July 5th 2012
We had a slightly later awakening this day, and Anabelle only wanted corn flakes for breakfast. When she told me it was, “So your cheerios don’t get soggy,” enough guilt washed over me to guarantee her eggs any style, any time she wanted them…for the rest of her life.
We left several times.
No matter how much planning was involved, there always needed to be several “run back in”s whenever we left the house.
Finally we headed to Tiny Town. Anabelle had been joyously describing the place ever since she had visited it the last year, following my return to New Jersey. Therefore, it was the only place we could go on our first full, non-holiday, day.
A drive into the lushly forested foothills brought us to Tiny Town. The only difficulty in the drive was fighting the urge to yell, “PULL OFF HERE!” to my sister-in-law every time we passed a dinosaur themed location. We parked by the large old time locomotive on display (real) and crossed the street to the train station for tiny, but rideable, train that goes through Tiny Town.
Anabelle enthusiastically pointed out the models she had told me about for the past year, such as the Stanley Mining Company, the hot dog house, and the parasaurolophus on dinosaur hill.
Other times she was less enthusiastic:
I was commenting on how cool the blue skyscraper looked amidst all the older style mini houses as we trained around the walk through section. My daughter flatly informed me:
Also she found almost no humor in the ancient joke I dug up as we passed the Indian village. She patiently stared at me as I explained telling a psychiatrist about dreaming I was a wigwam and a teepee. However, when I said he told me I was “two tents” she just sighed and shook her head.
Fortunately for what was left of my pride, the woman in front of us laughed and said, “Well I liked it.”
We explored Tiny Town further in the walk through section, peeking in windows of the set ups that had little dioramas in them. Many of these were based on actual local historical buildings, except, I’m assuming, the Addams’ Family home.
They also had many of the little buildings made with an open back to allow kids to crawl inside and peek out the windows while they made faces. In addition, they allowed me to crawl inside and hit my head while I scraped up my knees. Rosa, of course, had to take her obligatory picture near the little Home Depot, and I, of course, had to do my Godzilla impression.
We let Anabelle have a little decompression time on the playground before packing ourselves back into Titi LuzMa’s Civic and hunting for lunch.
On our way to El Rancho, a historical hunting lodgey type restaurant, we saw many signs for the local Buffalo Herd…no actual bison, just signs. We did see one inside the restaurant, however, our old friend from Disney World - Buff! Melvin and Max were there too, but sadly did not sing or perform in any way. They must have been on vacation too.
Anabelle became convinced that the reason we ended up seeing so many elk on this trip was that I had eaten some at El Rancho. She therefore informed me that next time we go to Denver; I need to eat bighorn sheep, because she likes them better, preferably a whole one to insure a sighting.
Pausing only to look at the bisonless “Buffalo Herd” signs yet again, we pressed on to pick up our rent-a-car for the stay. Based on the website listing, and the enjoyment of the recent film of the same name, we expected to be renting a Dodge Avenger. This was not to be, primarily because they didn’t have one. Surveying the cars on the lot, (being helped by Titi LuzMa’s way groovy discount) we ended up with a Chevy Impala. This was for three reasons:
1) One of the first cars I can remember was my parent’s old Impala.
It felt like coming home.
2) It had a port to plug in the ITunes loaded Smartphone.
We brought no CDs this time. As Anabelle tells her friends and cousins when driving with me, “Daddy has to drive to music or he goes CRAZY. Really, trust me.”
3) It had a V6.
After the “Big Orange Sissy” of the previous year, actually reaching the speed limit was my goal.
Surprisingly, it was also black.
I’d planned to buy a black car since age seven, but I always see a cooler looking one when it’s time to purchase a vehicle
Keys and paperwork in hand, we split up. Titi LuzMa took Anabelle for Ice Cream while Rosa and I stopped to buy urgent supplies for the car: Lysol and a Smartphone auxiliary cable (see #2 above.)
One of the early plans of the trip was that Rosa would take Anabelle to the Katy Perry movie while I clawed my eyes and ears out…
No, HA HA!
I mean, while I went to see The Amazing Spider-Man, a film which they didn’t care about.
There were two problems with this plan –
A) I didn’t care about Spider-Man either.
B) While discussing how good The Avengers was with Titi LuzMa, Rosa suggested she and I go to that. When her aunt said she wanted to see it. Anabelle spurted out, “Well if they’re going to the Avengers I’m not going to see Katy Perry.”
That’s my girl.
We had plenty of time to make the movie when Rosa and I got back to Titi LuzMa’s house…
Except they weren’t there…
And it was only playing at a theater Titi LuzMa didn’t usually go to…
And the people we asked for directions were from Colorado and didn’t really understand the concept of “in a hurry”…
And when we got to the theater, we found out there were two multiplexes in the group on opposite sides of the highway.
With a bit of New Jersey driving and griping, we reached the right theater. Luckily, the reason “in a hurry” isn't a big deal there, is “on time” isn't either. The movie started late and we caught the whole thing. (For the third time for my daughter and me!) It continued to be awesome.
I figured Anabelle would want to go to Johnny Rocket’s instead of Denver cuisine, but she was much more excited to see a Chili’s, since our local one closed. She told me it really was a new restaurant, because it was a “Chili’s Too.”
We peeked around a game store after dinner, but the clerk was kinda creepy and there wasn't much interesting, causing a quick exit. They did have Godfather Monopoly which could have been cool, if it wasn't, y’know, Monopoly.
The night was spent planning and preparing for the next day’s adventure. This included a review of a possible stop along the way that featured alpine slides. After I shared horrific “Traction Park” scab stories with Rosa, the possibility of that stop dropped abruptly.