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Published: July 26th 2012
And it starts... but she is only 8!!!!
Last night we went to sleep early, slept in until 7am and had a Reagan French Toast breakfast that couldn't be beat. After saying farewell to our friends, we headed off towards the Rocky Mountains West of Denver. On they way, We opted to drive through Longmont, where Tony's uncle used to live. Not a lot has changed in the last 25 years, and the town looks just as lovely as ever. Tony didn't know the address, but recognized some landmarks as we drove through, and guessed which neighborhood the house was in. (later, he verified that he was right). We chose to go side-streets to avoid Denver traffic, and turned onto I-70 just before it started to climb into the mountains.
The Rocky mountains are beautiful, and big. In sharp contrast to the gradual buildup of the Sierra Nevada west face, the Eastern Rockies rise suddenly and drastically, seen from a hundred miles away on the horizon.
We chose to camp at the KOA Denver West. On the big map, it doesn't look that far off from I-70. When you zoom in, you notice that you have to go 9 miles out on another highway, then drive PAST
Views were amazing
the KOA for more than a mile and return on smaller side streets. Strange, but not unprecedented. When we actually got there, we found that the 9 miles was up (and down) a series of 8% grades. The reason that we drove past the KOA is because someone had convinced the keepers of the road to remove the turnoff, put up a fence and impassable rocks and force people to drive through town, right by the casino.... hrmm... wonder who could have made that happen.
The KOA was really nice. Many of the sites had cement pads for the RVs, and there were smallish (but growing) trees for shade. The tent sites were nicely secluded in the trees as well. This KOA had 2 indoor hot tubs and a nice rec room. We showered quickly and then headed off to join our Cousins at Copper Mountain resort.
On the way to Copper Mountain (about 50 miles), we passed through a very long tunnel through a mountain. In the middle of the tunnel, we passed the Continental Divide (in case you don't remember, the continental divide is where rain falling to the west goes to the pacific ocean and
KOA Denver West
Nice Cement pad spaces, shade trees, and hot tubs!
to the east goes to the atlantic (or gulf). We passed it going east in New Mexico.) We also passed a number of resort towns with a lot of housing, but strangely, no RV parks (we looked).
Tony's cousin Leslie (and her siste Alyse) work at Copper mountain, and were able to get us VIP passes, which means we could go on any of the activities as often as we want. We went on bungee tramplines, go carts (very fast), rock climbing, zip line, ski lift (to 12,000 feet), and bumper boats. We ate at one of the resort restaurants (great burger and fried green beans). While we were there, there were storm clouds all around us. While it did not rain on us at Copper, there were storm clouds all around and lots of lightning. Some of the activities had to close for a short time (you know, those that stick up high, or are made of metal).
After dinner, we drove back to the KOA with the Cousins. Those storm clouds decided to burst on us as we were driving, dumping a LOT of water on the roads and making driving very difficult. Leslie said that
Michelle on the bungee... she managed a backwards flip.... proud dad!
was the worst rain and flooding she had ever seen on that road, and she has lived in the area for a while.
After a nice soak in the hot tub, and some Cousin play time, we called it a night and prepared for a very long driving day tomorrow.
Tony's Trailering Tips: Make sure you research not only the distances and route you are going to travel, but also the elevation changes.
Anne's Anecdotes: Resort activities ($$) are much more fun when they are FREE! (thank you Leslie).
Michelle's Musings: Some places have activies for both summer AND winter.
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