Colorado,  Kids,  Off Road Trips,  Playgrounds,  Trips,  Utah

Colorado and Utah Trip 2019

Travel Days 1 and 2 in the Mighty Merc

It’s been way too long since we last had a blog post up! We have so much to share from our summer and fall adventures and want to start with all we saw, hiked, and climbed on our last westward adventure.

Once again we found ourselves loading up and heading west for our family vacation. This year was a dual destination event with the bulk of our time being spent around the Avon, Colorado area with a side trip of Moab, Utah at the end.

After a failed nap attempt by myself (aka Mr. Midwest Nomad) Friday afternoon, I started doing the usual packing Tetris game to fit everything in the Merc. Every year I promise to come up with a better way of getting it all in there, but at least it fits. We did wind up cheating a little by sending a suitcase with my parents in their car since they were meeting up with us on the Colorado part of this trip.

How can we possible need this much junk!!!

As always, the kids were packed into the truck and ready to go! They really are some pretty awesome little travelers for the amount of time we ask them to sit back there.

Only 14 hours to go!

It was another cannonball run through the night again this year (3 years running)! However this year the kids wound up sleeping through a large chunk of our nightly fuel stops. So in spite of our rough start, we were able to make up some time at night with the shorter fuel stops.

Running across the Stan Span in St. Louis.

There wasn’t much to take photos of at night, but there were some observations on my end:

  • All the work I did earlier in the year refreshing the suspension really paid dividends as my back was not a wreck once we hit Denver. Suspension up-travel really isn’t overrated after all!
  • There is an amazing amount of windmills in Kansas at this point. Enough of them that there were times I could not see the end of them. As in they spanned the entire horizon!
Sunrise on the Front Range

After a breakfast break at a truck stop IHOP in Limon and more windshield time through the front range in Colorado, we found ourselves near Boulder. At that point I had to stop for a nap as I has been awake for roughly 28 hours by now and had hit my last wall. A quick GPS search turned up the amazing Westminster Playground nearby. This well built play area had a charming Peter Pan theme. The kids had a blast climbing the Pirate Ship and Tower of London. And this playground set the tone for the rest of them on this trip as there were quite a few awesome playgrounds we found throughout our trip.

Sooo many cool playgrounds
Seriously.. so many cool playgrounds.

After leaving Boulder, we started climbing our way west on I-70. On a bit of a whim, we decided to leave the highway to take a different route over Loveland Pass instead of our usual drive on I-70 through the Eisenhower Tunnel. This turned out to be very fortunate for us as there wound up being a truck fire at the tunnel. My folks were not as lucky and got stuck in that mess which delayed them roughly 3 hours!

Kids getting another taste of high elevation.
Great views down into the valley

Coming down the other side of the pass, we stopped at Silverthorne for lunch. The Midwest Nomad Mom took a quick shopping break at the outlet mall while the kids and I played at the Dillon Reservoir playground. This playground is a favorite of ours when we travel in the area. The location right next to the lake is beautiful.

You can never have enough playtime!

After leaving the Dillon playground area, we decided to leave the pavement behind and made our way up and over Shrine Pass. Shrine Pass Road is a little bumpy but mostly a well graded gravel road that travels between Vail Pass off I-70 to the tiny town of Redcliff. Near the pass we did an easy hike to see the Mount of the Holy Cross overlook. The snow had melted enough that the actual snowed in portion of the mountain that gives the cross appearance was not really visible.

I think they just like to play around on the deck more than anything.

After driving through a few more classic Colorado towns, we continued on to our home for the next few days in Avon, Colorado. We had a very good dinner at Benderz Burgers in town (so much good food!) and checked into our room at the Christie Lodge in downtown Avon.

More to come..Day 3 involves a train ride!

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