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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

Well, we've not only closed on our new home, but we've sold our old one as well. We moved into our new place on June 17th, and we sold our old house one week ago. Thankfully, both transactions went relatively smoothly. The mortgage for our new house did end up delaying closing by a couple of days, thanks to Chase, who was the underwriter for the loan. Our mortgage broker smoothed things out as much as possible, but Chase was pretty terrible. They denied our initial request to rush the process, saying that they would have things done in time. Wrong! Instead, they came back asking for additional documentation, and we couldn't meet our original loan deadline. Thankfully the sellers were willing to delay things a couple of days.

Just before we closed on the new place, Felix started crawling. Within a couple of days, he was off to the races! He loved his newfound mobility.

After we had keys to the new house, we dove straight into moving. The two places weren't very far apart, so we moved everything ourselves. My brother helped us with the big stuff, and even stayed with us for a few days so we could get things done quicker. The only two pieces of furniture that turned out to be painful to move were my big heavy computer desk, and a couch that apparently wasn't made to go through doors. We had to take the old house's front door off its hinges in order to get it out, and we had to stand it on end to get it in the new house. The only thing we hired out was Nhu's piano; the movers made it look incredibly easy.

We ended up listing our old house for sale right after the 4th of July. We accepted an offer roughly a week later. Houses certainly are moving fast! We ended up only needing to do a few minor repairs on the house to sell it, and the sale process went so quickly that we didn't even need to make double mortgage payments. We couldn't have asked for much more than that.

Since then, I've been working on getting settled in at the new house. My first task was to wire the house for ethernet and get my home server set up. This turned out to be easier than expected, as they already had the lines run mostly everywhere, just capped with phone ports instead of ethernet ports. I just needed to swap out the ends. I did end up needing to run one line to the media center downstairs, but that was fairly easy with the crawl space below. With the house wired, I then set up a new Intel NUC as the home server, along with a NAS for storage. I also did the same setup for my dad for Father's Day, as he liked my media center setup and wanted one of his own.

My current task is running cable to support some IP video surveillance cameras, which is now nearly complete. Once I'm done, my next task is going to be decorating the house. Then we should be settled in!

Meanwhile, Felix is now pulling himself up on anything and everything. He's been walking everywhere while holding on to someone, and he's very close to being able to walk on his own. I can hardly wait!

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 9:51 AM

Nhu and I have been looking at homes for the past few months. At first we started out looking at new build options, but there really isn't much in the northwest Denver metro area. There are basically only two communities being built at the moment: one at McKay, and one all the way up at Anthem. We did find a floor plan we liked in Anthem, but we decided it was too far north. We also found a floor plan we liked at McKay, but we decided it was too expensive.

So, we started looking at resale homes. We found one a few weeks ago that we liked enough to make an offer for, and we made it under contract. However, after finding foundation issues, we had to cancel the contract. So we kept looking. Well, this last weekend, we found a home that we really liked, we made an offer on Sunday night, and it was accepted Monday morning. So, it looks like we'll be moving soon! We're scheduled to close in the middle of June. Nhu and I are very excited. The house is a ranch with a walkout basement, a three car garage, and it backs up to the Broadlands golf course. The view is really great, and the house looks like it's never even been lived in.

Time to start packing!

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 10:17 PM
Filed under: Colorado, Family, Home, Broomfield