Arrive at hotel, check-in, get major result: upgraded from standard room to suite!!!!
Lookin' good so far?
I do what I always do on arriving in a new hotel - first light a cigarette, then put coffee on, then have a look around room (in this case a suite! A first for me!). Hmmmm...........very impressed, but one thing mystified me: Why was there a huge TV in the bedroom, but only a tiny little one in the sitting room? Not only is it a tiny little one, but it is virtually impossible to see from the sitting room furniture - it was only just visible if you sat on the edge of the arm of the setee, and even then you have to crane your neck!!
Having explained this to my companion, she, with peals of girlish laughter, pointed out that it wasn't the TV at all, but the microwave!!!!!!!!
Well, let me get my excuses in first - I personaly don't own a television AND the microwaves I use at work are big silver things, as big as most TV's, AND I was sober at the time!
Moral of the story: these new-fangled telling-vision things just serve to make the world a more complicated place - in future I will stick to my steam-powered radio thing with the cat's whisker tuner!
Click on 2nd pic for finale :p
Sometimes I feel as if I will go crazy getting visitors to understand the importance of drinking a lot of water while here....
Denver is much higher in altitude than most people are use to. Because of this many people find themselves with altitude sickness when visiting the area (which behaves like a migraine and the flu put together). To help against this, you need to drink lots of water, I tell my visitors to drink so much that you think you are going to explode, a few extra trips to the bathroom during the day are going to be much better than the killer headache that you can get from altitude sickness.
If traveling into the higher parts of the area.. especially the mountains, i would recommend carrying an aspirin with you just in case (as well as lots of WATER). Nothing is more annoying to us when we have a visitor, and are trying to show them around and they just complain of a headache because they would not listen and drink water like you told them.
FYI Water means WATER not soda, not alcohol, not that tasty drink in your hands, not coffee.. WATER, WATER, WATER. (many of the ones that you should not drink can actually make it worse... much worse).
If you decide to be stubborn and not heed my warning... please do not complain about the pain you are in... or throw up in my car on the winding mountain roads because your head hurts from altitude sickness.
Have you considered altitude sickness. You are going to be above 5000ft from the moment you land and since your Id says you are from sea level=New Jersey I doubt if you will complete your itinerary without suffering from lack of oxygen. Normally, you would need a couple of weeks to acclimate to altitudes above 5000ft. Even soldiers in top condition suffer if they are not allowed to acclimate.
There is a trap in all the states of America that it is best to try to avoid. It will require that you make an effort to look for places that have character. In large cities and increasingly in small towns along the interstate you will find the faceless and boring.
You could wake up in the parking lot of these fake places and be unable to determine where in the U.S you are because they are all the same. They contain the same national stores and restaurants that are found in almost every city in the U.S.
So if you want to see the real America you must look for the local and Main street businesses. You will be rewarded with a much more authentic experience.
You will find this especially true in the western states that are crisscrossed with limited access highways.
During a recent visit (fall 2010), I was caught in a speed trap a mile north of the Manitou Springs exit on US 24 East. There was an inconspicuous portable (had it been in the trooper's trunk?) speed limit sign sitting on the shoulder briefly visible around one blind corner and a state trooper around the next blind corner on a fairly steep and curving downhill stretch of road. Needles to say, I was very observant thereafter and observed that on most of the long descents from the mountain passes there was a trooper concealed. It also appears that Colorado does not allow any mph over the posted limit--they must have a significant state budget deficit!
Vail's motto is "Vail - there's no comparison!" On a powder day in the Back Bowls, this comes close to the truth. Where it also rings true is on the cost of a day ticket - $98 - locals say that the resort is afraid to push prices beyond the $100 boundary. The Summit County resorts are $92 (except for Arapahoe Basin and Ski Cooper) and even Aspen/Snowmass is less at $90. The ticket price is the same for nearby Beaver Creek (too much for that resort, in my mind, as Beaver Creek, while good is not Vail). People walking up to the lift ticket windows can get a slight reduction in costs with a multiple day ski pass. It is not common to hear the sounds of astonishment voiced by new skiers to the mountain. Locals have access to various assorted deals that can significantly reduce costs. The name of the game is familiarity with the area and maybe some local friends who can score you some pre-season ski pass deals. I skied Vail with a friend who is a ski instructor. He gained me a complimentary ski pass. Vail for free?! I felt like I had won the lottery! :-)
Giant Killer Marmots! Ok, so not really a giant, more like a waterless beaver. They are very inquisitive and they emit a high pitched whistle to warn of intruders (you!). A more serious thing to worry about is altitude sickness. You must let yourself get acclimatized to the altitude and not rush your physical exertion at first. This is a land of 14,000 foot peaks and a third of Rocky National Park is above the tree line.
I've seen snow fall in the valleys every month from September to June. On the higher elevations it can snow any time of year. Dress appropriately! If you're hiking above treeline prepare for anything - even if it's warm below. Colorado blizzards are nothing to take lightly.
Elk, moose, bears, and other wild animals may appear docile, but remember that they are wild animals. Very protective of their young, sometimes territorial, they don't like us intruding on their space. Keep your distance, and whatever you do NEVER feed them.
Many athletes train here in Colorado. Once they get used to the thin mountain air, then their performance is enhanced at lower elevations.
That's fine for the locals. But visitors should pace themselves carefully at altitudes above 7,000-8,000 feet. Don't try to do too much, especially in the first few days.
One last point: The thinner the air, the stronger the effect of alcohol. You might be able to drive after one or two drinks at lower elevations, but up here even that could be too much. If you drink, even when not driving, take it slow and easy.
It took my dad and I about 3 hours to figure out how to get to the parking at the airport. So, if you're planning on driving yourself and you have never been there before, try beforehand if possible so that you aren't lost and frustrated when the time comes to get to the airport.
Going into the Rocky Mountains, Jan suffered from altitude sickness: short of breath, headache, stiff neck. To prevent this; make many short stops while driving up, get out of the car for a short while. Drink plenty of water. The only way to get rid if it; get down the mountain as soon as possible.
I never knew that rattlesnakes were a big problem within the city of Colorado Springs. There are signs posted by one of the hiking/biking trails warning folks about the dangers of rattlesnakes on the trails that wind through the city.
I love the movie "Open Range" with Robert Duvall. When you drive through the southwestern part of Colorado near Gunnison you will see lots of roadsigns warning that cattle have the right of way - it's open range. It's also incredibly beautiful. The entire state of Colorado is very diverse with its scenery. From the Rockies in the east to the mesas in west, and the very beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains in the southern part of the state, Colorado offers a buffet of visual beauty.
We have seen herds of 200 elk crossing fields and roads in residential areas in Colorado.
It is very, very easy to "hit an elk" on the road. It's always a hazard there for the residents and the visitors.