We drove from Oklahoma City to Boulder, Colorado, in one day – it was around a 5 hour drive. The drive went by really quickly, with a brief stop-over for lunch. The landscape itself was not what we expected to see in Colorado. We expected only mountains and hills, but it was predominantly farm lands and dry hills.
We saw a mini twister or 2 on the way – really incredible but luckily they did not develop into anything bigger!
For those that don’t know, Boulder is a college town similar to Stellenbosch. I wouldn’t call it quaint, its rather large for a “small college” town. It is at the foot of the Rocky’s, so the mountains are always in view.
We stayed in Boulder for 14 days, in a homeexchange.com home. The owners, Dennis and Libby, have a cute cat named Mosby, he was a little bit shy to begin with but warmed up to us quite quickly. The house and surrounding trees were crawling with squirrels – literally so many squirrels.
The house itself was beautiful, and could accommodate a number of people. Cameron and I each had our own rooms, with double beds, and our own bathroom in the basement – very cool!
I used the time we spent in Boulder to catch up on work. I was very far behind with the blog, because of the houseboat and then the cruise, so most of my time was spent doing work. Cameron was the same – work, work, work!
In between all of the work we managed to get out, I got a haircut, we went go-karting and ice-skating. We visited a ski village about 3 hours from our house, but more on that later.
Dad and I needed to get some printing done for Cameron’s tests that were coming up so we went into town looking for a printing shop. We found one that specialized in all kinds of printing including 3D printing – the things that can be produced with a 3D printer is astounding and I had no idea. At the cost of printing locally, Dad found an ‘all-in-one’ printer on Amazon for $16.00 (yes, new for $16, so he decided to buy that for Cameron’s exams and assignments instead). I
The weekend after we arrived was something called the Boulder Fall Festival. It is a huge celebration that marks the end of summer and the beginning of Fall. Everyone in the town comes to the town center, they drink beer and watch the marching bands that come from the Colorado University. The University’s football team comes on the back of an old firetruck, I don’t want to say it was cliche or that it was something you would see in a movie, but it was. It was really cool.
We had supper on the lawns and watched this all unfold, it was really quite a sight.
Cameron and I continued doing our work throughout the week, we got into a schedule that worked for us. Mom and Dad made use of the NetFlix on demand system, which is fairly similar to our PVR system but they are streamed movies online and on one afternoon and evening they watched 4 movies!
On one of the mornings we woke up and decided to switch things up a little and head out to find and ice rink. The GPS took us to a go-karting place/ mini-golf / arcade instead! With no ice rink in sight we asked the people working there where an ice rink was. They gave us an address of a public ice rink, but now that Cameron and I had seen the go-karting we wanted to have a go on that too.
Cameron beat me in the go-karting, he was a little speed-demon taking all the corners as sharp as he could so that he could beat me.
Once we reached the ice rink, which was another half an hour away, we went inside only to find that there are designated days and times that you can ice skate publicly. It was a little bit disappointing but we were to return the following day.
Just like in Minneapolis, Boulder had a place where Cam could play Magic (the card game) so after the attempted ice skating we investigated the place. Cameron felt comfortable going there and went the following night to go play some magic.
After investigating the Magic place we went for supper at a restaurant that Mom and Dad had visited a couple nights earlier called Pasta Jays. It is a very nice busy restaurant in the center of town on a corner with opening windows all around – great for people watching. The food was excellent and it was a nice evening. Mom and Dad went back for lunch during the week and I am not sure what happened, but this was one of the photo’s that was taken…
So the next day we set out to not only get my haircut but to go ice skating – I must say it was nice getting back on the ice. I haven’t been ice skating since I was about Cameron’s age. It was a little bit difficult to stay steady on my feet on the ice, but after a while I got used to it, with a speed wobble or two.
On the second weekend we headed up to the world famous Vail Ski resort which was only a 3 hour drive from the house we were staying in. The drive up took us through the Rocky Mountain range, very beautiful mountains covered in trees of all colours (Fall had arrived). We had packed an overnight bag for ourselves as Dad had managed to find accommodation for us just outside of Vail at the Vail Racquet Mountain Resort . Unfortunately as it was the weekend, the road was very busy and the trip took over 6 hours but it was worth the wait.
We all didn’t know what to expect, but once we had arrived we thought we were somewhere in Europe. It resembled a small German/ Swedish town with quaint streets and pubs and restaurants on every corner.
There were several ski lifts which don’t operate during summer to the top of the mountain as well as gondolas which do operate during the summer too. We went to the top of the mountain in a gondola and we had an amazing view of Vail as well as the mountains around it.
You can almost picture what it would look like during winter, with snow on all the trees and all the people with their ski attire, it really would be magnificent. We had lunch at the top and watched as a crowd gathered for a wedding which took place on the mountain. You can also see that Fall had clearly arrived in Vail!
We walked around looking at all the sights, and saw all the jumps and ramps that would be used during winter, as well as the zipline.
Many people go to Vail in summer to go mountain bike riding on the slopes. No need to ride up, just take your bike in the gondola with you. We were tempted to do it, but the risk of injury was too great. The number of people we saw with injuries was far too great to consider hiring the bikes. Sorry Ayden!
We walked around and into different quadrants of the village looking at all the different ski shops and what they had to offer.
We think we saw what looks to be a deer on the mountain from the bar where we had a drink before going back to the unit. What do you make of it?
Once back at the unit, Mom and Dad went for supper whilst Cam and I stayed in. Mom and Dad brought us some food from the restaurant and we hit the hay.
In the morning there was a farmers market in Vail that we visited. We bought some goods before getting on the road for the car ride home.
On the way home we stopped in a quaint old town called Idaho Springs. It was a Sunday and every restaurant was packed. We managed to find a place that does nice breakfasts. The food was really really good, and the setting was too.
It was while we were driving home that Dad got a call from the hotel in Vail that we had stayed in. We (ie, Dad) had left Mom’s cell phone in the room and the housekeeper had found it. Now back home, that cell phone would have already been sold! Amazing that people are so honest and go out of their way to help you. As I type this blog, Mom’s cell has arrived back with us in Utah, thanks to UPS and the friendly staff at Vail Racquet Club.
The rest of our time spent in Boulder was spent on work and getting ready for the next part of our journey. We also spent a lot of time in town, walking through the streets and looking at the old shops and bars.
Did you know…
Mom and Dad went for a drink and supper at “The Kitchen” in town. The village style restaurant is owned by Kimbal Musk – do you know who he is? He is the very successful brother of Elon Musk, the multi Billionaire South African born entrepreneur who founded Paypal, owns X.com and launched a new electric powered car this week while we were here.Kimbal lives in town and gives a great deal back to the community, as you can see below. Another great South African (ok so he was born there!)
Quoting Wikipedia: Musk’s first entrepreneurship venture was a residential painting business with College Pro Painters in 1995, when he and his elder brother, Elon started their second company, Zip2. Zip2 Corporation was an online city guide that provided content for the new online versions of the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune newspapers. The company was sold in 1999 to Compaq for $307 million.
After selling Zip2, Musk invested in several young software and technology companies. Musk was an early investor in his brother’s venture X.com, an online financial services and email payments company. X.com changed its name to PayPal and in October 2002 was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in stock.
While Elon stayed in California, Kimbal moved to New York and enrolled into the French Culinary Institute in New York City. In April 2004, Musk opened The Kitchen, a community bistro in Boulder, ColoradoJen Lewin and Hugo Matheson. The Kitchen has been named one of “America’s Top Restaurants” according to Food & Wine, Zagat’s, Gourmet, and the James Beard Foundation.
In 2005, The Kitchen [Upstairs] opened as Boulder’s Community Wine, Beer & Cocktail Lounge located directly above The Kitchen. From 2006 to 2011 Musk served as the CEO of OneRiot, an advertising network for the realtime, social web. In September 2011 Walmart-Labs acquired OneRiot for an undisclosed purchase price.
In 2011, The Kitchen [Next Door] opened as Boulder’s Community Pub and is located right next door to the west of the original restaurant on Pearl Street Mall. In 2012, The Kitchen [Denver] opened on the 16th Street Mall and expanded the restaurants’ community to Denver.
In 2011, after seven years of supporting the Growe Foundation to plant school gardens in the Boulder community, Musk and Matheson established The Kitchen [Community] 501c3 nonprofit to help connect kids to real food by creating Learning Gardens in schools across America. Learning Gardens teach children an understanding of food, healthy eating, lifestyle choices and environment through lesson plans and activities that tie into existing school curriculum, such as math, science and literacy.
It was a wonderful two weeks in Boulder and we are really grateful for them.
Russell: Well after driving this huge Chrysler on the right/wrong side of the road for over 6 months and 10 000km, I had my first ‘incident’ where I was not concentrating and pulled onto the left hand side of the road at a huge intersection in Oklahoma City. The driver of the car coming directly towards me (luckily only one car in the immediate vicinity) was not phased and calmly slowed down whilst I screamed out a couple of purely South African expletives and swerved behind him and then across a couple of lanes to get back to the right hand lanes. While the family found this hugely amusing, I got totally stressed and needed a number of drinks when I got home. Needless to say, the family are constantly reminding me when we now get to intersections to concentrate and drive on the right side of the road!