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.

 

One thought on “Colorado Part I: Aurora

  1. Janet

    Love the Colorado update -especially because I finally got to see how you all roll! and love that you’re still here! amazing adventure and cannot wait to keep hearing about the rest of it (though selfishly wish CO was for TWO months) xoxo

    Reply

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