Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Just Some News

No stories or reviews this week, just a bit of news.

The travel portion of my blog here has really been chugging along, so much so that it seemed time for me to take the next step and create a travel website.


So next Tuesday (November 29th), I will officially launch the Obligatory Traveler website.

Here’s my logo. It’s pretty much me in sloth form.

 Starting next Tuesday, my weekly Travel Tuesday posts will appear on the website. You can find at www.obligatorytraveler.com

Coming up…
-      - I’ll finish out our Colorado Trip
               -  My first trip to Disney World at Christmas Time
        -A few end of the year posts (my favorite books, favorite travel moments,          etc…)
        -Our Costa Rica/Panama Trip with UnCruise Adventures

To ensure that you don’t miss the fun you can follow my website’s Twitter page  @obligatraveler

Now I won’t be completely abandoning this blog. I’ll still use it to post smaller, more local activities, my geeky escapades, and I’ll probably get back to doing some musings about some of my favorite things, I just will no longer be posting here on a weekly basis.

Thank you to everyone so far who has provided me with inspiration, encouragement, and support. Life is such an unpredictable, exciting, journey. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

TommyKnocker Brewery-Colorado

It was drizzly and chilly as we made our way down Mt. Evans.  By the time we entered the main town of Idaho Springs, Colorado, we were in the mood for some comfort food.

 Since it didn’t seem possible to visit Colorado without hitting at least one brewery, we decided to grab a bite at TommyKnocker Brewery.

Once through the door, you definitely can’t mistake the fact that you are eating at a brewery.

The Drinks

I appreciate breweries that brew their own soda. It gives the non-beer drinkers and kids something they can experience. TommyKnocker brews a variety of sodas. Since we are at least semi-connoisseurs of homemade root beer, we started off with two tall mugs. 

It was some tasty craft root beer. 

Shannon, who makes a variety of comical faces whenever hops touches his lips, left the beer drinking up to me. He does find stouts tolerable, so we asked if we could switch out one of the beers in the Mid-Flight with the Oatmeal Stout.

I am a huge fan of the flight, as I always love having the chance to taste a couple of different things at one time. I’m excited that the flight concept is going beyond drinks now and is being carried over to include items such as ice cream and French fries.

My Mid-Flight included the Thundrabeary, Mountain City Amber and the Jack Whacker Wheat.  Shannon did end up liking the Oatmeal Stout. All the beers were very good, but my favorite was the Amber. 


As I said at the beginning, we were craving comfort food. TommyKnocker delivered. 

We started out with an order of garlic fries. 

They tasted great. They had just the right amount of garlic so that it wasn’t overpowering. You could still taste the fluffy, crispy French fry goodness. We probably could have just made a meal of the fries and been happy.

I went simple and got the grilled cheese with tomato-artichoke soup. I’m pretty sure it was the thickest grilled cheese I have ever seen delivered to a table. 

As hoped, it created the perfect cozy feeling in my belly.

Shannon went with the elk burger, and experienced a similar cozy, comfort.

 I tend to plan out most of our eating ahead of time, but we ended up going to TommyKnocker Brewery on the fly. It had a fun, relaxed atmosphere, great food, and tasty beer. It’s worth a visit if you are enjoying some of the fantastic nature in the Idaho Springs area.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mount Evans Summit

Important advice, even if it is in the mid-80s at the bottom, at the summit of the highest paved road in North America, it is going to be chilly. There may be snow at the top, even in summer. Be prepared. We were prepared.

We wore pants and hiking boots.

We had extra layers, including our puffy jackets, waiting in the back of the car. 

We watched many a person cry out as their bare knees thudded into the snow because their sandals/flip-flops slipped out from under them. They were not prepared. 

Hiking to the very tippy-top after your car makes it to the summit of Mt. Evans is optional. There are great lookout points and plenty of breathtaking views at the easy to navigate parking lot level.

I was super excited about seeing mountain goats on an actual mountain for the very first time.

If you are feeling adventurous, it doesn’t take too much extra effort to climb to the top.
The biggest challenge was that the trail was snow covered, so you had to more or less forge your own path. There was quite a bit of scrambling up and over rocks, but nothing that was too strenuous or precarious.

Standing on the top was worth the endeavor.

Plus, if this selfie-taking, super dad could make it up, carrying his kid on his back, you could too, as long as you are in reasonable health.

The views were stunning.

We took a million pictures from every side, and then just stood there, quietly taking it all in.
It was one of those places where you feel completely unsure as to the appropriate time to leave.

You think, I may never be here again, I may never see this view again, I know I can’t stay here forever, but what is too short a time to be up here?

We stayed at the top for quite a while. We used our binoculars to watch a mountain goat traverse across the ridge of a neighboring mountain. We took one more picture. Finally when it seemed like our eyes had taken in every inch of blue sky, clouds, and mountain, we were satisfied enough to make our way back to the car.

Mt. Evans was my favorite activity we did during our Colorado trip. The beauty in every direction was amazing. I highly recommend checking it out if you are in the Idaho Springs, Colorado area. Just make sure you come prepared. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Driving Mt. Evans-Colorado

We were looking for something to do during the day that was in reasonable driving distance to the Red Rocks Amphitheater. When we saw that Mt. Evans, the highest paved road in North America fit our criteria, we knew we had to check it out.

The drive to, and up the mountain, elicited many oohhs and aahhs. We barely turned on the road that leads to the road to the mountain, when we just had to stop. 

The scenery at Echo Lake Park was stunning. 

The calm, clear water, lined with skinny, standing at attention trees, was a sight to behold.

There were signs advertising trails, and as much as we would have loved to hike one,

we weren't sure how far we had to go to get to Mt. Evans' peak, or what else we might want to stop and see along the way, so after contenting ourselves with just a stroll around Echo Lake, we jumped back in the car. 

I imagine you could easily spend at least half a day at Echo Lake.

While traversing our way up to the mountain, we saw a spot where we could stop to get a fantastic view of the lake from above. 

The scenery in the other direction wasn't too shabby either. 

We sat in the car for a bit, just to really take the scene in, then we continued to the peak. 

The road to Mt. Evans is narrow. There are no guardrails. There are hairpin turns, and before you discover their existence, it looks for a moment like your car may float off of the road to soar through the clouds. 

On our way back down the mountain we stopped at two more spots.

One was a tundra. It had started to drizzle on our way down. The clouds raced like marathon runners to engulf the mountain. It was so thickly white, we could barely see the road in front of us. 

We also stopped at the Mount Goliath Natural Area. 

It was another very cool spot, and another place where you could probably spend a decent amount of time, if you didn't have a concert to get to. 

The drive to the peak of Mt. Evans is an amazing experience. Even if you have no desire to drive all of the way to the very top, the scenery along the way is worth a trip. They are sights that you will not forget.