Colorado 2018 – Granby area in the Mighty Merc. – Day 8

Not much to look at on this one as it was just a long road day driving from Granby to St. Louis in one shot. Things went pretty well on the way back, we managed to sneak out early enough to miss Denver morning rush hour, the wind in Kansas was tolerable, and I finally managed to find a way to sit in the truck for long stretches without it killing my back (I really need a new driver’s seat and some suspension work).

The trip was success in that we all had a good relaxing time away from things. It was very nice to unplug from work for a week (though walking back into the office on the following Monday sucked a lot), and the truck handled the trip well. Prior to heading out, I had the ECU retuned to turn the emissions stuff back on since I am now in an are that requires compliance. That changed netted me better mileage than the prior years trip, though still crappy. However, the truck seemed to run much smoother than it had in the past. Highway mileage (at 70-75 ish) was around the 11-12 mpg mark. Running around the mountains (50-60 mph) was upper teens which surprised the hell out of me considering how hard I had to run the thing at elevation. Trail MPG seemed to still hang out around the 6-8 mpg mark, but that’s mostly due to our leisurely pace.

There is lots of little things I would like to do to the truck prior to its next big excursion (or wheeling trip), but no money to knock those projects out for now. It is nice to know that it can handle the long road trips as it sits right now though!

As for CO, it was a bit of a different feel than it was in years past. I’m not sure if it is the fact that it is becoming more and more of a blue state, or the now legal Pot. Either way, we got a weird vibe from lots of places that we never had before, and there was more homeless people wandering around than we have ever seen before as well. We’re not quite sure what to make of it at this point, but it won’t keep us from visiting in the future.

I don’t know that we would stay in the same area again unless I drag my Mountain Bike out there with me. While we slept in Granby every night, every day we were driving a good distance to the places we wanted to go. While it would have cost more, it would have made more sense to stay in the Winter Park/Fraser area, or head up to the Grand Lake area as that was where most of our time was spent.

Man it was HOT and DRY out there as well. We felt like sponges rehydrating as we traveled back to St. Louis. None of us were expecting the heatwave that was going on while we were there, and we were all actively seeking shade as the day wore on.

The beetle kill is kind of depressing to see, and there were lots of areas where the dead trees were being removed/cleared, presumably to cut down on fuel for forest fires? However, there are areas where trees are coming back, and it will be interesting to see the rebirth of the forest over the next 20 years.

Will we the Mercury make it out there for 20 more years? Doubtful, but it’s at least got one more trip left in it. I think there are a few more bugs I need to slaughter in Kansas still:
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

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Link to all the photos

Colorado 2018 – Granby area in the Mighty Merc. – Day 7

Day 7 saw my folks departing heading back to the St. Louis area. So we loaded up to do a bit more hiking with the kids trying to break up the day a bit knowing that there was another 18 hour car ride ahead of us the next day.
We found a Fox Friend as we were leaving the condo:
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

And headed over to St. Mary Lake trail to see the glacier:
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

The kids actually managed to hike the whole way up themselves, though it took them awhile. Short legs make for long trips at times, but it beats carrying them everywhere!
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

When we got up to the lake, my boy immediately pulled his shoes off and wanted to play in the water. He quickly changed his tune when he realized how cold it was and decide it was better to throw rocks instead:
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

And of course, monkey see, monkey do:
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

Heading back down the trail with the kids on our backs, we were greeted with the unpleasant sight of my headlights being left on. :Derp: Thankfully, it still cranked right up after sitting with them on for several hours. Yea for worn out motors being easy to turn over!
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

Once we were back in the truck, we headed over the Loch Lomond trail to eat lunch by the lake, and then over to Chinn Lake:
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

Loch Lomond was a pretty drive as nearly all of the Aspens were fully golden:
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

We knocked another “must do” off of our list by having a picnic lunch up in the mountains. Finally found a spot that wasn’t really windy so it was a pleasant meal:
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

The backdrop was quite beautiful:
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

And of course there was more rock chuck’n:
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

We grabbed one last photo of the truck and started over to the Chinn Lake area:
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

… which was not quite as pretty. The lake/reservoir was incredibly low:
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

So we didn’t wind up hanging around that area very long. I aired up the tires back at the trail head and we went back to the condo with a side stop at the Fraser playground to wear the kids out a bit more.
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

There was one more thing to do before packing it in for this vacation. At the condo there is a Gazebo at the top of a “summit” that we have been driving by for a week now. I really wanted to wander up there to see what we could see, so it made sense to grab some sunset photos and to nab one last “summit” before packing everything up to head home the next day.

We felt rather clever telling the kids that there was a playground up there for them (Gazebo), so they took off at full steam. Rather than being disappointed that there wasn’t an actual playground there, they still had fun playing in the “house”
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

That cleverness wore off once I looked back down the hill I just hike up to see that I had left my damn headlights on again:
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

So back down the hill to turn them off, and then back up to join the family for sunset.
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

The smoke from the fire was really making things pop:
Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 7 - Thursday &emdash;

Finial thoughts on Day 8

Colorado 2018 – Granby area in the Mighty Merc. – Day 6

Day 6 saw us grabbing breakfast and heading out to hike the trail to Broome Hut on the Second Creek Train (N137) near the divide. The kids (and adults) started out pretty well:
Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

But it wasn’t long before they wound up in the packs:
Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

The hut at the top was pretty impressive. I’d really like to stay there one day as I bet it would be cool to see the stars out there at night:
Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

After getting the kids to sign the book:
Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

And taking a peek at the small falls nearby (and apparently grabbing no photos of them) we conned the kids in at least partially hiking back down under their own power for a bit. Ahhh the power of candy bribes:
Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

But it wasn’t long before they were back in the packs:
Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

After parting ways with my folks, we headed over the divide to have a quick picnic and run over Jones pass. We were hoping to see some mining ruins, but most of the old sites have been reclaimed or cleaned up which kind of sucks:
Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Top of the Pass:
Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

The wife found a Marmot friend on the way down:
Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

The kids woke up from their afternoon nap so we stopped at one of the reclaimed mine sites to wander around a lttle:
Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

My daughter was having fun picking up every “Sparkle Rock” she could find:
Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

And would then tell us a story about the rock she found:
Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

The evening found us back at Grand Lake for dinner and a little evening stroll on the board walks:
Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

There is a neat little park by the lake where the channel is at. The kids enjoyed wandering around in it and watching the boats go under the bridge:
Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

It is very dry in this area, so it wasn’t real surprising to see things on fire again once we got back to our condo:
Sara L.: Day 6 - Wednesday &emdash;

On deck, Day 7