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Our Crazy Road Trip (long)

Jann in TX

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Most years we drive to Colorado (from central Texas) for our 'summer vacation'.  FIL lives there part time (summers/fall) and we usually get a VRBO or AirBB nearby.  It is beautiful once there but the drive there is BORING.  The first day we are still in Texas and it is FLAT-- just plain boring driving.  The last few hours (17 hour trip) usually start getting interesting.  This summer dd had enrolled at an Anatomy Camp at Colorado State University in Ft Collins.  We decided to pack our 'vacation' on but we were not looking forward to the BORING drive there and back along with the 4 days in a car with few stops of interest.

SOOO DH took a look at his miles and points (he travels some for work) and suggested we fly out this year.  DD and I schemed an additional plan that had us flying to California and then driving to Colorado from that direction.  She also wanted to visit as many State and National Parks as possible!

We had a BLAST-- and would very much like to repeat our adventure-- but take at least 2 weeks instead of one. 

Our flight to CA was delayed enough that we had to scramble at the airport and find an alternate flight-- found one that was direct and took last 3 seats.  Problem Solved-- just a 1 hr delay.

Got in at 1am on Tuesday.  Tuesday we met up with one of my former students (a friend of dd) and went to Muir Woods-- a favorite childhood place of mine.  We walked/hiked a few miles.  That evening we went to San Francisco and walked around  (another few miles!) and saw a beautiful sunset over the bay from one of the piers....

Wednesday we drove south on HW 1 and had lunch on the Santa Cruz boardwalk then drove down to Monterrey (stopping several times to walk around some beaches and take pictures)- we spent the afternoon at the aquarium then back in the car and started driving East.  We spent the night just outside of Yosemite.

Up early Thursday we got an awesome parking spot in Yosemite and did a great hike to Mirror Lake.  We did a lot more walking (again a beautiful day!) then we drove east through the park.  We drove over a flooded low water crossing while exiting the park (scary but police were directing cars over it) then headed for Bishop, CA our stop for the night.  About 50 miles out of Bishop we turned a sharp corner (it was also raining and very dark outside) and DH drove over a small boulder from a landslide.  The rental car drove OK but we knew there was some damage to the underside (huge piece of plastic torn off).  As soon as we pulled into Bishop and our motor inn all of the transmission fluid poured out!  No rental cars for 200 miles.  No Uber or Lyft or even limo service available for 3 days. We took our only option and rented a 26ft UHAUL and drove that to Las Vegas (closest place to get a new rental-- and fortunately on our planned driving route (except we had not planned a stop there!).  The UHAUL was brand new and we barely fit across the bench seat-- but it got the job done!

Friday 5 hour drive to Vegas was 'fun' and we got a new rental car and started driving north-- after dinner DD noticed that she left her Ipad in the UHAUL so we drove back down south-- luckily they had not locked the door and Ipad was safely retrieved.  This detour proved fortunate because as soon as we started driving again we noticed the check engine light was on in the rental.... back to the Vegas airport to get vehicle number 4 (at least car rental place was only 10 minutes away!).

Our next destination was Zion National Park-- we missed the sunset at Zion-- and drove through some beautiful country in pitch dark-- but we made our  scheduled destination for the night (amazingly!).  Saturday we went to Zion-- it was more than crowded.  We decided to just drive through the park instead (breath taking!!) and we were able to do a nice picnic and some short hikes along the way.  We continued driving and made it to Avon, Colorado for the night. 

Sunday we made it to Ft Collins, CO in time for a nice lunch at a favorite restaurant and get dd checked into her camp-- she hopped out of the car and never looked back!  DH and I stayed the night in town-- exhaustion was setting in!

Monday we drove to Estes Park to meet friends for lunch-- then spent afternoon in Boulder walking around the shops.  After dinner we went to an AWESOME Chris Tomlin concert at Red Rocks... so add another few miles of walking and TONS of stairs.

Tuesday DH and I had a nice lunch in down town Denver then found a great little park just north of the airport to walk/hike a few miles at.  It was a wetland conservation area so there were tons of birds--and very few people.  We were surprised at how much we liked it.

Our flight out was at night-- plane left on time but just after pulling away from the gate we were delayed 2 HOURS due to some thunderstorms in the area.  We were home by 1am on Wednesday.

It was an adventure-- so many beautiful things to see and MILES to walk/hike.  I held up pretty well too-- last month I had another bad fall and messed up my right knee-- so I've been in PT for both my shoulder (recent rotatory cuff repair) and my knee.  I faithfully used my walking stick and was able to keep up with DH and dd.-- AMAZINGLY we all kept our cool throughout the delays and unexpected detours.  Lots of good memories we can look back on and laugh about!

Today I'm downloading our photos and will start making a photo-book/journal of our adventure.

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That part about renting the Uhaul made me laugh so hard.  Great problem solving skills I would say.  

Last October Dh and I did the whole SF,  Monterrey aquarium, Santa Cruz thing.  We were at a family reunion based in San Jose.  I loved the area.  So beautiful.  

Edited by Scarlett
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