How often is ‘normal’ for vacation taking? I don’t know the answer, but I’m pretty sure I don’t do it often enough. The last time I took a real vacation was three years ago when I went to Arlington for a friend’s wedding. So needless to say, I was ready to take advantage of my brief time between jobs and get out of town for a few days.
We decided to head for the mountains, or at least the Mountain State. It’s about an 8 hour drive normally, but naturally a little longer with a 3 month old. I was anxious the whole time. Anxious about having her in the car for that long, and anxious that she would throw her schedule off by sleeping the whole way. But we made it. And she was fine. I guess my natural anxiety is just amplified by motherhood.
If you’ve ever been to Nebraska, you might be familiar with the landscape here. If you aren’t let me just say that while I might fight against most NE stereotypes (no we don’t have drawling accents and not everyone listens to country music) the clichés about flat fields as far as the eye can see are pretty true. At least once you get out of Omaha. And yeah, those black dots are cows…
Brett and I both grew up in small town Nebraska. When I say small town, I mean small town. We always laugh when we see contestants on TV shows claiming to be from “small towns” of “only” a few hundred-thousand or even a few thousand. You don’t know what small town really means until you visit my hometown of 290 people. Everyone knows your name and your parents and probably what you had for breakfast. Even though we live in the largest city in the State now, that is what Nebraska will always be to me- lots of wide flat fields dotted with farms and small towns, visible by their windbreaks of trees or their water towers.
Most people would tell you that this flat land and lack of cities make it a boring drive across the state, and maybe it is. But if you pay attention, it is kind of amazing too. As we drove west, we could visibly see the landscape change. From the flat fields, to rolling hills, to the bluffs of western NE until finally we could see the mountains of Colorado. (Some of these photos are actually from the trip home, when we drove through and beside some great Nebraska storms. Also I have to give photo credit to my sister for the last beautiful mountain view. She coincidentally was also in CO this past weekend on vacation with her in-laws, and got a much better shot than me!)
When we did cross the border, we stopped for a break in Julesburg, a little town barely in Colorado with a nice rest area. We woke V up and introduced her to the fresh air and some new flora stimulation. I even picked up a few free books, magazines and brochures for the rest of the drive.
From there we drove straight through to Denver and our hotel downtown. It was beautiful and our room was perfect. It was so nice to just fall onto the bed after all those hours in a car and rest for a few minutes before we got up the energy to venture out and enjoy the evening. What is it about car rides that tires you out so much?
Once we did get out and about, we had dinner at a restaurant right next to our hotel and then went for a walk and some shopping at the Sixteenth Street Mall.
We didn’t stay long though, because there was one thing that both Brett and I had been looking forward to since we started talking about taking a trip. We were excited to take Vera swimming for the first time ever, and we wanted to get back to the hotel before it got too late for her to go. So we headed back and changed into our suits, blew up her floating seat and got ourselves down to the pool.
She loved it, at least until she started to get cold. She splashed and smiled as we swung her around and bounced her up and down in the water. We only stayed for about 15 minutes, but I loved it too. Then it was time for showers and bed and we all fell asleep early after our long day of travel and fun.
Stay tuned for Part II of our trip- coming soon (to a blog near you)…