Category Archives: Colorado

Colorado Part III: Colorado Springs

You already know I lobbied Mike to stay as close to Denver metro as possible during our month-turned-six-week-stay in Colorado. Two of my closest friends from high school both live in Aurora, and I had plans to drive back for two separate Christmas celebrations on December 1st and 11th. Our third stop was at Garden of the Gods RV Resort in Colorado Springs, a 1-hour 11 minute drive back to my girlies. We were at this location for two weeks and enjoyed every minute of it. The location was incredible. We were within walking distance to Manitou Springs, Garden of the Gods, Red Rocks Open Space AND Old Colorado City. Our specific site was pretty cramped, but the park was well-maintained and we had a front-row view of Pike’s Peak every time we walked to the dog park.

I returned to Denver on the first day we were there to “officially” kick-off the Christmas season with high tea at the Brown Hotel. Mike was so glad I had other girls to join for that experience. He was happy to stay home with the dogs and finish his post-travel coach cleaning chores. My last trip back to Denver was toward the end of our stay when I got to attend a martini and gift exchange party hosted by Amy and Janet at Amy’s house. We had a slumber party, and I drove back home the next morning. Our time during the middle of my two excursions was spent hiking, enjoying the natural attractions of our area, and handling the traditional tasks of Christmas such as getting our cards out, finishing our shopping, shipping our packages, decorating our coach, and stuff like that. Normal life stuff.

We were surrounded by so much beauty on this stop, that I have a bunch of pictures to share. I will let their captions fill out the rest of the story from Colorado Springs.

A view from the windshield on our short drive south along I-25 to Colorado Springs. We were thankful for the sunshine and dry skies on a travel day.

A view from the windshield on our short drive south along I-25 from Larkspur to Colorado Springs. We were thankful for the sunshine and dry skies on a travel day.

 

The first day we were in "the Springs", I turned around and drove back to the Denver metro to join my girlfriends at the historic Brown Hotel for traditional high tea.

The first day we were in “the Springs”, I turned around and drove back to the Denver metro to join my girlfriends at the historic Brown Hotel for traditional high tea.

One of the reasons we made our last Colorado stop in Colorado Springs was so I would be in driving distance to come back and participate in more Christmas cheer during the season.

One of the reasons we made our last Colorado stop in Colorado Springs was so I would be in driving distance to come back and participate in more Christmas cheer during the season.

A herd of deer lived in the neighborhood between our campground and Garden of the Gods Park. We would walk about 1/2 mile to get to the park trails, and the mulees were scattered about every yard (front and back).

A herd of deer lived in the neighborhood between our campground and Garden of the Gods Park. We would walk about 1/2 mile to get to the park trails, and the mulees were scattered about every yard (front and back).

Balanced Rock in Garden of the Gods Park.

Balanced Rock in Garden of the Gods Park.

We were a short drive down the road from several DDD spots at this stop. Front Range BBQ is one of those restaurants and they featured live music on Wednesday nights. The food was yummy and the music was classic rock with a funkadelic hillbilly twist. Like Pink Floyd at the County Fair Pie Contest. Lots of fun!

We were a short drive down the road from several DDD spots at this stop. Front Range BBQ is one of those restaurants and they featured live music on Wednesday nights. The food was yummy and the music was classic rock with a funkadelic hillbilly twist. Like Pink Floyd at the County Fair Pie Contest. Lots of fun!

Pike's Peak in its morning glory from our campground.

Pike’s Peak in its morning glory from our campground.

buck

A buck in the ‘hood.

A selfie from one of our daily walks with Pike's Peak in the background. The Utes called it Tava (Sun).

A selfie from one of our daily walks with Pike’s Peak in the background. The Utes called it Tava (Sun).

One of the neighborhood does posing for her photo shoot.

One of the neighborhood does posing for her photo shoot.

A selfie on the COG Railway - waiting to depart the station.

A selfie on the COG Railway – waiting to depart the station.

A way station along the COG Railway - almost to the top. Back in the day people used to live there!

A way station along the COG Railway – almost to the top. Back in the day people used to live there!

Katharine Lee Bates was a 33-year old English Professor from Wellesley College when she traveled by train to Colorado Springs to teach a short summer school session at Colorado College. After being inspired by sights she enjoyed on the way to Colorado and all the way up to the top of Pike's Peak, she wrote a poem called "Pike's Peak". It was published two years later in The Congregationalist to commemorate July 4th. At that time is was retitled "America". Church organist and Choir Master Samuel A. Ward put it to music in 1910... and now we all know the words by heart. (And if you are like me, it makes you cry every time you hear it)!

Katharine Lee Bates was a 33-year old English Professor from Wellesley College when she traveled by train to Colorado Springs to teach a short summer school session at Colorado College. After being inspired by sights she enjoyed on the way to Colorado and all the way up to the top of Pike’s Peak, she wrote a poem called “Pike’s Peak”. It was published two years later in The Congregationalist to commemorate July 4th. At that time it was retitled “America”. Church organist and Choir Master Samuel A. Ward put it to music in 1910… and now we all know the words by heart. (And if you are like me, it makes you cry every time you hear it)!

A selfie atop a fourteener. In mountaineer terminology that is a mountain that meets or exceeds an elevation of 14,000 feet (4,270 m) above mean sea level. Colorado has the majority of fourteeners in the contiguous United States with 53. California is next with 12. Washington has 2. Climbing all of Colorado's fourteeners is a popular pastime among peak baggers. We are not peak baggers.

A selfie atop a fourteener. In mountaineer terminology that is a mountain that meets or exceeds an elevation of 14,000 feet (4,270 m) above mean sea level. Colorado has the majority of fourteeners in the contiguous United States with 53. California is next with 12. Washington has 2. Climbing all of Colorado’s fourteeners is a popular pastime among peak baggers. We are not peak baggers.

rocky mountains

We are lucky the weather was so clear on the day we went up to Pike’s Peak. We tried not to focus on the fact that the temperature was a balmy 12 degrees.

Our train at the top of the mountain.

Our train at the top of the mountain.

It looks like this photo could have been taken from an airplane, right?

It looks like this photo could have been taken from an airplane, right?

Another gorgeous view from the top of Tava.

Another gorgeous view from the top of Tava.

If you look out the window from this shot inside the COG on the way down, you can see the road that cars travel to get to the top. If you search www.youtube.com for "Pike's Peak Hill Climb 2013" you can see some crazy video of a race down the mountain at insane speeds. (There is also video of a car flying OFF the road and flipping down the mountain side - which is why I'm glad we took the train instead of the car the day we went up).

If you look out the window from this shot inside the COG on the way down, you can see the road that cars travel to get to the top. If you search www.youtube.com for “Pike’s Peak Hill Climb 2013” you can see some crazy video of a race down the mountain at insane speeds. (There is also video of a car flying OFF the road and flipping down the mountain side – which is why I’m glad we took the train instead of the car the day we went up).

Can you spot the three big horn sheep keeping an eye on the COG during our descent?

Can you spot the three big horn sheep keeping an eye on the COG during our descent?

Garden of the Gods.

Garden of the Gods.

Our frequent hikes in Garden of the Gods park never got boring.

Our frequent hikes in Garden of the Gods park never got boring.

Although the address of our campground was Colorado Springs, we were actually right on the boundary of the quirky town of Manitou Springs. The downtown area has about eight different public fountains dispensing mineral water that is reputed to have healing effects for those that drink them.

Although the address of our campground was Colorado Springs, we were actually right on the boundary of the quirky town of Manitou Springs. The downtown area has about eight different public fountains dispensing mineral water that is reputed to have healing effects for those that drink from them.

One day we decided to hike the Manitou Incline "just for the fun of it". This is from the parking lot.

One day we decided to hike the Manitou Incline “just for the fun of it”. This is from the parking lot.

We were not dissuaded when we reached the starting point, even though the sign said the top was 2775 steps and almost one mile above us.

We were not dissuaded when we reached the starting point, even though the sign said the top was 2775 steps and almost one mile above us.

I quickly learned one general rule of the climbing experience. Don't look up. Very disheartening. At the half-way point I couldn't even see the top.

I quickly learned one general rule of the climbing experience. Don’t look up. Very disheartening. At the half-way point I couldn’t even see the top.

The skinny girl behind me was sucking air too. That made me happy. I was overjoyed when I saw her actually sit down for a minute. Then she passed me.

The skinny girl behind me was sucking air too. That made me happy. I was overjoyed when I saw her actually sit down for a minute. Then she passed me.

steps on way up

Mike spent most of his time encouraging me with positive words and waiting for me to catch up to him.

We had hiking boots, but no cleats. The trail was totally icy in shady spots. I won't lie, I was nervous.

We had hiking boots, but no cleats. The trail was totally icy in shady spots. I won’t lie, I was nervous.

We made it to the top.

We made it to the top.

One of the views from the top of the incline. Our campground is somewhere there in the near distance.

One of the views from the top of the incline. Our campground is somewhere there in the near distance.

A surprise Christmas tree at the top of the incline made me smile in between inhaling big gulps of thin air.

A surprise Christmas tree at the top of the incline made me smile in between inhaling big gulps of thin air.

The incline steps are intended to be one-way... up. However, lots of kamikaze fitness freaks were climbing up them and then running back down to repeat the process again. We chose to obey the rules and follow the designated trail back down to the bottom. I was encouraged in the beginning.

The incline steps are intended to be one-way… up. However, lots of kamikaze fitness freaks were climbing up them and then running back down to repeat the process again. We chose to obey the rules and follow the designated trail back down to the bottom. I was encouraged in the beginning.

It turned out that the trail down the mountain was mostly shaded and completely covered with slippery icy. It took us longer to get down than it did to get up!

It turned out that the trail down the mountain was mostly shaded and completely covered with slippery icy. It took us longer to get down than it did to get up!

Yes, we did have a couple of martinis when we got home that night. And yes, they did go straight to my head!

Yes, we did have a couple of martinis when we got home that night. And yes, they did go straight to my head!

A full-size gingerbread house inside the Broadmoor Hotel.

A full-size gingerbread house inside the Broadmoor Hotel.

We decided to go see the historic Broadmoor Hotel at night because we knew the lights would be fabulous. We were right.

We decided to go see the historic Broadmoor Hotel at night because we knew the lights would be fabulous. We were right.

A selfie after drinks and dinner at The Broadmoor.

A selfie after drinks and dinner at The Broadmoor.

Our campground was also close to Old Colorado City, a National Historic District established in 1859. I really enjoyed finishing up my Christmas shopping in such a quaint area.

Our campground was also close to Old Colorado City, a National Historic District established in 1859. I really enjoyed finishing up my Christmas shopping in such a quaint area.

Another amazing earth scene from Garden of the Gods.

Another amazing earth scene from Garden of the Gods.

The weather was pretty great during our entire stay on this stop. It only snowed at the very end, and just lightly after it was all over.

The weather was pretty great during our entire stay on this stop. It only snowed at the very end, and just lightly after it was all over.

The Monaco is all decked out for the holidays.

The Monaco is all decked out for the holidays.

Colorado Part II: Larkspur

If this blog post needed a sub-title, I think it would be “The B Word”.

Our reservation at Cherry Creek State Park was due to be over on Tuesday, November 17th, and we had stayed as long as the park would allow us. We had been watching the weather, and a big winter storm (some weather people on TV even used the B word) was coming toward the Denver area on our travel day.  We went to the campground office to ask a few questions. We wanted to know if the storm did come and the roads were thick with snow, would they still force us to leave because we had been there for the maximum number of days (even though the park was not full and there were empty spaces). The answer was yes, we had to go – no matter what.

Instead of taking any stupid chances, we decided to leave a day early and go to our next scheduled stop at a Jellystone Campground in Larkspur – just off of I-25. We had picked another campground that was only 30 minutes down the road for the second phase of our Colorado visit. I have a childhood friend that lives only a few miles from the Larkspur campground; and we were still within driving distance to Denver – which was convenient because we planned to go back to Aurora on Thanksgiving to spend the holiday with our friends Janet, Amy, Blaine and Sammy. You might be able to tell, my motivations in Colorado shifted from travel warrior to stocking up on as much ‘friend’ time as possible.

We pulled out of Cherry Creek around 9:30 on Monday morning and made the quick trip down I-25 to our next stop. The skies were blue when we left, so our timing was great… ahead of the blizzard. The Jellystone Campground is built up the side of a large ‘hill’ adjacent to the highway. All of the camping sites are stacked above the others as you make your way to the top. The camp “ranger” led us to our spot which was carved into the landscape about half- way up the incline. Mike had to pull past the spot and then back into it. The skies were still clear at this point, but the roads were icy from the last snow they had received. I was directing Mike into our spot from outside the rig. I was watching the front tires as he was backing into the spot when the front driver’s side tire started sliding backward with no traction. YIKES! I was a little frazzled, but he backed it in just fine on the first try. It turns out that we got there just in the nick of time. As soon as we were all set up, the snow came and did not stop until 16″ later.

We spent our first full day in Larkspur trying to stay warm and watching all drivers who tried to leave spend subsequent hours digging their vehicles out of ditches. Piper and Cessna were elated with what the weather Gods delivered in the form of white powder. We were a little less thrilled with the situation. It suddenly became clear that the campground maintenance crew was not going to plow our road. Mike borrowed a snow shovel from the office and spent several hours each day trying to clear a path for us so it would be clear when the time came to move the rig. We were keeping an eye on the weather and it was supposed to stay cold for several days. Our road was like one giant ice chute down to flat ground at the bottom. We started wondering how we were going to drive the Monaco down the slick strip of road when the time came to leave. We have seen snow on our adventure before, but not like this.

We had planned to stay at Jellystone for two weeks, but we were anxious to get to a spot down on the flat portion of the campground. If the weather turned bad again, we would have a better chance of maneuvering the Monaco with less ice beneath us and less of a steep grade in front of us. Mike went to the office and negotiated to move us to another spot at the conclusion of our first week. When the time came, he backed the rig down the hill and moved us into a better location… closer to the highway and train track so we could hear all the super loud traffic with no problem at all!

Even though this location caused lots of stress for us, it worked out just fine. I was able to spend one afternoon with my friend Tammy, which was a wonderful treat. We also got to spend Thanksgiving at the Stern’s house AND make our way to a Nuggets vs. Spurs basketball game on the Friday after turkey day. (And we got some good pictures out of the deal)!

Our first spot at Jellystone.

Our first spot at Jellystone before the winter storm.

As soon as we were parked and situated, the blizzard commenced.

As soon as we were parked and situated, the blizzard commenced.

The same view out of my office window - post blizzard.

The same view out of my office window – post blizzard.

We measured about 16".

We measured about 16″.

Our snow covered roof.

Our snow covered roof.

After it snows Mike has to get up on the roof and shovel the surface. I always feel guilty in the cozy warmth while I listen to him work above me.

After it snows Mike has to get up on the roof and shovel the surface. I always feel guilty in the cozy warmth while I listen to him work above me.

This section of the campground was closed for the winter and the blanket of snow made the road look so magical.

This section of the campground was closed for the winter and the blanket of snow made the road look so magical.

Mike's view from the top of the Monaco.

Mike’s view from the top of the Monaco.

Mike shoveled snow for three days - trying to get our car out and trying to clear a path for us to move the coach when the time came.

Mike shoveled snow for three days – trying to get our car out and trying to clear a path for us to move the coach when the time came.

After three days of Mike shoveling a path out for us, the campground finally showed up with a tractor. Thank you for the wonderful customer service... not.

After three days of Mike shoveling a path out for us, the campground finally showed up with a tractor. Thank you for the wonderful customer service… not.

Piper is Mike's dog. Cessna is my dog. We all love each other equally, but those are the facts. Mike was worried Piper would be cold when we went to the dog park when the temperatures were below 10 degrees. That is why the pup in this photo is wearing a shirt that says "In dog beers, I've only had one". I'm not sure he was any warmer, but he was the most stylish pooch inside the fence.

Piper is Mike’s dog. Cessna is my dog. We all love each other equally, but those are the facts. Mike was worried Piper would be cold when we went to the dog park when the temperature was below 10 degrees. That is why the pup in this photo is wearing a shirt that says “In dog beers, I’ve only had one”. I’m not sure he was any warmer, but he was the most stylish pooch inside the fence.

Snowy sunrise.

Snowy sunrise.

The view from our bedroom window (from our first spot at Jellystone).

The view from our bedroom window (from our first spot at Jellystone).

Our campground had three authentic tee pees guests could rent for camping.

Our campground had three authentic tee pees guests could rent for camping.

When it gets really cold, the latch on our door freezes. We keep my hair dryer in the co-captain's chair so we can heat the latch in order to get OUT!

When it gets really cold, the latch on our door freezes. We keep my hair dryer in the co-captain’s chair so we can heat the latch in order to get OUT!

A couple of mule deer exploring the road of our campground.

A couple of mule deer exploring the road of our campground.

The campground staff never completely plowed the road up to our first spot, so when we moved to a lower site for our second week, Mike had to back down the icy road.

The campground staff never completely plowed the road up to our first spot, so when we moved to a lower site for our second week, Mike had to back down the icy road.

Our second spot at Jellystone.

Our second spot at Jellystone.

Interstate 25 was super close to our second spot at this campground. This is the view from my office window.

Interstate 25 was super close to our second spot at this campground. This is the view from my office window.

There was a great self-service dog wash in Castle Rock. I took the dogs over for a bath before we were all scheduled to stay as guests at our friend's house over thanksgiving. Two cats had free range of the entire facility. Poor Piper was a mess!

There was a great self-service dog wash in Castle Rock. I took the dogs over for a bath before we were all scheduled to stay as guests at our friend’s house over thanksgiving. Two cats had free range of the entire facility. Poor Piper was a mess!

In between our coach and the loud interstate highway was an active rail line. Trains whizzed past us at all hours of the day and night. They frequently blew the horn as they approach our campground - even at 3:30 AM. Ear plugs didn't work because they didn't eliminate the vibration of the bed and pillows.

In between our coach and the loud interstate highway was an active rail line. Trains whizzed past us at all hours of the day and night. They frequently blew the horn as they approach our campground – even at 3:30 AM. Ear plugs didn’t work because they didn’t eliminate the vibration of the bed and pillows.

Our first thanksgiving in three years that included humans other than the two of us!

Our first thanksgiving in three years that included humans other than the two of us!

All of us at the basketball game. Sam took the picture!

All of us at the basketball game. Sam took the picture!

Colorado Part I: Aurora

I was very excited to start our time in Colorful Colorado. We have lots of friends in Colorado and I was looking forward to visiting with people we actually knew and had relationships with. This American Adventure has been a really fun trip, but Mike and I have been fairly isolated from any sort of regular social life. Most of the time, the only person we know in our environment is each other. I was giddy with the anticipation of interacting with new people! If truth be told, Mike was probably MORE excited than I was because it meant he was going to get a break from me and my constant jabbering. Someone else could listen to me for a change! He is the strong silent type. Man of few words. All that stuff. Me; well I’m talkative. Lively. Some would say to the point on the scale where it tips to obnoxious. Maybe. Probably. Let’s just agree that it is not impossible that Mike was, in fact, MORE EXCITED than I was to see my friends.

Two of the friends I was looking forward to seeing were Amy and Janet. The three of us went to High School together at Westlake in Austin, Texas. Janet and I were roommates in college at UT, and we also moved to Lake Tahoe for two consecutive summers after we turned 21 – to deal black jack at Harrah’s Casino on the South Shore. Amy and Janet had both moved to Denver for various reasons back in the ’90’s.

I took a little detour from The Lower 48 in 48 Tour back in August, and flew to Denver for a girls weekend with those two. While I was in Denver for my quick visit, I started looking around for possible RV parks we could stay in when it came time to spend our month in Colorado. It turns out that there are very few options for RV parks in the Denver metro area. I was getting worried until I found Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora. We three chickies drove out to take a look and it turned out to be a very nice campground. When I returned from the girl’s trip, Mike and I immediately reserved a spot at Cherry Creek to make sure we had a place to stay before the park became totally booked during the time we wanted to be there. Occupancy rates run high at that park, and we felt lucky to get a two-week reservation in one of the only two loops open during the winter season.

We said goodbye to Ogallala, NE on November 3rd and drove 3 1/2 hours west and south into Colorado, and finally Denver. We stopped for diesel at a truck stop on the outskirts of town, and then made our way to the park. Our spot was a pull-through with full hook-ups on a concrete pad with a nice gravel patio and thick grass all around us. We would have happily stayed in the same spot for 6 weeks, but they have a strict 14-day-stay-within-a-45-day-window policy, so we were only there for two quick weeks.

We didn’t engage in too many tourist activities like we normally would do in a town like Denver. We mostly just traded dinner parties at each other’s homes, went to the movies or shopping, and met for lunches, dinners, and happy hours. I did take a solo-road trip west on I-70 across the Rockies to see one of my mom’s dear friends who lives in Grand Junction. While I was out socializing with all my friends, Mike enjoyed fishing for trout in the lake at the park where we were camped.

Our drive on I-76 from western Nebraska to Denver, Colorado. The Rocky Mountains were just starting to come into view way out in the distance.

Our drive on I-76 from western Nebraska to Denver, Colorado. The Rocky Mountains were just starting to come into view way out in the distance.

Spot #9 at Cherry Creek State Park.

Spot #9 at Cherry Creek State Park.

The state park was covered in Magpies. They are from the Crow family, but they are much prettier with their white, black and teal color scheme.

The state park was covered in Magpies. They are from the Crow family, but they are much prettier with their white, black and teal color scheme.

Selfie at Nine Mile Station. Heading into downtown for lunch with the gang.

Selfie at Nine Mile Station. Heading into downtown for lunch with the gang.

Public art in downtown Denver's 16th Street Mall.

Public art in downtown Denver’s 16th Street Mall.

A tex-mex lunch selfie, I'm sure the blur has nothing at all to do with the number of margaritas consumed at the table!

A tex-mex lunch selfie, I’m sure the blur has nothing at all to do with the number of margaritas consumed at the table!

Union Station in downtown Denver was recently completely renovated. Now, in addition to a train, bus and light rail station, it houses restaurants, shops, bars and a hotel!

Union Station in downtown Denver was recently completely renovated. Now, in addition to a train, bus and light rail station, it houses restaurants, shops, bars and a hotel!

Inside Union Station. The doors behind the arches on the top two floors are individual hotel rooms.

Inside Union Station. The doors behind the arches on the top two floors are individual hotel rooms.

The tame mule deer at Cherry Creek State Park. This was taken with NO zoom from our bikes. We were that close, and they did not care one bit.

The tame mule deer at Cherry Creek State Park. This was taken with NO zoom from our bikes. We were that close, and they did not care one bit.

Part of the lake at Cherry Creek State Park.

Part of the lake at Cherry Creek State Park.

Our campground was just north of Centennial Airport in Denver. Mike had lots of fun watching the plans pass over us on final.

Our campground was just north of Centennial Airport in Denver. Mike had lots of fun watching the planes pass over us on final.

More trout for our freezer!

More trout for our freezer!

We were happy to host a couple of dinner parties from our first Colorado camping spot. Mike served us up some fresh fried trout when the Sterns visited.

We were happy to host a couple of dinner parties from our first Colorado camping spot. Mike served us up some fresh fried trout when the Sterns visited.

Broncos game on tv, some fishing, a campfire, a pan-fried trout dinner, and games like Taboo and Scattergories makes for a blurry selfie at the end of the evening.

Broncos game on tv, some fishing, a campfire, a pan-fried trout dinner, and games like Taboo and Scattergories makes for a blurry selfie at the end of the evening.

A scene from one of our walks at Cherry Creek State Park.

A scene from one of our walks at Cherry Creek State Park.

The views from the campground of the Rockies in the distance made for a wonderful backdrop on our walks through the park.

The views from the campground of the Rockies in the distance made for a wonderful backdrop on our walks through the park.

We had a heavy-duty fire pit at our spot. It came in handy as the night time temperatures started dipping with the passing days of November.

We had a heavy-duty fire pit at our spot. It came in handy as the night time temperatures started dipping with the passing days of November.

Mike's typical happy hour view.

Mike’s typical happy hour view.

Our first significant snow of the upcoming winter season.

Our first significant snow of the upcoming winter season.

It was super convenient to have the Nine Mile Light Rail Station so close to the state park. Mike and I took a quick 20-minute bike ride on paths through the park until we ended up at the rail station. Then, we boarded the train and took it into downtown to meet our friends for lunch. On another day, Mike dropped me off at the station and I made a solo trip back to downtown for another lunch date. $6 for no traffic or parking hassles was totally worth it!

It was super convenient to have the Nine Mile Light Rail Station so close to the state park. Mike and I took a quick 20-minute bike ride on paths through the park until we ended up at the rail station. Then, we boarded the train and took it into downtown to meet our friends for lunch. On another day, Mike dropped me off at the station and I made a solo trip back to downtown for another lunch date. $6 for no traffic or parking hassles was totally worth it!

The view from my friend Janet's office. Denver is booming right now, in case you didn't notice all of the cranes dotting the skyline.

The view from my friend Janet’s office. Denver is booming right now, in case you didn’t notice all of the cranes dotting the skyline.

Water skiers on the Cherry Creek Reservoir. I wonder how cold the water was!

Water skiers on the Cherry Creek Reservoir. I wonder how cold the water was!

Friday happy hour sunset from a dive bar near the state park called Emerald Isle. Excellent martinis!

Friday happy hour sunset from a dive bar near the state park called Emerald Isle. Excellent martinis!

When we met at summer camp around the age of 14/15, we did not need cheaters to read!

When we met at summer camp around the age of 14/15, we did not need cheaters to read!

Piper was very bothered by the mule deer wandering by our camp site. The deer could have cared less about the frenzied dogs.

Piper was very bothered by the mule deer wandering by our camp site. The deer could have cared less about the frenzied dogs.

I took advantage of two back-to-back good weather days to drive west on I-70 across the Rockies to Grand Junction. One of my mom's closest friends, Sugar, lives there and I wanted to see her. I made the drive over on a Saturday morning, had a great visit, and returned back to Denver on Sunday afternoon. Mike stayed at the park with the dogs while I was gone.

I took advantage of two back-to-back good weather days to drive west on I-70 across the Rockies to Grand Junction. One of my mom’s closest friends, Sugar, lives there and I wanted to see her. I made the drive over on a Saturday morning, had a great visit, and returned back to Denver on Sunday afternoon. Mike stayed at the park with the dogs while I was gone.

I couldn't help but take some photos of the beautiful scenery on my Rocky Mountain road trip.

I couldn’t help but take some photos of the beautiful scenery on my Rocky Mountain road trip.

More beautiful vistas through the windshield.

More beautiful vistas through the windshield.

Sugar's dog Dixie. (I forgot to get a picture of the humans, but I did not forget a snapshot of the dog)!.

Sugar’s dog Dixie. (I forgot to get a picture of the humans, but I did not forget a snapshot of the dog)!

Colorado National Monument just before sunset.

Colorado National Monument just before sunset.

Another shot from Colorado National Monument.

Another shot from Colorado National Monument.

The changing colors of the rocks in the mountains made the drive so pretty!

The changing colors of the rocks in the mountains made the drive so pretty!

The favorite part of my Rocky Mountain Road trip was the time I spent driving through the White River National Forest. Spectacular scenery!

The favorite part of my Rocky Mountain Road trip was the time I spent driving through the White River National Forest. Spectacular scenery!

We spotted a coyote meandering through the campground as we pulled out of Cherry Creek State Park.

We spotted a coyote meandering through the campground as we pulled out of Cherry Creek State Park.

The reason(s) I wanted to stick so close to the Denver area during our time in Colorado.

The reason(s) I wanted to stick so close to the Denver area during our time in Colorado.