Preparing for road trip

Published: June 29th 2013
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Denver to Rifle Falls State Park

The planned route from Denver to Rifle Falls State Park via Buena Vista, Independence Pass, Aspen, Glenwood Springs and Rifle, Colorado.

Saturday June 22 – It has been a busy few days. I have invested most of yesterday and today in updating my trips in my blog and in doing homework on a trip I am planning for next week. To me a weekend is when you stay home because it is crowded everywhere, unless there is a special event locally I wish to attend. Denver has something going on every weekend. When I was younger I probably would have gone to most of them, but nowadays I tend to avoid crowds.

Sunday June 23 – I’ve been up since 7AM doing homework on my planned trip wandering around the mountains a bit next week. The plan is to go southwest out of Denver on 285 to Buena Vista and then North on Hwy 24 till I reach the turnoff onto Hwy 82 to Aspen. Hwy 82 goes over Independence Pass and while being a bit challenging is stunningly scenic. It has several National Forest Service campgrounds in the surrounding National Forest all along the way.

When I get to Aspen I will check out the Maroon Bells near Aspen again and I will continue on Hwy 82 to Glenwood Springs where I will take I-70 West to Rifle. From there I will go North on Hwy 325 to Rifle Falls State Park. Of course I will be stopping constantly to check out things along the way. When I get to Rifle Falls State Park I will see how things look as far as maybe going to Steamboat Springs on the way back or just heading back to Denver.

The weather here in Denver is pretty nice. It does get hot during the day but in the late afternoon it cools off and with the low humidity it is quite pleasant.

One good thing about Colorado, it gets cool every evening, night, and morning so I can open the windows and let fresh air into the house every day. The only time it is hot is a few hours in the middle of the day and we just run the air for those few short hours. I like my air fresh and cool and the nearby mountains seem to provide us with that every day,

Except of course those few short hours in the middle of the day. This is really nice when camping out as it is comfortably cool in the evenings, and doesn’t stay wretchedly hot and humid all night as it does in Texas.

I prepared some items for my trip today. I always have some of those 16.9 ounce water bottles frozen in my freezer. I have a soft sided “Polar Bear Cooler” ice chest which I bought online years ago and it has held up splendidly.

They are very thickly insulated and keep things cool much longer than standard coolers. They are a bit expensive but well worth it because they are so durable and well insulated, plus being soft sided they can be crammed into a space between stuff while loading the vehicle.

I buy Ozarka or Arrowhead 3 Liter bottles and refill them as I go along. These provide me with drinking water for refilling my 16.9 oz. bottles as well as washing up or dishwashing water when needed (although I rarely cook and use paper plates) . I refill the 3 liter bottles at the Potable water source in most campgrounds. These bottles are also durable and last a long time when refilled. Their screw on lids don’t leak or pop off.

I almost never cook when traveling because dishwashing is such a bore. I didn't travel all this way to wash dishes ! Usually I cook a baked potato in a microwave using a paper plate. Some people wrap it in foil afterwards but this is just one more thing to worry about. I just cook them a bit longer till my fork goes in them easily.

When I stay in a motel I cook oatmeal in the microwave using a 7 cup Pyrex container.I have to keep an eye on it to keep it from "boiling over" and making a mess. So I have to turn the microwave off and let it settle down and then start it again from time to time till the oatmeal is ready.

I take ½ gallon of milk, and fill up some of those tough 2 cup Rubbermaid Take Alongs with soft butter, cottage cheese, yogurt, and sliced or diced peaches. I’ve tried to take them in their original containers before but they always open up in the somewhat rough handling they get. Those 2 cup Rubbermaid Take Alongs are pretty tough and have screw on lids that stay shut. And they last forever. They are also useful as cereal bowls or for heating soup in a microwave as they are microwave safe.

Note: I just bought some more of those 2 cup Rubbermaid Take Alongs and notice right away that the sides are thinner and I can push them in a bit while on the older ones I could not. Hopefully they will hold up as well as the older ones. We shall see. Just another one of those stupid "we are using less plastic" deals. I don't care if you use more plastic, I want something that will hold up in the real world! But in any case they have screw on lids still which will keep them from popping open as a standard butter or yogurt container almost always does.

I also take a pound of cheese which I slice up half of and put into a pint ziplock or ziplock sandwich bag for eating with Ritz crackers. I put the unsliced portion of the cheese into my ice chest and keep the portion that is sliced out and under a cover and out of the sun for snacking. Cheese taste so much better at room temperature.

Since I bring milk I also bring along some Raisin Bran cereal and Grape Nuts for breakfast or a late evening meal. I also like milk with every meal. As I use up the larger milk container I put the remaining portions in those 16.9 water bottles for later use and to conserve space in my ice chest. When I refill them with milk I always discard them after.

When I pack my ice chest right before I go I add at least 6 frozen water bottles or as many as I can get in my ice chest. These keep my food cool and then after they thaw out provide me with cold drinking water along the way. This works much better than ice as ice gets everything wet.

I usually camp out but if I stay in a motel along the way I refreeze my water bottles or freeze others. I buy my water by the case at Wal Mart or Sams. In the southwest having water available to drink is a necessity. I like the 16.9 oz bottles because they fit in my pocket and if I walk up to a waterfall or overlook I can always have some water to drink. Also I can refill them with Orange Juice or Milk as the original containers get used so that these items take up less space in my ice chest. Sometimes I fill up some of them with Orange juice before I leave and freeze them so they help keep things cool but also provide me with cold Orange Juice along the way after they thaw out.

Also I refill my 16.9 oz. bottles with water and mark the top with a Sharpie fine point marker to show that they are refills. That way a case last a long time. I reuse or discard them as is most convenient at the time, but they hold up well and last a long time and since I am the only one using them I don’t need to be concerned about “germs”. Still if I was sharing them I could put my “W” (for William) on mine and the other person could put their initial with a fine point sharpie marker on theirs. I always put my initial on the top of them with a fine point sharpie marker before I refill them in any case so I know it is a refill and to drink them first before opening another.

Generally while traveling I eat breakfast at MacDonalds because their coffee is pretty good and refills free, but mainly because they have free Wifi that is pretty good. I have some earphones that I use if I end up next to some stupid person discussing his political opinion in public. When you consider that almost every election is 49%!t(MISSING)o 50%!d(MISSING)iscussing ones political opinion in public is pretty stupid because it is sure to annoy half the people in the room no matter what it is.

Those people really, really, really, need to get a life and stop worrying about something completely out of their control such as politics.

But I digress. Usually if it is convenient I will eat my main meal in the early afternoon at some restaurant or a Golden Corral if I can find one. I like Golden Corral because it provides an excellent salad bar as well as a large selection of most every kind of food. I drink water with the meal so as to hold down cost. It is very reasonable priced when you consider that you can “pig out” and eat more than enough for the entire day.

Sometimes I pick up some chicken and potato salad at the deli section of a supermarket during the day and this works well for a nice meal in a picnic area and later again in the evening for supper.

I hope this information helps someone who would like to be clued in on how to prepare for a road trip and hold down cost along the way. I am posting it as useful information from someone who has “been there and done that’.


30th June 2013

Gearing up
Sounds like you've done your research and are ready to head over the pass. We love the drive around Aspen, Glenwood Springs and over to Steamboat Springs. Such a beautiful part of the country. We are like you in that we like sleeping with the windows open. Happy travels.
30th June 2013

Helpful info. Thanks!
3rd July 2013

You're very welcome.
You're very welcome. I try and write my blogs so others can gain from my experiences : )

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