“West bound and Up” Part III: Rocky Mountain High

Sunday June 19th, 2011; K.C., MO to Vail, CO

From L to R, John, Rene and myself

We planned to get up earlier than we did, but extra sleep was in order.  Soon after rising we hit the road because we knew we had another long drive ahead.  In order to get to Colorado however, we had to go through Kansas, which is notorious for being a dull drive and, folks, it didn’t disappoint!  We stopped off in Lawrence for what we hoped would be a quick breakfast at the local supermarket but wound up taking forever.  After we ate, it was a seemingly never ending, mind numbing stretch of pavement.  Even though it wasn’t my favorite place in the world, the novelty of being in Kansas was kind of fun for a guy from South Florida.  The most interesting thing I spotted en route to Colorado was a billboard for “The Wizard of Oz Museum.”  Sadly, we didn’t stop and see it, which I am now kicking myself for…well, not really.

There is no place like Kansas...and that isn't a bad thing

Much of Eastern Colorado didn’t look much different than Kansas, but once we saw those Rocky Mountains on the horizon, it finally felt like we were in the West.  I remember stopping for gas at one point and being amazed at how cold it was outside.  An hour or two earlier, while still in Kansas, it was well in the 90’s and we were sweating, but the gas station in Colorado was down right nippy!

I don't wanna go!

We had planned to stay in Denver, but it turned out that Big John had some connection with a place in Vail, a world famous ski resort area for rich people, so we, gladly, went there instead.  The weather in Denver was nasty, but once again, we were hopeful Vail would be different…it wasn’t.  It didn’t matter though.  The place we stayed at was absolutely gorgeous and it was nice to feel like a big shot for a nite.

After checking in, we dumped our luggage in the room and made our way to the hot tub outside.  The mountain air was crisp and the temperature was in the mid 40’s.  About thirty feet away there was a rushing river and the sound of water rushing along was extremely gratifying.  We didn’t stay too long, however, because it was getting late and we were hungry.

Once again we found ourselves in search of food at a late hour and our only real option was room service, but after taking a quick look at the menu, we lost our appetite; pricy would be a polite way to describe it, extortion another.  What do you do when you are staying at a ritzy resort with no cash?  You improvise!  Rene had stashed away some kind of fitness candy bar and was gracious enough to share it with John and I.  We each got a third of it and then fell asleep counting pancakes.

Big Mountain Skies

The following morning we decided to use the athletic facilities at the resort, which were really amazing.  We had wanted to do something outdoors, but the weather wasn’t cooperating, so the gym was the next best option.  First up was basketball.  We started shooting around, just loosing up, but even doing that, the thin mountain air was noticeable.  As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, the nite before I remember commenting how I was having trouble breathing easily.  Anyhow, after warming up for a few minutes we decided to play a friendly a game of ‘hustle,’ or ’21,’ which is basically an everyman for himself kind of deal.  As per usual, everything started off very mild, but soon after the intensity escalated and we turned into wild animals!

We had only played a couple games of hustle when three older gentlemen entered the gym and challenged us to a game of 3 on 3, which we gladly accepted.  Hustle is a fun game, but it’s a lot more fun to having teammates to play with.  Judging by appearances, it was clear we had the athletic advantage, but the older guys had a few veteran tricks up their sleeve and gave us a pretty good fight; got to respect that.  There were a couple of dicy moments with Big John and the muscular guy guarding him (John was clotheslined at some point and later retaliated with a, fundamentally sound, tackle), but other than that, it was a lot of fun.

After basketball I wanted to do a little resistance training, so John and I headed upstairs to the weight room while Rene went back to the room for a shower and ???  The gym was a nice way to finish off the morning and get out some of the stiffness from being stuck in a car for hours.  Unfortunately, John was dealing with a pulled muscle in his ‘LB’ (lower back) that only seemed to get worse with time, much to Rene’s delight.

Vail was beautiful, but we were unable to get another nite at the hotel so we decided to head to our next destination, but not before we got ourselves a good breakfast.  Here we are leaving the restaurant.

Next up, Park City, Utah!

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