Friday, August 22, 2008
From Breckenridge, we drive to Glenwood Springs with two goals in mind. First, Rich has a 35 year old memory of the beauty and majesty of the Glenwood Canyon and cannot wait to drive through it again. He says it was the most amazing sight when he was here before! Second, he is determined to swim in the hot springs pool at Glenwood Springs. As we are driving down I-70, I ask him to pull off the road at Gypsum so I may use the bathroom. After we pull out of the gas station, I notice a mailbox at the edge of the Post Office parking lot, quickly point it out and ask Rich to pull in so I might mail some postcards. After we pull across the road and are committed to entering the parking lot, we realize there is a sign reading "one way" in the other direction. There isn't much we can do but to keep going. We look up and see a man running toward us, pointing his finger at the sign. He is giving us a very mean look and keeps on coming! I do not want to have a confrontation with him so I am urging Rich just to keep going. We pull through the parking lot and back out onto the street with the man still chasing us down! I think he was an employee of the Post Office. Rich says now that he should have stopped and taken a photo of the angry man accusing us of going the wrong way into the Post Office. Needless to say, my postcards did not get mailed and we have decided that there's no way we would ever live in Gypsum!
We think about stopping in Vail for lunch, pull off the highway and get totally confused with what's what. Deciding we've seen Vail, we get back on the highway to hold off till Glenwood Springs for lunch.
On we go and enter the Glenwood Canyon. Although it is most impressive, with huge colorful rock formations, Rich is disappointed that it does not measure up to his memories. Part of the problem is that there is a new elevated highway and he remembers driving right alongside the river. He also remembers many more trees and a more "alpine" appearance instead of the beginnings of rock and desert. He is annoyed. :)
We pull into Glenwood Springs and find a cafe and bakery called Daily Bread, which we have read about. We have an okay lunch there and then call the Hot Springs Lodge to find out if they have a vacancy for tonight, which they do. We have been debating about whether to stay in Glenwood Springs or keep going, but this clinches the deal for us.
The hot mineral springs were first used by the Ute Indians, who called them "Yampah," meaning "Big Medicine." They believed that the springs were a source of physical regeneration and provided mental and physical nourishment. In 1890, a bath house, lodge and pool were built near the source of the hot springs, called "the spa of the Rockies." Reportedly, the rich and famous of the day frequented the pools, including President Theodore Roosevelt, President William Taft, the "unsinkable" Molly Brown, and Al Capone. The outlaw Doc Holliday also came to town in hopes of curing his tuberculosis, but did not recover and died in Glenwood Springs in 1887. He has a memorial in the cemetery here.
We enjoy the afternoon in the hot sun and the hot springs pools. One pool is 104 degrees and the other is 93 degrees. It is the largest natural outdoor hot springs pool in the world, more than two city blocks long, filled with 3.5 million gallons of hot, mineral rich water. It feels great! We also get our full share of Vitamin D from the sunshine and can't stop talking about how good it feels. We are really deprived in Alaska! Rich says he has not taken a dive off a diving board in 30 years or so and decides to go for it. His first one is almost a belly buster but his second one is not bad. Take a look for yourself! LOL
Dinner is at Tequila's, a popular local restaurant with authentic Mexican food. We stuff ourselves and have to try the flan, even though we are so full. We only give it a C-plus. After dinner, we walk across the bridge to downtown and exercise some of our dinner off. The hotel has a laundry room so I've been doing laundry and we are trying to decide what we are going to do tomorrow.