The first realization in the time zone difference came at a very early start of Day 2 in Colorado. I had woken up, saw a bit of daylight and jumped in the shower at the hotel. I got dressed and ready for the day. When I picked up my phone to check the time since everyone else was sleeping, it hit me that it was about 6:45am. Colorado sits in the mountain time zone so they are an hour behind St. Louis. My body normally wakes up around 7am-ish so I was up and ready to go, but didn’t realize much of Colorado probably wasn’t.
I definitely could not go back to sleep, and I did not want to just sit on my phone for hours while the other guys slept (though they did stir a bit enough to converse some). I decided that I would see if a Starbucks or coffee place was nearby and I’d go get a coffee. To my surprise, there actually was a Starbucks right in the lobby of the Marriot Hotel. Not only was this convenient, but it also gave me the motivation to step outside and try and get a shot of the mountains as the sun was coming up. I got my usual “dirty chai” drink and headed outside. When I peaked out the window of our hotel, I saw a pretty cool view, and I thought I’d get a similar view of the mountains outside, but I was sadly disappointed. No worries I thought, I’ll shoot some video and head back to the room.
Not long after getting up to the room, the guys started to get up. We’d make another trip to Starbucks so they could get some coffee. We packed up our stuff and prepared to check out of the hotel to begin our trip to pickup Ollie and head to Colorado Springs.
The trip to Colorado Springs was probably one of the most visual drives of the trip. Not only did we go through the city and past a couple of the Denver sports stadiums, but as we left Ollies, we began to encounter more and more amazing mountain views. We split up in two cars. Tippin, Matt and Ollie rode in one car, and Kevin and myself took the other. We had made arrangements to do an escape room, but we had time to kill so we headed to Gardens of the Gods.
On our way out to Garden of the Gods, I saw some of the most incredible houses I had ever seen. Not just for size, but their location. Some sat deep in the mountains, while others had huge farms on them. It made me wonder if I ever came across a huge sum of money, if I would move out to a place like that away from all the craziness of suburbs. In hindsight, and after getting home, I would probably just use it as a vacation home ha!
We arrived at the Gardens of the Gods with about an hour or so to kill before our escape room appointment, so we made a brief visit in to the attraction. We did some brief hiking/rock climbing to the top of one of the rocks and took in the view. It was not very high up, but at a place like that, the view was still pretty awesome.
After our brief adventures, we decided to head towards the location of the Escape Room. We wanted to grab a quick bite to eat before we invoked our heavy mystery solving skills so we stopped at a Subway nearby.
Once we got the escape room, we realized that we had actually book it for the following day. The one we had planned to do involved using iPads and walking around the area. The problem was that, though we still could have done the iPad one, it was starting to rain so the escape room was not too sure if it’d be a good idea to take the iPad out, and with Kevin having to put down a $200 deposit on the iPad, we figured an indoor, normal escape room was wiser.
They got it all set up, and we were off to take on the challenge. I had done an escape room two times before. Once with Tippin for his birthday, and another time with Jen’s coworkers. I was 1-1 at them, so this was my chance to get a winning record. It was a fun escape room, and you notice each place creates the experience a little bit different in terms of how they handle clues and such. We all worked pretty quick and were fast to find various clues, and we ended up escaping with about 11 minutes remaining. It was a good time, and we didn’t come across anything too incredibly difficult outside of some tedious work we had to put in for one of the clues involving over 150 tiny nerf balls we had to arrange on a board. Once we completed it, we got together with some props and took a quick group photo.
I had been here before when we lived in Colorado, and I remember the distance chapel they have on site. It’s a pretty incredible structure, but unfortunately we could not go in the top half due to a wedding taking place. It was still a very cool site to see, and we walked around for a short time taking in the campus. There were some very cool statues and a few aircraft on the lawns around.
After the Airforce Academy we decided to make our way to the AirBnB which was in Fairview, CO. A fun fact about this place, it’s also called South Park, which is the town the animated show is based on. I only saw one reference to the show there, but it was still a cool little pop culture nugget of information. We arrived at the AirBnB after about an hour and a half or so drive. Much of the time was spent playing the movie game where we went through the car naming movie titles based on the first letter in the first word and the first letter of the last word in the title. We carried this on for almost the whole trip, even during our quick stop at a local grocery store to get some water and granola bars for our hike the next day.
Once we got to the AirBnB and situated, we decided to go grab a quick bit to eat. We chose the South Park Brewery. The food was not amazing, but we all kind of agreed that at a brewery, their emphasis is probably more on the beer than the food. After we ate we decided to take a trip to the mountain we’d be climbing the next morning and scout it out a bit. We planned on a very early start the next day so we wanted to see what we would be taking on in the darkness.
When we got to the mountain to scope it out, I felt a little intimidated. I had never climbed a mountain and rarely even have been hiking. I had no idea what to expect, but knew it was going to be a physical challenge I had not experienced before.
After a quick glance at the mountain, we headed back to the AirBnB. We hangout for a short time, then decided that we should probably all head to bed. We planned to get up around 2:45am to be in the car by 3am to head back to the mountain to begin our ascent. I’m not sure how much I slept that night knowing it would be a quick turnaround and my body still had not quite adjusted to the time change. Regardless, we were preparing to climb a freakin’ mountain. As the Joker said in The Dark Knight, “And Here…We…Go”