rain they've had.  There was still snow over Vail Pass, but the roads were fine.  We stopped two nights in Moab so we could spend unhurried time at Arches National Park.  What views!

The weather was a bit stormy but it was fascinating to watch the systems moving across the sky.  Sand Arch (right) was just one of the amazing formations to be seen.  Moab is a popular spot for bikers, rafters, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts, as well as international tourists, which we found out at 3 am as a large group gathered to board a bus at our motel. 

Heading further south from Moab, we reached more desert, but eventually arrived at the Grand Canyon's south rim, which was amazing.  The first day's weather was overcast, but it made for some interesting views.  Our one full day there was spent walking along the rim in the morning and hopping on and off a shuttle bus at various viewpoints in the afternoon.  My Fitbit registered more than 17,000 steps that day - best ever.  (That may be why the battery died the next day!)

We had a delicious trout dinner the first night and a very comfortable, quiet room in a motel run by the park.  Again, it was busy with tourists, but the many different languages and faces was quite interesting.  We reflected that the Grand Canyon would definitely be one thing a foreigner would want to see in the US.
I did quite a bit of shopping in the gift shops at the park, too, because everything was made in USA.

The Grand Canyon was almost too big to take in, and it was fun to see elk roaming very near motels and tourist areas.  From the shuttle bus, we caught a glimpse of one elk with velvet antlers just budding, but there was no time to get the camera out.  And pictures did not always do justice to everything we saw.

Our way back to Golden was broken up by a night in Grand Junction, and very near Lookout Mountain, just outside Golden we passed a large group of buffalo, including calves.  When we went back the next day, they had moved on, perhaps into the woods, but we did go up the mountain to the Boettcher Mansion and the nature center where we and Mom had never been.  The mansion is a great example of Arts & Crafts style decorating, with oak Mission furniture by Gustave Stickley and William Morris wallpaper and upholstery.  Because the mansion is available for parties and weddings, these were all reproductions, but very nicely done.

Lunch in Golden with Paul's sister and her husband and a visit to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum on our last day were a perfect way to end a great vacation.  The RMQM had an exhibit of Gwen Marston quilts (almost all handquilted!) and one of Native American-inspired quilts with amazing thread painting.

1 comment:

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

it sounds like you had a wonderful time - Arches is one of our favorite parks! We allowed 4 nights in the campground last time we went and walked many trails - a favorite for sure. The shuttle buses in Grand Canyon are certainly a plus aren't they because of course you need to see all those overlook and can you imagine if they allowed cars on that whole way! there would be no place to park and enjoy the sites. If you get out there another time try the north park also - it is beautiful but more remote.