Roadtrip to Denver!
Let me start this thing off by saying my husband got to come with me on a little vacation for the first time in years. YEARS. He works so hard and so frequently that we haven't been able to have more than just a single day off together since we moved home from Oregon in 2014. That is nuts!! So when he figured out that he could get 4 days off in a row, I immediately threw out my plans for a solo road trip to South Dakota and Colorado and planned around what we could feasibly do in 4 days!
I don't know if I've ever gone on a vacation where I'm not driving overnight, flying the morning before a shift, or trying to get one last day of fun in before heading back to my day job at a hospital. So in our normal fashion, we left Milwaukee at around midnight on Sunday night to head towards the Denver area and drove until we got there. I've done that drive plenty of times in the past and it never seems to get any more interesting or any less boring, and this was no exception. Once we arrived, it was late in the afternoon and was storming too hard in the mountains to realistically find a campsite and set up without getting soaked. We found a motel nearby and crashed after 16 hours of driving.
In the morning (our first official day of vacation), we actually stopped to get Rob an oil change because going up in the mountains was about to take a toll on his car and he was overdue for one. Whoops! We had a few things in mind for our day and started out early. A goal was to drive to the top of Pike's Peak so Rob could see from the top, as I had climbed the 14,110ft. peak a few years prior. Here's a film photo of me from the top!
It actually had snowed quite a lot in the days leading up to our trip, and the people who work on clearing the roads for tourists were doing everything they could all morning. We got to drive up about 11 of the 20 miles to the summit, but the rest was covered in inches of ice and feet of snow that weren't budging. The drive was beautiful, I hung out the window while sitting on the car door and holding on for dear life while shooting some footage and photos. It's a tradition of mine!
We explored Red Rock Canyon Open Space and walked around Garden of the Gods for a while before driving to our campsite outside of Canon City. Honestly, this campsite was the highlight of the trip for me! It was dispersed with no water or electricity, only a handful of other campers, open fields and canyons in the distance, and get this.... COWS. There were a dozen or so cows roaming around near our campsite and I nearly cried at how cute they were just grazing and doing cow things. Obviously cows are not new to me (we ARE the dairy state!), but these cows seemed so happy and careless that I couldn't stop smiling! We made a fire, ate a ton of food, and went to sleep under a gazillion stars.
I'm not joking when I say the cows mooing woke me up at 5am and I wasn't even a little bit mad. We packed things up and started to drive north towards where Rob's sister Sam lives near Boulder and got to see what the city was all about! The Pearl Street Mall was great and reminded me a lot of state street in Madison. We grabbed some food and Sam treated us to a hotel for the night so we could rest up for a long drive home the next day. I was pretty bummed that we didn't get to camp another night, but most of the campgrounds relatively close to Boulder were all snowed in, and we didn't bring much more than sweatshirts and pants and really didn't want to freeze.
I fell in love with Colorado this time more than I have ever before when driving through, and it makes me think that maybe one day Rob and I could end up there for a couple of years. We already know I'm too antsy to stay settled in one place for long!