Mountain Views

One plan on this cross-country trip of ours is to visit National and State Parks to do some hiking and birding. Sometimes plans have a mind of their own.

When we left our friends and family in the Denver/ Boulder areas, we headed north toward Rocky Mountain National Park. John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High played in my head. That would be the first song in a trip playlist that spontaneously compiled itself in my head.

Our entrance reservation for RMNP was for 4pm-6pm, the only time slot available. We sat in line for at least 45 minutes waiting to get in.

Here are some images as we waited to get in. The native inhabitants entertained us along the way:

Then, we drove toward Bear Lake, stopped at a park-and-ride lot, and hiked for about a mile and a half. Being unused to the altitude and the climbing, it took us over an hour.

We left after that hike, not wanting to get caught traveling back to our new Harvest Hosts spot in the dark. Turns out, a blizzard and an avalanche hit the western part of the park the next day. Yikes!

More later on our very first campsite eva…back to the road! 🙂

Maiden Voyage and Whirlwind Visits

My husband, Mark, and I flew to Denver last week to pick up our newly converted Sprinter van from Titan Vans in Boulder, CO. I was immediately reminded of the day we drove our firstborn baby home from the hospital thirty five years ago. As we pulled away from the curb way back then, my first thought was They’re just letting us leave?!

It took several minutes to figure out how to put the new van in drive, so the mild panic was justified. Neither of us have ever driven a Mercedes, so it’s a bit like learning to maneuver a spaceship. We’re also complete camping novices, so we’re very much out of our element. Other than that, we’re good.

Using our Harvest Hosts membership, we headed for Lawson’s Adventure Park in Dumont, CO, to spend the night camping in their parking lot. Dinner at Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub in Idaho Springs hit the spot. Mark enjoyed their Juicy Blood Orange double IPA. He also picked up an assorted six-pack of the Juicy, the regular Blood Orange IPA, and their Sour Peach.

The first night in our van is a story we may laugh about someday. I’ll save the details ’til then. The next day, we took ourselves straight to the Mercedes dealership for the inside scoop on hidden compartments and useful information.

We spent the rest of that day visiting family in the Denver area. It was so great to meet up with cousins who’d moved across the country when we were young.

First, cousin Michael and his girls explored the van.
The girls were celebrating their last day of school, so we had a quick visit.
We stopped at cousin Donna’s house, then headed to cousin Barbara’s for dinner.

My Uncle Donald and Valois graciously invited us to spend the night at their house. We appreciated the warm bed, the hot showers, and their generous hospitality.

The following day, on the recommendation of my cousins, we drove to Red Rocks Amphitheatre. What a fascinating place!

Thanks, Mary & Ruth!

After Red Rocks, we set out for Thornton, CO, to visit some friends. Mary and Ruth used to sing in the same chorus I belong to. It was great to see them and catch up. They took us out for Mexican food and invited us to stay overnight. Another opportunity for a warm bed and hot showers. Score!

That’s all for now. So many more adventures and so little time to stop and write…