Southwest Summer Adventure – 6/11/2019

We got up later this morning that we have most of the trip. In fact we were late enough that we were nearly late to our whitewater trip. The river was up and running fast. This meant that we got to go a little farther than normal. 14 miles of great whitewater paddling! I would show you photos of our whitewater, but ‘m too cheap to buy any!

After paddling, we walked over to the outdoor restaurant nearby. It was next to the river and a ropes course. It was great, except for the TV blocking the river. Who needs a TV when you are this close to a river?

Now was time to drive. We were headed to the Great Sand Dunes National Park the next day. We ended up taking a narrow mountain pass to make the drive interesting. Also interesting was the Ride The Rockies event going on the same route as us in the opposite direction. We had to wait at an intersection for a long time before we could get through. We were going up a narrow pass as they were coming down.

We stopped to take in the view.

This person had a snowboard and kite and was moving quite fast all over the mountain.

Its hard to beleive that we went from snow, to a warm summer evening when we got to our campsite. We were staying at a resort/oaisis/campground/swimming pool for the night. The water came out of the ground around 90 degrees and non-stop. The swimming pool was constantly refreshed with new water from the spring.

I often cook pizzas on camp fires and BBQ grills. This one wasn’t quite hot enough, so we used the “bottom rack” to get the oven effect we were looking for.

With food out of the way, Corvin and I did our Colorado Unicycle ride while the girls relaxed.

With the constant hot water flowing in, they had a few ponds with interesting fish and other wildlife hanging out. It was a very interesting and cool place to stay!

The only drawback to the campsite was the wind. Our tent rattled all night and I thought it might blow over, but I would go back and stay there again!

Hogan Haake

 

Southwest Summer Adventure – 6/10/2019

First off, Happy Birthday to me! Nothing like being with my family on my birthday to make it a great day! We started off the day driving to Arches National Park where Corvin and I did our unicycle thing. Of course, there was tons of scenery for us all to take in!

After we were all arched out, we started driving. We headed to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Danelle had booked a whitewater rafting trip for us the following day. We spent time walking the downtown and I picked a fancy BBQ place for dinner.

Along the walk, we saw a cute puppy and the kids wanted to take it home.

The sun was setting as we drove back to our hotel for the night. Oh how we all wanted to stay in this town forever. Look at the mountain with snow in the distance!

We picked up some Hostess cupcakes for my birthday and spent a fair amount of time in the pool and hot tub before calling it a fantastic night!

Note to self, we should come back here and spend multiple days just hanging out!

Hogan Haake

 

Southwest Summer Adventure – 6/9/2019

This day started out with an early walk for Corvin and I along the Vegas strip. It was interesting to see it on a Sunday morning. It was very empty and we even saw maintenance being done.

Not sure what they are doing, its the Billagio Fountains they are working on.

We took a long leisurely drive from Vegas to Green River, UT. The goal was to get very near to Arches National Park to make visiting the following day easier. Okay, and Danelle and Sonora wanted to watch another St. Louis Blues game. While they watched the game, Corvin and I went out to Ratio – A Pile of Big Blocks. We tried to drive there and nearly got the van stuck. Eventually, we parked and walked a ways to get there.

We picked up pizza on the way back to the hotel to see the Blues loose the game. We called it an early night as we had exploring to do the next day!

Hogan Haake

Southwest Summer Adventure – 6/8/2019

This morning started out with Corvin and I uni-cycling the Las Vegas strip to get our Nevada complete. Once we completed it, we came back to the room to clean up. Corvin even completed some of his paperwork for his class.

The first family thing to do today was visit the Hoover Damn. I’ve driven across it before, but never been inside for a tour. I was quite excited to see it along with the rest of the family. We got there early to make sure we could get in on the extended tour. The tour was fantastic, we only wish that it was longer.

Giant pulley system to get equipment to the bottom of the damn.

Waiting to get in.

Looking in at the power generators.

In a maintenance tunnel.

Looking downstream.

At the top of the damn.

I was a little concerned about door dings on my van when we got back to the parking lot. We saw a questionable car parked next to us. Lucky for them, I didn’t see any dings!

We picked up up lunch on the way back and started walking to our next destination. The streets look clear, but they are dangerous.

Right before our eyes was one of the world’s most evil supervillains, Dr. Evil.

Its quite interesting how many characters are around the Vegas streets. They all want money for you to get a photo with them. But we avoided his evil plans and made it to the “High Roller” Ferris Wheel. Its a 550 foot high ride, at the time, the highest in the world. The views of the  strip are cool and Groupon made it affordable 🙂

The kids were warming up to Vegas at this point. We had done some interesting things for them. Sonora is a huge fan of Fountains of Bellagio, so we took a few videos for her.

We still had one more thing up our sleeves for the night. We were going to Tournament Of Kings at Excalibur.

I saw this show around 1995 on a family vacation and remember liking it them. It was just as good as i remembered. Sonora loved all of the horses and the show was entertaining.

After the show, we walked back to the hotel on a high, enjoying the entertainment of the day. It was a mixed blessing that it was our last full day in Vegas. I loved the energy and people watching, but we also spent a small fortune for a single day! Time for bed.

Hogan Haake

 

Southwest Summer Adventure – 6/7/2019

We got up from our hotel and were on the road at 6am. The goal was for Corvin and I to unicycle California before it got super hot outside. We got to the head of Mustard Canyon and started riding at 8am. We didn’t get very far before the gravel road was too rough to unicycle on. We walked for over half of the short canyon till we got back out to the road. A few shots were set up for uni-cycling before heading on back to the Furnace Creek Visitor’s center where Danelle and Corvin waited for us to finish. The wind was 20 gusting to 30, so it was a tough ride. Luckily for us, the wind on our face plus sweating helped keep us cool.

With our massive effort and sweating out of the way, we went on to other parts of Death Valley. Devil’s golf course was our first stop. It looked normal till you got closer, then the ground was very rough and sharp with salt everywhere.

Badwater Basin was cool. It ended up being a salt flat that you could walk out on. It also happens to be the lowest land in the united states. We joined the flocks of people walking out on its vastness.

Here is a time lapse of Mustard Canyon that we tried to unicycle through.

We finished what we were going to be able to see on this short drive and went out of Death Valley. On the way to Vegas, we stopped by the ghost town, Rhyolite. We got a few photos and stopped a bit. Its worth a visit if you’re in the area.

During the drive, we had a rock kick up and chip the windshield on the van, our second chip of the trip. Feels like the van is falling apart around us, now I’m hoping that we make it home without breaking down.

Walking across the hotel parking (Travelodge on the strip, a horrible place) lot were some Vegas “Show Girls”. Basically girls dressed scantly with wings on their backs. I got a photo with Corvin and myself. It was worth the $20 to embarrass him. While he was embarrassed, he’s still a young man and enjoyed it! Sorry, I’m not going to share the photo for Corvin’s sake.

We had a family walk on the strip to see the lay of the land. Sonora was surprised at the way people dressed and many of the advertisements around. She isn’t a huge fan of the place currently, but is warming up to the area as we focus on more family things.

We’ve spent so much money in Vegas that we decided to try and be cheap. We drove around looking for dinner. We ended up at Fries and Pies. Its a Poutine and Pizza chain we have never been to before. The food was great and it was a good break from the crazy Vegas Strip.

Back at the room, Danelle and I found two things for the family to do that should make the kiddos happy. One is a giant Ferris Wheel and the other is a mid-evil knight show at Excalibur. I’m pretty sure I saw this show back in 1995 on a different vacation.

Since Danelle bought the tickets on Groupon to save money, we needed to go to the hotel to pick up tickets. Danelle and I left the kids at the room and walked over to get tickets. While we were out, we gambled and lost $2 after being up as high as $9. We eventually found the open box office and got our tickets printed. We got to the box office just in time as ladies lined up behind us for the “Thunder From Down Under” show.

We walked back and stopped at the Coke store and tried 12 different drinks from around the world. The kids were passed out when we got to the room.

It was off to bed as we had a long day in Vegas tomorrow.

Hogan Haake