On the heels of our successful first road trip to Denver in April, we took another trip to Denver over Memorial Day weekend. Usually we stay in Durango over Memorial Day weekend; for several years it was because Sandy's school had their graduation that weekend and I would ride the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. However, this year my friend Diana was getting married on Saturday of Mem. Day weekend, so we thought that would make it a good time to introduce the girls to the pleasures of a 6.5 hour drive through the Colorado mountains. This was all before we had to make the unscheduled trip in April.
Now last time we made the drive in one day, leaving Durango at around 1:00 with the plan to stop for a nursing/diaper stop in Villa Grove, CO, the closest thing to halfway on this drive. As a point of reference, the metropolis of Villa Grove is about 100 yards long and has a population of maybe 50 people. There is a family style restaurant, a bed and breakfast and the Villa Grove Trade and coffee shop. Here is a website that gives you some perspective on Villa Grove: http://www.sangres.com/colorado/saguache/villagrove.htm. The pictures in the website are pretty much all of the town, other than some random houses and trailers. Villa Grove is small and isolated, even by Colorado standards. But the Villa Grove Trade is an awesome little general store/cafe (the "Trade") with an attached coffee shop and three room motel (in the pictures, it's the "Inn at Villa Grove"). Well on the first trip we arrived in Villa Grove at about 4:30 only to discover that the Trade was closed. However, there was someone standing in the door of the attached coffee shop talking on her phone, so we kind of assumed the coffee shop must be open and so we just went barging in with our car seats and babies. Well it turns out the someone was "Jessie" and she and her Mom and Dad own and run the Trade and the coffee shop and the "Inn" and it also turns out the coffee shop was closed too (they close at 4:00 in the winter), but Jessie was great and she let us hang out on the couch and feed and change the babies anyway while she closed down. Her Mom, Amber came over after a little bit and we all chatted about babies and stuff and had a good time. They were so gracious that we have vowed to always stop there in the future whenever they are open. It is a great little place and they have started to recognize us as well (who are we kidding--they recognize the babies).
Anyway, for this trip we decided to make it a two day trip, with an overnight at the Villa Grove Inn. This turned out to be something of a headache when you factor in getting in late, feeding babies and trying to get them down in a strange place, then doing a morning feeding and then getting food for ourselves. It was not an efficient operation for the most part. And of course, as soon as she got done with her evening meal at the motel, Tava decided to have a meltdown. I am very self-conscious about the babies crying and bothering other people, so I got really stressed seeing how we were in a small motel with people on each side of us at 11:00 p.m. I ended up taking her out to the car to cry and, after 15 minutes, found myself driving up a very dark highway towards Salida in my pajamas at 11:30 in an attempt to calm her down. I was looking forward to explaining this one to the state patrol officer if I got pulled over. The next morning we discovered that we were sharing the motel with a big group of kids from Colgate College who were on a trip for a geology class. It was funny seeing a bunch of New York kids trying to get a grip on a place like Villa Grove; they were concerned by the fact that the nearest liquor store was 25 miles away in Saguache and that it didn't really keep regular hours.
We did make it to Denver eventually and, in keeping with the times, Analee refused to take her afternoon nap. That evening (Friday) we went to a BBQ hosted by the wedding couple and this time it was Analee's turn to meltdown, which was a serious drag as it kept us from really being able to socialize much. On Saturday morning I went up to Boulder to ride the bike course for the Boulder Peak Triathlon with Derek. That evening we went to the wedding while Sandy's parents and Scott and Molly babysat. This was the first time Sandy had ever been away for bedtime, but she probably only called home about 5 or 6 times over the 5 hours we were gone. Being the crazy partyers we are, we stayed at the wedding until about 10:00 or so before heading home.
Sunday I spent most of the day hanging out with my Mom and then on Sunday afternoon Scott and Molly hosted a very cool BBQ that allowed us to see a bunch of Denver folks. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate and the party mostly took place indoors, but the girls did well and got held a lot. The next day I got up early and ran the Bolder Boulder (see below), and then on the way out of town, we stopped in for brunch with our friends John and Diane. They have twin boys, aged 13, so it was fun to see them interact with the girls.
Anyway, it was good trip, and the girls are great roadtrippers. Here are some photos:
Hanging with Grandma and Grandpa Gilpin.
Aunt Molly and Cousin Audrey.
Nate and Di's wedding.
Derek and Jen
Twins holding Twins
Diane with Tava
My Mom with Analee