Susan and Abigail were asked to participate in the wedding ceremony of Banjamin and Jennifer Halsted, friends of ours from high school. (She was Jennifer Henry then.) As we hadn't seen them in a number of years, and we have friends in the area, we decided to all trek out there (Denver, Colorado) for the wedding.
We've made the drive between Orange County (California) and Denver several times, and we didn't really want to pull it all in one go, so we decided to make a ten-day vacation out of it.
We left Orange County about 1:00 pm on Friday, April 20th. We stopped that night in Flagstaff, Arizona. The next day, we drove from Flagstaff to the Petrified Forest National Park, home of a bunch of stone dead trees, some really neat petroglyphs, and some rather nice vistas of the Painted Desert region of AZ. We then drove to Albuquerque, New Mexico for our next night's stop, where Danny gave us all a scare by falling into the spa (and no, he can't swim).
Sunday morning we drove up to Westcliffe/Silver Cliff, Colorado, where we spent a lovely two days with some very good friends from Illinois, Sean and Lauren Belle and their two daughters. (Lauren's parents live in the area, so they drove out from Illinois to visit with us and spend time with her family.) We all went for a hike in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, and Sean and I drove up to some property Lauren's parents own in the foothils of the Wet Mountains There is a lovely view from the property and from the road on the way back.
Tuesday afternoon we left Silver Cliff and drove up to Northglenn, a suburb on the (yep, you guessed it) north side of Denver, where we stayed with David and Juanita Redfield, friends from Illinois who'd moved to the Denver area about the same time we moved back to California. The trip was mostly uneventful, except for the part where mapquest gave us directions to a street in downtown Denver, 15 miles from our real target. (Have I ever mentioned that I really don't like one-way streets?)
Wednesday was a beautiful day spent in the outdoors. In the morning, we drove out to the Red Rocks recreational area and did some wonderfully adventurous hiking in God's magnificent creation. We somehow missed the trail we had been planning to take, and instead ended up on a mountain-goat path that was a little scary at times, especially with three small children. We ended up having to go cross country and do some pretty intensive work to get back to the parking lot and our cars, where we had a picnic lunch. We then drove down to the Denver Botanical Gardens and wandered aroung in the plants and flowers and dead sticks for a while. (April in Denver is the very beginning of Spring. Many things just aren't growing yet.)
Thursday we spent the day working on wedding stuff with the Halsteds, and Ben and I even sewed some! Friday morning we spent at the Denver Children's Museum with the Redfields -- the kids really enjoyed getting to play with the neat toys and tools that they have there. Friday night was the rehearsal dinner with the Halsteds at a nice Mexican place called the Armadillo.
Saturday was the wedding, at a lovely mansion in the mountains above Denver. The girls were beautiful. The reception was at the Radisson back in Northglenn.
Sunday, April 21, we left Denver at nine in the morning. Ten long hours later (Isaac cried across 90% of Utah, and Utah's a wide state...), we got to our hotel in Mesquite, Nevada. Neither Susan nor I care much for the gambling towns of Nevada, but they sure do have cheap hotel room rates. Monday morning, we left Mesquite and arrived home about five hours later. We spent a lot of time on the road, but it was a fun experience.