After a leisurely breakfast yesterday, we walked about 4 blocks to the local Avis and rented a car. At the hotel, the registration guy gave us a scenic drive he said would take an hour of just straight driving.
We headed out on I-25 and then took T-70, took the exit onto C-470 and took the exit into highway 74. We hit the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater.
Joseph had been there already on Friday as a part of a tour for the conference he attended so he could tell me a lot of what the guide and geologist had to say. The place was beautiful. And there were a LOT of runners walking the bleachers, running up and down the steps, etc. If you walk the bleachers back and forth, it adds up to two miles. It looked like a terrific workout. We also overheard a trainer with her two trainees. "We'll go back down and go back up one more time..."
Joseph and I were laughing!
There was a pulse-rate checker at the top of the amphitheater and both of our heart rates about were about 15-20 beats higher than at sea level. Amazing. There was also a small gift shop and a restaurant. They built one of the rooms in the visitor center around a gigantic rock. I guess they didn't know how big the rock was until they go started because only a piece of the rock was built into the room, while the rest of it was outside the building!
On the way down off the mountain, we stopped at the Trading Post. There was a visitor center inside where a nice man told us to take the Lariat Loop. It turns out that the route that the hotel man gave us is a part of the Lariat Loop.
We tried to find Dinosaur Ridge
which is right on the other side of Red Rock, but we never could find the entrance. So we decided to trudge forward.
We drove downI-74 through some of the smallest little towns we ever drove through - all of them along Bear Creek - which was wider than a creek in most places. We drove through Idlewide (don't blink), then Kittredge (uh, was that a town?), and finally into Evergreen. We stopped because it was bigger than the other places and it was getting near lunch. Besides, there were some neat-looking shops along the main stretch. The row of shops were in connected wooden buildings right up against the road. The only thing separating them from the street was the elevated boardwalk - sort of like those old westerns where you walk up on the porch of a row of shops to avoid the dust. Yes. Very westernish.
We stopped into a couple of stores and bought a sweater, a bar of soap, some incense and an incense holder - all these years, I've been waiting for the plant to catch on fire as the incense stick I stuck in the dirt of any ole potted plant bruns down.
For lunch, we were at a loss so we stopped in at Girlfriend Clothes and the nice lady there took out 5 menus and made some hearty recommendations. We decided on the Lakeshore Cafe which was definitely a local place. We ended up with the pork & green chile soup (unbelievable) and two large sandwiches (unbelievable). Very good and very "local."
After lunch we drove on down highway 74 and stopped in at the Hiwan Homestead Museum
. This was a spur of the moment thing. We actually passed the sign, and then had to turn around to go back to it. It is a 17-room log home with four outbuildings, etc. There was an older couple there. The wife sat by the door greeting guests and the man gave the tour. You could tell that they really loved the place. They knew so much about it that you thought they actually lived there! We stopped for about an hour and we were glad that we did!
On highway 74 again, we were on our way to Lookout Mountain Road. It's supposed to be a very scenic drive. But first, Joseph saw buffaloe off to the left of the highway so we drove in search! We ended up going to Genesee Park - which covers an area about 2350 acres. The road wound us up onto the mountain and we saw some spectacular views! On the way back down, Joseph spotted a group of deer! Of course, I missed them. Joseph stopped and back up slowly, and there they were, 5 feet from me - the buck looked up and stared right at me as I click away on the camera (a disposable one because I didn't bring my digital SLR, because I am a dolt and I should KNOW BETTER that when I think that I won't need it is when I will be needing it and I should just bring it anyway! GAH!)
. As soon as I get the film developed, I will post some pictures. I hope they turned out okay.
Then back down to the highway and we finally reach Lookout Mountain
Road. We made a stop at the Boettcher Mansion
but it was being used for a wedding so we just ducked into the visitor center next door for a few minutes and then went on our merry way. I was bummed out about not being able to get into the mansion. It's a Victorian era log mansion and it's supposed to be really detailed and beautiful inside. Oh well...
The drive through Lookout Mountain was wonderful. We stopped to take some pictures and we saw a lot of bikers riding up the road - and those who were on their way back down. At one point we saw a group of about a dozen runners who were probably a local high school cross country team. We stopped to take pictures of them, as well.
After about 4 hours of driving, we ended back in Denver, returned the car and had a nice rest before dinner.
Phew! It was a good day for a drive!