Sunday, 30 November 2014

Travels with my Daughters

      My hairdresser has relocated to Denver, Colorado.  Desperately in need of a haircut, and shockingly wealthy, I decided to fly out for a trim.  Advancing in age as I am, I thought it best to recruit a Personal Travel Assistant.

Julia (Personal Travel Assistant) & Emma (Hairdresser)
      Once I got my hair looked after, I rushed downtown to have a manicure.  The 2 little grade two students I tutor in reading have been quite vocal in their opinion of my fingernails which are stained from time to time by beets or blueberries or gardening.  Using my disgraceful fingernails to “chunk” words into syllables, or to point out the “short a” sound in a word or a repeated “blend”, my little tutees often react to my reading instruction with, “You need to cut your nails.”  Or “Your nails are dirty.”  So when I told them I would be away for a couple of weeks, and that I would get a manicure in their honour, they were ready with lots of advice.  “Get pink.”   “Get a puppy sticker on one.”  “Get an Ilsa sticker.”  They were quite excited by the prospect of my manicured hands.  They didn’t mention blends, or short a sounds, or chunking. 
Pink Manicure

     During my 7 day hair appointment in Denver, my hairdresser took my travel assistant and me on several outings.  In Golden, a town west of Denver, we climbed a narrow, winding mountain road to Lookout Mountain as Emma shared her fear of heights with us in the looming dusk. 

The Road to Lookout Mountain
     Another day we travelled to Boulder, a university town northwest of Denver with a wide variety of restaurants, irresistible shops, and a pedestrian-only street filled with buskers, musicians, kids and dogs. 
Boulder, Colorado

     The three of us took an overnight trip to Colorado S prings which is about 70 miles south of Denver.  The driving hazard on the highway going south was tumbleweeds….

 Tumbleweed on the Highway

and the driving hazard on our return trip was a snowstorm.  You know what they say about variety and the spice of life.  I did a lot of knitting in the backseat that day. 
 Snowstorm on the Highway

      While in Colorado Springs, we took a tram to Pike’s Peak, a "fourteener", which are mountains with an elevation greater than 14, 000 feet.  It was a beautiful summer day at the bottom in the quaint town of Manitou, and freezing cold at the top of Pike’s Peak. 
Tram to Pike's Peak
     The next day we visited Garden of the Gods, a well-known park featuring unique geological formations. 
 Garden of the Gods

      Emma and Jarrett live in a residential area of Denver called Sloan's Lake. 

Emma's and Jarrett's House
     Sloan’s Lake, for which the neighbourhood is named, is a mere two blocks from their house and has a linear park around its 2.6 mile perimeter.  It has its share of Canada Geese. 
Canada Geese on Sloan's Lake
     I will admit that I have a hard time keeping up with my daughters in the energy department so we spent some time with Law and Order SVU and The Gilmore Girls.  
My Friends at the 16th Precinct
The Gilmore Girls:  Rory and Lorelai
     Of course, there is no TV watching without knitting.  I managed to complete 6 pairs of mittens on my travels.  Although I used US allusions in naming my mitts, I unfortunately failed to use the US landscape as backgrounds to my photos.  These ones would have looked great at The Grand Canyon....
Colorado Sunset
Canadian SnowFlake; SnowBall; Canadian SnowFlurry; Winter Warmer; Canadian SnowFlake
     Julia and I left Denver in a snowstorm to fly to Las Vegas.  In the line up for security at the airport, I saw a sign that said, “Persons over the age of 75 do not have to remove their shoes.”  When I got to the security personnel, she looked at me and said, “You don’t have to take your shoes off.”  Okay, I was relieved that I did not have to bend over BUT, had that drive to the airport through the blizzard aged me THAT much???
Airport Security
     The short flight to Las Vegas took us over some pretty amazing scenery.  I now understand what people mean when I ask “Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon?” and they say, enthusiastically,  “No, but I’ve flown over it.”   When I asked the steward on the plane if that was the Grand Canyon below us, he looked out the window and said, “I don’t know.  Could be.”   Really?
Grand Canyon from the Air
     We flew back into summer in Las Vegas.   Summer and a whole lot more that I cannot quite put words to. 
 The Strip:  Las Vegas
      We stayed at The Luxor….a pyramid with King Tut and the gang. 
The Luxor
      The next morning at 6:30 we boarded a bus for our day tour to the Grand Canyon.  Our first stop was at The Hoover Dam, one of the 7 man-made wonders of the world. 
Julia at The Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam

      As we were driving, Julia decided to list all the states she has visited in her life which totalled about 10.  Then we challenged ourselves to list all 50 states.  We exceeded expectations and came up with 51!
     When we stopped in a small town for lunch before reaching the Grand Canyon, Julia and I were seated with a father and son from Florida.  Ken was a retired principal and Brock was an IT techy at Disney.  What a perfect match!!  When I told Ken that Julia and I had spent part of the trip listing the 50 states, he said, “If you were able to do that, you did much better than most Americans could do.” 
The United States of America
     We reached Grand Canyon National Park in mid-afternoon and stayed until sunset.  It was spectacular, awe-inspiring and amazing.  The colors were stunning and changed with the light even during the short time we were there.  It is hard to put words to this natural wonder so I’m not going to try.  I have heard people say that they cried when they first saw The Grand Canyon.  I can understand that. 

Grand Canyon: South Rim
  That is not me in this picture.
     While some of the path along the rim is fenced, much of it is not.  I will admit I felt uneasy walking there and watching my 23-year-old baby venturing closer and closer to the unprotected edge.  When I met a young father pushing a baby in a stroller and allowing his toddler to walk independently on the path, I was almost nauseous.  I just had to take a breath and look away. 

Path at Grand Canyon
     We spent the next day in Las Vegas.  We had agreed to visit the casinos.  Since neither of us knew anything about gambling, we signed up to take lessons in BlackJack.  When the teacher did not show up, we found an empty blackjack table and the dealer gave us instructions.  In 10 minutes we had each won $40.00!!  At that point I wanted to take the money and run.  Julia protested.  “No, Mom, I really like this gambling.  Let’s do some more.”  Considering my relationship with money, I was anxious to move on.  With just a little bit of force, I convinced Julia to leave the casino.  
 Casino at The Luxor

     We hit The Strip which offers a wealth of opportunity for people-watching and sight-seeing.  Julia, still infected by the gambling bug, found a slot machine to play on the strip.  When she lost $1.50, her gambling addiction was cured. 

Slot Machine

      When I booked the red-eye from Las Vegas to Toronto, I assumed we would sleep the flight away and awake fully refreshed in Toronto after flying through 3 time zones.  Of course, neither of us slept a wink.  As I was parting ways with my Personal Travel Assistant in Toronto, I thanked her for her undivided attention.  “No problem, Mom,” she chirped.  “It’s sort of like nannying.”

 My "Model" Children, Emma and Julia.
Thanks for the great trip, Girls!!
Until Next Time......