Sunday, December 15, 2013

US Trip 2013 Part 2: The Sightseeings

The first timers to Northern Colorado would head to the Rocky Mountains National Park via Estes Park. They would go to downtown Fort Collins and snap a lot of photos. If they are more inclined towards big cities they would head down to Denver and shoot more than 1000 photos.

I am not that. So I am not doing those stuff. Anyway because of the bad floods that destroyed the road leading towards Estes Park, you can't get there even if you had wanted to.

On weekdays there is nothing much to do. It is winter, and when you get off work at 5PM, this is what the sky looks like:

Forget sightseeings, you don't even feel like going to a restaurant for dinner!

Weekends I try to stay in the hotel, spending quality time with apple ale and Netflix and the hotel gym, but I did get some road trips packed in partly thanks to Avis who forced me to drive down to Denver Airport every Saturday.

Loveland Pass:

Well it is a mountain pass that goes parallel with the big long tunnel of the I-70 if you drive from Denver heading towards Vail/Grand Junction. Don't ask me to explain geography, go do your own read up on Wikipedia and whatnot.

The great thing about this pass is, there are 2 ski resorts that is located along this pass, and the Continental Divide cuts across right here.

What sucks was, the day I decided to hit this pass, it had been snowing. While the temperature warmed up enough to clear up the road, it did not clear up the ice on the side paths and parking spots. So I wasn't able to stop where the Continental Divide is. The only places safe enough to stop is when I got to the end of the pass and reached Dillon,

and somewhere that oversees part of the Arapahoe Ski Basin.

Well the story behind this photo, it was the one time I tried to stop at a snow covered side strip, and that was all it took to convince me that I should not be doing that ever again. You see I saw a spot where there were some car tire tracks, so I thought that place was safe to stop. So in I went,

took the photo, got back into my car, put the gear to D, turned the steering wheel left and tried to get out of that place. But what happened was the car turned towards the right instead. So I stopped, shifted down to L, depressed the accelerator fully and tried again. And the car turned right again. I spent 1 minute panicking, and then remembered, I could go out the way I came in. So I put the gear in reverse and re-traced my entry path. Thank god that worked.

It was the same at the Continental Divide area. Basically no cars dared to stop, so what we all did was slow down, capture the scenery with our eyes, and got on with life. I don't have a photo of myself to show for this place, but basically this is how it normally looks:

Colorado Springs:

This is another trip that I made while going to Avis to have my rental car issues sorted. I basically have 0 semi decent photos to show for this trip, because I spent 100% of the time in my car.

You see I had 2 places that I wanted to hit in this town. The first was a restaurant called The Airplane Restaurant. As the name suggested, it is an airplane converted into a restaurant. My GPS found the restaurant, so off I went, spent one and a half hours stuck in I-25 traffic jam (it gets as terrible as the ones on Penang Bridge, mind you). Upon arriving at the location highlighted by the GPS, I found myself staring at an empty field beside the airport! Spent another half an hour driving around nearby area to see if I can find the restaurant, and failed.

So I head off to the 2nd place in mind, the Garden of the Gods. Well this place I found all right, what I did not expect was the scarcity of parking spaces. I first tried the visitor center, no luck there. Then I drove into the rock garden itself, found no empty parking spots along the way, and discovered that when we got out of the garden, it was the other side of town and had to drive 3 miles back to the entrance. Superb! So back I went, for another 2 times, then I got so fed up that I left. So this is the only picture I got of the Garden of the Gods, taken from my car...

It was frustrating and disappointing, but the horrible jams on the I-25 (I've been told that it is normal) meant that no, if up to me, I would not be going to Colorado Springs for sightseeing ever again.

Benson Sculpture Park/Lake Loveland:

Loveland is famous for sculptures. I did not know that on my previous trips. This time I was suitably enlightened, so I went to the nearby sculpture park on 1 of the weekends. Basically it is a park next to Lake Loveland, and is covered with many lovely sculptures. It is free of charge and not crowded, so it is a good place to go for a walk. I walked all the way to Lake Loveland and back. It was about 3 or 4 miles of walk, good exercise.

Boyd Lake:

Another good exercise I had. This place is just like 5 minutes drive from where I was staying, trying to keep it close. The Boyd Lake State Park is actually surrounded by seven lakes, Boyd Lake being the largest. I parked at a small car park in a housing area overseeing one of these smaller lakes. It was another 3 or 4 miles worth of good walk.

So well, that's about as much as I have to show for my US Trip #4 sightseeing, and pretty much as much as I want to talk about of my trip this time.

Of course there are a few moments of "What happens in Colorado, stays in Colorado" that I shall only keep locked in my heart =P.

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