Mesa Verde National Park

The thing I looked forward to the least on my western adventure is the thing I enjoyed the most.

Scratch that. I didn’t enjoy it so much as I am proud that I did it.

Mesa Verde is home to some of the best preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings in this country. In fact, it is an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Located in Southwest Colorado, visitors can roam more than 50,000 acres to find important archeological sites and photo worthy vistas. However, if you wish to have an intimate view of the actual cliff dwellings, you have to participate in a ranger led tour.

There are three of these tours. The catch is that you have to be able to a navigate worn stone steps AND climb some ladders.

For one of these tours you must be able to climb 20 foot ladders and the other has 32 foot ladders. The one we chose uses four eight to ten foot ladders to help you in and out of the dwelling area. Did I mention that they’re wooden and resemble Flinstones ladders?

The word chose is rather strong and a bit misleading.

Let’s pause a moment to think about this. I am terrified of heights and absolutely despise ladders.

When I heard about the ladders, I was prepared to jump ship and simply view the cliff dwellings from an observation deck. But my friend quickly shut down that way of thinking. “It depends on what kind of vacation you want to have,” she said. “Do you want to stand and watch other people have fun or do you want to go in and have your own experience?”

That hardly seemed fair. (I giggle about this now).

But we went, we navigated the stone steps and climbed the ladders without any trouble. No need to be nervous at all!

Once in a while, I believe it is healthy to try something that scares you or that pushes your boundaries.

When it was all done and we had climbed out of the canyon, I was quite pleased that I had done it without hesitation, tears or an airlift to safety!

It’s the small victories that make life worthwhile.

The Airplane Restaurant

Colorado Springs is home to one of the most unique restaurants I have ever eaten in. It’s called The Airplane Restaurant because part of the dining space is in an actual airplane.

It’s a 1953 Boeing KC-97 tanker that originally refueled planes across the world. In 2002 it was reconfigured to provide dining space for about 42 people. Over 200 more people can sit in an attached regular dining room which is filled with interesting artifacts and pictures from aviation history.

My veggie burger and fries were excellent but my friend’s stuffed mushrooms and salad were nothing to write home about. So I can’t really vouch for the food.

However, if you’re an aviation fan, the atmosphere is fantastic. we had to wait a few minutes to sit inside the airplane and the hostess encouraged us to look around the restaurant until she announced our departure – to Antarctica!

You can see the fueling equipment and step into the cockpit while you wait for your food. The tables are covered in maps and the servers are dressed as captains. It’s great!

Want to learn more? Click here to visit their website. It’s about five minutes from the National World War II Aviation Museum which we will talk about another day.

New Glasses, Big Adjustment

Yesterday was a banner day. I went from no glasses at all to no line bifocals. I picked them up in the afternoon and wore them in a few stores and around home last night but still haven’t gotten my bearings.

Reading is fine and activity on my phone is ok but – gee whiz – walking around is a chore!!!

I’m told that it’s important to turn your head instead of just moving your eyes so I’m practicing that. Meanwhile, I’m a little sea sick. Actually, I feel like a drunk person at sea if I turn my head too quickly!!

And those of you who have bifocals will understand when I say that looking down when I walk is a super bad idea.

The doctor’s office told me to wear them as much as possible and to keep working at it until I find my sweet spot. Friends say that it will take a couple of weeks but it will simply click one day. A few have horror stories but I’m choosing to believe that I’ll be seeing better in no time.

I’m also hopeful that I won’t fall on my head trying to figure it out. Have advice? I’m open to your ideas!

Headed Home

The jig is up. I’m headed home from vacation today.

It has been a fantastic week of fun with my western adventure pal Johnna. This “Thelma and Louise” style road trip started last Sunday night when she retrieved me from the Denver airport. We set out on a big loop to Grand Junction, down to the Four Corners region and then back up to Denver via Colorado Springs.

Along the way, we hiked, did a lot of sightseeing, made some new friends and stayed in some truly terrible hotels. We stood in four states at once down at Four Corners and had a delicious veggie burger in a restaurant in an airplane.

I even got to meet my blogging pal Eilene. If you don’t read her blog, you really should. She has exceptional research skills and is a delightful storyteller who tells stories you won’t find anywhere else. Click here to visit her blog.

I experienced some culture shock in New Mexico and Arizona – a region that couldn’t be any more different than my southern Ohio home. There were some unusual wildlife encounters and a few truly strange but memorable days.

The image above comes from somewhere east of Durango as we began making our way north and back to the Colorado Springs area.

I am exhausted but happy and am pretty sure this is the best possible birthday gift I could give myself. As I write this, it is 3:30 a.m. and I just checked into an airport hotel. Weather wreaked havoc across the country, causing delays and making for an exceptionally long day for me but my pilot evidently had a lead foot because he got us to Columbus in record time.

For that, I am grateful.

I have a plethora of stories to tell you and will start sharing them soon. Meanwhile, I will sleep.

Old Friends

I greet vintage cars like they’re old friends. It doesn’t matter if they’re shiny museum pieces or if they’re a bucket of rust on the street – I always stop to say hi and admire their charisma.

This Pontiac was cruising through a parking lot like it owned the place. Check it out- it still has moxie!

Believe It

This was my fortune last night. It followed a delicious plate of Buddha Delight. Thought provoking isn’t it?

There’s something to be said for this way of thinking. If you believe something to be true you will open your mind and your life to the developments that you seek.

So who’s with me?

Affirm it, visualize it, believe it, and it will actualize itself.