Colorado Road Trip Quattlebaum Style!!!
Each year my husband and I take our kids on a small vacation. My husband nor I have ever seen all that Colorado has to offer. So We got out a map and looked at cool things to do.
We decided going south of where we live would be our best bet.
So we planned it all out for the first week of June 2016.
After using Groupon to make most of the hotel reservations on the cheap and mapping out or trail on Google Maps, we where off.
In true Shelli fashion we can't just simply load up, go and get somewhere without a little adventure.
We didn't even make it to our first destination without a hiccup.
My fuel pump decided to die just as we got in to Colorado Springs.
As the van died we thankfully came to a stop on the exit ramp of I-25.
Our turn for Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was in our sites (literally we made it to our turn).
I called my dad and cried yet again to him.
This just happen to me in December of 2015 too. Dam Van! My awesome dad said he would be down in 2 hours to come help us. We declined and called a towed truck. Thankfully my husbands company has a shop in Colorado Springs.
So we had the van towed there. A couple hours later we had lunch and a fuel pump. I was trying to keep my kids entertained while my handy hubby and a co worker installed the new fuel pump. As I am enjoying the beauty that is the parking lot of a tire distribution center in Colorado Springs, I hear my husband call my name "SHELLI."
I turned to see my husband covered in blood and a large gash on his handsome face. As he was attempting to hold up the fuel tank full of gas and put the last pin in, the bracket fell and hit him square in the eyebrow. Head wounds bleed people. BAD! As calmly as I could we walked to the first aid box. I cleaned him up as best I could and put him back together with butterfly stitches.
After the van was fixed up we headed to Walgreen's to get superglue to put him back together.
My kids didn't complain once about not getting to go to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
Kid are resilient in trying times.
We checked in to Best Western Plus Peak Vista Inn & Suites in North Colorado Springs. The kids swam their little hearts out and Jeremy and I finally took a break from the stress of the day. We walked across the street to Old Chicago for dinner and set our sights on the rest of our tip.
Off to the Royal Gorge!
I planned on each day being roughly 1.5 to 2 hour drives. Our kids don't travel well, so I though that this would be a good distance. We also do not have a dvd system in our van. #oldschool
I packed a cooler full of pre-made pasta salad, lunch meat, drinks, snack cups, and fruit for us to all eat lunch every day for 5 days. Milk, boiled eggs and cereal for breakfast. Did I mention I am cheap? We only eat out for dinner.
The Royal Gorge isn't CHEAP! Buy your tickets ahead of time and save some money! http://royalgorgebridge.com/plan-your-adventure/
Also, there are long lines in the summer. Bring games for kids to play with while standing in line. Don't forget hats and sunscreen!
We waited about an hour to get on the gondola to travel across the gorge.
Once we forked over $100 give or take for the 4 of us we where ready to go.
Before we where let through the doors to enter the park, an elderly man with Parks and Services stopped our kids. Asked if they would like to go on a scavenger hunt.
He gave the girls a piece of paper and pencil. They needed to find 5 letters to make up the word. Once they found everything they got special surprise.
Play ground time and carousel rides are unlimited.
My youngest thought that was the best thing ever!
We found all of the letters and returned to the gentleman that gave us the paper. He swore in Kylie and Addy as honorarily Park Rangers! They got badges and everything. I thought this was awesome!
After we eat a quick lunch we where off to Nathrope, Co. About an hour and a half away.
We checked in to Mount Princeton Hot Spring Resort for the night.
They gave us a Cliff-side Room. This was by far the most pricey place we stayed.
But the pool is included.
Each day when we check in to a hotel we unloaded the car and drained the cooler.
Added in fresh ice from the hotel, and filled up water bottles.
Mount Princeton was AMAZING!!!!!! The kids Loved their pool. Since we had kids we couldn't go to the Adult side. But we made due in the kiddie area.
We eat dinner at their restaurant. It is kinda pricey so be prepared. After dinner we went on a short walk around the grounds. We swam a little more then cuddled up for the night.
Day 3 We woke up early the next morning and eat breakfast out on the deck.
We had a spectacular view!
After breakfast the kids wanted to swimming again.
We needed to make it to Crested Butte some time that day.
As the kids were swimming I texted a fellow photog friend that I knew lived in Nathrope. After packing up and checking out we went to see my friend
Tayor Fisher. (http://taylorjonesphotography.com/)
She recently moved to Nathrope on a little farm with a bunch of property.
The kids got to see their menagerie. Goats, ducks, chicken, horses, and dogs.
My kids love to ride horses and Taylor and her husband were sweet enough to saddle up their horses and take the kids for a little pony ride around their property. Thank you guys!
After a beer and hanging out for a bit we where off to Crested Butte.
The drive from Nathrope to Crested Butte was beautiful. About a 2 hour drive.
We stayed at The Grand Lodge in Crested Butte. This room was really nice. It had a big comfy bed and a bed that came out of the wall. We eat dinner at the best pizza place ever!!! http://www.secretstash.com/ Go their, eat pizza, drink beer! After dinner my husband took the kids to swim again. I ran away to find the highest road I could get to to take sunset pictures. The sky was beautiful that night.
Day 4 We woke up the next morning and eat yogurt, eggs and doughnuts in our hotel room. We deiced to take Keebler Pass over to Red Stone.
The pass had just recently opened up from being closed all winter.
They get some serious snow up there. I knew that it was wild flower season in Crested Butte. My youngest didn't get a graduation ceremony like her sister did. So I did her one better. I got her a cap and gown off of Amazon.com and we had our own little ceremony in a wild flower field. This by far was the prettiest drive. It is a dirt road all the way!
They were actually scraping the road and doing maintenance as we drove past. My oldest daughter gets car sick on windy roads. So I got her some sea bands. They work great!
I have lived in Colorado my whole life and have never been to the Crystal Mill in Crystal Colorado. It is one of the most photographed locations next to the Maroon Bells in Colorado.
The whole reason we went this route was so that I could see the Crystal Mill.
Well I didn't do my research. I didn't know that you needed a 4 wheel drive vehicle to get back there. So after being upset I put on my big girl panties and headed to Red Stone.
Red Stone Inn is a rustic lodge tucked in to the red cliff sides of Red Stone, CO
We stayed in a Veranda Room. They have a pool, but it was really cold!
The kids loved running around their property. They played tennis, and yard games all afternoon. Their restaurant is so good here and you have to try their blueberry margarita!
Their beds also came in as the most comfortable! In the summer Red Stone has concerts in the park. So we walked down main street tell we found where the music was coming from. We rocked out all night while the kids played at the park.
What an awesome little community.
From Red Stone we headed to Glenwood Springs. On the way out of town we stopped to see The Three Sister Falls. They are only active in the spring do to spring run off.
Once we made it in to Glenwood Springs (1 hour from Red Stone) we played at the Adventure Park all day http://glenwoodcaverns.com/ If you watch Groupon you can get a great deal on a family 4 pack of tickets.
We stayed at the Glenwood Spring Hotel at the base of the Adventure park. They have an awesome swimming pool. Big slides, basket ball hoop, and hot tub.
They also where having a pizza night when we arrived. FREE PIZZA!
We thoroughly wore the kids out this day.
Sun, fun and swimming make my kids sleep really good!
After eating breakfast in the hotel we packed up to head home.
I was tooling around on Facebook to see if anything cool was happening.
I ran across the Go Pro Mountain Games in Vail, CO
So on the way home we made a quick stop to check out the games.
We watched stand up paddle boarding down a river. Saw the mud run and watched the super dogs. You can see how excited my daughter was :)
Here is the link to the map that I
Hit me up with any questions! We had a ton of fun and made great memories. This was the first vacation we took together just the 4 of us. It was also the longest we had been stuck in a car together. All in all I think we did a great job. I would say we spent about $2K on this week long vacations. Gas, food, lodging, entertainment and all.
We are thinking about doing a north route next year.