Aug. 2 -- Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park
Our, or at least my, original plan for our one day at Rocky Mountain National Park had been to drive up the Fall River Road and then back down the Trail Ridge Road -- or at least the eastern half. However, Tara's back had not been happy about driving for two days, and Derrick didn't get enough sleep and was going to need a nap if he didn't want to drive his parents completely nuts.
So, we altered our plans. Instead we left in the morning for a shorter visit. First we hit up the Beaver Meadow visitor center, one of two on the access roads from Estes Park. Then we went towards Bear Lake and stopped at the Moraine Park visitors center, where Derrick and I visited the museum and walked the nature trail, while Tara rested up looking at some books in the art gallery.
After that we continued up to Sprague Lake where Derrick and I took a nice walk around the lake while Tara held a picnic table for us. After Derrick and I got back we had lunch. Since the Bear Lake area had no more parking, we headed back to Estes Park where we all got a nap.
While Tara and Derrick (and the dog and cat) continued napping, I left a note and then walked the few blocks to the river walk area. When we got back to the hotel about 1:30, it was hot. When I went on my walk about 3:00, it had cooled and kept raining. After Tara called me to let me know that they were awake, I headed back to the hotel. However, on my walk back, I determined that Tara and Derrick might be able to walk down to the river walk, but not back -- as I was getting winded due to the 7,500+ elevation.
Instead, we drove to the visitor center parking lot and then walked to the river walk -- now an easy level walk. We wondered around for a while, and then got dinner at a Mexican restaurant. After dinner we went to another place and got some gelato and headed back to the hotel.
Aug. 2 -- Estes Park to Wheat RidgeOn Sunday we got moving pretty well. We did have to do some adjusting of our stuff so that we could leave the trailer at my brother's place in Bailey. After we got loaded up, we headed out.
Instead of taking the fastest route -- which would be US-34 to Boulder and then around the Denver Metro to Bailey -- we followed the "Peak to Peak" byway to Nedlerand, and then into to Golden.
This drive was very nice, and only a bit of a concern since Tara hasn't had a lot of experience with mountain driving and was worried about when to break and when to downshift. But she did just fine.
We took a break in Nederland, learning that we wanted to take a slightly different route to Golden, and then got something to drink in a coffee bar before getting back on the road.
We then proceeded through Golden, where we were almost instantly on C-470. We then headed up US-285 to Bailey, stopping in Conifer for lunch, ice and gas. We got to my brother's about 3:00.
Fortunately one of my older niece's friends who is a tow truck driver was there and offered to back the trailer up, making it easier to unhitch. We then adjusted and got the stuff we needed for the trip, or couldn't leave in the trailer, into one of the cars, and got the cat settled into the bathroom where he will be kept for the week. He has to spend the week in the bathroom since he isn't welcome at the Sheraton, and could get out, or hidden, too easily at my brother's house.
We also had a nice visit with my brother and his family. My niece fed Derrick with her kids, parents and sister. Tara and I passed, since we weren't hungry yet. We then left shortly after Derrick had finished.
We had to take both cars, largely because of the need to keep the two ice chests and the dog crate. If we hadn't had those we might have been able to fit everything into one car.
After getting to the Ramada in Wheat Ridge, we put Derrick to bed and Tara and I headed to the Village Inn across the street for dinner (or a very early breakfast in my case), and then went back to the hotel.