Colorado bound

A couple months ago I decided I wanted to go visit my two sisters in Colorado and finally get to meet my sweet baby niece (who turned 1 last month!). So, I called my mom and said, "Hey, wanna go to Colorado?" I think she thought I was kidding. Another one of my crazy spontaneous ideas that I never really follow through with.

But fast forward to last weekend and there we were with my little sister, Emily in tow to our girls' weekend in Colorado. I booked our tickets online, found hotel rooms, and rented us a car. The plan was to fly into Denver and then drive to Salida and spend the night. We would get up in the morning and go white water rafting with my sister Corbett, who is working as a raft guide for the summer. Then we'd drive that afternoon to Colorado Springs where we'd stay two nights and get to hang out with my other sister Amanda and her daughter, Aisley. Then we'd drive back to Denver Monday morning and come home. We had it all planned. I had all my confirmations printed out, my mom had the weekend's weather forecast printed out. We brought a GPS so we wouldn't get lost. We were nothing, if not prepared. The drive from Denver to Salida was supposed to take 2 hours. No problem! 2 hours is nothing! Well, once you factor in that we arrived in Denver at 8:05pm (so already 10:05 pm east coast time), then had to get our bags, take a shuttle bus to the rental car place, wait in line for 45 minutes, it is now almost ten o'clock before we have even started our drive.
We opted not to drive through Colorado Springs but to go a more "direct" route. Turns out going through Colorado Springs would have meant being on a multiple-lane highway for the majority of the route. Instead we spent a little over three hours on a pitch black, one-lane highway through the mountains. A route mostly frequented by truckers it turns out, who were not so pleased that our rented Jeep Patriot was not maintaining the 65 mph speed limit on the windy uphill roads. If the bright blaring lights of tractor-trailers on our bumper weren't enough, there were also the uplifting road signs such as:


So while this is all going on, my mom is in the back seat unbeknownst to me starting to get very car sick from all of the twisting and turning. So when she says, "sorry, but I need you to pull over", I'm thinking "ha, right! I am so not stopping the car and getting eaten by a mountain lion or worse, getting kidnapped by some crazy mountain dweller who's going to make jewelry out of my bones to sell at the next local flea market. So, I finally find a spot of the road with a shoulder, instead of a 50ft. drop and pull over. As she's getting back in the car, a car pulls up behind me and a friendly member of the local law enforcement is walking up to my car. I explain that my mom was just a little car sick and we're fine. We continue driving and I cannot even explain how tired my eyes are at this point. It is amazing we made it there in one piece. Note to self, next time I will stay in civilization until daylight.
We finally made it a little after 1am (that's 3am, our time now!). And even though the lobby of the place looked like this:

I've never been happier to be anywhere, ever! Seriously, I really thought I was going to die. The rest of the weekend went much smoother. We went white water rafting Saturday morning and I don't know that I've ever had so much fun! I had a perma-grin the entire time. I probably wasn't the best paddler, but I attribute that to the fact that I was laughing so hard when we went through the rapids that it was hard to breathe, much less do anything remotely coordinated. Here's a picture of us post-adventure:

We had so much fun together. It was one of those trips that before it was even over, we were planning when/how we could all see each other again.

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