If Only for a Moment

Time was limited, but we rarely make it to the mountains and decided to take a drive anyway. Can you believe we live in Colorado and see these mountains from a distance just about every day but hardly ever truly experience them? Seriously! What the heck is wrong with us? We can come up with all sorts of excuses (many of them quite good actually) but if you really want to do something, you figure it out and make it happen – even if only for a moment.

Hallet Peak & Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

I wasn’t overly impressed with the images I walked away with and think my time would have been more relaxing had I just picked a spot on a boulder and sat still for a while simply burning the image into my memory instead.

Also making the trip worth it was lunch at Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Taphouse. Oh my heavens! That’s good stuff!

Mountain Getaway | Day 2 Continued & Day 3

Day 2 Continued:

I learned some interesting history at the ghost tour at the Stanley Hotel today.  I’m not so sure how much of the haunted part I believe (though, I do have an unexplainable shadow in one of my photos), but the history was fascinating!

First of all, Freelan Oscar Stanley (F.O. or Freel) had a twin brother named Francis Edgar Stanley (F.E. or Frank).  When they were 5 years old, their father gave them each a carving knife – something we all dream of giving our 5-year-olds. Right? Well, these genius little boys started carving toys from wood and selling them for a penny a piece.  By the end of the year, they had made $5.00.  That’s a lot of toys! Another interesting hobby they had was making concert quality violins by hand. The Stanley violin is still one of the most sought after violins in the world.

Like me, many of you probably only know F.O. for the Stanley Steamer automobile. I was surprised to lear that he and his brother had a history in photography! F.E. patented the airbrush in 1876 and was a portrait artist. The brothers became partners in the Stanley Dry Plate Company in 1884. The dry plate process put an end to sitting perfectly still for 20-30 minutes for a portrait (no wonder they didn’t smile). Although they were grossing nearly $1 million per year at the turn of the century with this business (eat that Bill Gates), they sold this company to Eastman Kodak in 1904. Learning this, of course, intensified my obsession with the Stanley history and that fabulous hotel!

So about that striking white Georgean style hotel with the red roof… It was originally a mustard yellow. The biggest change, though, was to the MacGragor Room. If you were to peek in this room off the left end of the lobby as a tourist, you’d never guess that it was changed for Stephen King’s The Shining mini-series. This room and the lobby were originally the same yellow and white color scheme as the Music Room. Hollywood didn’t feel this was scary enough. The stage was added to the MacGregor Room, too, which is where you can see Stephen King standing in a cameo role in the mini-series. That’s exactly where we sat to listen to the tour guide for a bit.

It is true that Stephen King found inspiration for his novel while staying at the hotel – room 217 to be exact. However, he had already written an entire novel while he was a teacher at CU Boulder. His publisher thought it was a bit over the top, though, and recommended rewriting. Stephen King, over the top? Shocker! He stayed just one night at the Stanley, then he completely rewrote the novel that we now know as The Shining, got it approved and published, and it hit number one all within two months.

The history behind room 217 involves the head housekeeper. There was a gas leak, and when she went to light the gas lamp, there was such an explosion that the whole front of that side of the hotel blew out.  The housekeeper was forced down a floor into the MacGregor Room and survived. Her legs were badly broken, but she was otherwise fine. F.O. visited her in the hospital and offered her a raise and to put her children through college. Apparently, she is still working there and has unpacked and neatly put away guests’ clothing.

The fourth floor actually has even more paranormal activity. This was the floor used for the children of guests and their nannies. Many guests today call down to the desk to complain about children running up and down the hall laughing, even when there are none even staying on the floor! The tour guide described room 401 as a room a room with probably the most paranormal activity. Lord Dunraven often hangs out in room 407.

See more photos of the tour here. I also made a slideshow (below). Click “pause” when it opens to click through at your own pace.

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Stanley Hotel
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This digital scrapbooking design created with Smilebox

I still want to go back with Greg sometime (just the two of us) and stay overnight so we can do the late-night tour. No one uder 18 is allowed on that one.

I was able to get internet connection for about 3 minutes on my own laptop last night. I thought I found the right spot to be, but it was short-lived. Since I didn’t bring a flash drive either, I still can’t share any photos.

Day 3:

Woke up on our own today – no alarms! Bliss! I thought about heading to Rocky Mountain National Park right away, but decided to just relax. I looked through the game selection and pulled out Monolopy Millennium Edition. We played for a while and left to go into town. We ate lunch and strolled the town. The only thing we bought was salt-water taffy (and have subsequently eaten far too much of it). The crowd and traffic continued to thicken, so we decided to just stop at the grocery store to pick up stuff for dinner and snacks and just head back to the house. We did stop at Colorado Cherry Company to get a cherry pie for desert, too.  It’s right across the street from the entrance to this subdivision! [Note: the link shows the one on Hwy 34 in Loveland, but the one here on Hwy 36 doesn't have its own website.]

When we got back to the house, we continued with our game of Monopoly until we just drifted away from it and lost interest.  I ended up with the most money. Ali and I had about the same number of deeds. And now Miranda has a cool glass backgammon game set up waiting to play, so I’m going to go do that now!

Not a lot of exciting things to write about today, but every vacation needs some down time – at least I think so. I don’t like to get home and feel like I need a vacation to recover from vacation!

Mountain Getaway | Day 2

After eating dinner at Village Pizza, we drove up to the Stanley Hotel (my newest obsession).  I took some pictures, and we made a reservation for a ghost tour at 10:40 this morning.  Ali didn’t bring her hoodie and was getting chilly, so we didn’t hang out much longer.  I did turn to drive through town before heading back to the house, but I made a loop around the park instead because there were several elks grazing and passing on through.  Again, I wish I could share photos here, but not only do I not have my card reader, my own laptop won’t connect to the WiFi here.  The funniest part was that they all crossed at the crosswalk to make their way back into the woods!

Miranda had planned on sleeping in a separate room with a king-size bed, but I guess she chickened out.  She ended up taking the bottom bunk in the room Ali had already claimed a king-size bed of her own.  That room happens to be right above the master with a creaky floor.  I could hear mumbling and their TV a bit.  The joys of sleeping in a strange house.  However, the incredible comfort of the bed with pretty luxurious bedding quickly put me to sleep anyway!  No saggy, roll-ya-to-the-middle mattresses and flat hotel pillows here!  The beds are high, but they have little wooden step stools for convenience.

I talked to one of the owners on the phone last night, and he was very friendly and helpful.  I can’t plug directly into the router because it’s behind the locked basement door.  There’s also a pool table down there I noticed from outside!  I wish we could use that, but it wasn’t advertised in their VRBO listing, so I wasn’t expecting it.

I must talk about the master bath before we head out.  I hope to be able to soak in that clawfoot tub tonight by candlelight!  The shower is nice, but it’s surrounded by clear glass.  The windows don’t have blinds either!  There’s nothing but forest out there, but if you have a lot of people here, you better be sure you tell them not to go on that side of the house while you’re showering! <gasp>  This is a little outside of my comfort zone.  I won’t take a shower at night, and I’ll be careful about getting in that tub at night, too!  I know you can’t really see in windows during the day at least.

Vacation Rental House in Lyons, CO

We’re here!  This VRBO.com vacation rental home in the mountains (Lyons, Colorado) was very easy to find, but the roads in this subdivision are very narrow and unpaved.  Nothing too steep, though.  I’m just not sure of proper protocol when a car is coming the other way.  Fortunately, there’s not a lot of traffic!

First things first… Walked through the house and checked everything out, taking pictures along the way.  I’d share some pictures, but you’re going to have to wait a bit.  Silly me!  I forgot my card reader, and the USB cable for my camera is not in my camera bag anymore.  I can’t even email a picture from the cell phone to Facebook because there’s NO cell service in this neck of the forest (Roosevelt National Forest to be exact).

I’m going to call the homeowner to see if there’s a secret to the WiFi connection.  This is the house laptop, and it shows that it’s connected to the unsecured linksys, but my laptop won’t connect to it for some reason.  If nothing else, I brought ethernet cables … I just have no idea where the router is!  I also need to figure out how to get the main TV to work.  The bedroom TVs work fine, but I’m not getting a signal for more than a minute in the front room.

I better hurry with all of that so we can head into Estes Park for dinner since we didn’t bring dinner food!  We can have cereal, chips, or PB&J!  That’s all I brought, though.  I’m thinking maybe that Village Pizza place sounds good.  Must find the market too!  I think I’ll change into long pants first since the temperature falls drastically at night up here.

UPDATE: You can now see photos of the house here.