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Update 1: Greetings from Colorado!
Well, it's been quite an eventful couple of days for those of us on the Venture Colorado expedition. We're currently at a Motel 8 in Leadville CO, our almost-final stop before we head into the woods tomorrow. We've got to depart shortly, but I'll try to type as much as I can on my iPhone, and then hopefully the misbehaving hotel wifi will let me post it. :)
Our departure Thursday from Detroit to Denver was almost too smooth. Only issue that came up was that our flight was originally on Northwest, which has since merged with Delta. So, we had spend about a half-hour at the checkin counter before they were able to locate our orphaned tickets in the now-defunct Northwest database. Luckily, we were about an hour ahead of schedule, so no real worries. We arrived in Denver and had our first teaching moment about keeping the group together when three of our guys went to the restroom and then couldn't locate the rest of the group (about 150 feet away) and decided to get on the subway headed for another concourse. We met up at the baggage claim without difficulty though and had a conversation about not crossing boundaries without the whole group. We picked up the rental cars without incident. Bob and I had made our reservation through a special UM/National contract, which aside from including the full insurance at no additional cost also allowed us a free upgrade to a pair of fully loaded Town and Country minivans! Sweet! The scouts appreciate the satellite radio feature, especially (disturbingly enough) the Radio Disney and Kids stations (with such hits as "I'm a utility pole, you're a utility pole, too!")
We drove into Denver to the church we were staying at overnight. We had a nice Italian dinner at a nearby cafe and then then settled in to sleep - at least until Bob managed to lock himself in the hallway between the church and the parking structure at 330am while going out to join a conference call. Anyway, we freed Bob and had a breakfast of bagels before departing to pick up our avalanche beacons and stove fuel from the "flagship" REI in Denver. It's a very impressive store, complete with four stories of every type of gear imaginable. Mark and Tim took the time to visit the extensive map section to get us some maps of the towns we'd be visitng over the next couple days.
Well, my fellow adults inform me that it's time to head out, so that's it for now. Tune in next time for further updates of Saturday and Sunday, including the stolen avalanche beacon, the abandoned church in Vail, and the hostel that lost our reservations (oops). Until then, -SZ.