Western US 2006
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Tour of Western U.S. - September 2006

In September of 2006, we were heading to Colorado Springs to investigate a possible relocation in 2008. However, instead of simply driving straight to our destination and back, we decided to take a more leisurely approach and also spend a little time sightseeing the sceneries of some of the states in the Western U.S. - Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

We started out in Las Vegas, where we spent a weekend with some of our friends. Jana got to see Celine Dion's concert Caesar's Palace, and Stefan visited the tigers at the Mirage. We then drove through Southern Utah and overnighted in Richfield, UT. The scenery that we encountered on the way was just breathtaking. We stopped so many times and got out to take a look that the 4-hour drive took us nearly 8 hours.

Staring at the aquarium at the Mirage

Hey Mommy, what's this?

It's a tiger at the Siegfried and Roy exhibit at the Mirage

Southern Utah scenery...

Stefan is staying busy with play...

...or he is entertained by...

you guess it - Baby Einstein.

More amazing scenery...

We then headed to Grand Junction, Colorado, where we spent a couple of days with Jana's grandfather BJ and his wife Shirley. They were both happy to see their great-grandson. We also took the opportunity to visit the Colorado National Monument (another amazing landscape) and took a leisurely drive through the "Grand Mesa National Forest". The foliage was in the middle of turning, especially the aspens were bright yellow, which made for a breathtaking scenery. We stopped at a beautifully clear lake for lunch. Stefan explored the area, discovering new plants and grass along the way.


Then it was on to Colorado Springs. Here we spent a week getting to know the area that we are considering for a relocation. Given that we are expecting another tiny Hoffmann, we put our relocation plans on hold until Spring 2008.

On the way to Colorado Springs, we passed by the famous Colorado ski areas, such as Vail, Keystone and Breckenridge. Since we drive south from Denver, we passed by the beautiful Rocky Mountain front-range that forms the Western border of Colorado Springs. The area has lots of attractions, and many of them are outdoors. So, we headed into the wild and treacherous local park, where Stefan wanted to swing and chase the ducks.

Driving through the Rockies

Southern end of Colorado Springs and Cheyenne Mountain

Central Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak

Northwest Colorado Springs (probably where we will be looking for a house)

Southern end of the Air Force Academy

Northern end of the Air Force Academy

Air Force Academy stadium and chapel


But we did not only look at areas to live in, we also went out for some family fun. We visited the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. The big attraction was that Stefan could feed the giraffes. But he also enjoyed the tigers, the monkeys, the orangutan, and taking his first ride on a carousel.



Just up the mountain from the zoo was the Will Rogers Shrine to the Sun, which honored the actor Will Rogers, but most importantly gave stunning views of Colorado Springs. From there we drove to the "Garden of the Gods", which is a red-rock park in the middle of the city. Here you can hike and picnic just minutes from many residential areas.

View from South towards East - Downtown Colorado Springs is on the middle-left of the picture

View from South towards North

View towards Pikes Peak

The Broadmoor Hotel

"Kissing Camels"


Our final family outing was to "North Pole, Colorado". Here we found Santa's Workshop - a fun, kid-friendly amusement park that revolved all around the best night of the year for kids. Many of the rides were perfect for Stefan. He mostly enjoyed riding the train and the cars.



On the way back home, we were kind of tired looking at more landscapes, and the southern route back didn't seem as interesting to us. So, we didn't take many pictures, except when we crossed the Arizona-Nevada border via Hoover Dam.

Lake Mead

Bighorn Sheep