The Great Southern Road Trip: Days One and Two

For our fifth wedding anniversary this year, we decided to take a road trip to race Ironman Chattanooga and cross a whole bunch of states off my list. This is the story of that trip.

Day One: 9.19

We left Colorado fairly early Monday morning. As I did before IMAZ, I marked up Fiona the Rav before hitting the road.

 photo 9-19car_zpsd33aiytb.jpg
(144.6 as opposed to 140.6, because the IMChoo course has an extra four miles on the bike.)

 photo 9-19car3_zps5kff8qzp.jpg
Bye, state. See you again in about two weeks!

The first day saw us drive to Lansing, Kan. (just outside of Kansas City), to stay with our friends Norm and Emily. Norm was recently stationed in Leavenworth and while in general we believe we’re beyond couch-surfing, if our friends offer a free bed and free food, we’ll take them up on their hospitality.

 photo 9-19car4_zpsp00wahbb.jpg
Oasis on the Plains. Fancy rest stop in Kansas.

 photo 9-19leavenworth_zpspguhcpsi.jpg
Downtown Leavenworth.

States Hit: 2 (CO, KS)
New States Hit: 0

Day Two: 9.20

We left Norm and Emily’s house fairly early so as to get back on the road. We continued our long haul on I-70 towards Tennessee.

 photo 9-20car_zpsjlne4hvo.jpg
Bugs on my sideview mirror. Gross.

 photo 9-20car2_zpsg6ldrr2f.jpg
St. Louis Gateway Arch.

We powered through, knowing that the first two days of the trip (and probably the last day or two) would be the boring days. We stopped for the night just outside of Nashville, Tenn., where we planned a layover day.

States Hit: 4 (KS, MO, KY, TN)
New States Hit: 2 (KY, TN)

Glenwood Hot Springs

About two weeks ago, Brandon and I took off to the mountains for a mini trip up to Glenwood Springs, primarily to check out the hot springs up there. Okay, and get out of town.

Driving I-70 west, we had always seen the Glenwood Hot Springs right off the highway on the north side of the road. However, we’d never stopped there. Finally, we decided to remedy that.

We went at night during the winter, so keep that in mind.

 photo glenwood_zps2f4d470d.jpg
In one of the pools.

 photo glenwood3_zps72da7d1d.jpg
Steam coming off the water. It was … probably in the 20s or 30s out and the water was probably over 100 degrees?

It was … okay. Really, we’re not pool people. We’re fine being lazy for a little while, but then we get antsy. There were two pools open – both were warm, but one was hotter than the other. It may have been the therapy pool, but don’t quote me on that. The best time I had was spent in the cooler pool, just floating and staring up at the stars.

I know in the summer there’s more to do there, including water slides, but in terms of a hot springs, we both wished it had more of a natural feel … instead of feeling like we were in a slightly weird, giant pool. I know the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs are more natural – in a river where there are hot spots in it – so maybe we’ll check that out next time.

 photo glenwood5_zps8e12c3a2.jpg
Water jug repurposed as a fish tank. Seen at a coffee/doughnut shop near Copper Mountain on the drive down.

On the Great Minnesota Road Trip

In late August, I took a little over a week off work to drive to Minnesota for a small vacation. I detoured through Indianapolis to pick up Brandon from recurrent training and then continued on north. We hit up the Minnesota State Fair and I got to see the North Shore for the first time, which was super exciting (for me). Here is a glimpse into the trip, in photos.

 photo 8-21drive8_zpsdf2fbfff.jpg
Working early on little sleep and then driving far (Denver to Independence, Mo.) meant I needed to stay awake. This photo is of me the most caffeinated I’ve been since probably high school.

 photo 8-22drive4_zps87936e08.jpg
Well played, random Indiana sign. This actually makes sense.

 photo 8-22drive6_zps8b055959.jpg
Dinner view in Indianapolis.

 photo 8-23drive5_zpsaae50c52.jpg
Norske Nook, in Osseo, Wisc. Supposedly really good pie. I was disappointed in said pie.

 photo 8-23drive7_zps7ea795f3.jpg
Across this bridge and into Minnesota.

 photo fair3_zps4dc9b431.jpg
At the State Fair. Seen eating a dough-sant, the Minnesota version of a cronut. Super tasty.

 photo fair10_zpse50eaa92.jpg
Brandon’s face after trying my breakfast sausage (in pancake batter) on a stick.

 photo fair23_zps3fac9591.jpg
From the top of the Giant Slide.

 photo fair32_zps702a2815.jpg
Deep-fried pumpkin pie. Quite possibly the best thing I ate at the fair that day.

 photo fair37_zpsf75c4a64.jpg
Dinosaurs and cheese curds.

 photo hhof2_zps5bf3a789.jpg
U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, Minn.

 photo eveleth6_zpsa02e2b95.jpg
World’s largest hockey stick in Eveleth, Minn.

 photo ely6_zpse92e2679.jpg
On Shagawa Lake in Ely, Minn. Brandon spent a lot of his youth fishing for walleye on this lake.

 photo duluth2_zps6bc35862.jpg
With my delicious walleye sandwich for dinner at Grandma’s in Duluth, Minn.

 photo split_rock2_zps236f4992.jpg
Being a nerd at Split Rock Lighthouse.

 photo split_rock4_zps1669e849.jpg
Split Rock.

 photo split_rock10_zpsba0ca4b7.jpg
Dinosaurs at the lighthouse light … playing their own form of Wipeout.

 photo split_rock16_zps2fd680be.jpg
Split Rock.

 photo split_rock25_zps44031503.jpg
Lighthouse selfie.

 photo gooseberry2_zps6f0d701c.jpg
Gooseberry Falls.

 photo gooseberry8_zpsec3a02e1.jpg
Upper Gooseberry Falls.

 photo 8-27lunch_zps29c2bba9.jpg
View at lunch near Two Harbors, Minn.

 photo black_bear_zps7d9d73b6.jpg
Sign at Black Bear Casino in Minnesota. Silly snowmobilers …

 photo geist_house8_zps599dfa59.jpg
Driving a tractor at the in-laws’ house.

 photo 8-28ride4_zps45601017.jpg
With the Herb Brooks statue just outside the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

 photo 8-28ride10_zpsc5921b32.jpg
At Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, Minn.

 photo 8-28ride12_zpsd8c06856.jpg
Izzy’s Ice Cream, St. Paul, Minn.

Ironman Arizona Trip Photos

Hoo boy, has it been way too long since I’ve posted in here. I’d like to try to post more regularly here, but I’ve got some catching up to do.

Here are the posts I need to do to get caught up to present day:
– IMAZ travel post
– Boston trip
– a holiday post
– a combined third and fourth quarter style post
– Mythbusters exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Important, because I’ll have another Stock Show post soon, too. But, first things, first: IMAZ.

The main chunk of last year was spent training for Ironman Arizona. If you’re curious on how the race itself went, you can read the links from my tri blog:
Pre-Race
Race Day
Post-Race

But the race wasn’t the whole story. There was a drive to and from the race site. There were various photos taken. Here is a smattering:

 photo 11-12_car2_zpsf7df8f95.jpg
The car packed up with all our stuff.

 photo 11-12_drive_zpsf4d31d33.jpg
Stop in the Springs to see our friend Norm.

 photo 11-12_drive4_zps61a0b0fd.jpg
New Mexico border.

 photo 11-12_drive10_zps51d8000b.jpg
Solar panels outside Hatch, N.M.

 photo 11-12_drive13_zps149077fe.jpg
Union Pacific train.

 photo 11-12_drive14_zps53c6b926.jpg
Arizona border.

 photo 11-12_tucson2_zpsc5a4e345.jpg
The old Lucky Wishbone location on Swan.

 photo 11-12_tucson3_zps0d85c32a.jpg
In front of the sign of the new location on Swan.

 photo 11-14var4_zps02e03578.jpg
Brandon flopped in a hotel.

 photo 11-14var8_zps006c1824.jpg
Lamp (saw cool angles).

 photo 11-15_tempe_zps67d49794.jpg
Random restaurant in Tempe.

 photo 11-15_tempe7_zps0a3caa6e.jpg
Mike with his chocolate milk.

 photo 11-15_tempe8_zps71f17974.jpg
Brandon and his chocolate milk (Minnesota boys, I swear …).

 photo 11-15_tempe9_zps72c7f669.jpg
With my incorrect and disappointing galaktibouriko.

 photo 11-16_prep7_zps594e9fa4.jpg
Run gear bags.

 photo 11-18_post4_zpsec735020.jpg
Post-race cigar.

 photo 11-19_car3_zpsa94d2208.jpg
We did it!

 photo 11-19_drive2_zps3e5ffd3c.jpg
Northern Arizona.

 photo 11-19_drive3_zps044b73ec.jpg
Four Corners.

 photo 11-19_drive4_zps45596416.jpg
Four Corners.

 photo 11-19_drive5_zps8fa6e5e1.jpg
Four Corners.

 photo 11-19_drive6_zpsa3988d7c.jpg
Four Corners.

 photo 11-19_drive7_zpsf58c44dd.jpg
Colorado border.

 photo 11-19_drive9_zps47f4a1b1.jpg
Mural in Durango, Colo.

 photo 11-20_drive_zpsce07f724.jpg
Mountains.

 photo 11-20_drive2_zps34c1c6c4.jpg
Mountains.

On April in Tucson

In mid-April, we chose to drive down to Tucson to buy new tri bicycles, something I discussed on our tri blog. However, it was also a nice mini-vacation, getting away from the snow in Denver … but sadly not avoiding the wind. I won’t get into the triathlon-side of things here – you can click the link above for that – but I will tell the story of the trip through some of the photos I took.

 photo 4-15drive_zps0e80272e.jpg
We left in snow.

 photo 4-15drive3_zpsf76e4e81.jpg
Crossing the border into New Mexico.

 photo 4-16breakfast_zps8ab7d339.jpg
Breakfast at Frank’s/Francisco’s. So good. All this food also cost us less than $20.

 photo 4-16food_zps170de8dc.jpg
With my Lucky Wishbone and eegee’s for lunch.

 photo bnb_zpsa11d2318.jpg
B and B Cactus Farm. Essentially a free desert botanic gardens. This was also one of the first times I’ve been able to see cacti in bloom, which was unbelievably awesome.

 photo bnb2_zpscc1fad85.jpg
 photo bnb4_zps4d4d36a4.jpg
 photo bnb6_zps3b3d154e.jpg
 photo bnb7_zpsffb5656b.jpg
 photo bnb10_zpsf6f465ef.jpg
 photo bnb12_zpsf50f1250.jpg
 photo bnb15_zps8591c2e9.jpg
 photo bnb16_zps53668ed1.jpg
Brandon enjoyed the cactus.

 photo 4-17drive_zpsdcddc592.jpg
Gustave enjoying driving around the city.

 photo 4-17food_zps3766be60.jpg
Brandon and In-N-Out.

 photo lw_zpse80e0c7f.jpg
 photo lw2_zps0244ad77.jpg
The old Swan location, still standing, but no longer in use.

 photo 4-17food6_zps29362c25.jpg
 photo 4-17food7_zps18d9c3df.jpg
We are not mature.

 photo lw4_zps5d541270.jpg
I *heart* Lucky Wishbone.

We visited my “Aunt” Maxine after this, an old friend of my family who has known me since I was a baby. She’s … I think 99? 98? but in any case, nearing 100-years-old … and is still quite sharp.

We headed out of town after two short days, driving up to Scottsdale to visit some of Brandon’s family (Aunt Judy and Uncle Bernie, whom we stayed with in November) and then back down south so we could hit up Hatch for some chile stuff for my brother.

 photo 4-18drive_zps3a381636.jpg
The desert on our way out of town.

 photo 4-18drive4_zpsb57addfb.jpg
Water mirage on the road ahead.

 photo 4-18drive5_zps3ca34ca1.jpg
Chile shop.

 photo 4-18drive6_zps7a06c7cd.jpg
The not-so-impressive Rio Grande.

After Hatch, we stopped in Truth or Consequences, N.M., for lunch at K-Bob’s steakhouse.
 photo 4-18food2_zpsaefa42da.jpg
 photo 4-18food3_zps5a5205ff.jpg
We were a bit exhausted at this point.

 photo 4-18drive7_zpsc4161470.jpg
Food perked us up.

We slogged home, not reaching our beds until midnight, but one last thing of note: a bit before reaching the New Mexico/Colorado border, Fiona the Rav hit a milestone:
 photo 4-18drive11_zps1bb62ee0.jpg

USA Pro Cycling Challenge

A little over a week ago, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge took place all over Colorado. As someone now interested in cycling races and the like (and Colorado stuff – woo!), I wanted to go see a stage of the race last year, but it didn’t work out with work. This year, I had off the last day of the race, which also happened to be the Denver time trial.

So, last Sunday, I rode from my place in the Tech Center downtown to 17th Street to watch the race. I figured 17th would be a good vantage point because riders, after winding around downtown, came up 17th, did a little loop in City Park and came back down 17th en route to the finish near the Capitol. Therefore, you’d get to see riders twice.

There were a lot of riders and a lot of people watching the race. I particularly enjoyed watching this stage because, as a time trial, most of the cyclists rode time trial bikes … essentially the bikes triathletes use, aerobars and all. Therefore, happy, happy bike porn for me. It was also awesome watching how fast those guys were cranking – the stage winner, Taylor Phinney from Boulder, ended up averaging well over 30 mph.

Obviously I took pictures.

 
USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Denver Time Trial
Sprinter leader Tyler Farrar.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Denver Time Trial
Taylor Phinney.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Denver Time Trial
Most Aggressive Rider (and Stage 6 winner) Rory Sutherland.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Denver Time Trial
King of the Mountains, Jens Voight.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Denver Time Trial
Best young rider, Tejay Van Garderen

USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Denver Time Trial
Pro Challenge winner, Christian VandeVelde.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Denver Time Trial
Crowd on 17th watching the race.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Denver Time Trial
Leader (at that point), Levi Leipheimer.