We knew we’d end our RV adventure in Colorado — our rig was due to be returned on July 8 in Denver. We also knew there were a couple friends we wanted to visit near Boulder but we weren’t sure how much time we’d have. A couple days before departing Utah, we booked a rental car so we could extend our stay in Colorado by a few days which worked out great.
Time to kill.…where should we go? How about… Telluride!
Moab was terrific… but we needed to check-out of our AirBnB and we had an extra day to spend somewhere in Colorado before we were due to return the RV in Denver. Who knew… but our Via Ferrata guide was a big fan of Telluride– and told us about the amazing Via Ferrata there– so, on a bit of a whim, we chose to drive 150 miles out of the way for a quick one night stop in Telluride!
The drive there was incredibly scenic. Telluride is a charming little town located in the valley between two peaks. We stayed at a ski lodge on the mountain, which required gondola access to the town. COVID precautions were really present here — a number of amenities at the lodge were closed including the hotel pool and bike rental. But it was beautiful and Joe & I (not the kids so much) enjoyed walking through and exploring the town.
Goodbye to the Monster.
One nice thing about the RV was that– with it parked right outside our house before we left– it was SO EASY to load it up with anything we thought we might need for 3 weeks! So… we had a reasonable amount of travel and camping gear in the RV which we did not want to take with us the rest of our trip. (Would Disneyworld let us put up a slackline? Um… no.) We had planned to both (a) ship some stuff home (pre-labeled boxes!) and (b) find a shelter to donate some of the useful items we had with us … so we found a men’s homeless center in Denver which was very grateful to receive our pillows, sheets, blankets, sleeping bags, unopened food and water. I think the RV rental folks should formalize this!
With donating and shipping out of the way .. we shed a tear and turned in the RV. We’d covered a total of 3400 miles from Seattle to Denver … and with that we transitioned to our “phase 2 vehicle” — a Tahoe SUV. After driving the RV for 3 weeks, the Tahoe felt like a Ferrari!
Rocky Mountain High… hello, Orris Family!
We stopped for lunch on Boulder, a town we’d visited once before and really enjoyed. Then we drove an hour to visit the Orris’ family– friends we’d met the last time we voyaged on Semester at Sea, 5 years ago. They’ve invested years of love and effort into renovating a rustic-but-beautiful ranch way up in the Rockies… and we were thrilled to join them for a 3 night stay which we enjoyed immensely. The ranch is extraordinarily beautiful and peaceful … with 200+ acres of trees, seven small lakes and wildlife.
We all left our visit to their ranch with different highlights.
- Me – hikes/walks
- Joe – early morning sighting of a moose .. Close enough for good photos!
- Girls – driving UTV
- Alexander – shooting hoops and guns (!)
Each day we took a different hike/walk around the gorgeous lakes and had opportunities to fish (both fly and regular). I hooked my first fish via fly fishing one evening. And Sydney caught a large 18″ trout one afternoon. Joe woke up early one morning and was super excited to see a moose which actually started walking closer to him. He assumed he was safe because there was water between the moose and him (thankfully, there were no issues). Later he was informed the moose could have easily run — or swam– through the water to attack him if it wanted. And the girls were thrilled to have the opportunity to drive the 4-wheel UTV – thankfully no crashes.
Particularly interesting — there is a HUGE workshop on the property. In addition to tools and machinery, it has a golf sim (Jay, an avid golfer, Alexander and I used the sim to play a new course one afternoon), pop-a-shot (Sydney’s fav) and a full size basketball hoop inside which Alexander loved (it was hot outside while we were there).
One afternoon, we all had a fun and unique opportunity to shoot a couple different guns – a .22 which had been handed down from their grandpa and a Glock 9mm. Amos, who helps out around the property, happens to be a competitive shooter and provided us with excellent instruction. It turns out we all have pretty good aim, although I’m sure the fancy sight he had on his Glock helped. I was quite surprised by the power of the Glock handgun.
On our return to Denver to fly to Tampa, we stopped to visit the Hebl family for an evening. Like the Orris family, we met the Hebl family on Semester at Sea — Mikki was a professor on the ship. Early in the voyage, I was told she was a superstar prof so I chose to sit in on her classes – Social Psychology and Psychology of Gender (Joe joined me for this class too). Mikki had run marathons in all 50 states and 6 countries (missing Africa). On our voyage, Joe walked/ran a marathon with her aboard the ship while we were docked in Ghana waiting to clear immigration/customs. We all really enjoyed catching up with the Hebl family in person.
We had a lovely week in Colorado, with beautiful wildilfe, gorgeous scenery… and visiting great friends. Next stop… Florida and (cross-our-fingers) … Puerto Rico! But, we have to pass a COVID test first. Stay tuned!