Colorado Update #2: The Journey to Colorado

We made it to Colorado!

After packing up the car, we left around noon on May 14th. My mom reminded me before we left that the St. Louis Zoo has free admission, so we decided to stop in St. Louis and call it a day for driving so we could explore a little bit. We got checked into our hotel and realized the zoo closed at five and we wouldn’t have enough time to do that in the evening.

A stranger was kind enough to offer to take a photo of the three of us at the Arch.

A stranger was kind enough to offer to take a photo of the three of us at the Arch.

Ries said he wanted to go see the Arch and I was kind of grateful, because I did too. We drove downtown, and walked up to the arch. We didn’t realize we had just taken Gus to his first national park until we had been there for a while. We saw there was a gift shop, so we ran through security before the Arch museum and shop closed to find a patch for Gus. We were successful and actually ended up picking up two patches and a pin.

I really love patches and have been collecting Disney patches for the most EPIC Disney jean jacket ever. I’m not sure what we’ll do with our National Park patches, but if you have any great ideas, let me know!

In addition to those things, we also picked up a National Park passport! I’ve been wanting to purchase one of these for a couple years, and especially since we’re in Colorado and driving so much, we’re hoping to add a couple stamps to our passport as our family travels.

An alley in St. Louis.

An alley in St. Louis.

After we left the Arch, we drove down to Delmar Loop, and walked around for a bit. Both Ries and I were surprised at how much we loved St. Louis--our expectations were low, but it really exceeded them. We really enjoyed the shops we saw in the short time we were there.

Blueberry Hill in St. Louis.

Blueberry Hill in St. Louis.

We stopped at Blueberry Hill upon a recommendation, and that place was a REAL TRIP. It was like walking into a time machine crammed full of knick knacks.

Blueberry Hill, St. Louis.

Blueberry Hill, St. Louis.

They were really busy, so after waiting for forty-five minutes, Gus was pretty over it, so we got our food to go and ate it at our hotel. It was really good, even when it was twenty minutes cold. (Since becoming parents we’ve eaten a lot of cold food, and it’s quite the accomplishment if food is still tasty when all the heat has been sucked out by passing time.)

Ries and Gus checking out the hyenas at the St. Louis Zoo.

Ries and Gus checking out the hyenas at the St. Louis Zoo.

The next morning we went to the St. Louis Zoo. Last year we went to the Indianapolis Zoo and dropped fifty bucks just for park admission, so it was amazing to spend only $15 on parking and see such a clean and well maintained zoo. The animal habitats looked pretty nice as well, and we were able to see one section of the zoo that showcased cheetahs, hyenas, elephants, and several other animals. Gus’ favorite animals were definitely the hippos, which he found equally amazing and terrifying. (You can see a photo of his reaction on our Instagram here.)

Two of the elephants at the St. Louis Zoo.

Two of the elephants at the St. Louis Zoo.

After about an hour, we took off, stopped by the hotel to pick up Whimsy, and left around noon again. We made it through Missouri and all the way to Junction City, Kansas.

We were pretty exhausted at this point, so we got a hotel, picked up some dinner, and turned on the television to find Fellowship of the Ring playing. Ries, being a long-time Tolkien worshipper took this as a sign that his voyage had been blessed by the God of Hobbits.

The delicious Turtle Concrete from Freddy’s Steakburgers.

The delicious Turtle Concrete from Freddy’s Steakburgers.

The dinner we picked up was from Freddy’s Steakburgers and Frozen Custard, which is essentially Culver’s on crack. If you don’t know what Culver’s is, imagine what Steak and Shake might taste like in your personal equivalent of heaven.

Whimsy was a great traveler and hotel cat.

Whimsy was a great traveler and hotel cat.

The next morning we got on the road pretty early—probably around 9:30, and made it to our hotel on the other side of Denver around 4:30pm. I had contacted one of my friends from hospitality who had recently transferred to a hotel in Denver, just to let her know that we were going to be in Denver, and she hooked us up with a discounted room, which was amazing.

One of my favorite parts of Tattered Cover were the pews in the store for book lovers to sit down and check out the books.

One of my favorite parts of Tattered Cover were the pews in the store for book lovers to sit down and check out the books.

The next day, 17 May, we drove to downtown Denver—which is something akin to driving through a mine field that is also booby trapped with vehicles driving 20% over the speed limit, not using turn signals or heeding basic travel signals. We survived the drive and made it to 16th Street. We wandered around and found the Tattered Cover which is now my second favorite bookstore now (only to Powell’s, which can’t be beat out of sentimentality.)

Gus loved the fountains outside of Union Station in Denver.

Gus loved the fountains outside of Union Station in Denver.

Eventually, we made our way down to Union Station, which was something at the top of my Colorado bucket list. I was totally blown away by the interior of the station, and will definitely go back to take better photos with my camera at some point this summer. I just might take advantage of the park and ride bus system. We wanted to do more exploring, but Gus was falling asleep and we didn’t bring a stroller (it was just too bulky with the rest of what we brought along) so we went back to the hotel.

Terminal Bar inside Union Station, Denver.

Terminal Bar inside Union Station, Denver.

He slept a little, but woke up, so we decided to keep exploring, this time to the North. We went to Boulder for the first time and walked around Pearl Street. There were a lot of cute shops there, and we found our way into the Boulder Bookstore, another independently owned bookstore.

Checking out the teas in The Bean Cycle in Old Town Fort Collins, Colorado.

Checking out the teas in The Bean Cycle in Old Town Fort Collins, Colorado.

The next day was coincidentally Colorado State University graduation, which meant we couldn’t stay in Fort Collins, because the hotels were booked up, so we checked out of our room in Denver, drove to Fort Collins with Whimsy, walked around Old Town for a bit, and then drove to our hotel room in Longmont (which is between Denver and Fort Collins.)

2nd and Charles, Fort Collins, Colorado.

2nd and Charles, Fort Collins, Colorado.

The next day was Ries’ last day before his internship started, so we drove from Longmont to Fort Collins to check out the HPE campus and where he needed to be the next morning, and then explored the more chain-heavy side of town and were super excited to find a 2nd and Charles. 2nd and Charles is a chain for new and secondhand books, games, cds, and instruments, and it was OUR JAM when we lived in Augusta. We haven’t seen one since, so it was so crazy to find one, and we spent a lot of time checking out the FoCo (abbreviation of Fort Collins) store.

This is pretty lengthy, so I’m going to wrap it up here, and we’ll pick up with more in our next update about our first week as Colorado residents.

Thanks for reading guys.

-A

To see more photos of our travels, check out our Instagram hashtag #intercoastalswander.