First time flying in a helicopter

I turned 22 on Thursday. :)

Normally, birthdays for me are pretty low-key. We usually will go out for dinner so I don’t have to cook and my parents often send a small gift. We’re so busy that we oftentimes don’t have the time to properly celebrate, but I don’t mind. It’s really just another day. For my 21st birthday, we did a bit more, but I wasn’t really planning on doing anything special this year for 22.

Andrew is so sweet. He always wants to make sure my birthday is special, so he was trying to suggest going out and doing something different since we both had most of the day off. He suggested bowling, or going to a place called Skyzone where there are wall-to-wall trampolines. He had other suggestions, but none of them really interested me. And then, something popped in my head: what about a helicopter ride?

I looked into some prices online because I’ve always figured they would be too expensive for us to consider, but I found a Groupon for half off and for three people, so it ended up being under $40 a person, which isn’t too bad! They only do rides on the weekend, so we couldn’t actually book a tour on my birthday – which was a Thursday – so we booked one for tonight. Up to three passengers could come, so we asked our friend Alex if he wanted to join us. Of course he said yes. ;)

We arrived a bit early at the downtown airport (which I didn’t even know existed!) but there was no one that booked before us so they let us go ahead. I was a bit nervous, but as we climbed inside the helicopter and put on our headsets, my nervousness just turned into pure excitement! I felt like I was in a movie. :P The pilot started up the engine and let it warm up for a few minutes before we lifted off.

Andrew and I right before takeoff. All smiles!
Andrew and I right before takeoff. All smiles!

He flew us around the downtown area, which was so neat because I could point out to Andrew and Alex exactly which building I worked in. He then flew us down Main St. passed Westport towards the Country Club Plaza. We live about a mile from the Plaza, so it was really easy to spot out our apartment buildings! Everything looked so small from above!

Downtown Kansas City
Downtown Kansas City

The ride was pretty smooth. It was a bit windy, but I wasn’t nervous any during the actual ride. We turned and headed back up north towards downtown. We actually passed through downtown instead of over it on the way back. It was crazy to be flying next to some of the skyscrapers!

Downtown on the way back. I actually work in the building on the right!
Downtown on the way back. I actually work in the building on the right!

We went pretty late in the evening, around 7:00 PM, but I felt like it was the perfect time to go. Most of the day was pretty rainy and cloudy, but the skies cleared a bit and it was beautiful to see the sunset!

Andrew and I with the helicopter

I do wish the ride would have been a bit longer because it flew by so fast! It was a twenty minute ride which I thought would be a lot of time, but next time I think I’d pay more to have some more time. I want to go again! It was one of the best experiences, and it made a perfect birthday present. :)

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | Day Two

This is the second post about my spring break trip to Colorado. If you missed the first one, you can read it here!

The next morning, Andrew looked up some mechanics that had good reviews and then called to see if they could fit us in. Thankfully it was only three miles away, so my car struggled the whole three miles up those darn hills. The engine kept shuddering… I thought my car was going to explode. The mechanic said it could take all day for them to fix it, depending on what was wrong, and suggested some shops down the street for us to busy ourselves with.

The shops weren’t much, but we did find a little miniature golf place! It looked pretty old and the games were only $3 a person, but we had nothing better to do. It turned out to be so much fun! Andrew and I are both competitive so it was pretty funny to see us both do so terrible. On the last hole, you won a free game if you got a hole-in-one. Andrew managed to get a hole-in-one and scored himself a free game! We still hadn’t heard from the mechanic, so we paid the $3 more for me and played another game. I won both times, but Andrew got another hole-in-one so obviously we had to play again. :D

Where we ended up spending the morning while the mechanic worked on my car. It turned out to be super fun - and you can't beat the view in the background either!
Where we ended up spending the morning while the mechanic worked on my car. It turned out to be super fun – and you can’t beat the view in the background either!

Andrew called the mechanic to see what was going on with our car, and they said they were just waiting on a part to be delivered and that it should be done before noon. I was absolutely elated that we wouldn’t be losing a full day due to the car troubles and about halfway through our third game of mini-golf, the mechanic called to say my car was ready. I had no idea how much it was going to cost (but I was just envisioning $$$$ in my head) but it turned out it was something minor, so thank goodness, that was such a relief.

Since we still had a bit of time, we headed back to Rocky Mountain National Park to do some things we didn’t have time for the day before. We started with Bear Lake. A lot of people seemed to be hiking up to go skiing, but we just hiked around the lake and even ventured out on top! Like Sprague Lake, Bear Lake was completely frozen and probably had a foot and a half of snow on top. I liked Bear Lake more though because it had better views of the mountains.

Bear Lake
Andrew and I at Bear Lake

We went down some different roads that we hadn’t gone down before the day before and saw some new views. Some of the roads led off to dead ends, so to get to the end of the road the day before, we missed a lot. So the second day was almost more fun because we were looking for off-the road spots that other people weren’t going.

Posing for a picture

We found a spot great for climbing on an outcropping of rocks. They were scattered down a fairly steep hill (or side of the mountain! haha), so we carefully worked our way down. It was incredible to just stand there in the cold air, without anyone else near or around you, and to just take in everything. I could’ve stayed there for years.

Sitting on Rocks

Andrew standing on a rock

Me Standing on a Rock
Me Standing on a rock

After climbing around and exploring for the better half of the afternoon, we were pretty tired. We already had the car packed up since we had to checkout from the hotel earlier, so we left the park and headed for Denver! It was hard to say goodbye to the Estes Park area because everything was so beautiful. But I guess that is what makes traveling so special.

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