Do we drive or fly?
That was the question Kevin and I asked each other for the months leading up to our long weekend trip to Denver that was last weekend. Ultimately we decided to drive and now – with a week’s worth of hindsight in my rear view mirror – we do not regret that decision. Yes, we had to sing many, many versus of Row Row Row Your Boat and Tideo, but considering it was around 14.5 hours round trip, we can’t complain.
We started out at 9 AM on Friday. Ava fell asleep around forty-five minutes into the drive and Kevin and I easily got into our audiobook – Duplicity. Ava woke up after a solid 2+ hour nap, right as we were getting into a small town on I-25. We stopped to eat, stretch our limbs, and fuel up, then hit the road again. At first Ava was a bit annoyed with us for sticking her back in the carseat, especially when we realized 30 minutes after starting back on the road that I’d forgotten to nurse her and so we pulled over as soon as we could to get Starbucks and feed her. After that she fell back asleep pretty quickly and woke up as we were getting into Denver. 5:00 traffic on a Friday afternoon annoyed all of us a bit, but we made it to Kevin’s parents’ place and there was beef stroganoff almost ready and we all forgot the long hours in the car pretty quickly.
The thing I was most nervous about going into this trip was sleep. I love my sleep. I need my sleep. I covet sleep. And I was worried that a few nights in a new environment was going to completely derail my perfect little night sleeping baby. (Fear that any future babies will be bad sleepers is the number one reason Ava may be an only child.) I’m not gonna lie – they weren’t the best three nights of sleep we’ve gotten, but they certainly weren’t the worst. The combination of four hours worth of daytime sleep, a strange place, and the new bed (on the trip we used a travel crib that we normally corral her in when we’re getting ready in the morning) caused her to really fight falling asleep. Eventually I got her to fall asleep – but she was in the adult bed. I told Kevin we’d try co-sleeping and that worked for a hot minute. Then Ava woke up, sat up, and was very excited to be having a slumber party with us. The problem was that she didn’t especially feel like slumbering. How do co-sleepers do it?? Kevin stood up, cradled her, and rocked her a bit until she fell asleep. Then he set her in the travel crib and immediately laid down on the (hardwood!) floor next to her when she started to fuss. His proximity calmed her down and she slept pretty well the remainder of the night. Kevin stayed on the floor for most of the night – father of the year – and I think he still slept better than I did. It was just one of those nights – I was nervous about Ava waking up again, guilty that Kevin was on the floor while I was sprawled in the comfy bed, annoyed that I couldn’t sleep, etc. Ugh.
But! We all survived (Kevin’s shoulder just barely), and woke up to half a foot of snow. It was beautiful! Freezing – around 5 degrees. But beautiful. And the condo is so well insulated that the air conditioner was running inside, so cozy, cozy. We had a nice breakfast – Sue and Craig had bought fruit, English muffins, peanut butter, so Ava got her regular breakfast, which I think she appreciated.
We relaxed and played and went to Micci’s for lunch. On the drive home, there was a minor incident involving Pearl (the car) and an icy road and a road sign pole, but the pole took the brunt of the damage and sacrificed itself to keep us from hitting another car, so all in all…whew. Pearl has a slight scratch that you’d only notice if you knew to look for it and the pole is still standing – just at a bit more of an angle than before. After lunch I managed to get Ava down for a crib nap and Kevin and I escaped to the Cherry Creek Mall. I needed to get a couple of watch batteries and a few links taken out of a watch so it would fit better. Kevin stopped by Art of Shaving and we wandered around. We tromped home through the snow and found that Ava had woken up soon after we left so the nap had been quite short. Boo. More playing, relaxing, etc. and then we headed downtown to The Chophouse for dinner. It was delicious – I had the prime rib, Kevin and Craig had the bone-in rib eye, Sue had the filet, Ava had sweet potato fries, cornbread, and a bit of everyone’s steak. We made it home safely – the roads had not gotten any better as the sun went down. Night two brought good sleep for all of us – Ava fought going to sleep once again, but once she finally surrendered, it was fine. Craig and Sue’s couch in Denver has one long cushion, so Kevin brought that into our room and slept on it next to Ava.
On Sunday we had a relaxing morning and Ava cuddle napped with me for an hour and a half or so. Craig went to pick up Panera and we ate that before bundling up and bidding Sue and Ava and Teddy adieu to head to the main event – the Broncos versus Patriots football game. Tickets to the game were a generous birthday gift to Kevin from Craig and Sue. Craig drove us to a friend’s house where we loaded up into his car and he drove us and Jana, another friend, to the light rail train station. We took the train to the stadium and found our seats. We were there 45 minutes or so before kick off, and because it was pretty cold, the stadium filled up slowly. It was nice to have so few people there initially and we got to watch the teams warm up.
We were in seats facing the sun and I didn’t mind at all the fact that I’d forgotten my sunglasses because it was downright comfy, despite the mercury sitting at about 20 degrees. That blessed sun was a game changer. Once it went down it got a little colder and the game was a bit disappointing. It was awesome to see Tom Brady play in person though – he makes that quarterbacking thing look effortless.
After the game we trekked back to the station and caught a train, disembarking and finding our friend waiting for us in his warm car. He took us back to his house where we got into Craig’s car and he dropped us at the condo while he went to pick up Ollie’s (Chinese – some of our favorite food in Denver) for dinner. Jana came over, Sue filled us in on the fun she, Ava, and Teddy had while we were at the game, and my feet eventually thawed from their game induced state of frozen.
I slept on the cushion next to Ava that night and we all slept well. Just what we needed for the ride home the next day. We left a little bit before Craig and Sue, but we all made it back to Albuquerque at around the same time. Ava slept well from Denver to Raton, where we stopped for lunch, but she didn’t nap on the second half of the drive. She grumbled a bit and we sang a lot of songs. We were all giddy to be home! We had a wonderful time with Craig, Sue, and Teddy, and it had been a great trip, but there is truly no place like home. And we all missed Kiki and Rue. They’d had a family friend stay with them, and they seemed a little disappointed to see us walk in that evening instead of her. We tried not to take it personally.
Do you like road trips? What’s the longest road trip you’ve taken?