Hey! Remember me? It’s that guy who used to post all the time and now dropped off the face of the earth… Well now I’m back, and happy to be so! These last few days, as always, have been really busy, but especially so because I have been exploring Northern Colorado with my friends from the NCSC! These last few days have been a blast, and we covered a lot of ground. Rather than writing this in a "Novel" version, I would like to hi-lite each day’s events and share some remarks & pictures from my experiences!
Wednesday, July 20th
Picking up Ross & Amanda, Getting Settled, Dinner
Dinner at Young’s Vietnamese Cafe – Always a good choice for lunch, Young’s was also exceptional at dinner. Their portions are HUGE, but both Ross & Joel managed to down their whole dinners. Geez! I still have left-overs! The appetizers were also really good – we had these awesome lettuce wraps, as well as grill-your-own meatballs with rice paper (Mmmmmm).
Old Town Fort Collins I – Coopersmith’s – Emily and Joel joined the three of us for a nice game of pool and some good home-brewed beer. We ended up playing three games of pool. Joel and I won the first two, then we did a guys vs. girls game where we almost won, but ended up scratching on the 8 ball (bummer!). We were cleaning up before though. Oh well
Thursday, July 21
Journey down to Denver, Pick up Maureen & Erin, Conference Call, More Old Town
Red Rocks Amphitheater – I’ve never been to Red Rocks when an event/concert wasn’t going on, so I wasn’t sure how fun this would be, but it turned out to be really cool. The whole place is free to get into during the day (when there’s not a show that day), and it’s all open. You can actually go onto the stage as well (although they were doing stage work the day we were there). It’s quite a site to be sitting at row 1 and looking up to see all 9,500+ seats. We then proceeded to climb ALL the stairs up to the Visitor’s Center, which is a nice AIR-CONDITIONED place. Downstairs they had this thing called "Hall of Music" or something like that, where they had displays and plaques every year since Red Rocks has been opening, and showed who played there each year. It was soooo cool!
Mother Cabrini Shrine – We only had enough time to drive by and stop in the gift shop. But looking back on it, it was a mixed blessing that we couldn’t climb the shrine stairs, at that point it was over 100 degrees outside! It’s a really pretty place, I wish we had more time to spend there. Just going to the gift shop really didn’t do that place justice.
16th Street Mall – Denver – While we were down there something struck me – I really couldn’t think of any places along the 16th Street Mall that were "authentically Denver/Colorado". We ended up going to Johnny Rockets, which was pretty good. The shakes were awesome! It was really too hot to do anything else down on the 16th Street Mall, so we headed up to rest up for the conference call.
Team America – One of the great ways to get ready for a conference call is to see a movie that will pump you up (also a great way to kill some time), so we popped in Team America… Probably not the best way to prepare for a Catholic Student Conference Call, but it was pretty funny nonetheless.
"I PROMISE I WILL NEVER DIE…"
NCSC EB Conference Call – Doing a conference call with half the group physically present is harder than it looks. We had to deal with a few technical issues, and we ended up having to send Maureen upstairs with the headset, which turned out to be a lot of fun. She was up in my office, so we decided to "possess" my desktop computer with VNC on my laptop. It was hilarious… My favorite was "Help I’m stuck in the printer!", then sending the doc to print.
Old Town Fort Collins II – Old Chicago’s – One of the hallmarks of Old Town Fort Collins is sitting at a table next to the open windows at Old Chicago’s. We got to enjoy the great happy our specials of $2.50 drafts and $2.25 personal pizza’s. That spells great, cheap dinner (along with Italian Nachos as well! During dinner we got to take some fun pictures as well!
Maureen, myself & Amanda
Maureen with her "crush" Josh.
While we were out there Erin decided to let our waiter know that "Maureen thought he was hot and would like to take his picture." Josh was more than happy to oblige and it was funny how he introduced himself to Maureen I don’t think she left him her number though…
Friday, July 22nd
Mini-Retreat with an old friend, Beer Tasting, Dinner with Mom, Drive-In
Retreat at Pegge’s Cabin – Pegge, my old campus minister, mentor and great friend graciously offered a 1/2 day retreat to the 5 of us, so on Friday morning we headed up 287 towards the Wyoming border & Pegge’s beautiful cabin. We had an amazing time doing some great sharing, practical questions & answering (we got some great advice), did some quiet reflection, and then ended it with an awesome Lectio Devina with seeds. For me personally I received a lot of clarity on some things I’ve had questions about in NCSC and my life in general.
Being up there made me realize just how much I missed being up at the cabin. I realized the last time I was there was May of 2004, and it was an awesome feeling to be back up there with student leaders once again. It is such a quiet and peaceful place, check out these pictures of Ross & Amanda journaling to get a sense of the beauty up there:
Also a retreat up at the cabin wouldn’t be complete without a Student Leader group picture
Being up there and seeing this group picture makes me a bit nostalgic for the good ‘ol days of Spirit Fire Retreats… Ahh Spirit Fire VII…
Joel, Emily, myself, Gina & Brian
Anyway back to the retreat… We ended with a lunch of sandwiches and then made our way home… Not before driving a whole 2 minutes to Wyoming and taking a picture there (to say that the NCSC people have been in that state), then we headed back home for a nap and to prepare for beer tasting.
Beer Tasting at New Belgium Brewery – We unfortunately ended up missing the beer tour (I thought it was at 2 & 4pm, but it turned out to be at 1pm, 2pm & 3pm. We went straight over to the tasting room and found the bar. Now for those of you who live in Fort Collins and haven’t done this yet – you need to do this at least some point! It’s a really fun experience. You sit yourself down at the bar and they give you a menu where you can select up to 4 different beers from. As you can see in my picture on the right I was straining my brain doing just that. At that point you and all of your friends have this little goblets of different beers that you can taste!
Maureen, Amanda, Ross & I all tasted! There were a few beers that Maureen and Amanda didn’t really like and ended up not drinking, but Ross was happy to take care of them I’m not really sure if I found a favorite among that batch. I really like the Abbey, but I would have to say that I probably enjoyed Blue Paddle the best. We then went down to Loveland to have dinner with my mom who made Kabobs, and then we headed up to the drive-in.
The Island at the Drive-In – Great movie! I will have to write more about it later on, but if you’re hungry at all for a conceptual sci-fi flick or an action film, go check out this movie! More on it to come… Bethany also came, and it was sooo good to see her as well! Before the movie we stopped to get some Sonic, which many people hadn’t been to, we got some shakes and ice cream, except they didn’t have the Cream Slush available ARGGGH, oh well One of the things that I love most about summer is sitting out in the open night air of Colorado and watching a movie. It was a beautiful, clear and starry night, complete with a full moon and a good time was had by all. On the way home people had to be crazy with the camera (as you can see Erin doing here…)
Saturday, July 23rd
Taking Amanda home , Estes Park, the People’s Republic of Boulder
After getting up the next morning at 6:30am to take Amanda to DIA to make her 9:30am flight, I got home at 9am hoping to get a few more hours of sleep. As it turns out everyone pretty much slept until noon, except for Maureen who took the morning to capture her thoughts on the trip. I enjoyed the extra hours of sleep. After we all got up and had the breakfast Ross made for us, we set out to explore some of the mountains.
Big Thompson Canyon / Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park – We stopped at this little Gem up the Big Thompson canyon to spend some time in the river and enjoy the nature. We had a blast taking pictures, we must have taken at least 30 pictures down there. Here are a few…
Ross, Maureen & Myself
Ross, Erin & Maureen ( I haven o idea what they’re doing, but the background is pretty )
Erin having too much fun with the water bottle (the expression on Maureen’s face says it all )
After having all of our fun in the canyon we finally made it to Estes Park, where it really began to rain. I love the feeling of rain in the mountains! We then walked a little bit of Estes before heading to Mass at Our Lady of the Mountain, then after Mass we went back into town to get some Salt Water Taffy… I don’t think anyone really had any before we bought it, but it turned out to be really good We had a small snack and then made our way down to Boulder to meet up with a few of my friends on Pearl Street.
Pearl Street Mall, Boulder – We rolled into Boulder around 7:15 and were lucky enough to find some close-by parking. We then met up with Leanne and Joel (and eventually Emily) and started looking for a place to eat along the Pearl Street Mall. Along the mall we got to see all of the street performers, exhibitors, interesting shops and of course HIPPIES!! We ended up at this "Lucky Dog" grill which was on the roof overlooking the courthouse. The weather held out, and we were treated to some great live music and fun atmosphere!
myself, Joel & Leanne toasting to a night on the town
Me finishing off my second beer (no more after that)
Old Town Fort Collins III – Walrus Ice Cream – After multiple attempts in the last few days, we managed to make it back up to Fort Collins before Walrus Ice Cream before they closed. Unfortunately because we made it in the last 1/2 of them being opening, they were already starting to close and it wasn’t as "Walrus-y" as it typically was But the ice cream was still pretty good.
Sunday, July 25th
Move along home
The morning was pretty much spent taking people back to the airport. I got up at 5:30am to take Maureen and Erin back, and then a few hours of sleep later I left at 10am to take Ross back to the airport. I had lunch with my friend Sam and made my way back up to Fort Collins. We already moved the extra beds out of my apartment yesterday afternoon, and it’s amazing how easy it was to get them out, but also how much they transformed my apartment yet again.. Now just to get things back to normal.
Overall the trip was a blast! You never really realize just how many cool things you have in your area until you get to show people from out of town around. Thank you to Maureen, Erin, Ross & Amanda for coming and visit me! I hope that your travels bring you back some day soon! To everyone else on the NCSC NT that wasn’t able to make it – we missed you, but you are also always welcome to come and visit me! Thanks again to Emily, Pegge, Joel, Leanne, Bethany, my Mom and all the other people who helped make this trip possible!! You guys rock!
I have a Photo Gallery set up with all the pictures that we took during the weekend. Check it out if you’re interested!
>>Colorado Trip Photo Gallery