Friday, August 11, 2017

July 25th- July 31st. Our remaining days in Denver, Colorado. Our night we spent in Grand Junction, Colorado. Our drive to Salt Lake City, Utah and our final night in Portland, Oregon and our flight back to Japan...

Hi you guys! I think that I can actually finish "my big once a year vacation" posts with this final post right here. So my last post was the Lakeside Amusement Park post that happened Monday July 24th.  Now, Tuesday July 25th. My family and I met up with 3 of my childhood/high school girlfriends and their family's. We all met for lunch at the Olive Garden in Westminster Colorado. It was so awesome! I took so many pics. We shared so many laughs. I wish I lived closer to them all. But, I am so glad to be able to visit with them every time I'm there. Plus we connect online a lot anyways. I truly treasure these girls. Wednesday July 26th. Was put aside for my family. We had a big family BBQ and it was nice to see all my aunties, uncles and cousins. And just relax in their backyard and talk the whole day away. Again, I took so many pics. I'm not sharing the pics on here or anywhere else online, only because...I just don't want my friends or extended family to ever worry. That I will post a picture of them on either my blog or on social media. I won't. I just keep the pictures for our personal use (scrapbook or picture frame). For memories sake. But no, I never want anyone important to me in my real life to worry. Gee, she's going to post this pic. I won't. And they know that. And I appreciate that I don't end up on their social media either. Some things and special moments and special get together's should remain private. Ykwim. Thursday July 27th was a free day. Our last day and night in Denver because the next day we'd be driving off. Thursday was awesome, because we just went driving all over Denver. We parked and walked down the 16th Street Mall. We walked around Sakura Square. We drove passed Noboru's old high school. South High School. We drove passed my old high school. It was a very low key kind of day. We had Chik Fil A for lunch. It was nice, but I was ready to leave Denver the next morning. I didn't take any pics from Thursday at all. And that was actually kind of freeing. We did have Mexican food for our last night in Denver for dinner though. We went to the first restaurant we always go to, we went there for our last meal too. And I had the chili rellenos combo again. : )  Friday morning July 28th. I woke up and took a fast soapy sudsy shower. Got dressed, blow dried my hair and put my makeup on etc. We all went downstairs for our final breakfast in the Denver area. We ate well. And then went back upstairs and took all out suitcases to the car. And checked out of the hotel. Stopped at Costco for a tank of gas and then hopped on the highway and began driving. Our original plan was to stay the night in Glenwood Springs. We had a reservation there in fact. But we decided to drive further. So ended up making a new hotel reservation at another hotel in Grand Junction instead. Before we got to Glenwood Springs though, we stopped in a new place called Edwards. It must be a relatively new development because everything was still under construction in that new town. The roads were still being made. But the Wendy's was open so we stopped there for lunch. 

I had a spicy Monterrey chicken sandwich and instead of fries, I always choose mine with side cheese baked potato with butter. The kids each had a single with cheese combo and Noboru had a cesar salad and a chili. We ate and hopped back on the road. While it was only July 28th and we knew we'd be in the states until July 30th. Our original plan was to stay the night in Glenwood Springs and soak in the hot springs. However considering the heavy driving Noboru would have to do the next day. We decided why don't we drive further and therefore lessen the drive for Noboru. So that's what we did. If we could drive to Grand Junction Colorado the first day. That was be tons easier on Noboru. So that's what we did, we cancelled the reservation for one hotel and made a reservation for the other hotel while at lunch.  Oh, I also want to point out. We filled up our gas tank in Denver at Costco before we headed to the mountains. Costco just has way cheaper gas than anyplace else. 
Driving through the Rocky Mountains. 

Bye Glenwood. Sorry we didn't visit and soak this time. But, if we could drive 3 hours further down the road or more. It just made things easier for the next day. 
We arrived at our hotel in Grand Junction, Colorado. We had driven FAR our first day. We're like very close to exiting/leaving Colorado type far. Gorgeous hotel and super clean. This was the hallway near the elevators on the floor we were on.
Very clean and relaxing in here. We had driven quite a bit today. We were half way to Salt Lake City (SLC) because we had decided to drive further this day. Which was a good call. Excellent choice.

I see 2 Bath and Body Works bags on the desk in our hotel room in Grand Junction.

A very big nice bathroom. Plenty of space for my cosmetics bag and flat iron to go. 


Coconut Lime Bath and Body Works shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. I brought these home. That way if my kids have an overnight school camping or school trip, they can always take these. I have a great big Ziploc full of mini travel sized shampoos and conditioners. I have Paul Mitchell ones. Peter Thomas Roth ones, all sorts of nice brand mini travel sizes for my family to use if they need them. 

Citrus mint body wash and hand soap yet again. Anyways, since we were driving for ages. We decided to go and get some dinner. Our final dinner in Colorado. 

Noboru ordering.

All the driving spots with menu for ordering. They bring the food out to your car. 

Everyone had chili cheese dogs and fries or tots except me.

I had the chicken strips combo, with fries, Texas toast and gravy for dipping my chicken into. And it came with 1 onion ring. This meal was delicious. And the rest of my family loved the chili cheese dogs.

After we ate, the kids and I each got a peanut butter shake. Noboru wasn't feeling ice creamy or dessert-y at all. Oh lord was this divine! Best shake in the universe...hands down! So good. We grabbed 2 more six packs of Vitamin Water at a nearby Walmart and headed back to our hotel. For a swim.
Branden hadn't spoken to his girlfriend in ages. They LINE messaged each other twice a day. But no actual hearing of each others voices. Yes they're teenagers, so bare with them. So, instead of Bran going downstairs for a family swim. He asked if he could talk to his girlfriend via LINE in the room while we swam downstairs. I said yes. Because he's a good kid. He does all family stuff with us... without even 1 dot of teenage attitude. And for that. Yes, if he'd like to talk to his sweetie for the length of time that we're downstairs. Sure. Meanwhile the 3 of us went downstairs for a swim. Noboru smiling and talking away with Noah as I clicked this pic. 

Noboru is absolutely in love with his 2 kids. So much so. : ) He will always make time for them. And always wants to spend time with them. 

Hi Noah!!! : )

What a fantastic trip you have had so far. You went to the movies. You went to an amusement park. You have eaten so many good things! In fact, I am sure your tummy was full of chili cheese hot dog, tater tots and peanut butter shake when I clicked this pic. And now you were swimming with your parents. My lucky and gorgeous Noah.

We went upstairs. We all took turns showering. We had a relaxing night in our room. And the next morning we woke up. I... as usual woke up first and took myself a shower yet again. This particular hotel didn't have free breakfast, so we hit MickeyD's for breakfast after we checked out. 

On our way to McDonald's July 29th in Fruita, Colorado (this town is famous for fruit just like Palisade's Colorado is famous for their peaches) MickeyD's was in this pic. But wow...what a gorgeous view. We all enjoyed our breakfast and then we hopped on the highway and were now heading for SLC. 

After breakfast right before we hopped on the highway. I was now... *very* aware that quite soon we would be leaving Colorado. So for me...seeing this wheel cover. Bittersweet. I love you Denver Broncos. I love you Denver!

With clouds so close, it felt like we could almost touch the clouds and the sky!

I see the sign on the right.

Until next time! I love you!!!!

Hello Utah. 

Colorado speed limits on the interstate highways were 75 MPH. Utah speed limits were 80 MPH. 

After driving for hours. We were now quite close to SLC, but we were in Lehi, Utah. We stopped for lunch. Lehi, Utah is as big as Denver. They had Costco. We filled up for gas one last time. They have In N Out Burger. Which many folks think is ONLY in California...which it's not. They had every place to eat you could imagine in Lehi. Lehi is smack dab between Provo and SLC, Utah. But we opted for El Pollo Loco for lunch.  

Love you America. Our flight back to Japan wasn't until the next day. But, I'm now like I said... *very* aware that our trip is winding down and we will be leaving my country soon. 
I had Vitamin Water XXX in my cup. The rest of the family had different drinks. 

El Pollo Loco is all over California and other states. And it's quite famous. For those of you who don't know. Think of KFC except with a Mexican twist. And tons healthier too... because #1 the chicken is not deep fried, it's chargrilled. And the chicken is so flavorful. You still get a choice of sides. And your choice of flour or corn tortillas. They also always have an excellent salsa bar with freshly made salsas, they have so many different variety of made fresh daily salsas. This place is so bomb! It's so good. 

Yum. : ) After we ate... we drove straight for SLC airport so we could catch our flight to Portland Oregon.

We took the car back to the rental place at the airport and checked ourselves in for our flight. 

We had a 3 hour wait for our flight to Portland. Since we did excellent driving and keeping with the time. After 2 hours of being at the airport. We bought the boys each.. a chicken strips combo with biscuit and spicy mashed potatoes. Because we knew we weren't going to land in Portland until 9pm or so. And we were worried if anything would be open for us to be able to feed the boys. And since we would have no rental car. So, I checked on my phone what SLC airport has and they had *so* many good food choices. Wendy's. Popeye's. A Chinese fast food that was not Panda Express. And a place like Chipotle but it was another company. They also had Auntie Anne's Pretzels. Krispy Kreme right near our gate actually. The boys wanted Popeye's. So I walked down and got that for them and they ate it right near the gate. Before we boarded the airplane to Portland. I didn't eat. I hadn't eaten since lunch. And I'm fine with that, I never eat right before a flight. But my kids *had* to eat. It's the mama bear in me. I had to make sure they were okay. : ) 

Popeye's Chicken and biscuits for my kiddos. And folks near us were eating burgers. And Chinese food and all sorts of food. : )  We landed in Portland. And every food restaurant was closed in the airport. So glad my boys ate before the flight. We caught the shuttle to our final hotel. 

What an *extremely* long July 29th. We started in Grand Junction Colorado. Then to Provo, Utah. Then to SLC and then to Portland. We were flat out exhausted. The kids showered. 

The only problem was, it was now about 9 hours since Noboru and I had eaten anything! And bad timing. But....yes we were hungry and we had no rental car. We could eat extremely overpriced room service, no thanks that's just not penny-wise or money-smart at all. But we smartly ordered Pizza Hut online.

Each pizza is about $7 dollars US, but the minimum amount they will deliver for is $15. So we ordered 2 large pan pizzas. 1 pepperoni and 1 pepperoni and mushroom, good thing for the extra topping added and the taxes, that pushed us over the minimum, phew. They brought us plates and parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. This is a crew hotel, so I imagine they're used to delivering here. Noboru and I ate. And the other pizza, the kids ate in the morning. Weird thing to eat in the morning maybe. But who cares. Pizzas always good. : ) The next morning. I woke up at 5:30am. Jumped in the shower washed my hair, face and body. Got dressed, put my makeup on. Blow dried my hair. By 6:20am, I was done. The rest of everyone woke up. And we left the hotel and caught the shuttle at 8:40am to the airport. They run every 20 minutes. We checked ourselves in. Checked in our check-in luggage. And went through the TSA. The flight was to leave Portland for Narita at 12:30pm. July 30th.  We boarded the plane. Noboru and I sat next to one another. Although the seats are those huge capsules for privacy in first class. And Branden and Noah sat right in front of us.  

As soon as everyone boarded the plane and the doors were shut. They brought out heated nuts and they had cocktails or anything else you wanted to drink. I don't drink alcohol at all. It's not an...I'm an angel thing, it's more so a...I hate the taste of it. That's all. Let me share the rest of the menu with you. 

You had a choice of Western meals or Japanese meals. The kids and I picked western meals. These are the starters for the western meals. The corn green chili soup is my favorite! I've had it many times and I love it. 

Western choices in first class. Beef tenderloin, BBQ chicken, fish or a vegetarian dish. The boys picked the beef tenderloin and Noboru picked the fish.

Desserts. I love when they roll the dessert cart around. 

They also have snack baskets around the first class cabin. And walk them around for you to take a handful of all sorts of good things. Cinnamon cookies. Sun Chips. Brownies. Salted almonds.Kettle Chips and fresh fruit like bananas and apples. They had all sorts of good snackin' stuff.

And the before you land/almost there meal too. My kids picked the vanilla almond granola cereal and sides. I picked the southwest frittata, which is basically just a fancy word for a big fat omelette. And Noboru picked the Kung Pao Chicken. 

These headphones for us to use are so nice. 

My heated mixed nuts and a lemon Coke.

Guacamole. Pretzel roll. And that amazing green chili soup.

I enjoyed the BBQ chicken very much. It was spicy and I love spicy. 

Hot fudge sundae and a hot cup of Starbucks coffee. With a heart spoon for my sundae. Delta airlines always goes the extra mile. With special touches like the heart spoon.

I watched so many movies on all the legs of my flights.  I watched. The Last Word (excellent movie). Gifted (a good movie). Moana (sorry but this was JUST okay, and not as fantastic as everyone says it is) The Women (have seen this before). Jackie (with Natalie Portman, love Natalie but this movie was so boring that I switched it after 10 minutes) Fences (excellent movie) Collateral Beauty (loveloveloved this movie) The Zoo Keeper's Wife (a great movie but wouldn't want to buy the DVD and would never want to see it again) Keeping up with the Jones's (hilarious movie, would love to see it again) And my favorite movie I saw.. which was what I was watching during my hot fudge sundae. Was "The Founder" about the 2 McDonald's brother's who invented McDonald's. And about the man who stole McDonald's from them. And made a fortune. Michael Keaton played "the bad guy" who stole McDonald's from the brothers and he did a great job. Because by the end of the movie. You felt so sorry for the brothers and hated the character played by Michael Keaton. That man tried to pretend he came up with the McDonald's idea? Ummm, no you didn't! He stole the idea and the name! And excellent movie!

Another little lovely touch from Delta. During breakfast my cutlery came wrapped with this little human cut out, it was the cutest napkin holder ever. So cute!

The hottest freshest cinnamon roll ever. A big fat/thick cheese and veggie omelette with salsa. And fresh fruit and Starbucks coffee. The flight was long. But we made it to Narita Japan. What a long vacation A very fulfilling vacation. I returned back to Japan feeling so accomplished. So re-energized. So relaxed. So well stocked up too. We exited the airport. Picked up our car and drove home. Dropped off all our stuff. We landed in Japan July 31st around 2pm. We got home about 3pm. I was well rested. So, I quickly unpacked our luggage and snapped pics in about 30 minutes. And after that, we put everything away. And we all went to dinner afterwards. Our bodies were all on Colorado time. So we were very badly jet lagged. 

We all enjoyed Coco Ichiban curry. And some fries. We went home. Everyone took turns showering. I messaged my dad that we were back in Japan. And the kids zonked out after their showers and went straight to their beds. I tried to stay awake to lessen my jet lag. I think I managed to stay awake until 8:30pm. And I zonked out. It took us a full 5 days to get over our jet lag.