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As I’ve done most years, this fall I made a few road trips into the mountains for the fall leaves. My first trip was my first time taking the S2000 up to the mountains for this purpose, and I left everyone else at home. Taking in the fall leaves with the top down was a fantastic experience. My trip took me through Morrison and Evergreen, then to Squaw Pass, down to Idaho Springs, up to Central City and Nederland before coming down Boulder Canyon to go home.

Squaw Pass was definitely the highlight of the trip. There was little traffic, and there was enough fall color to be interesting. From there, I tried to find a quick bite to eat for lunch, which turned into an adventure by itself. Idaho Springs had nothing that was open and not sit-down, so I left hungry. I found a promising BBQ place in Central City, only to find it closed with a sign saying to check out their food truck at the town’s farmers’ market, so I did. The market was barely a market at all, and the food truck had only two things on the menu, neither of which was BBQ; I had a shrimp po’ boy. Central City itself has a lot of colorful aspen trees, but I was mostly distracted by trying to find food. Unfortunately, things only went downhill from there. The aspen along Peak to Peak Highway were all either past peak or still green, so there wasn’t much to see. I could have kept going up toward Allenspark, but I was ready to go home at that point. Unfortunately, I made the terrible decision to go down Boulder Canyon instead of peeling off just before to Coal Creek. Traffic at the roundabout in Nederland was backed up for 30 minutes, and things weren’t much better in the canyon. But I did finally make it down to Boulder and then home.

My second trip up to the mountains was considerably further. I had been wanting to visit Crystal Mill for some time, but doing so requires going up an 8-mile rough 4x4 road. Felix had also been asking when we could stay in a Tiny House again. I decided to combine the two, and asked my brother Taylor if he’d take us in his 4Runner. We left for the Tiny House in Leadville on a Friday evening, making it up late that night. The next morning, after a quick breakfast, we made for Independence Pass. This is one of my favorite spots for leaves in the entire state, and this year it did not disappoint. After a few stops there, we made for Marble, which is the gateway to Crystal Mill. The road is quite rocky and narrow almost the entire way. The sheer number of vehicles making their way up to the mill made the drive challenging. At one point, we had to stop with four other vehicles to let a half dozen pass going the other way. It was definitely slow-going, but the entire drive was breathtaking, and the view at the top did not disappoint. At the mill, there were 20+ vehicles, and we managed to snag one of the last parking spots. The mill is privately owned, but they had employees to direct traffic, and also to make sure people stayed on the road, which is public. Going past the rope onto their property was not allowed unless you paid them and signed a waiver. Doing so costs $10, unless you happen to have “heavy” camera equipment, and then it’s $50. I had to pay the $50. It was certainly expensive for the extra 30 feet it afforded me, but I didn’t have much choice, and the view from the river was truly fantastic. After we were done enjoying the scenery, we made the slog back down. Originally I had hoped to go back to Leadville by way of Kebler and Cottonwood passes, but we didn’t have time and went back on I-70 instead, just in time to grab some fantastic prime rib at Quincy’s. We made for home the following morning.

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 9:51 AM
Filed under: Colorado, Fall Leaves, Photos

It goes without saying that the last few months have been completely crazy. The entire world is coping with a strange new virus, and our family is not an exception to that. The end of kindergarten became virtual for Felix at the end of the year, and now we’re preparing for another round of virtual learning set to start in just a few weeks. Hopefully the district’s plan for remote learning goes well, but we are working on our own plans to supplement what our school will be offering.

We had planned a trip to Japan at the end of May that of course ended up getting canceled. Instead, we decided to take a road trip to Yellowstone, which was lots of fun. Felix enjoyed seeing the animals, and also the “stinky” geysers. We were even treated to a snowfall in the middle of June.

In July, someone at work posted his Honda S2000 for sale. After I drove it, I knew it was a car I wanted. I did quite a bit of research and ended up finding one in New Orleans that was a better fit, and ultimately I ended up buying it. I had it checked out at a Honda dealership there, completed the purchase remotely, and had it shipped. It was definitely unnerving, but I really love my new car! It’s only got 21,000 miles on it, which is crazy for a 20-year-old car. It’s immaculate inside and out. Felix was gracious enough to model it for me; photos are posted. I currently have it in the shop getting a clear bra; I can’t wait to get it back so I can drive it.

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 12:04 PM
Filed under: Cars, Travel, Wyoming, Yellowstone

It's been over a year since my last post, and I'm not sure where the time has gone. Felix started kindergarten in August, so we've been very busy with school things. Nhu and I are both volunteering in his class regularly, as is my mom.

In March, the small company I work for was acquired by a much larger government contractor, CACI. This has resulted in some upheaval, but engineering has gone largely unchanged. It remains to see how the benefits situation will change in the medium term, but in the short term the new owners have kept them mostly the same.

Last November I raced in last year's El Tour de Tucson again with former coworkers from IBM, and this next Thursday we will be driving down to Tucson to do the same this year. Of course, it's really just an excuse to hang out with friends, eat at Guadalajara Grill, and have lots and lots of gelato at Frost. We'll be taking the long way home to see some of the sights in Arizona and Utah, and we'll be home on Thanksgiving day, much to the consternation of my mom.

We do have some travel plans in place for next year as well. In February, we'll be taking Felix to Disneyland, and then we'll head down to San Diego to visit Nhu's brother and his kids. In May the three of us will be going to Japan. Nhu has been before, but it will be my first time to Japan, and Felix's first trip out of North America. We're very much looking forward to it.

I've also managed to process and post some photos of our recent adventures, including some beautiful fall leaves.

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 2:13 PM