Expedition Colorado Family Style (GA - CO.)

yeti_in_ga

SE Expedtion Society
I awoke too early to tell what time it was, my heart pounding, mind racing, of all things packed or not packed … ready to go. The sun’s light came trickling thru the curtains as to call out “get up , get up , it’s time to hit the road…” I swung out of bed trying not to disturb the wife and our dog who always thinks of feeding time in the morning not unlike me and my coffee no matter what the time… Anyway, I had laid out my driving attire like I normally do before a big trip the night before so less thinking is in order to get out the door. I gently slipped on my goods and worked my way to get the kiddos stirring around. That’s correct 2 kiddos to be exact, ages 9 and 12 both boys, both somewhat concerned that Dad was taking them away from their summer vacation and friends for the entire month of July.



……..o wait let me back up and explain who is embarking on this Expedition Colorado but first a few words..

As a parent we often take our surroundings for granted and some never take the time to leave that familiar path and experience something new, different and unknown. I think to share this with your family is a gift a blessing upon which they may in turn learn to share it with their own families one day. Creating an appreciation for the outdoors and the confidence needed to continue to experience new things, places and people.

I am often asked by non expo families how do we embark on such an adventure with a somewhat envious look from them. I can tell that they are held back, hung up, frozen by some aspects of their daily life and to them they are a mountain with no visible path to proceed. I take it for granted that I grew up camping, hiking and was in boy scouts which ingrained a can do belief that no matter what the challenge we will get through it and look back and no matter how it went, we have memories or have learned something from those experiences which will pave the way for new adventures.

I by no means am a true explorer but a weekend warrior with an occasional larger adventure trek always completing one and dreaming of the next while I sit at my day job counting the hours and paying the bills. Don't get me wrong I like what I do , but it's the dream of adventure what keeps me going day after day.

It's hard to think that this adventure started long ago , maybe as long as 5 years ago. I was reading here on Expo and became enchanted with the west and in particular Colorado. I just knew I had to do a big trip there with the family and see all the wonderful things and big towering mountains. Experiencing the thin crisp air and indulging in the vast scenery. I had researched that July was a great time to go , most high passes would be open and the wildflowers would be in bloom and create for some spectacular views and pictures. All I needed was to get the time off from work , get my two kids excited about the trip and figure out when the wife would meet us out there.

I can also say that preparation for this trip also start about that same time. I already had a vehicle that I believed in even with 238k on the od. A 1999 100s Land Cruiser which would tow my starcraft r/t offroad popup. I have faith in this truck and set up and a community that supports its members if they have problems or questions. This knowledge and belief keeps me driving a land cruiser and I will surely reach 400k plus miles. Again preparation began long before the trip, I will only talk about one modification that made the world of difference for me and the comfort of my crew. This was a dual battery setup and 60 qt electric cooler/ frig. I have to say without this set up , it would have been very hard to enjoy having to worry about ice, water and food temperatures for a family of four for over 3 weeks.



Anyway back to the story at hand…….

So where was I , yes … the crew and the plan. The crew is made up of me and my two sons for the first leg and the wife who plans on flying out and meeting us at the halfway point before we head to western Co. Our plan was to drive from Ga to Co , pulling our popup camper and camping for over 3 weeks in different areas in CO. For the drive out there I only had two things I was shooting for… Make it to CO alive and not eating any fast food on the way. I planned driving about 9 - 10 hours each day staying at hotels with pools to give the boys something to look forward too and to enjoy once we got there and a quick place to heat food and eat. On the last day of the drive we would be staying about 3 hours from camp right outside of Denver , with that it allowed us to get to camp early in the day (on the third day) and set up and still have time to explore the area. Our first real camp stop would be Estes Park Portal East at the foot of the Rocky Mt National Park.

Next installment "The Drive"
 

unkamonkey

Explorer
I'm not sure I would choose Estes Park as my final destination. I would head to SW CO instead but have a good trip.
 

yeti_in_ga

SE Expedtion Society
The Drive

The Drive:

The Drive:

I will have to say that this is the part that I dreaded the most. I was not sure how everything would work and towing a pop up would not make gas any better. We headed up towards St louis and across to I70 and would come into Denver across the middle part of the US. I was also a little worried about summer storms and kept a close eye on on the weather. I had planned to try and stop at each state's rest area to take a photos , but those thoughts were quickly dashed as my boys did not want to have anything to do with that after the first few stops.



I also found that each day we were traveling the fewer unneeded stops was better as we were losing about a hour a day to gassing up, going pee, and traffic due to road construction. The drive there turned out to be easier than I had thought, I had heard that it was flat and boring but apparently those folks have never been to south Ga. Maybe I was on a Rocky Mt high the entire drive but I relished in the scenery and enjoyed every minute of it. I looked forward to each changing state and that welcome sign some more pronounced than others. I did made a big deal and loud noise like a kid myself for each state we passed into or I just knew we would be stopping at the rest area to pee and stretch our legs. . There were spectacular rolling hills and of course wind mills as far as you could see, how cool is that?. We tried to keep our conversation positive and having my oldest sit in the front with me for part of the trip helped keep the brothers from becoming bored with each other and turning their attention to picking on one another. They also traded time, reading in a book for some limited tablet time (games). Again we picked to stay at hotels on the way out there and packed a small hotel bag so all we had to do is roll up , check in and bring in one bag containing a swimsuit and change of clothes for the next day.. Each day went to plan with catching a quick breakfast at the hotel loading up our bag and topping off the gas tank. I filled up on gas every chance I had as I was concerned about distance between stations in some areas. When in doubt fill it up !! I think there was only one place where I got a little nervous about running out of gas. On a long trip like this you can play around with what might net you better gas MPG. Of course I tried drafting behind simis, keeping at a certain RPM, driving slower , driving faster, and then cruise control which was by far the worst towing a camper !! Anyway , if you're interested in the results I can report back they all stunk, but I did get better MPGs by staying around 70, and keeping the RPMs from spiking which meant slowing down on some inclines down to about 65 then speeding up on the decline. At the end of the day I reserved myself to not care at all about MPG !!



As we left our final stop and headed to our first camping destination I was very excited to finally be in Colorado , you could see mountains off in the distance and I knew every minute brought us closer to what we had driven all that way to see the rocky mountains… We weaved our way past Denver and found ourselves on this wonderful roadway via GPS which turns out to be a toll road, rip off, highway robbery. Maybe it's just me or the thousands of others who have found themselves in this very place passing through only to receive a bill in the mail months later. Bypass this wonderful section of roadway as 20 mins will cost you over 14 bucks… if you're lucky.. Rant over…



Here is the synopsis of where our adventure took us for a month.

> Estes Park - Rocky Mt N. Park
> Colorado Springs, Cheyenne Mountain
> Garden of the Gods
> Pikes Peak
> San Luis State Park
> Sand Dunes N. Park
> Gunnison Black Canyon
> Ridgway State Park
> Ouray
> Telluride
> Durango - Haviland Lake
> Mesa Verde N. Park

Each one of these will be an installment with information links....

Next up Estes Park......
 

RND1

Observer
Looking forward to reading along. You must have been out there about the same time as 100s in the Hills or were you part of HIH7? I drove out from Boston with my 11 yr old daughter and we had a blast. Loved Ouray, Silverton, Telluride, and Durango. On the way home we visited Crested Butte, Aspen, Buena Vista, Leadville, Vail, and then headed north to Nebraska.
 

JandDGreens

Adventurer
I'm not sure I would choose Estes Park as my final destination. I would head to SW CO instead but have a good trip.
Agree, but Rocky mountain national park is were a lot of people go from out of state??? So many people on one road. I hope you have a great trip.
 

userg3

New member
Sub'd.
Sounds like a great plan, look forward to hearing how it went! You made me realize I've got a lot left to check off in CO. I think I've only been to a couple of the places listed, and that was all pre-kids.
> Garden of the Gods
> Pikes Peak
 
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