Day 7-   Today was our tour of Down Town Denver.     We took the RTD (Rapid Transit Denver) into the city.    Most people we talked to recommended this option since we were not sure exactly what we wanted to do.      We meet our friends Shane and Cassie for lunch and were then on our own to explore the city.    After we had walked around for awhile we took a bus out to the Museum of Nature and Science.   We actually only had 3 hours before the Museum closed, and that was really not enough time to see it all.  We started with the dinosaur exhibit, watched a movie in the planetarium in the space exhibit and quickly walked through the rocks and minerals.    

Day 8 -   This morning we packed up our Camp, but before we left the Denver Area we had to tour the Hammond Candy Factory.    Everyone enjoyed this special treat, especially the store at the end of the tour. Our college friend Pam, joined up for the tour.    It was great to see her again.   

Back on the road to Golden, CO for lunch and a tour of the Coors Beer Factory.  He had lunch in a little park along Clear Creek.    It was a pleasant surprise.   We dipped our feet in the cold water and watched people enjoying the rapids in tubes and kayaks.
Unfortunately for the adults, we did not have time to tour the beer factory as planned.    We hit the road and headed south to Colorado Springs.   Our first stop in Colorado Springs was the Air Force Academy.  Andrew wanted to see the chapel and Ethan wanted to see the B52.  

Day 9    - July 4.     This is the day that the family had been looking forward to for most of the trip.    Everyone knew that we were going White water Rafting.      We left our campground early to drive about an hour to Canon City to raft on the Arkansas River.     Although we enjoyed the morning, we were expecting a few more crazy rapids.    So we were a little disappointed, but it was a family trip after all.  

We were all feeling pretty tired, so we spent the rest of the day at the KOA.   The campground had a lovely pool and a jumping pillow, but we were never more excited to have air conditioning and a TV!

Day 10     This was our last official vacation day and we still had lots of things on our list.  
First stop was Garden of the Gods.    A park filled with Beautiful red rocks. 

The next stop for the day was the Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum.   It is an exhibit of  relocated Indian cliff dwellings.  Andrew was not impressed with the relocated part of them, but I convinced him that it was a learning experience either way.  

Our last stop of the day was the Olympic Training Center. 

Our day ended in a Hotel for a swim and early bed.

Day 11 - Spent a long day on the road and arrived home at about 10:30pm.   Tired, but glad to be home.

Colorado Vacation Part 2

Day 4   We spent the morning in Estes Park.   We got groceries and bought t-shirts.   We decided to take a Horse back Ride for Dinner.   We booked ourselves for a Steak and Ride with Sombrero Stables.  Nadia was very nervous, but she did great.    In fact, it was her favorite part of the trip.  

Day 5   We decided that we could not leave Estes Park with out seeing the Historic Stanley Hotel. 

 We stopped in Boulder, CO at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.    The building was designed by I.M. Pei, an architect that Ethan wrote about for his biography book report this year.    The museum itself was extremely family friendly.   We spent several hours and enjoyed it very much.

 We ended the day at Chatfield State Park, south of Denver.

Day 6 - Today we explore 2 different parks around Denver.    Dinosaur Ridge and Red Rocks.    We learned so much about the layers of the earth at Dinosaur Ridge.     It was really interesting and they actually have dinosaur track fossils.    Really Cool. 

Red Rocks park  is a park full of red rocks, but the really cool thing is that they built a concert "hall" / amphitheater right in the rock.    It was only about 500 steps up to the stage and at a little higher altitude than our dear Iowa, so we were a little breathless when we got there.  :)     But worth the trek.    We were sorry not to see a concert.   

Colorado Vacation Part 1

I have shared several photos in the previous scavenger hunt post.   But here's a summary of our 12 days on the road. 

Day 1   We left Iowa and head to Nebraska.   We stopped and spent the night in Johnson Lake.   We had time to spend swimming in the lake and building a fire before bedtime.   The sunset was perfect over the reflection of the lake.   
Day 2  The next morning we packed up and spent some time at the Heartland Military Vehicles Museum.   Ethan was enthralled.  This stop was definitely on Ethan's  favorite list.  The museum was very low budget, but that was not important.   It was basically a couple large metal building filled with trucks, tanks, a mask helicopter, etc.  

After the museum, we headed back on road toward Cheyenne, WY.      Cheyenne was a little out of the way, but we thought it would be fun.    Our final stop was Estes Park, CO.   We set up camp at Mary's Lake Park.  It was a beautiful campground with mountains surrounding us. 

Day 3  We took the shuttle from our campground to Rocky Mountain National Park and up Bear Lake where many of the hiking trails start.    Must to Andrew's disappointment, our family was not up for super hikes.    We decided to take the trail to Alberta Falls, mostly because of it's Canadian reference and it was only 1.7 miles round-trip.    Oh, and it was uphill toward the falls.    We were tired, but the view was completely worth it.   

We were rewarded with an evening ice cream cone and a stroll in down town Estes Park.

Our 12 day vacation from Iowa to Colorado, really helped us make progress on our Photo Scavenger Hunt.   We have completed  17 of the 21. 
Here's our list thus far.  


1. Open air market
2. Theater for performing arts (not a movie theater)
3. City Hall, Capitol or other similar civic building
4. Airplane
5. A sunset
6. Someone or something taking a nap
7. A sign that is intentionally or unintentionally funny
8. A tower

9. A photo with someone or something that is clearly out of place or doesn't belong
10. A bench that is outside
11. An animal in a zoo, aquarium, nature preserve, etc.
12. A cloud in the shape of something (please specify what you see)
13. A fence

14. A stained glass object or a mosaic
15. A fire truck or police car
16. A windmill

17. Candle(s)
18. Your local pub/bar, coffee house or tea shop
19. A fisherman
20. A dinosaur
21. A photograph of you with an artistic tool or craft supply (you cannot substitute for this item)
Bonus/substitute items. If you find any of the above items too difficult, feel free to substitute either (or both) of these items. You can substitute up to two items, but you cannot substitute Item #21:
A person wearing an outfit (or item of clothing) that symbolizes your country
A sundial
 #2  Theater -  at Red Rocks
 # 3 the capital building in Cheyenne Wyoming.
 # 4 Airplane -  The Denver Radio Control Airplane Club had a spot in the State Park where they practiced.    They were fun to watch.

 # 4  A B52 bomber on display at the Air Force Academy
 #5  - 2 of the many sunset photos that we took this week.
#7  A funny Sign - This one is only funny if you know that is was taken at the National Center for Atmospheric Research Center in Boulder, CO
We were following the signs to the museum.   This was a little difficult to navigate
#8 A railroad tower in Cheyenne Wyoming.   What caught our eye was that the highway was built around the tower.    Railroad was definitely there first.  
#10   Sitting on the bench and waiting for our horses in Estes Park, CO
#11 A stellar Jay in Rocky Mountain National Park and a snake at Dinosaur Ridge (thankfully not a rattle snake)   Why do I always see the snakes first?   The kids also suggested a horse photo for this one as well

#12  I was having a hard time with this one, so I asked for help.   Nadia found this cloud almost right away. A hummingbird with his beak in a flower.    I totally see it now, but I guess my brain does not work that way.   
#13  A fence - around the horse stable.
#14 The chapel at the Air Force Academy had small strips of stained Glass
#15  A Fire Truck at the Famous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.   
#16  A windmill
#20  I made Andrew stop at this particular Gas station to ensure I got my dinosaur photo.    As it turned out, we saw dinosaur fossils and bones several times on the trip.