Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Day 8: Saturday, June 23, 2012


Since much of Colorado is literally burning to the ground and the forecast for this weekend in Denver is over 100 degrees, we extended our rental car reservation and pointed it up to the mountain tops of beautiful Breckenridge. Cool weather, a massive outdoor sport culture, and plenty of fit, beautiful people greeted us. We were informed upon check in that the hotel has no air conditioning. Being from Florida we consider this blasphemy, and wondered if Lucifer himself owned the hotel. We would later find out that nobody in Breck has A/C and you actually don't need it in this little patch of heaven.

On an evening stroll we made friends with some locals who gave us killer restaurant and watering hole recommendations. They were obviously fresh off a solid Breck happy hour so the advice poured out as Mark furiously scribbled them down so we wouldn't miss all the terrific meal opportunities.  We dined at one of the local hot spots immediately and Andrew left covered in Alfredo sauce, Max covered in Bolognese. Both also had a serious case of carb sleepies which meant Mom and Dad got to watch another TV show when they got back to the hotel. 


We sacked out, windows open, with views of the Rockies from our pillows.

Day 9: Sunday, June 24, 2012

All About Town

The kids awoke at an eye-scratching 4:45am to sun pouring in the windows (Oh, right, that's the down side to sleeping with the windows open).  After Andrew chomped on a dozen-or-so pieces of hotel breakfast bacon, we rode the Breckenridge Gondola high above town to get our bearings.  So beautiful, so green, and so cold! Love it!  

Once back down, we hiked up again. Andrew scaled his first "mountain!"

Near the base of our hike was the Rotary Snow Plow Park - some trains and  a train museum made our little train lover very happy!



Finally, dinner at Twist - a twist on traditional comfort food - yum!

Yeah - those are pork shoulder tacos with mango salsa and goat cheese and garlic mac.

Day 10: Monday, June 25, 2012

Breckenridge Fun Park

High above this mountain town is an impressive "amazement park" (as Andrew calls all amusement parks) full of adventure.  We overheard an older couple mention that it was on their "bucket list" to tackle the Breckenridge Fun Park, and we felt pretty blessed to do so with our little boys.  


Andrew panning for gold: 

Mark on the rock wall: 

Hiking up to some remaining snow - Andrew's first snow!

Andrew was scared to ride this pony until he learned his name was "Ghost." A big fan of "Casper the Friendly Ghost" he decided to give it a go - and loved it! 

Once Mark's toes got too cold on the snow in his weird-ass toe shoes, we headed back down to town covered in dirt from head to toe.  The boy's bath water was literally brown when we toweled them off, fed them room service grilled cheese, and put them to bed.  Best day ever.  

Day 11: Tuesday, June 26, 2012

There's a Bear in the Cave

The Breckenridge folk were dancing in the street for the downpour today - as the town is a little dry (like most of Colorado, it seems).  We took the cold, rainy weather as a sign to head indoors to the adorable Mountain Top Children's Museum.  What we liked most about it was that Andrew kept saying he was a bear in a cave.  Hahaha.


Max played hard and then sacked out right in the middle of the toddler section.

Andrew played "Pirate Doctor" in the "Ski Patrol Rescue Center" - here he's taking his pirate temperature:

All this fun rustled up an appetite and we found ourselves eating turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce (and avacado and cream cheese) - something that was pounded into April's head by her old college roomie Amy McCullough as the most delicious thing since, well, just sliced bread.  

Pretty sure we could get used to this place! 

Day 12: Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Not everything is cold in Breckenridge 

Morning found us headed out for a hike to see wild flowers - most of which seem to be dead because of the 80 degree "heat wave" - but it was fun just the same.  


Once back in town, we rocked the Breckenridge laundromat before checking out he Red, White, and Blue Fire Museum/Fire Station.  Yeah, the trucks are cool, but April was most impressed, of course, with the firemen.  Not everything is cold in Breckenridge :) 

April reluctantly left the fire station and we went home to pack up our room to head back down to Denver tomorrow in hopes of picking up the RV! 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tiny Town

Day 6: Thursday, June 21

Dinosaurs and Tiny Town

Our Embassy Suites stay extended, we made plans to head up to the mountains for a teeny tiny adventure after a giant breakfast at the fabulous Breakfast on the Edge. This place left us talking about they yummy truffle asparagus eggs, chorizo benedict, and mascarpone stuffed french toast.

 Along the way, our little T-Rex lover spotted  Dinosaur Ridge along the highway and got his dino bone excavating on.


Slowly but surely our trusty Crown Vic ascended to 6,880  ft and we finally reached Tiny Town.  Tiny Town is a miniature village of over 100 1/6 scale buildings close to Morrison, Colorado. Denver businessman George Turner, better known as a friend of Buffalo Bill, began building a miniature town for his daughter in 1915. Then called Turnerville, he opened the site to the public in 1921. People thought it was bad ass - so after much trial and triumph - it still remains today.  




Another not-so-tiny feat - Mark and April went out on a date while Martha and Ray watched the kids at the hotel.  Wild, crazy times ensued - and they were back to finish up their True Blood DVDs by 10pm.

Day 7: Friday, June 22

Open road, here we come!

Our first deer sighting of the trip...

...came from a display at the Denver Museum of Science and Nature - haha - not from a peaceful mountainside campground as we'd hoped.  The prognosis came in on Friday morning for the Royan Vehicle - we are going to be in the Denver area (sans RV) for another week (at least).

Mechanic: "Did you see this giant hole here? That's what's wrong."
April: "Huh, that looks bad. You showed my husband, right."
Mechanic: Oh, yeah - he's seen it. It's bad. But that's life on the road."
April: "When will it be fixed?"
Mechanic: "I have no idea. But let me tell you something. If you have to be stuck somewhere - Colorado is the place to be. Except, um, do you have a job?"
April: "Yeah, I have a job. Probably need to get back soon..."
April: "Yeah, I see a lot of broken down RVs around here.  How often do RVs usually break down?"
Mechanic: "If you only break down twice a year I'd say that's pretty good."
April: "So it's going to be a while? I guess my co-workers need to survive without me."
Mechanic: "Damn right. Now you've got it."

This conversation left little hope of any quick RV resolution so we headed back in to Denver and ran the kids at the Museum's Discovery Center for hours and hours. For those toddler parents out there, this place was just like the Sid the Science Kid Super Fab Lab/Science Center - a great place to kill some time while Mark and April pondered where to go next... and whether they'd ever cruise in the Royan Vehicle again?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Here we go again....

Day 1: Saturday, June 16

Here we go again....

Long, long ago a family with just one kid toured the country in their Winnebago and had a grand time. Upon the arrival of their second kid (August 24, 2012: Enter Max Royan), they decided their carefree ways were over and that dear old RV had to be put up for sale. It would make more sense to "fly" around the country like "normal" people seem to do.  Slowly but surely the plan formed to head out to the mountains this summer - on a plane and stay in a hotel. This decision was, of course, unilaterally April's idea. Months went by and plans developed.... but the RV gleam in Mark Royan's eye just could not...would not... be extinguished. So they agreed upon a compromise:

Mark's parents, recently retired, volunteered to drive RV out to Denver and the family could fly out and meet them. Having never flown with kids before, April made lists and packed everything in its place weeks in advance. Mark packed an hour before they left for the airport.  Running late, he informed April that he needed to shave. April told him to wait and do it at the hotel. Mark told April she was ruining his life.  The set in place a downward stress spiral that led to screaming kids in the check in line. April, in an effort to "cool her jets" decided to take the boys for a stroll around the terminal. She would return to find that Mark had checked a enormous bag, that no sane person would ever carry on to a plane.This bag, of course, contained an overwhelming supply of bottles, formula and toys. All of which, April intended to have with her in the comfort of the main cabin. April has her first meltdown of the trip. Super.

The check in chick took pity on an almost hysterical April and called in the fine folks at the Frontier baggage check to retrieve their bag and bring it to the gate.  Elated, April saw it when they walked up to the gate and immediately retrieved it from the 12-year-old gate agent.  April broke in to dance; the TSA broke the mood. The officer informed us that that bag and it's contents had not been screened and were not available for carry on.  April just kept taking bottles out and putting other stuff in from her purse. The officer suggested that this was not helping.

TSA: "You can't get on the plane with that bag."
April: "I can't get on the plane without these bottles."
TSA: "Now you've already touched everything."
April: "Here - take all my other stuff instead - I need these bottles."
TSA: "Miss, that's not really how security works."
April: "Ok, great - here you go - I've got what I needed. You can have it back."

Either the agent assumed April was incapable of processing their conversation,  or he was married himself. He sighed, took the bag, and left.

The flight was packed. Prior to boarding, we had decided that the worst things that could happen were (not necessarily in the following order): screaming, vomit, pant shitting, and seat kicking. Prior to taxi: Andrew had kicked the seat of the man in front of him 5 times, Max was screaming hysterically, but only after spitting up half his bottle on April. As we were batting .750, the trip was off to a great start. Mark looked over at April, truly miserable, and mouthed "We are never doing this again." And then he was silent (Max was not). 2 hours later he spoke again. "You know what that RV was? Money. Well. Spent."

Needless to say - we are just not traveling-in-plane-with-kids people. But, we have other strengths; we think.  Ready to put that to the test, Mark rented us a giant cop-car Crown Victoria ("To hold all the luggage," he claims.) and we headed off to the equally as sweet Embassy Suites Downtown Denver to get our sleep on and dream of the next few days in Denver.  

Day 2: Sunday, June 17

There Are No Whales In Denver

Sunday morning found us digging into the local activities. Andrew insisted that the first stop should be the Denver Aquarium.  He was specifically looking forward to seeing all the "whales" that Mark had told him would be there.  

Like father, like son...



Needless to say, there weren't any whales - and we heard about it. 

Our $43.80 entry fee afforded us exactly 45 minutes of whale-less aquarium fun. That might seem like a huge rip off until you consider that it produced two tuckered out babies who were happy to pass out in the stroller for a few hours as Mom and Dad chowed on some Mellow Mushroom pizza and  sampled the local Denver beer selection. 

We spent the afternoon freezing our asses off in the hotel pool. Our kids were blue and shivering but Andrew, of course, insisted that he was "not cold mama, NOT COLD" and swam anyway.  We would have pulled the plug on the entire swimming outing had we not felt so guilty about the whole "whale situation." 

At 6pm April suddenly remembered it was Father's Day.  Mind you, this was less than 24 hour after the Dollar Rental Car dude made sure to remind her to "take care of your baby daddy on Father's Day tomorrow!" Additionally, she had already mistakenly wished her own father a Happy Father's Day a week earlier - so her ignorance came as no surprise to the always unappreciated Mark. She eventually pulled it together and took him out to the first place they could get in to eat without a reservation - Maggiano's. As the meal finished up, April excused herself so that Mark could deal with 2 exhausted children and their bathroom needs as she scampered over to check out the sale at the neighboring boutique.  Happy Father's Day!  

Day 3: Monday, June 18

Triple D

On Monday, we started our commitment to sample the plethora of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives locations in Denver. First order of business was to install the Flavor Town app and map out our attack. Breakfast found us enjoying this delicious Snickers Latte and giant breakfast burrito at Sam's No. 3. Andrew turned his nose up at our adventurous ordering and got himself a morning grilled cheese... with smiley fries. 

Fueled up, we ventured out to area attractions. Today we took on the much more reasonably priced Denver Museum of Science. This is a great museum, and very kid friendly. Both Andrew and Max thoroughly enjoyed it.

Somebody, somehow captured the interaction between Mark and April on the plane ride out to Denver:

All that museum walking got us hungry. On to "Triple D" stop numero dos... Steuben's. This place was incredible. 

We won't bore you with pics of all their delicious food - but let's just say this was not the only time we visited this place this week.  As Andrew would say "There's a party in my tummy. So yummy. So yummy." 

Day 4: Tuesday, June 19


Tuesday morning we awoke (late) for breakfast at Snooze. Seriously, strawberry cheesecake pancakes. Simply put: Wow. Mark's cuban sandwich breakfast thing was equally as thought provoking. Max took this opportunity to firmly let us know that he was done with jar baby food and is ready for the big leagues. Mama and Dada are so proud.

For lunch we sampled another Food Network fav, Jack-n-Grill....

We did see a sight on Tuesday, none of us can remember what it was though. Isn't it really all about the food anyway? 

Day 5: Wednesday, June 20

Mountains and Zoos

Mark and his Dad took Wednesday to climb a nearby 14,000 foot mountain: Mount Bierstadt while April and Martha took the boys to the Denver Zoo. At the end of the day, Mark and April would compare notes to see who had the more tiring day. April thought she had Mark beat, I mean, its only one mountain - Colorado has a bunch of them.

But Mark had an ace in the hole. While it took him four and a half hours to go up and down Bierstadt, it took another 6 hours to deal with a pre-kickoff RV debacle.

If you are ever interested in exercising emergency management and problem solving, take a few summer trips with a motor home. The RV had some sort of rear wheel meltdown. This issue was discovered after Mark and Ray picked up the RV from the tire store where the RV had already been getting a blown out tire replaced. Tow trucks were called and the RV was hauled away on a flat bed trailer. What will happen next?

Snarfs and Snoozes

While driving the 1772 miles home from Bar Harbor, April looked and Mark and said... "What should we call our last blog of the summer?&...