Sunday, December 01, 2013

Denver trip, part 2

Okay, so we last left off, Monday November 11th outlet shopping and then the visit to the cemetery. After leaving the cemetery, we went to the hotel, dropped off anything we had in the trunk. And we freshened up and got ready for the movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. We saw this in Old Town Arvada, and given it was a Monday and the movie started at 7pm, the movie theater was pretty much dead. Which was nice for us. One mom and her daughter around 6 years old, if I were to take a guess. : )  The movie was good, but imo (in my opinion) the first Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, was better then this one.  Still, we're glad we saw it though. : ) After the movie it was, what 8:30pm-ish, so we went to the pizza place I grew up going to as a child. Gee, I had been going to this particular pizza place my entire life. So, it was nice to just order a large pepperoni and mushroom to go and take it back to our hotel. We were pretty stuffed from the movie theater popcorn, and 1 candy bar each everyone had and the 2 large sodas, so just 1 large pizza was plenty for us.  
What a wonderful way to wind down a Monday night. : )

Tuesday would be our last day and night in Denver, because we would be heading to Glenwood Springs Wednesday morning. So we knew to make the most of our Tuesday. Anything we wanted to eat? Anything we wanted to see? This was the very last day to do so. We went and had Mexican food one last time, for breakfast. We went to the place that's well known for their tamales. Noboru had a smothered burrito for breakfast.

I had a breakfast burrito and a green chili and cheese tamale. Noah had a breakfast burrito and Branden had a breakfast burrito and a tamale too, same as what I ordered. : ) 

We took a drive around downtown Denver. Coors Field on the right. 

We had to make a pit stop to the Japanese shopping complex real quick, this place is called Sakura Square. They have a Japanese festival every summer. Noboru and I used to go to it, when we lived here. : )  Noboru had forgotten his ear cleaner back in Japan and he can't use Q-tips or anything, so he really needed one. So that's why we had to stop. Also, the older ladies working here used to know Noboru really well. 

Sakura Square, it's a whole complex upstairs and downstairs, a barber/hair stylist. Grocery store, they used to have a video store but now days that stuff is available online. : ) 

We told the kids, how mommy has Costco in Japan, that's helpful for mommy to have. Well, daddy had this place, Sakura Square, so daddy could buy curry roux, and tonkatsu sauce and his favorite drinks and daikon and all the things daddy missed from Japan/home. : ) 

One of the ladies Noboru used to talk to was there, she had gotten even older, but she remembered him. They were speaking in Japanese, the boys were speaking in Japanese with her and she was just so happy meeting the boys, she looked about late 60's early 70's in age. : ) Anyway, we went to the car and Noboru opened this and he used this right away. : )  He let off, a few happy sighs while he cleaned his ears. : )  And then we left. 

Denver has a beautiful state capitol that has a dome/top made of gold, I often tell the boys, how beautiful it is. They were excited to see it, and as you can tell, yep it figures..... it was completely covered and under maintenance. : ) Gah! Oh well, always next time. : )

We went to the Cherry Creek Shopping Mall, Noboru bought my "big" Christmas present there. I had wanted a Michael Kors, large size, Hamilton bag, black with gold hardware, in Saffiano leather (because it's scratch resistant) Noboru said done! But we wanted to go to this mall, because they have a Michael Kors free standing shop #1, however they were sold out of that particular bag. Then we went into Nordies and before I even opened my mouth, but I was standing in the Michael Kors section, however the woman who came up to us, said are you looking for Michael Kors? Yes. By any chance are you looking for the Hamilton?" @.@ "How did you know?" I said with a smile. Sorry but I had to ask : ), she replied "because it's his #1 bag right now, it's our biggest and best seller." I said, " ahh, I see, umm, I see brown but do you have black?" She said they'd have to order it, I said thank you but unfortunately we leave Denver tomorrow. Which is true. : ) So, we went to Macy's, same mall, since they also sell Michael Kors bags there too and you wouldn't believe it, there was a Japanese lady originally from Saitama working there in the Michael Kors bag section (how awesome), she lives in Denver now though and her coworker was originally from Korea, how cool too. Anyway, the lady from Japan was so nice. But was getting off work. So they switched us to the other lady. She said customers from Japan get a 10% discount. She pulled out a 10% discount card and gave it to Noboru and had him sign it and everything. @.@ Who would have guessed such a thing. It's just the lady from Japan and Noboru were talking in English and then switched to Japanese and he told her we go back tomorrow. And so she told that other awesome lady and turns out we got a pretty decent discount. Heck a discount is a discount. She even went to get me a brand new bag from the back and said "let me pull you a brand new one from the back, that way, you don't get the one everyone touched, so let me go and grab you a  new one" @_@ Wow, how nice, what great customer service Macy's at Cherry Creek has, I mentioned to Noboru and she did say too bad we weren't in Denver longer because, if we waited until December it would be 30% off but, we said, we had to get back to Japan, soooo. : ) Anyway, 10% off was still an unexpected welcome. The pic is of, the boys at the Cherry Creek mall with all the cool Christmas decorations all nicely up.

Great big snow globe.  We left and headed back to our hotel. Wow, what a great day we had. We dropped off our purchases at the hotel and then went to have our last dinner in Denver.  

The Country Buffet. It's a buffet, obviously haha. : ) And omg, they have so much food! Even way better then I remember. 1 area had nothing but Mexican food, make your own tacos, nachos, you name it, this section had it. They had American food, sliced ham, roast beef, fried chicken, fried spicy chicken strips, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy veggies, chicken teriyaki, lasagna, the most delicious dinners rolls and next to them was regular whipped butter or honey butter @.@ Sorry if this sounds corny, but I think I could be in heaven. : ) And the desserts, omg! Desserts for days. They also had this really modern type soda machine where you can mix flavors. Coke for example and you can have lime coke, lemon coke, cherry coke, many countless flavors. I had Fanta Cherry, I had 3 Cherry Fanta sodas. 

A very unattractive picture of my first serving, 1 chicken strip, mashed potatoes and gravy and macaroni and cheese and the blob behind the chicken was whipped butter from that dinner roll, I just had. Noboru told me, out of all the places we ate this trip, this is by far, my most favorite, the boys both chimed in and said, "yeah me too" I had to agree, me too. Eat eat eat, stand up and go and refill your plate with something else. Eat some more and go again. Noboru had some ham, ribs and fish. Noah had 2 tacos and also some nachos and a hot fudge sundae, a chocolate pudding and a twist cone. @.@ Branden had chicken strips, mashed potatoes, and a hot fudge sundae. I think he also had some chocolate lava cake. 

Some of their desserts. Cheesecake (plain or strawberry), pecan pie, chocolate pudding, coconut cream pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate cream pie, they also had chocolate lava cake where warm ooey goodness was inside the center and nice and warm, Branden loved that. They had anything anyone could want or be hungry for. : ) They also had a make your own sundae section/area.

I had some lasagna and that's my cherry Fanta in the picture behind the lasagna. 

I finished it off with only 1 dessert, a nice slice of coconut cream pie. 

We did laundry while in Denver twice. We bought 3 of these Tide singles at Target. They were like 89 cents each. And so every couple days, we'd throw a load in at the hotel and then Noboru would swing by throw it into the dryer and then swing buy and pick it up. It was so easy to do. That Tuesday night we washed all of our clothes, did 2 loads, to make sure we were ready to leave Denver, and that we had plenty of clean clothes, enough to make it back to Japan. 

I started packing up all things liquid into Target brand gallon freezer bags. So, I made sure we were nicely packed and ready while Noboru went and took the laundry down. He does 1 task and job, while I do another. It cuts the work load and saved us time. I think by 7:45pm, we had already eaten dinner, already did laundry and I managed to pack us all up. We took turns showering and we watched TV in Denver one last night. : ) 

Wednesday morning around 8am we checked out of the hotel. We went and had breakfast at Jack in the Box. Thanks to the Denver Broncos, right now, in Denver single tacos are just 35cents. Think along the lines of 35 yen. They are decent size. Anyway that morning we went for breakfast, not tacos, hahaha. 

Open Thanksgiving. Awww. Good for the customers, but I do worry about the workers families, you know what I mean. : ) 

I had one, 99 cent Breakfast Jack sandwich and 1 gorgeous pumpkin pie shake. OMG, was this so good! : ) But then again, I grew up loving all things pumpkin. : ) Branden had a breakfast sandwich combo which came with a drink, Noah had just 1 Breakfast Jack breakfast sandwich. Noboru had a big breakfast sandwich and it had 2 sausages on it, he also had a combo. : )  We all got filled up, I shared my shake with everyone. Noboru had his own coffee though. And then we hit the road. I felt a little conflicted when I left Denver this time, on one hand, I felt sentimental and sad and looked at each road and street really well taking pictures for memories sake, and then another part of me said..."Hey just be glad you got to go and you enjoyed it so much!" We hopped on I-70 and on the road we went. 

The beautiful rocky mountains!

I pointed and said, "look kids that's a real gold mine, right there" : )

And their football team is called the Gold Diggers. In the mining days that was a hard working profession to be a gold digger or a miner. : ) Now days, it's just a different meaning, altogether, a woman looking for a wealthy guy! : ( Oh how the meaning of words change, don't they? : ) 

The Colorado mountains were cold! Colder then in Wyoming even. We could feel and see the difference of amounts of snow. You roll the window down a bit to let your hand feel the temps, it was really cold!

Noboru and I used to ski Loveland all the time, when we were dating and newly married. I wondered if he remembered. 

Sure enough he did, he pointed to the boys to this mountain and ski slope in particular, "your mom and I would ski right here, every year when we lived here" I smiled from the front seat and I said you remembered. : ) 

We did not stop at the Silverthorne Outlets this time around, we were done and the car was full enough already. : )

Such beauty! I grew up going to the mountains once a month for, camping in the summer, skiing or ice skating on real ponds in winter. And let's not forget going to the hot springs either. We'd go to the hot springs alone at least twice a year sometimes 3. And I have family who have a couple cabins in these mountains as well. So, yeah I totally dug being a Colorado mountain girl. And now I am a total inaka/countryside girl. : ) Clearly I must love nature or something. : ) 

If you grew up in Colorado, you either shopped at Safeway, King Soopers or Albertson's. We 99% of the time did all our grocery shopping at Safeway. And fwiw, I still have my Safeway card and King Soopers Cards. It just gives me a discount, which I use when I am in Honolulu and go to Safeway there. : ) We were in the mountains, but we stopped here to get some drinks for the drive and to also take a restroom break. : )

Small country Colorado town, so cool. Frisco, Colorado, by the way : ) 

More ski slopes.

More ski slopes.

Ski slopes yet again. : ) They are pretty much all over the place. : ) 

Vail, where the rich and famous come to ski. You know you read in magazines, and see photos of, Mariah Carey in a big fur hat walk down the main street of Vail, Colorado.  Noboru and I usually skied Loveland or Breckenridge and maybe Sunlight. : ) Hahaha.  But yeah, Vail is famous.

Some houses in Vail. 

Some extremely rocky...Rocky Mountains, lol.

Yay, we made it! It was only a 2 hour drive.

The Glenwood Hot Springs, but first we wanted to check into our hotel first. We stayed at a hotel 10 minutes from Glenwood Springs. So a bit of a drive, but a nicer hotel. 

The Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Silt, Colorado is literally in the middle of nowhere. And that's why we picked it, the views, the serenity. You really feel like you're in Colorado staying at this hotel. Plus this hotel is like 2 years old so it's pretty brand new. And given they are way in the middle of nowhere, this hotel tries so hard! They pull out all the stops. So we felt really spoiled staying here and we will stay here next time too. 

The building looks really lodge-y. The lobby was real pretty. We booked one of the suites with the balcony.

Marble counter tops. 

Love how they folded and fanned out that towel. You know this hotel was priced no higher then the hotels we usually stay at in Glenwood Springs. However in Glenwood Spring, they don't offer a large free breakfast usually just pastry and coffee only. This hotel offered a free huge breakfast. A bigger nicer room for the same price, so we went for it, sure 10 minutes longer drive but for us, worth it. 

A fridge and microwave, we kept our Vitamin Waters in the fridge for later that night. 

Living room section of the room. 

My Christmas present on the dining table in the living area.

The beds, 2 queen sized beds and out that door is our private balcony.

A really new hotel and so yeah a 10 minute drive, didn't bother us in the least. 

Flat screen TV, computer area, we charged a lot of our stuff there. 

Spot for a suitcase. This room was really nice. And the price very fair.

Private balcony.

Branden wanted to go on the balcony and have a look. 

The Colorado river right behind us, the silence of just the wind blowing and our own voices. Totally worth it for us to stay here! We immediately fell in love with this hotel. 

Enjoying the view! : ) 

The hotel room at another angle. : )

Again this hotel which is not located on a main street or right near a hot spring, tries super hard and they even had the Bath and Body Works shampoo, body lotion and body wash. The packet in blue is a makeup remover sheet, and a nice citrus bar of soap too. They also gave out Colgate toothpaste at the front desk if you asked. She gave us 2 but we only needed 1. Again this hotel tries really hard. : )  We will definitely stay here again. 

The view of the Colorado river and the countryside and mountains from our beds. We grabbed our swimsuits and drove the short 10 minutes back to Glenwood Springs. 

We all put our clothes into lockers and we all met up inside the hall, between the girls and guys locker rooms. We told the boys don't run but go into the hot spring as FAST as you can. : ) Needless to stay when that freezing cold air hit our bodies we walked very fast to the hot spring. Oh and fwiw, a man in the water had asked the lifeguard, what temperature is it outside, do you know? He said, let me go check, he came back and it said it's 29 degrees F. 32 F is freezing.  That's -1.6 or -2 degrees C. And yes that's pretty cold to be walking around in your swimsuit. Hahaha. : ) But boy does it feel nice, cold head warm body. : ) My hair did freeze for what it's worth. And the temps did drop even colder then that, the later in time it got. we stayed until 7pm.  We arrived at the hot spring around 2pm, and we did eat in Glenwood Springs around 1:30-pm-ish before heading to the hot spring, we all went to Wendy's for some chili and some salad yet again. : )  we also brought in a Vitamin Water each to the hot springs because drinks are allowed to be brought in. There's 2 very big rotenburo/outside hot springs., 1 is super hot and 1 is more medium or warm. So we went from basically what felt like we were boiling in one hot spring. Then switching to the other pool and cooling off, then when we started to get too cool, we'd cruise ourselves to the hot one again and boil up yet again. We went back and forth and round and round for hours between the 2 hot springs. It was a weekday and it wasn't so crowded at all, maybe a handful of locals and that's all really. : )  When the boys got thirsty they went to the lounge chair where we put our towels and drinks and they had a drink and then came right back. Within our view, you can even see the chairs on the side of this pic, to the right. I tell ya though sitting in here for a good 4-5 hours your muscles get real relaxed, you feel just really happy and like not a care in the world. Those mountain views, clean fresh freezing cold air, hot relaxing water and good conversation. 

My happy family. : )  Love you guys. : )

I pulled my camera out only twice during the time we were at the hot springs. Snapped about 10 shots each/both times, for the most part though, I just went from the super hot spring to the milder one and back and forth for hours and talked to my family and just had a really good time. : ) 

Yep we stayed for hours and hours. By now it was pitch black outside and so beyond freezing cold you wouldn't believe it. This was the 2nd and last time I pulled the camera out. But I'm so glad I took these pictures. : ) 

I love this picture.  : ) Anyway, at 7pm we got out and went and rinsed off and changed into regular clothes and I gathered every ones swimsuit/trunks and put them into a Target bag and we went and had some dinner. 

Noboru's meal, he had the chili cheese fries and a bacon cheeseburger. From Dairy Queen. 

I had the DQ, chicken strips basket with fries and Texas toast. Noah had a chili cheese dog and fries. Hmm, we sure did eat a lot of Texas style chili this trip. : )  Branden had a chili cheese fries and a corn dog. We all had sodas and boy were our bodies steaming hot from soaking in the hot spring for all those many hours, but we still bundled up. 
Then we had dessert, Noah had a small twist cone, Branden had a Butterfinger kids sized Blizzard, I had a Peanut Buster Parfait and Noboru wanted no dessert, but he went back and ordered a corn dog. : ) I had been dreaming of a Peanut Buster Parfait, for ages. And boy did it feel great to finally eat one.  Hot fudge and warm nuts and soft serve ice cream nicely layered. Wow, what a fantastic day! Life is so good, I thought and smiled. : )

This is the lobby of the hotel. Very pretty. 

They do bake cookies every night for their guests, and when we walked into the lobby, she was putting some new ones in there, they were hot and ooey gooey. I did not have one, because I was stuffed but both Branden and Noah had 1 and took it to our hotel room. 

This hotel also has a nice little enclosed pool, that you could swim all seasons if you wanted, we didn't use this but it's nice knowing it;s there, also see the hot tub at the back? Again it might be in the middle of nowhere but they sure try really hard. : ) 

I did peek my head into the place they hold breakfast for free in the mornings. Looks nice, we said. Very spacious and enough tables to enjoy breakfast. 

This is in the hallway of the 2nd floor. Again and I swear I have no affiliation with this hotel whatsoever : ), but it just warmed my heart to see how hard this hotel is trying. This hotel was 80-90% empty. I guess folks just prefer stay in Glenwood Springs. Where it is indeed closer to the hot springs. But for us, when we come back we'll stay here. 

Everyone took turns taking showers and then the boys laid in bed, playing 3ds and or watching TV. Noboru went on the porch and turned on the porch light, he loved that view, he couldn't get enough. I meanwhile turned the heater onto 78 F and jumped in the shower, came out and blow dried my hair, put on my pjs and then I watched TV. Loved the fact the pillows said Firm and Soft, you could have your choice whichever you preferred. We've stayed at 1 other hotel before that had pillows like this, and I took pics and blogged about those firm/soft pillows. I believe that was also the Holiday Inn, but the one  in Bangkok that said the same thing. Again just those little extra touches. 

See the remote on the bed? I was just about to put this camera away and jump in bed for the night and enjoy some TV. Nice way to relax before bed. : )

I did rinse and hang to dry every ones swimsuit. It was way below freezing outside temperature wise, and our swimsuits would have turned to ice and never gotten dry. : ) So they stayed inside the room and dried by morning. Okay, that's about it, for part 2. : ) Hopefully, I can finish up with part 3 soon. : )