As I shared in March's post my college roommate and one of my best gals is getting MARRIED in June. E & I headed to Denver to attend the coed wedding shower.
We left on Thursday after E got off work and had planned to stay at Jordanelle State Park in Utah. What we didn't take into consideration was the time change..oops! So once we hit Wendover we had to devise a contingency plan which was to sleep in the truck bed under the stars in the Uinta National Forests' Center Canyon. It turned out to be one free, two a bit cold, and three beautiful. It was dark when we arrived so we awoke to a little spot tucked in the canyon with a gorgeous stream. It was right off the highway so it was easy to get back on the road.
E and I love checking out anything and everything that seems even remotely interesting. We drove right by Dinosaur National Monument, so of course we had to stop and get our NPS Passport stamped! We both were as excited as a couple second graders on a field trip to the zoo (E probably more than me). According to Ranger Barbara we lucked out, the actual dinosaur fossil exhibit was closed for 5 years for repairs and just opened last October. So to keep a long story short, millions of years ago as dinosaurs crossed an ancient river some died on the way, and their bones sank to the bottom of the river bed. After the ground started to up-heave the fossils became buried in mounds and are almost in a vertical position today. On an expedition donkey's years ago, a gentleman from the Carnegie Museum came across a portion of a fossil sticking out of the ground. After much excavation, a large portion of the fossils were left exposed in the rock and are available for your viewing pleasure. Check it out!
After all the excitement, we continued on our journey down highway 40. On the way we were able to spot groups of North America's fastest land mammal, the pronghorn of course! After a quick stop in Steamboat Springs, CO we started our uphill battle to conquer the Continental Divide. The views from the top were amazing and there was plenty of snow on the ground. Once we reached Kremmling, we turned south on Colorado State Highway 9, on that stretch there were plenty of elk and beautiful scenery to enjoy. After merging onto Interstate 70 it was one last glimpse of wildlife with a couple of bighorn sheep standing on the cliffs. We took the plunge from Rocky Mountain high, streaking towards the valley floor and on into Denver.
Our Dinosaur National Monument stop put us a little behind schedule because since we were already there we had to take the quarry tour. One of my favorite couples ever in life...Jessica and Michael were very flexible and agreed to meet us for a late dinner. Originally planned for Linger, that place D took me back in February, but it was packed so plan B was La Loma, a delicious Mexican joint. The food was great but what was even better was the conversation and the opportunity to catch up with ol' friends. Jess is amazing, she's about to graduate law school in less than a week and she'll rock the bar exam soon after that. Mike works for a company that helps restaurants save $ by streamlining their supply chain (I hope I got that right). He is equally as awesome and they both just have good energy. The kind of energy that makes you want to be a better person and kick butt at life. They just celebrated their 4 year wedding anniversary- so a big congratulations to them!!!
We had already made reservations at Cherry Creek State Park but thought the gates closed at 10pm so we hauled butt across town. Turns out we didn't need to get there with such urgency but we set up our tent and cleaned up. The park has fabulous facilities I might add, yes- they have quarter showers but I'll pay a $1.25 for a 7 minute HOT shower any day!
On Saturday E woke up early to go fishing- go figure. He wasn't as successful as he had hoped but it was windier than he expected. I took my sweet time getting up and showering then we drove all over Denver's southeast metro area looking for every candy bar imaginable for a shower game. Nikki and Derek met us for dinner at Ya Ya's, and there in the parking lot Loaf was able to reunite with Mama Nik for the first time in like 5 years.
After Dinner E & I headed to Comedy Works South to enjoy my very first show after interning what seems and feels like forever ago. I must say that I love the space, but a comedy show is a comedy show and your experience is more about the act than anything else. John Heffron was hilarious- I am so glad that our trip overlapped with his performance. His humor was clean nothing raunchy and it was just up E's alley.
Nik and Derek's wedding shower was on Sunday, it was a co-ed and bring your pet kinda shower. There were so many dogs there including Loaf, a lot of little sweeties. The shower was at Derek's parents' house, his mom definitely has the gift of hospitality. I only had to contribute 3 games and the prizes at the shower- easy peasey lemon squeezey! They are such romantic softies it makes me want to puke, but I'm able to hold back knowing she's my hopeless romantic friend who found her knight in shining armor. Looking forward to their big day in June!
Sunday night after the shower I was able to reunite with the one and only Mr. Matt Smith, and his fabulous wife Molly. To give you a little background on Matt, he is the man who sucked the evil corporate wannabe out of me and much like the wizard gave the tin man a heart, Matt (and Kellie Mieremet) gave me a heart. A heart to want to volunteer, become a contributing member of a community, and want more out of life than money. Most traditional college students have this really delusional vision of their future....Matt helped kick mine back into reality. He was my big boss man at the Community Leadership Institute when I worked there while attending Johnson & Wales University.
Any who....he's in an entirely different role working for The A Game, but still encouraging and instilling good work ethics in people. Molly started a relatively new gig with the University of Denver and is gearing up to start her doctorate (which she will dominate). In addition to their professional lives, he and his wife are also rockstar triathletes. To sum it up...they are pretty much amazing, they don't have kids, they are beautiful people inside and out, extremely intelligent....the kinda people E & I would like to model our relationship and lives after.
The trip was a short trip that felt entirely too long for just a weekend. Driving over 800 miles on Monday was a little much but we made it! We stopped at a few different spots to stretch. The Continental Divide being one and Steamboat Springs being the other. Jess the pic of E below is for you....E in his very first pearl snap shirt!
Needless to say I loved going back to Denver...some of my best and definately most productive years were in Denver- so going back refueled my motivation and put a little more pep in my step.
We're heading to California next month for a wedding and it overlaps with Mother's Day so we'll get to spend time with Barbara too!
Until then- XOXO,