August 1-8, 2015
Last year, we had such a wonderful time on our Rogue River, Oregon trip with Jon’s parents that we talked of doing it again. But like any good trip, I always struggle with the decision to return to the same place, or try something new. We talked with Jon’s parents about perhaps visiting Bend, Oregon, but some research revealed very high prices for mid-summer stays. Meanwhile, Jon and I talked about visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, and doing a broader Colorado loop. We asked his parents if they wanted to join us, and well, you can guess what they said.
Colorado has several National Parks, and several more National Monuments and other park service sites. Jon wanted to see Pike’s Peak (what he thought at the time was the tallest peak in Colorado). Linda and Robby just wanted to do whatever we did, but if at all possible, Linda wanted to see Leadville, the country’s highest incorporated city, and take a scenic tourist train ride there.
We already had some lofty visions for the trip; Colorado is a big state and these were some big driving distances. I checked to make sure that everybody would be ok with the driving, and making camp in a new hotel every night. Then I mapped.
In the planning phases, Jon started talking about how close Moab, Utah is, but really, we can’t go to Moab every time! What do you want to not do, in order to go back to Moab? Scratched… I wanted to see Dinosaur National Monument, but it was about 2.5 hours north of Grand Junction, and would require a whole day for the detour, so it got disappointingly scratched from the list too.
The route would include Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado National Monument, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (somehow fondly renamed by Jon – Gunnison of the Bay), Great Sand Dunes National Park, the St. Elmo ghost town, Leadville, CO, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument and Pike’s Peak. What a whirlwind in 7.5 days!
A trip was born!