It’s been action packed since we arrived in Denver. After a day of recovery, we launched into UTVing, yard clearing, shopping, gambling and skiing!

UTVing – I’d never heard of this before and I have to admit it was not my favourite activity but I can now put a tick in the ‘been UTVing’ box. And, a bit like the ‘cycling over a mountain pass’ and the ‘riding a moped along a 4-lane highway’ activities that we did in 2014, I probably won’t do it again without a very good reason. Essentially, a UTV is an off-road vehicle with fat tyres and roll bars in which you drive as fast as you can and make a lot of noise and dust. I went out as a passenger and also had a go at driving (that’s me below). I even got up to a decent speed (so I’m told) but I didn’t take to it.

The area we went to was incredibly beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed the tranquility and the views … when it was someone else’s turn 🙂

Yard clearing – In this area there are a lot of pine trees that drop needles and cones so the job entailed raking up deep matted layers and bagging it up for collection. It was a good day’s work and certainly woke up a few muscles that had been in hibernation for quite some time.

Shopping – We caught a ride with the brother-in-law on his way into work and hit the big REI in Denver. We still need a few camping items and the internet had told us that REI was the place to go. Unfortunately, they didn’t have everything we needed but there is still Eugene’s outdoor ‘stores’ to check out. We also had a good look around Denver downtown and to be honest, we were a bit unimpressed. There seemed to be very few shops and mainly just food outlets. There were also a lot of ‘characters’ around – some threatening, some fascinating and some just plain weird! We found out later that all the shops are in ‘malls’ in different suburbs so we will probably go to one of these next week to see what they are like.

Gambling – That evening we packed up and headed off towards the mountains. We were going to spend the night in a casino on the way to the skiing as our hosts had managed to get a couple of free hotel rooms and free breakfasts through their contacts! We started off with dinner at the casino and had surprisingly edible burgers and chips. We tried to find something to drink amongst the exotic sodas on offer and the experience was akin to ‘Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans’ in liquid form. We tried cherry and tarragon, that smelt like vomit, root beer, that tasted like dental mouth wash and raspberry, strawberry and cherry iced tea that bore no resemblance to tea or any of the fruits listed whatsoever. Eventually, I unearthed a button that supplied soda water – success! Then we hit the gaming rooms. We are obviously on quite a tight budget so we strode in like high-rollers with a full $5 each in our pockets. We were a bit underwhelmed at first but soon started to have fun as the winnings came rolling in and the complimentary free drinks kept arriving – presumably this is ‘usually’ good for business. However, we were on a mission and our $10 lasted all evening by playing 1c and 20c bets.

We then hit the jackpot and I finished the night with a major win of $10.97 so we were up 97c on the evening, not to mention the free drinks, a hotel room and breakfast! I can’t say I’m converted to gambling but it was a fun way to spend the evening … now what shall we spend our 97c on?

Skiing – The next day we headed up to ‘Arapahoe Basin’ for a brilliant day’s skiing. It was great to be back on the slopes and our bodies remembered what to do so lots of fun was had by all. The weather was perfect with blue skies and light winds and it was really warm, which is odd for this time of year.

Then on to the brother and sister in-law’s timeshare apartment for the next couple of nights. It was gob-smacking – huge and very swanky with all the extras. After dinner and lots of wine, we went to the outdoor spa and swimming pool in the complex to soak our aching bones.

The next day we went off to Loveland for another excellent day on the slopes with awesome weather once again. We had a couple of spills but we were trying to be careful as injury would definitely put a wrinkle in our bike-picking-up and cycling plans. We really liked Loveland and it had some amazing runs. We liked it so much that we went back again the next day 🙂

Then we headed home before the forecast storm hit!

This morning we woke up to heaps of snow 🙂


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2017 bike tour (Bike Fridays), All posts


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