I have a little extra time to write today, and in light of my overwhelming realization of how much I miss my best friend, I thought I’d start up on Part Two of our wonderful car-ride adventure.
After a long and drawn out day of driving, we finally were in Colorado and a new day had come. We got back on the road in hopes of not breaking down (we still hadn’t done anything about the oil). We made it to our destination, Castle Rock, in less than two hours and pulled up to the first mechanic we could find.
The couple that owned the shop were nice. They had two dogs that hung out in the lobby with us while we waited for the diagnostics. The car needed an oil change, bad. It was going to take them about an hour to get us in and fixed up. They offered to drive us to their favorite breakfast place to get a bite to eat while they worked on the car. This was an offer we couldn’t deny. I hopped in the passenger seat while Isa jumped in back with the dogs. The wife drove us, telling stories the whole way of how she met her husband, places they once lived, and how they ended up in Castle Rock.
The breakfast place resided in an ordinary house that had been transformed into a restaurant. There were entryways to different rooms here and there. We took a seat in a booth made from church pews, ordered coffee and the usual, 2 eggs, hash browns, and toast, but this time we decided to splurge and added a side of french toast. Looking around we noticed a few guys wearing either baseball caps or cowboy hats with shirts tucked into their jeans, brown belts and boots; we weren’t in Carpinteria anymore.
We were supposed to call the lady to pick us up, but we felt awkward making her drive us all around so instead we walked. The town was small and dainty with the appearance that it had recently been remodeled to look quite perfect and very clean. We found our way back pretty quickly, paid the couple, thanked them for their hospitality, said goodbye to the pups, and were on our way.
That day we attended an old friend’s wedding in Colorado Springs. We took showers, got our fancy clothes on, watched them say their vows, wondered about our weddings, and danced the night away.
The next day we explored a bit more of Castle Rock. We took a hike up to the infamous rock (where I’m guessing the town got its name). The view was nice from the base of the huge rock, but we were seeking more adventure. A friend had told me that you could climb to the top, so we ran around to the other side till we found the safest looking place to scale our way upwards. The view from up there was spectacular, green trees for miles and the Rockies standing proudly in the distance.
We said goodbye to the friends we were staying with and started towards our next destination, but before we made it out of Castle Rock I decided it was necessary to stop at Walmart (Isa had NEVER been!). She might not admit it, but I think it was a magical experience for her.
Denver was much different that I expected. For some reason, I had got it in my head that it was a city set at the base of the mountains (shows you how great I am at geography). I was slightly disappointed at first, thinking they put in in the wrong place, but I got over it quickly as I realized it was a pretty cool city.
It was big enough to spend the day exploring but small enough that I didn’t feel too claustrophobic walking around it (seeing as I am, no doubt, a small town girl through and through). The city was vibrant and clean and speckled with tall buildings to gaze up at. There was pieces of art on every corner, funky bookshops to peek your head into, green trees growing in the sidewalk, buildings made of brick, tracks headed down the main strip supporting trolleys full of frantic shoppers, lots of good smelling food, and of course a Patagonia store to meet all your cold weather needs.
We ate buffalo burgers at a famous diner in the heart of the city and then left in time to check out the REI; I was told it was awesome, and it was. I walked in pretending I had enough money to buy something special for our last couple days of camping, but in reality I was broke and we left without any cool new gear. Our next destination was about 30 minutes out of the city to stay the night at another friend’s house.
These friends were a family we knew from church back home in Carpinteria. They had moved to the Denver area and were faithfully serving the Lord there. We had a blast hanging with their kids, seeing Colorado through their eyes, and being filled up to the brim with joy and thanksgiving from their loving and generous hearts. They opened their arms wide to us, saying “this is Jesus’ house, how could we not have you stay with us!?”. These words have affected me to this day.
I can’t wait to end up somewhere new and have the same God-fearing attitude as them! We only stayed a night, waving goodbye to our hosts, the six Benders, in the morning as we headed towards Boulder to explore this renowned mountain town.
Again, we had planned a full day of driving and were only able to whet our appetites when it came to hiking these beautiful trails that wove into the Rocky Mountains. It didn’t stop us, we were amped and ready to get our hike on! We did the best we could and, although our hike looked more like a morning walk, we were able to get a feel for what life in these mountains could be like. It was really hard not to try and figure out a way to relocate to Colorado. We ended up spending our time in the car thinking how we could move there to serve Jesus and hike mountains.
These past few days in Colorado were spent reconnecting with old friends, making new friends, and discovering a love and curiosity for this beautiful inland state. We had known that this trip would make us want to move more than ever, but we never guessed we would actually end up planning our lives to make that happen in Colorado. It only got easier to picture our lives there as we drove west and our eyes were set on the most beautiful jagged peaks we had ever seen.
Part Three, The Drive Home, Coming Soon :)