Monday, July 31, 2017

We're back! Day 1 and day 2. Portland, Oregon. Salt Lake City, Utah and finally arriving in Denver, Colorado...

We're back! It was such a nice long restful family vacation. Now we're back in Japan. And I have about an hour of free time and I hope I can get day 1 and day 2 up. I usually dislike to break our vacation up into multiple posts. But honestly...1 great big huge post... is quite long and hard on me. So, to be a little easier on me. I will be breaking this years summer vacation in different posts. Sorry about that. It just makes things way easier on me. By not having to upload like 100 pics all at once. : ) Okay so, we were gone from July 21st and we arrived back in Japan July 31st. We flew out of Narita airport July 21st afternoon Japan time. And we arrived July 21st early morning in Portland Oregon. The flight over was uneventful and nice and leisurely. I am not sure why I didn't take a single pic from Narita airport or during our flight (I did on the way back) or after we flew into Portland Oregon. But there you have it. I do have pics of Portland on our way back to Japan. But will save that post for when it's in the correct order. Going through immigration in Portland Oregon was super easy, very efficient and I happen to find the folks from Oregon super nice, friendly and kind. Best case scenario would be, us flying directly from Portland to Denver. However we knew that...that flight would be full. So we knew in advance... that we would be flying to Salt Lake City, Utah. Which is right next to my state of Colorado. We knew that we would spend the night in Utah and that's what we did. Our hope was to fly out of Utah directly into Denver the next morning. That didn't happen, but that was the hope. We exited SLC airport. And we took the shuttle to our hotel. Here is the hotel in SLC. Extremely nice hotel. Modern super clean rooms. It was about 3pm or so by the time we checked into the hotel.  

Hello Noboru...

Looks like water bubbles but they were lights. Really pretty. 

Hi BrannyMcB. 
Our room in SLC, Utah. Super nice room. Super clean. We were so comfortable there. 

Super nice bathroom.

The Bath and Body Works Coconut Lime shampoo, conditioner and lotion.

Citrus mint body soap and a makeup remover wipe. Everyone took turns showering. And Noboru meanwhile ordered us some dinner via his phone. He online ordered us some Pizza Hut. We were all hungry for supper. We had no rental car and so ordering to our room was the smartest choice. Ordering room service is expensive and it's smarter and cheaper to order Pizza online we ordered 2 large pan pizzas and one 2 liter of soda for around $17 US. 

Loved the retro sign/picture in the room. Anyway the next morning. Thanks to jet lag, we were all dressed and ready to go and catch our flight by 4am-ish. However Noboru said he didn't think we'd get on. We fly stand-by. Which means for free. And while we love flying for free. It also means we have to be flexible too. Believe me...if it saves us about US$4,000.00 for airline tickets...we can totally be flexible. So we do not mind one bit flying stand-by. So we now had 2 options. Stand at the gate in Utah all day hoping like heck...that we could eventually all fly to Denver. They run once every 2 hours. And there's only 5 flights per day. Or we could scratch that. And drive directly to Denver. It's an 8 hour drive. And if we leave SLC by 6 or 7am. We can actually be in Denver around 3pm-ish or so. So....we thought that was the most safest bet. So he booked the last rental car they had available. We checked out of our hotel and shuttled right back to the SLC airport, picked up our rental car and started our drive. 
I personally find a lot of mountains in Utah very brown or tan looking. While our mountains in Colorado are definitely very green. Granted...perhaps there are some green mountains in other parts of Utah. But...coming from Colorado. That's *always* the first thing I think of when I see Utah mountains or landscape. How dirt colored or lack of green they are. Sorry Utah folks reading. I do really like Utah. It's just my observation though. 

Utah or Denver...Denver please! : )
Driving past a little town called Wellington Utah. They were having their Pioneer Days as we drove passed. I loved the signage. Best Families. Best Mayor. Hahaha. Adorable. 

Just a small little American town enjoying their summer with a parade about to start. We saw the floats as we drove a little farther down the road.

Handmade quilts for sale. Folks brought their lawn chairs to enjoy the parade and festivities. These people. This town. So truly beautiful!!!

And back to driving on the highway once again. The highway....went right through that tiny town but then it went right back to a normal highway.

Noboru got his first drivers license ever... when he was in Denver, Colorado. So he is very comfortable driving in the US and Japan. I'm also comfortable driving in the US and Japan too. 

Target being an American I smiled when I saw this Target truck chugging along the highway. 

Love you Target...
Welcome to Colorful Colorado. Yes it is very green and colorful. 

Branden and Noah, this will most definitely be on our New Year's cards this coming year. : ) Yay, we made it to Colorado. 
We stopped in Grand Junction, Colorado to have lunch. Also important to note... we did have Mc Donald's for breakfast in SLC, Utah first. And then of I just said...we had lunch in Grand Junction at Chik Fil A. They make the best most tastiest chicken ever!!! They're also famous for their amazing lemonades. I had a chicken nuggets combo, waffle fries and a lemonade. 

Branden had the chicken sandwich combo with lemonade and Noah also got the nuggets combo with lemonade too. After lunch we hopped right on the highway and headed straight for Denver. 
Now we were driving passed Vail, Colorado. American flag far left and Colorado flag 2nd to the far left. See how green our mountains are in Colorado. 

Aspen trees with the white base/bark.

Snow. Grand Junction was in the 90's weather wise. But the Colorado mountains were 63 degrees F. 

Traffic came almost to a complete stop. Which is pretty uncommon, unless it's dead of winter.

Hello horsey's...Colorado horsey's!!! : )

We found out why the traffic was so delayed. There was a major accident. It involved a motorcycle. And frankly...we think someone might have died. :(  As we passed was a horrific sight. I would say we were about a good 50 minutes delayed, because of the crash. However...the bright side is...we were alive! We were not involved in any accident. And the other positive is...we had made it to Colorado and we were still chugging towards Denver/Arvada. 

We made it to our hotel. Oh last!!! Super clean. Super modern hotel. We stayed here last year and we loved it. Which is why we chose to come back and stay here this year too. Bath and Body Works toiletries again. Kohler sink. Granite counter tops.

Totally spic and span clean.

Two queen beds. Lots of space. We were just so relieved that we were indeed here and we made it safe and sound. 

After everybody freshened up and went to the restroom we all left. The date was July 22nd. 


Target. Qdoba. So much located near our hotel.

Panda Express.

Feels so good to be back in Colorado again. 

America, we love you so much!!!!
We did pop into Target after supper. We just bought this Aveda knock off shampoo and conditioner set for super cheap. And some face wash for us all to use during our trip. We also bought 2 six packs of Vitamin Water XXX. Just some essentials for our hotel stay. 
Our first meal in Denver, Colorado. Our favorite Mexican food restaurant. Chips and many handmade salsas. I have been waiting all year long to eat here. Absolutely no regrets. I may watch what I eat and calorie count at times in Japan. I never watch what I eat when I go back "home" because I am not there too often...and I just want to enjoy it and not be put on any guilt trips...if you know what I mean. I have since gone back to logging my meals since this morning. But...nope..when I am back in Denver or back in the states. I will enjoy it 100%. Because I know my time there is limited. : )

My meal is always the same here. Chili relleno plate with a side of rice and beans. 100% homemade, 100% authentic. So super yum. 

Branden had a combination plate. A shredded beef taco. A cheese enchilada and a smothered bean and cheese burrito and a side of rice and beans. 

Noah had one of the nino's plate. A kids plate. He picked the tostada with side of rice and beans. Noboru had the green chili enchiladas with ground beef inside and a dollop of sour cream. We all had huge cokes with ice. They brought us out a second batch of tortillas chips too. We were all so stuffed after enjoying our dinner. We hopped in the car. We went to Target for about 10 minutes, we just grabbed some shampoo, conditioner and some Vitamin Waters and checked out. We went back to our hotel room. Everyone took turns showering. And we all stood up for a while longer and we went to sleep around 9pm. I woke up the next day around 4am. I jumped in the shower. My preference is to shower in the morning (American style) where I wash my hair and body and face and stuff. But, at nights....I will wash my body and pin my hair up, while I shower, this is even my preference in Japan. I.. as quietly as possible got showered then dressed. Got my makeup on. Blow dried my hair and flat ironed my hair. And at 5:10am, everyone started waking up. I only need the bathroom/shower and vanity for an hour each morning. Which is why I intentionally wake up earlier than everyone to not bother anyone else. Breakfast was free in our hotel every morning. It went from 6:30am until 9:30am every morning. After everyone got dressed, we all went downstairs to breakfast. That part will be in my next post. : )  Umm, I am not sure when my next post will be up. Since August is a full month off school for the kids. And we still have a whole month of family BBQ's. And wave pool and beach time etc and movies to go and enjoy too. You know what I mean, I hope. So...I will get the next part of the trip up in a few days. : )