Hi all! Coming to you from a warm and sunny Boulder, CO. The more we move through and explore this state, the more we love it! Jim lived here for a few years about 16 years ago, so he knows how awesome it is, but it’s been fun for him to rediscover it and find new places he hadn’t yet been.
Crazy that we’re sitting here in Bertha right now, half dressed and half sweating, when we left you last week hunkered down and waiting for a snow storm. It wasn’t just a small sprinkling of light snow either, Jim woke up at 6 am last Thursday and pulled back the curtains to discover that the ground and trees outside were covered in snow! It was a winter wonderland and the most snow Bertha has seen yet! It was also incredibly beautiful and Heather couldn’t get enough of staring out the window at the flurries all day. All day on Thursday the snow fell, almost without stopping, and it continued into Friday but at a slower pace. By Saturday, the sun returned and the white-out was almost a distant memory, save for the few snow patches on the ground here and there.
We had parked at a lovely city park in Golden to shoot some video for Jim’s athletes and website before the storm came in (we were hot during the filming), and that evening we decided to try our luck at sleeping in the park’s parking lot. This is often not a good idea as it’s frowned upon to sleep in city parks. We were scott free the first night and since we woke up to a white out the next morning, we decided to try our luck and stay a second night. No dice. Another RV actually pulled into the same parking lot to sleep for the evening and may have drawn extra attention to the situation. Around midnight we heard a knock at the door and a very nice, very young police officer let us know that we needed to leave. It was midnight, snowing, and so cold! Luckily, Jim isn’t nearly as terrified as Heather is of driving in the snow and he safely navigated us to a snowy but legal parking spot right off the highway. It seemed the snow kept people off the road as the highway was pretty quiet that evening.
The days we spent bundled up in Bertha with the furnace running almost nonstop proved to be very productive for our to-do list. Jim revisited the grueling test he had begun a few months ago for his Ironman U certification. He submitted his answers this week and very shortly thereafter received his response back…he got a 97% on the exam! This is huge for him as a coach; he now has all three major coaching certifications for triathlon: USAT (the US Olympics certification), ITCA (the international certification), and now Ironman U, which is mostly beneficial for coaching Ironman-specific athletes for the longer distances (not to forget his Masters Swim coach certification). The big bonus for being Ironman certified is the ability to market himself on the Ironman website…as much as he may not like the corporate side of the brand, they certainly have a huge community that this now opens him up to.
As the sun cleared again over the weekend, we took the opportunity to take the bikes for a spin and to explore Denver to Boulder. There is a wonderful bike path that runs between the two cities along highway 36. It was SO packed on Sunday being that it was the weekend and a gorgeous day, so we found our groove amongst the crowd and headed west. Every time we’ve come upon the Rockies, we find ourselves in awe of their magnitude and beauty. It was no different coming into Boulder; as we approached there was a lookout point to stop and take it in before barreling down a hill and into the city. Once in Boulder, we meandered our way to the base of the Flatirons and stopped for a few photos ops. Again, the area was completely packed as we climbed hills and dodged cars to get into the park. After the photo ops, we flew back to Denver and it turns out just in time! Within an hour of returning to Bertha, it had starting pouring…crazy after how beautiful it had been all day prior. We dumped and filled our tanks for free at Cabela’s and decided to cuddle up in the Cracker Barrel parking lot with a movie to the sound of the pouring rain on Bertha’s roof.
The rain cleared a bit on Monday to allow us to get our weekly chores done at the laundromat before we headed out for our respective runs. Heather cut hers shorter than Jim as she had a phone date with a friend scheduled and also, she saw the rain on the horizon threatening to drench them both. Jim continued on for 3 additional miles and sure enough, came back soaked through and freezing cold. We got ourselves cleaned up and drove Bertha to the local mall just north of Denver, where we finagled our way into a parking spot right near the wine and cheese bar for our 6:00 meet up. Protected by our rain coats, we ran inside and met up with a very old friend of Jim’s, Jordan and her two 18 year old twins, Taylor and Delainey. Jordan and Jim were really close during the time Jim was living in Denver, they had worked together and became good friends when the girls were only 2. It was quite a trip for Jim to see those 2 year olds as adults, with tattoos, and just graduating from high school. It was great to spend some time with them; they’re a fun bunch and it meant a lot for Jim to be able to see friends from so long ago. We did, however, completely fail to grab a group photo before we said our goodbyes.
Today, Tuesday, we decided to make a day of exploring Boulder. Heather had hiked part of the Flatirons a few years ago but never made it to the top, and Jim had never hiked them at all. The Flatirons are a group of rock formations, five of them, that run from north to south and overlook the city of Boulder. We started up the trail, covering our shoes in mud, until we got to the spot between the First and Second Flatiron. It was a mile and a half long trail with 1400 feet of elevation gain…nothing seems easy at this altitude! We spent a little time at the top taking in the views and flying the drone – every guy that sees that thing seems to be fascinated and leave wanting one of their own, even the 5 year old who happened to be up there and called Jim “the greatest drone pilot in the world.”
We made our way back down the mountain and decided to wander over to Pearl Street Mall. It’s a beautiful area of town, full of eclectic shops, hippies dancing or singing to try to make a buck, and lovely bricked paved walkways. After a quick slice of pizza, we made our way back to our home on wheels.
That’s all for this week, stay with us as we continue to explore this beautiful state and as we begin preparations for our month away from Bertha down in Costa Rica!
Total RV Trip Miles: 17,136