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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

I finally finished going through the honeymoon pictures! It took a long, long time, but they are done and posted. I ended up with 58 images that I liked enough to give a top rating, which is a record for a single trip. You can find all of the pictures filed under Austria, Italy and Germany.

Since the honeymoon, we've also managed a few shorter trips. At the beginning of August, we went with a bunch of friends to Glacier National Park in Montana. We rented a house in Columbia Falls and had a blast, including various hikes and also a sunrise photo expedition, at my suggestion of course. Also, just this past weekend, Nhu and I went with my parents to Oregon. We visited Crater Lake, and also drove up nearly the entire Oregon coast, from Crescent City to Cannon Beach. It was quite stunning, certainly a trip I'd recommend.

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 1:37 PM

Wow, it's been a while! Nhu and I have been very busy with wedding plans, and the big day is coming in just under two months. Needless to say, we are both very excited. We're keeping the wedding small, with only about 70 guests invited, so it should be a nice, intimate atmosphere. We’re going with blue and light yellow for our colors, and we will have the beautiful Arrowhead golf course as the backdrop for our ceremony. My good friends are handling the photography, despite being very busy with their (by then) one-year-old son. They also did our engagement photos, which turned out amazing! We couldn’t be more grateful. We’ve also got a DJ, officiant and decorator booked, and we’ve picked out some pretty tasty cupcakes from Gigi’s for dessert. Overall, I think we are doing very well; we’re now mostly working on small details. My next task is to whip up the programs.

Since my last post we have, of course, done a bit of traveling. Over Thanksgiving, we went to Bermuda with my college roommate (and best man) Matt Johnson, and his significant other. Rental cars are verboten on the island, but we did rent scooters, which were a blast. Other than a hiccup at the beginning from Matt, we had no problems riding them, despite having to also handle driving on the left. The scooters topped out at about 65 kilometers per hour, but we were still able to explore the whole length of the island in just a couple days, hitting up all the best beaches and sights. Of course I took plenty of pictures; I am quite happy with what I managed to get.

We also went to northern California for the wedding of one of Nhu’s friends from Vietnam. The wedding was in San Jose, but we did a bit of exploring after the wedding. I took Nhu down to Pebble Beach and Big Sur, and then we went up to Napa for a day of wine tasting. We finished off the trip with a day in San Francisco before heading home.

I also went up to Seattle in February by myself to surprise Matt for his birthday, which was lots of fun. Another good friend from college came too, and we had a great time. That’s all the traveling that I’ve done so far this year, though, and I am definitely itching for a weekend trip somewhere.

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 6:00 PM
Filed under: Photos, Travel, Friends