Rocky Mountain National Park
I slept in. John took Jet to his parents' after I fed him. I got another hour in, and when I woke up, there were little powdered donuts and a glass of orange juice next to the bed. I ate my morning appetizer with my ibuprofen, and then put myself together to face the day. I really felt like I should have been more tired than I was; but that didn't seem to matter too much. I was awake.
John showed up soon after and we packed. His parents had Jet and they were having a great time playing. They played so hard, that by the time we got everything into the car and we were all at the Chuckhole, a nice little breakfast place in town, Jet was already tired and cranky. He got so cranky, that I finally had to put him in my lap, nursing, before anyone could eat. It also turned out that the aisleway they were going to put the high chair in was too narrow for fire code, so the only way we could sit there was without a high chair. So that worked out pretty well. Jet was utterly quiet, this time, while nursing, so that made it very possible to eat our breakfasts and have a good, quiet meal. With my back to the rest of the restaurant, the nice nursing sweatshirt with flap, and a really deep booth besides, there were no modesty problems whatsoever. That was cool.
The Chuckhole was a diner, and it was pretty average. All the normal things in large quantities and medium quality. It made for a comforting start to the day.
We headed into the park, for the first time this year, and John bought an annual pass as we come up here often enough, in a normal year, to make it well worth while. I was really surprised to find how close we were to the high altitude visitors' center, as it was just a hop and a skip from the western entrance. This was the same place where John and Johanna, Genevieve, and a few others we've brought here have climbed to the really high places, above 12,000 feet. There's steps up to the small summit from which a lot of the park is spread out below for viewing. It's not that steep, but it's always breathtaking at this altitude, and the wind is always whipping up there.
On the way in we saw signs for Never Summer Park... and that name really stuck, and up here it really is never summer.
At the visitors' center, we all bundled up. Jet was dubious of his Cookie Monster bunting. It's this thing with a cap and leg warmers and a lot of material to just wrap around a baby. When we first got it, Jet was a newborn and he would probably have fit in one of the legs. We were so flabbergasted by it, thinking it would be years before Jet could make use of it. Thing is it now fits. That astonishes me mildly. He was already in a long sleeved, long-legged thing, and we tucked him into the bunting as well. He kept trying to pull the hat off, but since he only ever pulls things to his front, he just pulled it on tighter, which was a good thing. Then the five of us set up for the top.
We met, passed, were passed by many people. Many of whom congratulated Jet on his getting someone else to carry him up. The top ten feet were so windy it was like leaning against a wall, and then we were up and over and had a little protection from some rocks. The wind was much fiercer because there was absolutely nothing to stop it up there. We could look out at a world spread at our feet. Jet squinted about and looked a lot like some Nepalese kid, all brown with black eyes, and that round face, and the hat. We stopped at the sign that proclaimed that we were above the top of the famous Mt. Hood in Oregon, and took lots of pictures. There was another couple up there and we exchanged group pictures. That was pretty cool.
Okay. That was really cold.
By the time we got back down to the parking lot, what had originally felt frigid now felt balmy. I shed layers, and went to the cleanest pit toilets I've ever met, and then went into the gift shop. We wandered about, looking at everything and buying nothing. Jet happily tackled a teddy bear bigger than him, and squawked happily at knocking it and himself over. It cracked up a bunch of people nearby. Jet then tried sucking on the bear's ear, but I pulled him away before he could make it so that we'd have to buy it.
Isabel was wonderful and bought Jet one of those leaves that are somehow magically made over in gold. All the veins and structures of the leaf are gold covered. Appropriately enough, it was a leaf off a quaking aspen.
It was fun to drive through the park. Jet fell asleep after the climb and the gift shop, so I stayed with him while Rosty and his parents went and walked some of the overlooks. We then went steadily through the park until we got to Estes Park and were able to stop, park, and walk to find our lunch. There is a stream that wends through Estes Park, and there are some roads that go over it. The main street is along side some of it, and there was a park with water, grass and rocks near where we parked. There was shade as well.
It turns out that the sunshine from yesterday had left their mark on me. I had a large patch of rash on the side of my neck and it itched like crazy. The shade felt very good and I tried to stick to it as we walked back and forth. We finally settled on a Chicago style hot dog and sandwich place. They had a pizza parlor/bar next door, and the two places shared kitchens. The two separate seating areas were available to anyone that ordered from either kitchen. We all decided on the sandwich side, and I got a gyros, John bought an Italian sausage sandwich, and Isabel and George both got Chicago style hot dogs with all the greenery, including the Chicago relish that had celery and green peppers mixed in as well. They were all very good sandwiches, hot, fresh, and tasty.
I think it was because I was in the shade so much that I didn't notice, but somewhere in all this, I misplaced my sunglasses. I'm not sure where or when. It might have been while we took a good hour, after lunch, and let Jet play in the grass by the stream that ran through the city. There was a small park with a picnic bench and a nice, grassy knoll with lots of trees around to provide plenty of shade. There were leaves falling with every passing breeze. The sound of the water completely drowned any sounds of civilization and it was peaceful and quiet and Jet had fun tumbling and trying and pushing his newfound mobility. That was very nice.
Home again home again, and both Jet and I slept. When we got there, everyone unloaded everything, though Jet and I nursed for a while. Then we pulled bao and sticky rice from the freezer and made everyone a very nice, very quick dinner with some corn soup and the steamed goodies. Jet went to sleep easily when he did his last feeding, and all seemed well. George and Isabel went down to sleep a bit early, and I found that I had to take a bath, as I found myself pacing and too wound up to get to sleep. It was mildly disconcerting to realize that I was just too wired from the last couple of days, eventhough, by all rights, I should have been completely exhausted from last night's lack of sleep, I was just too wound up to sleep. I filled the tub with Carl's gift of the milk bath scented bubble bath and soaked until I found myself nodding off. That was very useful indeed.
I guess I'm very glad that we did all this. It really tested out how well Jet did on a long car ride and the answer is 'Very Well', especially when lightly distracted; getting some stops to stretch, wiggle, and eat; and with plenty of care as to how he was doing. We could always stop at any time, and when we did when he needed it, he was really calm, happy and playful whenever we finally stopped.
It also gave us a really good testing ground for how to work things in a hotel. Discovering that it was very necessary for us to get all our bathroom stuff done before Jet had his final feeding is a very, very crucial and good thing to know when we go to OryCon next month. Also that it's imperative that we pack his Tylenol, when all else fails. I still have no idea why Tylenol will put him to sleep when everything else fails, but I'll take it as a blessing and not question it too deeply and use it very, very sparingly.