Author Topic: Things to do in Colorado when youíre dead  (Read 758 times)

Offline GeorgiaGuzzi

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Things to do in Colorado when youíre dead
« on: March 30, 2021, 03:03:26 PM »

*I changed the title to pay homage to Warren Zevon*


So for our 4th year anniversary the wife and I are going to be traveling to Colorado. My wifeís nickname is Rocki. And she has never seen the Rocky Mountains. So we are flying into Denver in a month and renting a convertible. I know, I know, it would be better on a bike but if it monsoons while weíre out there I donít want the missus getting soaked. Anyway, itenerary (wow, Mis-spelled that one proper, spell correct canít even guess) is as follows.

Two days in Estes Park. Checking out Rocky Mountain national park.
Then traveling to Gunnison to check out the black canyon park.
Then to Cortez to check out Mesa Verde.
Then to Durango to ride the Durango Silverton train.
Then back to Denver to fly home.

So what hidden gems do yíall recommend? Scenic roads, good restaurants, state parks, out of the way places?

Iíve been to Colorado several times but usually with work, which doesnít allow time to sight see much.
Iíve also stayed at Aspen, (iirc) but my memory of that is that too many hoity toity types around. I felt out of place to say the least. Made me want to buy a fiero and blast AC/DC while wearing a mullet just to offend the trust fund people. So yeah, no places like that please. Lol. 
« Last Edit: May 02, 2021, 07:52:37 AM by GeorgiaGuzzi »

Offline Guzzistajohn

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2021, 03:19:16 PM »
Looks like you're doing fine! Mesa Verde is a wonderful place. I've been 2X and I'd go again. Gunnison- Great Choice. Be sure and drive the Million dollar hy. from Durango - Silverton. I had the BEST Chile relleno ever in Silverton one time. I wonder if that place is still there? Estes? been there SEVERAL times! It's AWESOME! Don't forget to see the Stanley Hotel in Estes- Maybe take the ghost tour. Stephen King wrote "The Shining" there. They have an original Stanley Steamer in the lobby! I had the best Thanksgiving Dinner EVER at the Stanley. Have fun! 
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Offline Chuck in Indiana

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2021, 03:29:19 PM »
Good choices. BTDT. One place I've been meaning to visit is Dinosaur National Monument/park. If you like that kind of stuff (I do) I understand it's worth the trip.
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Offline F-Fred

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2021, 03:47:04 PM »
If you're gonna be in Estes Park, The Stanley Hotel is very nice, and the inspiration for the Overlook in The Shining (The TV version was filmed there).

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2021, 03:47:04 PM »

Offline Gliderjohn

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2021, 04:11:48 PM »
Just about 15 miles out of Colorado Springs is a little town that used to be an old time resort town for "summer birds" from the heat of KS named Green Mountain Falls. Don't think there are any motels now but there are vacation house rentals and is a great base for day trips. Has a lot of charm.
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Offline Texas Turnip

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2021, 04:34:49 PM »
Lots of good selections. Plan to spend a whole day at Mesa Verde. Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the US has a mining museum that makes you appreciate the tough old buzzards that loaded up a mule and went looking for gold.

Now my good friend, Dusty, is going to recommend that you visit Kim. Does the Sultan of Cedar Vale know best?

Terx


Offline GeorgiaGuzzi

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2021, 04:56:21 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions! I just made dinner reservations at the Stanley Hotel, and am stoked about the million dollar Highway. Iím hoping the wife enjoys herself and we can come back again. Gliderjohn the suggestion about green mountain falls sounds like it would be perfect to use as a base to stay at in the future for a sightseeing on two wheels.

Tex, Leadville sounds cool. Makes me think of Deadwood SD a little. Anyone watch ďthe ballad of Buster ScruggsĒ? One of the films was about a prospector. Looked like they did there research. Buncha dang digging!

Offline Dharma Bum

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2021, 05:06:26 PM »
For the time you have to spend,  you have an excellent itinerary laid out.   Enjoy!!

Offline skippy

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2021, 05:52:33 PM »
If you are planning on going straight up to Estes Park I have a local's recommendation.
After you get the car and start heading out from the airport Take I-70 to  State Highway 58 which will take you right past the Coors Brewery. Don't stop. It is not worth it. Keep heading west and this road will turn into US 6. Take this on up through Black Hawk and Central City. These are two of the three gambling towns in Colorado so unless you have a keen desire to set cash on fire just keep going. Along the way this road turned into State Highway 119. Keep on it all the way to Nederland. When you get into Nederland there is one traffic circle and you want to take the one that goes left on to State Highway 72 towards Ward. On the other side of Ward you will end up at Highway 7, take a left and follow this through Allenspark and into Estes Park.
I know this seams convoluted but it really is a straight forward road. This drive/ride is called the Peak to Peak and Rocki will be in for some stunning vistas.
I just looked this route up on the map app and it is only about three hours. So depending on the time of day and or day of the week it should make for a nice first days trip.

Skippy
   
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Offline Trialsman

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2021, 06:01:39 PM »
While in Nederland there is a good German restaurant called the Black Forest.
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Offline LowRyter

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2021, 06:38:28 PM »
Going to Rocky Mountain National Park along that highway above the treeline, go all the way through and visit Grand Lake.  Not only is it beautiful, it's not crowded with traffic like Estes Park.  In fact, I prefer to stay there.  Also, Ft Collins is a nice place but it's east of EP and in the foothills, probably not on your way.

On the way to Gunnison, you might run up to Crested Butte or stop in Aspen via Independence Pass (if open) on the way there from EP. 

If you have time you could go to Telluride (actually it's on the way to Cortez).

On the Million Dollar Highway, you might stop in Ouray and Ridgeway.  Nice pubs there, cute little village.  Get a photo of Silverton too.

In and out of Denver, you might see if there is any show or music at Red Rocks Amphitheater. 

A month from now, know that it can be pretty chilly and snow is still likely.  You should check which roads are open when you plan your route.  I don't think the road to Mt Evans opens until June.

John L 
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Offline skippy

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2021, 07:14:45 PM »
Trail Ridge Road LowRyter is referring to usually won't open until Memorial Day and even then it is a stretch to get it open. So if your plans have you around Estes Park on Memorial Day then I would recommend it. Kind of cool to get a picture of someone standing on the edge of the road where the snowblower came thru and cut a twelve foot wall of snow out of the way.

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Offline GeorgiaGuzzi

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2021, 07:26:36 PM »
Skippy, thanks man! Great routing suggestion.

Trialsman Iíll be sure to check it out. My first job was at the welcome center in Alpine Helen, GA a tourist trap from the word go. However, there were some nice hole in the wall German restaurants so I developed an appreciation for German food.

Lowryter, nice suggestions! I know itís early in the season so snow closures will be a thing, but Iíve got a few more years of dues to pay at work to be able to take prime summer vacation. Also this way hopefully there will be fewer (other) dag-blamed tourists in the way!  :grin:

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2021, 04:55:13 AM »
Do drop Aspen, if you don't HAVE to see the Maroon Bells.
Independence Pass makes for a fine drive, though.

Nice museums in Durango, Montrose (on your route I'd guess), probably other towns as well, if you enjoy museums.

Spend time at the Black Canyon to get the best views, do some hours of hiking



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Offline PJPR01

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2021, 01:26:47 PM »
If you have a chance, visit the Hot Springs in Ouray before driving up to Silverton/Durango.

If you have time, I also recommend Telluride as John did, ride the free Gondola up to Mountain Village, and if you had an extra day, take a jeep ride up Imogene Pass or Ophir Pass, I don't recommend you take your convertible, it won't make it on either.  A hike beyond the falls at the end of the box canyon up to the lake is a wonderful way to stretch your legs as well...you can go up a few of the switchbacks in the convertible and park on the level near the house at the top of the falls.

Colorado has too many choices to rush, I can't wait to get there again in May...will spend 3 weeks there, 2 on vacation, 1 working remotely out of Telluride.

If you have even more time, the ride from Telluride to Gateway and a visit to the car museum is always interesting along a very scenic road as well.

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Offline GeorgiaGuzzi

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2021, 01:46:53 PM »
Thanks. So things are forming up pretty nice. Iím planning on swinging thru Leadville on the drive from Estes Park to Gunnison. Then we can visit Ouray on the way to Cortez from Gunnison. Two days in Cortez will allow visit to telluride. Million dollar Highway on the way to Durango. Great great info guys.

Iíve gone over Independence pass on two wheels. That was the trip we stayed in Aspen. Thatís also the trip when, as we descended from the chilly Independence pass into Pueblo on the way into Kansas and Dodge City that the heat became ungodly! I drank all the water in my camel back in no time and the glue on my left grip melted and I almost pulled my grip off before I realized. My riding partner didnít have a camel back or anything and he got loopy right before we stopped to cool off at a gas station. He rode right over the median curb like it wasnít there and when we stopped he said ďwhat was thatĒ? 😂 I think by the time we got to Dodge city I had drank 4 liters of water and hadnít used the restroom once. Just goes to show sometimes it the unpleasant experiences that turn into fond memories.

Offline LowRyter

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2021, 05:24:59 PM »
Agree with Paul except DON'T rent a Jeep and into those crazy trails.  Scary dangerous, shakes your teeth out and boring to boot.
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Offline Tkelly

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2021, 08:01:31 PM »
BuenaVista has hot springs too.

Offline nc43bsa

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2021, 09:52:59 PM »
If you're going to Durango, make time to go to Four Corners.

While there, you can chase each other through 4 states.  It takes about 20 seconds.   :grin:
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Offline LowRyter

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2021, 09:59:04 PM »
BuenaVista has hot springs too.

I didn't know.  I camped there a few years ago.

BTW-  I wanted to warn the traveler not to speed down HWY 285 from Buena Vista through Poncha Springs.   It's a speed trap.
John L 
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Offline Rich A

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2021, 10:24:15 PM »
You might check out the Strater Hotel in Durango--they have an old time bar, which is quite fun.

Offline PJPR01

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2021, 11:20:45 PM »
You might check out the Strater Hotel in Durango--they have an old time bar, which is quite fun.

...and there's a great bakery called Jean-Pierre's on the corner in Durango very close to the train station you'll be visiting, wonderful baker, great breakfasts and the owner is a great guy to chat with if he's there.

It's my favorite place in Durango since it's my middle name also...hence the JP.

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Offline Guzzistajohn

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2021, 05:35:40 AM »
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Offline LowRyter

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2021, 09:46:09 AM »
Didn't know about the Bucksnort.   I have friends that live near there on the other side of 285.
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Offline nwguy

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2021, 11:04:05 AM »
Have beers/lunch at Handlebars' in Silverton:

https://handlebarssilverton.com/

Drive from Estes Park to Blackhawk on the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway. It's a very entertaining sport bike road.
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Offline Chuck in Indiana

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2021, 05:57:48 PM »
Have beers/lunch at Handlebars' in Silverton:

https://handlebarssilverton.com/

Drive from Estes Park to Blackhawk on the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway. It's a very entertaining sport bike road.

BTDT, too.  :thumb: I've been everywhere, man.. wrote a song about it.
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Offline old head

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2021, 07:53:04 PM »
Dinosaur park is awesome  :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
Estes park, one of the lakes if you wait until almost dark the mountain sheep and goats come down to drink in the lake.  I forget which one, but it was pretty awesome.  there is also a lookout at the top of the one the passes where you can go view rams.  We never saw them but lots of people were talking about it.

Mesa Verde is one my favorites...

Don't forget Pikes Peak....

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Offline GeorgiaGuzzi

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2021, 08:52:28 PM »
Agree with Paul except DON'T rent a Jeep and into those crazy trails.  Scary dangerous, shakes your teeth out and boring to boot.

Well, unfortunately I also love off roading. I sold my lifted Chevy with 37s and solid axles when I got married. However we compromised on a little Jeep that is surprisingly capable. However, we have plenty of trails around here so Iíll stick to pavement on this excursion. 😉

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Offline GeorgiaGuzzi

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2021, 09:42:00 PM »
Weíll be sure to check out the bakery. Sounds awesome!

Wow, another place called bucksnort?! I went thru the one in TN. Thereís probably a possum trot road in CO too!

Thanks for the tip about the speed trap. Iím usually pretty sedate on unfamiliar roads, but speed traps are just that. Traps!

Dinosaur park, check.

Thanks again all.

Offline GeorgiaGuzzi

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Re: Colorado road trip. Help me plan please
« Reply #29 on: May 02, 2021, 07:54:48 AM »
If you are planning on going straight up to Estes Park I have a local's recommendation.
After you get the car and start heading out from the airport Take I-70 to  State Highway 58 which will take you right past the Coors Brewery. Don't stop. It is not worth it. Keep heading west and this road will turn into US 6. Take this on up through Black Hawk and Central City. These are two of the three gambling towns in Colorado so unless you have a keen desire to set cash on fire just keep going. Along the way this road turned into State Highway 119. Keep on it all the way to Nederland. When you get into Nederland there is one traffic circle and you want to take the one that goes left on to State Highway 72 towards Ward. On the other side of Ward you will end up at Highway 7, take a left and follow this through Allenspark and into Estes Park.
I know this seams convoluted but it really is a straight forward road. This drive/ride is called the Peak to Peak and Rocki will be in for some stunning vistas.
I just looked this route up on the map app and it is only about three hours. So depending on the time of day and or day of the week it should make for a nice first days trip.

Skippy
 

Skippy, major props to you dude!!!! We took this route from the airport and it was gorgeous! Thank you so much.

 


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