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Author Topic: A lovely week in Colorado  (Read 155 times)

Brad Johnson

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A lovely week in Colorado
« on: June 20, 2022, 11:40:30 AM »

SWMBO and I just returned from Colorado, four days in Winter Park (actually Fraser) and four in Creede. No schedule except lodging check in/out times, no plans other than whatever suited our fancy that particular day. It was lovely.

Haven't been to the Winter Park area since I was a kid, maybe 45 or so years ago. SWMBO never had been. It's still just as beautiful as ever. Mostly driving around and gawking with occasional stops for pics and eats. Drives to RMNP, Estes Park, Nederland, and Blackhawk. Virginia Canyon Road from Central City to Idaho Springs. A mine tour in Idaho Springs. A day nosing around Loveland Pass and Breckenridge.

We even discovered a road I didn't know about but will be driving again... Trough Road from just south of Kremmling over to C131. It roughly follows the Colorado River but winds around, up and down, with tremendous views as you drop back down to the river. Prepared gravel, oiled and packed, that's in better shape than many of the paved roads. Took this as a way to avoid I-70 and glad we did. It's now our route of choice for anything that direction. Definitely worth going a fair bit out of your way to experience.

We did make one wrong turn on our way to the Phoenix Mine just outside Idaho Springs. Ended up on a mountain road that had me worried. Not for the drive, which was fantastic, but for the tires on my truck. It was definitely not a street tire friendly experience. The truck did great and we would have continued if it had been shod with more durable rubber. As it was, we made it about a mile before the rocks won and caution dictated retreat.

If you're looking for accommodations in the area, give Hideaway Mountain Lodge just outside Fraser a close look. It was great. Live-in owners who take a lot of pride in their place. Far enough from Fraser to avoid tourists and traffic but still close enough for convenience. Rooms were comfy and breakfast tasty. Built in the 80s so plumbing and electrical actually work, but still has an "old mountain lodge" vibe. Price is amazingly affordable, too, especially given the view from their deck (complete with ever-present hummingbirds).

The only unenjoyable aspect of the area is I-70 between Idaho Springs and Frisco/Dillon. It was awful. Truly awful. The road was in horrible condition and traffic was brutal. We drove it once and decided never again. We made several significant detours to avoid it after that. No real issue, though, as the detours brought with them incredible views and a nice, chill experience. The one we used most often was Colorado 9 from Silverthorne to Kremmling, then following the Colorado River on US 40 from Kremmling to Granby.

On the day we drove from Fraser to Creede we went through Glenwood Canyon and around to Aspen. I'd forgotten just how jaw-dropping Glenwood Canyon is. Thankfully traffic was relatively light so we could slow down and rubberneck a little. Gave SWMBO her first taste of Independence Pass, too. Road is a little better than I remember but it is still a true white-knuckler in every way. Views are worth it, though, and she did great. If you want to see what I'm talking about, go to Google Maps coordinates 39.12077670391222, -106.72860814221785 and check out the street view.

Creede is a perennial favorite. Super laid-back and not so touristy. Creede Snowshoe Lodge is our stay of choice, not only just for the cleanliness and general comfort, but also for convenience and price. On a previous stay we discovered to our delight that the owners, Shane and Jennifer, are from very near my home town and are good friend with my parents. On-site ATV rentals, too. We made the requisite drive of Bachelor Loop. We even had time to stop at Last Chance Mine. Our first time there and definitely recommended if you're in the area. Went up past the Rio Grande Reservoir. Again, beautiful, but the road was so washboarded it kinda ruined the vibe. It was not a pleasant drive. SWMBO has relatives with an RV spot down in the valley and we were able to spend a good bit of time with them.

Apparently we took a bit of Lubbock weather with us as both places were having what they considered a heat wave, highs in the low-mid 80s. Not great in afternoons because few places in either location have A/C. Beat the heck out of being home, though, as Lubbock set record high temps while we were gone. I'll take 84 degrees over 107 any day.

Just about a perfect week. Waiting for bookings to open next month so we can get our names on the list for next year.

Brad
« Last Edit: June 20, 2022, 02:38:36 PM by Brad Johnson »
It's all about the pancakes, people.
"And he thought cops wouldn't chase... a STOLEN DONUT TRUCK???? That would be like Willie Nelson ignoring a pickup full of weed."
-HankB

230RN

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Re: A lovely week in Colorado
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2022, 01:51:55 PM »

Marvelous travelogue, thanks.  One of the reasons I love Colorado is the scenery.

"Gave SWMBO her first taste of Independence Pass, too. Road is a little better than I remember but it is still a true white-knuckler in every way. "

Wife1 and I did that Pass back in the late '60's in a Chevy Greenbrier van.  Mention of it today still makes me gasp with a sudden intake of breath and a little heart spasm.  Yikes.

How fast can a mortal repeat Hail Marys? I'm sure I hit 12 HM/minute.

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Terry
« Last Edit: June 20, 2022, 02:09:01 PM by 230RN »

HankB

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Re: A lovely week in Colorado
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2022, 02:20:49 PM »

Quote
If you want to see what I'm talking about, go to Google Maps coordinates 39.12077670391222, -106.72860814221785 and check out the street view.
Followed the road a little and found a spot with two way traffic . . . and a couple of pedestrians!
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Brad Johnson

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Re: A lovely week in Colorado
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2022, 02:22:15 PM »

Forgot to add...

If you have an urge to visit Estes Park as a destination... pass. It's awful. A solid sea of pedestrians clogging what little road there is. Combined with dense traffic in/out of RMNP, it's a miserable exercise in patience and alternate routes.

If you want to visit RMNP, do it from the Grand Lake side. Almost no traffic. A "line" at the entry gate is all of maybe two vehicles. From the Estes Park side you might have 50-plus. Also remember your entry reservation unless you intend to arrive before 9a or after 3p.

Brad
It's all about the pancakes, people.
"And he thought cops wouldn't chase... a STOLEN DONUT TRUCK???? That would be like Willie Nelson ignoring a pickup full of weed."
-HankB

Brad Johnson

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Re: A lovely week in Colorado
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2022, 02:22:52 PM »

Followed the road a little and found a spot with two way traffic . . . and a couple of pedestrians!

The area draws summer hikers and bicyclists like buzzards to a carcass. There were groups of them atop every pass, sucking down energy drinks and vainly attempting to absorb what little oxygen was available.

Brad
« Last Edit: June 20, 2022, 02:49:02 PM by Brad Johnson »
It's all about the pancakes, people.
"And he thought cops wouldn't chase... a STOLEN DONUT TRUCK???? That would be like Willie Nelson ignoring a pickup full of weed."
-HankB