Bill and Cathy McArthur Spring/Summer/Fall 2008: 10

    Monday, June 2, was windy. Cathy did an aerobics class in the morning. After lunch, Bill finished powerwashing the steps. We took a late afternoon walk to the canal. We had burgers for dinner. About 9:30 PM, Bill got a call from Water's Edge Motel about a computer problem and decided to go over right away. Bill worked until 11:09 PM restoring One of the mail merge documents. Chasing down the problem was difficult and solving it was just as hard. Bill finally got a solution before heading home.

    Tuesday morning we went out to run a few errands after Bill checked us all in on Frontier Airline. We ate lunch on the deck. We walked along the Bay to the canal. Bill walked the last mile on the beach. We packed our suitcases for the trip to Colorado. We had a fairly early dinner. Bill was in bed at 9:00 PM. Cathy followed at 9:30 PM.

    Wednesday started at 3:15 AM. It had been raining for a couple of hours already. We left at around 3:50 AM and drove in the rain to Winner's Valet Parking service. We were dropped at the Philadelphia airport around 5:50 AM. The rain continued. We had to wait until after 6:00 AM to check our bags at the Frontier counter. The security line was long and slow. When we finally got through, we ate a light breakfast at Au Bon Pain and read newspapers until Katie, Tom, and Rachel joined us. We all boarded the plane around 7:30 AM. There was confusion about who was sitting in row 11 on the plane. Each seat had at least 3 people assigned to it. We all moved to other areas of the plane. The heavy rain continued. We were lucky to takeoff just a little late. We landed in Denver around 10:45 AM Mountain Daylight Time. We picked up our checked luggage and took a shuttle to Avis to pick up our minivan. We drove part way to Colorado Springs, helped by our GPS, until we stopped for lunch at an Italian Restaurant. We had a good lunch and then did some shopping at Safeway. We got back on the road and checked-in to the Antlers Hilton Hotel around 3:30 PM. We headed out again at 4:30 PM and visited the Garden of the Gods. We did a good tour, including a short walk. On the way back, we stopped for dinner at Giuseppe's Depot Restaurant. We had a table with a great view of Pike's Peak. We had a hearty dinner and headed back to our rooms. It was a good day.

    Thursday was a rainy and snowy day. Bill starting waking at 3:00 AM due to jet lag and finally got up at 5:00 AM. He worked on the computer for a while. Cathy awoke around 6:15 AM. We met with Tom, Katie, and Rachel around 7:30 AM and walked to a nearby Starbucks for breakfast. The area was under a severe thunderstorm warning so we walked in some rain, but no thunder, to and from breakfast. The temperature was 50 degrees, so we dressed warmly. Because of a rainy looking radar, we drove to the USOC training facility about 6 miles from the hotel. We had a private tour of various sports buildings and were very impressed with the complex. After a good tour, we drove to Poor Richard's bookstore, cafe, and game store. We browsed the books and Bill enjoyed a cappuccino while we were there. When we headed back to the hotel, the sun was started to shine intermittently. We ate a "trail lunch" in the Leitch's room. Meanwhile, Bill had gathered some information about the running of the cog rail up to the summit of Pike's Peak. We decided to try to make the 1:20 PM train and hustled to just make it on. The cog train took an hour to climb to the top. We had some sunshine, some rain, some fog, and finally some snow as we ascended the mountain. Bill had checked the conditions earlier in the morning and knew that it was 21 degrees and snowing at the summit. Most of the train riders huddled in the summit building housing the gift shop and cafe. Bill and Tom zipped up, donned hats and gloves, and went out to play in the snow. Evidently the road to the summit was closed, because the parking lot was empty. They kept within sight of the building so that they wouldn't become lost in the driving snow and fog. They went back in and talked Katie and Rachel into joining them outside. Bill and Rachel threw some snowballs. We reluctantly went back in to await the departure of our train down the mountain. It took another hour to descend. When we arrived at the bottom, the rain had stopped. We decided to go back to the hotel and swim in the pool before dinner. We all got ready. Tom, Katie, and Rachel enjoyed the pool, Bill lifted weights in the gym and walked the treadmill for a while. Cathy watched the swimming. We cleaned up for dinner and walked to Jose Muldoons, a great Mexican restaurant three blocks from the hotel. After dinner, we walked back to the hotel. It was another good day.

    Friday started clear and chilly. The sun quickly warmed up the air and it became pretty comfortable by the time we all headed to Starbucks for breakfast. After eating, we went back to the hotel, packed, loaded the minivan, and headed north. We stopped at a Caribou Coffee just north of Denver for a cappuccino for Bill and a pit stop for everyone. We drove on to Boulder where we parked near the central shopping district, known as the Pearl Street Mall. We browsed stores and bought a few items. Tom arranged to rent a bike for 3 days. We ate lunch at a creperie and then drove to the bike shop to get Tom's rental. He loaded the bike in the minivan with a bit of effort. We drove to Estes Park and our lodgings, Alpine Trail Ridge Inn. We had adjoining rooms with a pretty good view of snow-capped mountains. The rooms were comfortable and had flat screen TVs. Katie took a nap, Tom rode his bike, and Bill and Cathy and Rachel went for a drive into Rocky Mountain National Park and took a short walk around Sprague Lake. We saw some baby ducks with their mother and some chipmunks at the lake. On the way back, we stopped to look at some Elk near the road. Back at the room, Bill, Cathy, and Rachel played Crazy 8s and Old Maid. Later the three of them went to dinner at Sundeck Restaurant, a rustic place with mediocre food. Katie and Tom celebrated their 10th Anniversary with a fancier dinner out. Back at the room, Cathy and Rachel read books before Rachel headed for bed. We followed shortly.

    Saturday was a beautiful day. Bill woke up at 5:00 AM and set out on a walk downtown. He arrived at the Starbucks in Safeway just as it was opening at 6:00 AM and picked up a scone for Cathy and a latte for himself. He arrived back at the motel when everybody else was getting up. We got coffee from the office and ate in our rooms. Tom, Katie, and Bill packed their day packs and departed for a hike in the National Park. They left from the Glacier Gorge trailhead and hiked to Alberta Falls and then The Loch. The one way distance was 2.8 miles. We ate lunch at The Loch before returning on the same trail. Bill was comfortable hiking in shorts and a T-shirt, although he had a fleece, raincoat, gloves, and a wool hat along in case the weather turned. They encountered quite a bit of snow on the trail and Bill was reminded of our backpacking trip in Norway in 1990. Meanwhile, Cathy and Rachel had a good time in the area of the motel. When the hikers returned, all 5 of us took a rest. We ate dinner at Sweet Basilico, a good Italian restaurant in downtown Estes Park. We were all pretty tired when we returned to our rooms.

    Sunday morning, Bill had planned to walk to Starbucks, but there were some very dark clouds nearby and a threat of showers and thunderstorms, so Bill stayed in until almost 7:00 AM and then went to the general store across the road to get some bagels and a cinnamon roll. Cathy and Bill got coffee at the office and we all ate breakfast in the rooms. Bill also downed a sugar-free Red Bull. It was chilly and very windy and the Ranger Station told us by phone that Trail Ridge Road was closed due to blowing snow. Tom and Bill decided to hike Estes Cone. Katie didn't feel up to any kind of hike and Cathy was not interested in going out into the cold and wind. When Bill and Tom arrived at the Long's Peak trailhead, it was snowing pretty hard. They started up at 9400 feet of altitude and ended at the top at 11,000 feet. Near the end, the steepness of the "trail" was literally breathtaking. At the end, the views were figuratively breathtaking. It was cold and very windy at the exposed summit where Bill and Tom ate lunch and chatted with three friendly folks from Fort Collins. The total distance of the hike was 6.6 miles. After Tom and Bill returned from the hike, we all looked at their photos and then everybody but Tom played a couple of games of "Go Fish." We all went downtown to browse a few shops and then went to dinner at Dunhaven Italian Restaurant. The food was great.

    Monday morning, Bill did a powerwalk to Starbucks, after checking us all in at Frontier Airlines. The air was very chilly, but it was pretty outside. On the way back, Bill spotted an elk across the road from the motel. Bill went back out for a couple of newspapers. Then Bill went to the office and printed boarding passes for all of us for our red-eye flight back to Philadelphia that night. All of us ate breakfast and then packed the minivan. We checked-out of our motel and drove to Moraine Park, where Katie, Tom, and Rachel took a 2 hour horseback ride. Cathy and Bill drove up to the Rainbow Curve of Trail Ridge Road, where the road had been closed since Wednesday. A ranger was about to check out the highest parts of the road and promised to be back in about an hour. We didn't have time to wait, so we headed back down the road, stopping at a very scenic overlook for some shots. We also stopped at the Moraine Park Museum and looked at the few exhibits, before meeting Katie et. al. at the stables. Rachel gave us a big wave from horseback as the train of horses and riders re-entered the stables. We all went into Estes Park to eat lunch outdoors. Cathy and Bill got some good lunch items at Shakes Alive, while the others got Subway sandwiches. It felt good in the sun, except when the 50 degree wind gusted. After lunch, we descended into Boulder to drop off Tom's rental bike. Unfortunately, the bike shop forgot to give him back his pedals, so we had to go back to the shop when we were at the edge of town. We drove to Bill's sister-in-law Joann's house in Golden. It was a balmy 75 and sunny on her deck where we visited and enjoyed the views. We followed Joann into downtown Golden for a bit of walking along the river and eating at the Old Capitol Grill, a building with a lot of history. We did some more walking along the river after dinner and enjoyed the kayaking in the fast whitewater. We stopped for a dish of ice cream for Rachel and then said our goodbyes to Joann and headed for the Denver Airport. When we arrived at Avis to turn-in the rental minivan, an employee took pity on us and offered to drive us, in the minivan, to the Frontier Airlines departures area. That bit of generosity saved us a lot of time and hassle. We checked-in smoothly, except that we had to transfer our shaving kit to Rachel's suitcase to make it under the weight limit for our suitcase. Our flight took off on time at 11:55 PM.

    Tuesday early morning found us on our red-eye flight. Some of us slept a lot, some a little, and Cathy not at all. We arrived in Philadelphia at around 5:20 AM. We had a longish wait for our luggage due to a malfunctioning carousel. We got our suitcases, transferred the shaving kit and called Winner for our two pickups. We said goodbye and headed to our respective homes. Cathy and Bill arrived home at around 8:20 AM and immediately crashed for naps until 11:00 AM. We found that our area was in the midst of a massive heat wave and were faced with heat in the 90s and high humidity at our house. We opened all of the windows and put our ceiling fans on medium high. It was a very good trip.

        Bill and Cathy