Saturday, August 10, 2013

To Fort Collins

Very Cool whole Foods in Ft. Collins on College Ave. 

Not sure what this may look like in winter but it is pretty incredible now!

Lots of happy bees and people, the smells were so fresh!

We enjoyed a mighty fine salad here, Mark ate a meaty dish.

How many towns have a bicycle Library where you can check out a bike ?

The Napa of Beer breweries 

I had the the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th selection!

To Fort Collins, Denver
A lot of our friends have made this or portions of this trip before and had lots of suggestions of what we should be sure to see and do along the way. Along the course of 2500 miles I am sure you could spend much more than the 4 days we planned on making the trip. The Goal was to get to Seattle by first week of August to help prepare for Baby Drew to enter the Pacific Northwest so we really did not have the time to spend lollygagging around along the way. This is a huge transition from livaboard living to Downtown Condo lifestyle, in this new adventure. And we need to get up to speed before his arrival so we can navigate whatever in this Super Urban Environment. Plus I am scheduled already for my orientation class at the Wooden Boat Center on Lake Union and I do not want to miss that for sure.
We left I-35 in Wichita for I-135 to connect to 70 for the trip to Denver and Ft. Collins.
Kansas was very Green, lots of Agriculture, wheat, corn, hay grazer and other crops we could not identify. A lot of happy farmers and cows in Kansas,  that is for sure. Very different from Texas after the several years of drought there. The rolling fields and pasture were beautiful and as we neared Colorado I could tell we had been constantly climbing in elevation. We made a stop near the Colorado Border and there was a 2 ton truck pulling a huge open trailer stacked to the brim with Antlers. We could not get our camera out fast enough to take a picture. Later when we stopped for gas in Colorado the service station had a huge chandelier made of Antlers, so I pointed that out to the Admiral and we remember also seeing furniture and other Western stuff made from Antlers. As we neared Colorado we had a decision to make on where we would stop for the night.
We have never used reward points from our credit cards, never paid them any attention. Just before leaving Corpus I noticed the rewards tab at the card website and saw that we had several thousand points. I showed this to the Admiral so we figured we might spend the points for hotel rooms along the way. After a couple of days researching how to use the points, book rooms, and calling the rewards program to clear up any details we did not understand We were determined to use up as many of these points as possible. Just like anything else points are more valuable in the popular inner city areas like Denver and Ft. Collins. If we were willing to stay overnight outside big city areas our points could easily take us all the way to Seattle. We used our first points in Wichita but Ft. Collins would use up nearly two nights somewhere else so we paid for the Ft. Collins room. Our good friend Mark just happened to be in Ft. Collins doing some things for his family so I called him up and we planned to meet downtown Ft. Collins for dinner. The Admiral used the Ipad on the way to Colorado to make the arrangements and we were lucky to book a room with in Ft. Collins. There were lots of people out traveling on the roads and thus all the hotels along the way were full.
We avoided going into the center of Denver and used E-470, a loop on the outskirts that took us to I-25 and to Ft. Collins. We had been to Denver several times in the past for Soccer tournaments so taking a joy ride through center of Denver traffic just to see the sights was not part of our plan. We were hungry and so when we got to Ft. Collins we were happy to find a Whole Foods for a snack and to fill up the Ice chest for the next day on the road.. On the way to Whole Foods we drove through the edge of Colorado State Univ. There was this huge Flower Trial Garden. After the snack we drove to the garden and enjoyed this awesome park: A photographer could spend weeks here.
Mark called so we drove a few blocks down College Avenue to the old downtown that quickly reminded us of old Austin before it Blew up to a huge Metropolitan area. Being so close to CSU there are college kids everywhere. We love college towns, they add a lot of youthful energy and dynamics to any city, that is one reason we love Austin so much.
In fact we met Mark at Austin’s American Grill. We hypothesized how this restaurant got it’s name, the Admiral was sure it had something to do with Austin, Texas, Mark felt the founder’s name must be Austin, the Waiter explained that the name just “sounded” good so that is how the restaurant got it’s name. We had a great sidewalk dinner then Mark gave us a walking tour of the downtown shops. We ended up at a Bar and Grill where you could get a sampler of hand crafted beers as this area is known as the Napa Valley of  Beer. My kind of place! There were several choices but because it was late and we had a a full day of driving ahead of us I limited my Beer tasting to Four 5 ounce glasses of some very interesting brews. Several breweries in the area offer free tours but you have to get there before 5pm so I missed those opportunities. We had a great evening with Mark swapping old and new stories, a time to remember.

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