Monday, July 27, 2009

Colorado Zig-Zag Part 1

We spent just over one month in Colorado this spring. The picture above shows what we were almost always driving towards and never away from. We could not hide from the rain. No matter what direction we went or how many miles we drove. It rained. It poured. It thundered. It got us wet. But it didn't get us down!!

Our first stop was Colorado National Monument just outside of Grand Junction, close to the Utah border.
After a quiet night at the campground, we woke up and the kids completed there Junior Ranger Program. We took a few short hikes and drove the 25 miles scenic drive. It was a beautiful place. I'm not sure it impressed us as much as it might others. We had just spent 2 months exploring the canyons of Southern Utah, which blew our minds. But the Monument is still a good place to explore for a day.
We planned on spending a few days exploring the lands around this area. We drove a bit out of town and found another camp spot. It was May and already hitting the 90 degree mark. After sitting outside in the heat for a bit and staring at the red canyon landscape, I decided I had enough. I was now in Colorado and ready for the cool breeze and the Rocky Mountains. We quickly packed up and drove over to Paonia.
We met a couple in Joshua Tree who told us about Paonia. They told us that we looked like the "type" of people that live there. I took this as a compliment, especially after spending a few days there. Paonia, which is a Spanish for "peony" the flower, was founded in 1882. It is known for producing wonderful peaches, apples, and other fruits. I absolutely fell in love with the little slice of heaven. The people couldn't be any friendlier or welcoming and the scenery and energy of the town will have you skipping down the road. If ever given the opportunity to live and work here, I'd move tomorrow. Work is the key word.

After Paonia we headed to Carbondale where we spent an entire day at the Rec Center swimming and rock climbing. For those of you thinking about hitting the road for any lenght of time, rec centers are a great place to shower up and usually get free wi-fi. Then it was on to Glenwood Springs and Basalt to hang with the Ward family. We met this rad family while in Bisbee, AZ last Nov. They had rented a motorhome and took a month traveling around the Southwest. We promised them we would come visit in the spring and we stuck to that. They welcomed us into their home like family. Co-dinners we made, wine was drunk, lemonade stands made money, walks took us through the great community and friendships were strengthened. We couldn't have asked for better hospitality. Thank you guys! We look forward to spending more time with you one day.

And the story pauses here friends.......I'm tired. I'm trying real hard to catch up onour blogs. I'm now only 2 months behind. Part 2 will come tomorrow. Right now, my head needs to find my pillow.
Goodnight Y'all!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Teva Mountain Games


Teva Mountain Games....

A weekend filled with climbing competitions, white water rafting, mountain biking, dog jumps, music, sun, snow, lots of lots of free swag and family!
When we signed Ani up to compete in the climbing competitions during the games it took grandma and grandpa a full 2 days to call with flight reservations. We were excited! It had been way too long and a full dose of grandparent spoiling is what the kids needed.

We spent the first day of the games up in the mountains by the river watching the kayaks.
The rest of the events took place down in Vail Village. 2 days were spent in the front row watching the World Cup Bouldering Championships. Pros like Daniel Woods, Alex Joshnson and Ani's favorite Alex Puccio climbed their ways to the top. Anika was in awe watching these ladies take 1st and 2nd place. She saw what the future could hold. She was even able to talk with Alex Puccio one on one and learned what a lot of training, hard work, dedication and fun could bring.
Avery's favorite was watching DockDogs. Owners would throw their dogs favorite toy out into a pool and the dogs would fly through the air to retreive. Avery also spent a lot of special one on one time with grandma and grandpa. In fact, she slept over at their rented condo on Wed. night and didn't come back home to us until Sunday night when they flew back to WI. To this day she is still comparing the way we do things to the way grandma and grandpa did. I don't think she missed us one bit!
Kaleb couldn't get enough of the free items being handed out at the Teva Games. He loaded us down with lots of granola, dog food samples, videos, visors, stickers, energy bars and magazines. He also enjoyed the excitement of the climbing competitions. We told him if he wanted to compete he could, but the awesome big brother that he is, said that this was Ani's day. He wanted to cheer her on. He has his skateboarding.

How does this bouldering thing work? Well Ani has spent her whole "career" bouldering outside on natural rock. We did hit up a few climbing gyms while traveling towards Colorado to help her familarize herself with a man made wall. This was her first competiton.
See all the different colored tape? Those are routes. There will be a square of tape on the bottom of the wall. This is where you start. You are required to have both hands on the hold and feet on holds below of the same color. Then you slowly make your way up, following your chosen color. In order to score points, you must hold on to the taped square hold at the very top with both hands and be in control. Each route is worth a different amount of points. It's up to you to chose and complete as many as possible in the allowed time.

We had a lot of fun at the Teva Mountain Games. We would love to have the opportunity to make it out there every year. If near Colorado in early June, check it out. All events are free and fun.

Thank you grandma and grandpa and uncle Brian for coming and being such a support to Ani. We all had so much fun with you and lots of great memories.

"Fun in Good"
-Dr. Suess