Welcome to Estes Park! A much better experience.

So I lost my blog streak. Maybe I’ll start just blogging what comes to me, when it comes to me.  It’s fine, I didn’t have anything to say, and I made it all the way through June, which was my original goal.  And contrary to what I thought earlier, I did actually have a post on June 1st.  I know that was probably keeping you up at night. SUCCESS!

This week’s Farewell Colorado tour for Moonshine  took us to Rocky Mountain National Park and we brought Tenderheart’s friend Rian and Moonshine’s boyfriend Beaux.

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We still haven’t figured out how to get to Red Rocks when they’re open, but I think we’re going to try one more time before she leaves on August 9th.  And just know I’m not the only one with a complaint.  My sister had friends who came to Red Rocks last weekend and couldn’t get in because of a concert.  I’m telling you, it’s frustrating.  Oh, and have you heard Moonshine’s going to college in Oklahoma?  I’m only going to talk about it 99 more times.

So we started at Estes Park, and it goes without saying, it’s beautiful.  It’s a cute little mountain town and the only way to get to Rocky Mountain National Park, more on this in a minute.  Moonshine’s had a couple of choir retreats there at the YMCA of the Rockies and we love it.  Cute little mom and pop shops, the Stanley Hotel, all the Christmas stores you need, matching shirts, free parking, basically everything you’d ever want in a town.

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Side note: My best friend Heather holla! took Tenderheart and I to the Stanley Hotel last summer.

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 She got a Groupon and we stayed the night and did some ghost hunting.  They have The Shining going on a channel the whole night.  They really play up the ghost thing.  We didn’t experience anything, but it’s such an amazing place and the only time I’ve been able to stay there.  We went to dinner at this little local place and walked out looking for ice cream.  We stopped at a jewelry place and asked if there was a cute little ice cream shop around and she said, “There’s a Dairy Queen on the corner.”  Ummmmm…that’s like asking for a quaint little coffee shop and being sent to Starbucks.  The sad thing is that the line at that Dairy Queen was out the door, but we found another ice cream shop.  Also, something to know about Estes Park is that it supports so many moms and pops.  I can’t imagine going there and supporting a chain when you know so many people are relying on the tourism.

Which brings me back to the route through Estes.  Apparently, the county or someone wants to make it easier to get to Rocky Mountain National Park by having people go on a loop around the town instead of going through the main street of Estes Park.  Yes, it would be so much easier to get there without the traffic, but it would also take the people off their main street, thus the tourists, and the businesses are fighting it.  Almost every store there had a No Loop sign in the window and a website to find out why.  I looked it up after the last choir retreat because I was curious.  A part of me hopes they don’t get it passed.

So we left Estes and drove to Rocky Mountain National Park.

I hadn’t been there in years, like probably since before I had kids.  I haven’t done a great job of showing my kids this amazing state and I’m trying to cram it all in these last few weeks of all of them living here.  It was $20 for a day pass to get in and we almost turned around because that was a lot, but I went ahead and bought the pass and away we went.  We got a map and immediately started trying to find Tenderheart a bathroom.  We call her TB because she has a tiny bladder, but I don’t complain too much because after having three kids, I rarely pass a bathroom I don’t use.

We started driving up and it’s really hard to drive and look at all the scenery.  Then we saw these Jeep tours and I wished I could’ve afforded that because then everyone gets to look and it’s in the back of an open air Jeep.  It was cool.  I managed to keep in on Trail Ridge Road and we got to over 12,000 feet above sea level, and we went all the way to the top and then turned around to come back through Estes to go home.  I felt the altitude when we got out to hike a little.  I walked halfway up a hill and said, Nope, I’ll wait for you in the car.  It also dropped 20 degrees at the top and it was cold.  But gorgeous.  This is really God’s country and I’m so glad we saw that before she leaves.  Next week is Manitou Springs or Old Colorado City or both if you’re around.

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