We bid the Ute Trail Motel a fond farewell, and returned to the County Seat Grill for breakfast. Fortunately, the ingredients for breakfast (eggs, pancakes, English muffins, coffee...) hadn't run out. We ate quickly and took US40 East to US34 East, heading for...
Rocky Mountain National Park, a continuation of our Honeymoon Trip Redux. We enjoyed a pleasant day; though the weather shamans had predicted rain, it didn't hit until we were well out of the mountains.
We were, of course, treated to beautiful views in the ever-changing landscape; areas were reminsicent of Yellowstone, but there were far fewer wildflowers and we saw very few animals.
We stopped at the Alpine Visitor Center to buy trinkets and postcards... and a snack for the boys. Katherine, who actually read
the Visitor Center exhibit placards, was thence able to enlighten the rest of the family with such facts as the information that one type of large wildflower only blooms every 10-20 years
, and that the reason the trees only had limbs and leaves on one side because of the wind and harsh weather blowing on them.
At the Rock Cut Turnout we walked up a little way, and a friendly fellow tourist took our picture.
The mountains were, of course, massive, beautiful, breathtaking, and all those other words that people use to inadequately describe mountain grandeur. Katherine was particularly taken with the name of one range: The Never Summer Mountains.
The ground squirrels were adorable. And quick! It was hard to get a photo of one sitting still.
We were all excited that we got to see a real live marmot. They're a type of squirrel, I think. Whatever they are, they are SO CUTE. But cute, you know, in that "touch me and I'll bite your arm off" kind of way.
We exited the park on US34 East and drove through the downtown of Estes Park, which we had visited in the fall of 2000. We stopped for lunch at Village Pizza, at the intersection of US34 and US36. We ordered a large pizza with mushrooms and half onion/half black olive. It was pretty tasty.
We followed US36 East through Boulder and into Denver where we got onto I-25 South. As soon as we got onto I-25, the traffic was horrible. It was only 3:30 so I don't know if it's this way all of the time, but it's enough to make me not want to consider Denver as a future place to live.
We crawled down I-25 to Colorado Springs, where we stopped to have dinner at Boston Market. Katherine had the three piece dark chicken dinner, Chris had the 1/4 chicken dark special, Steven had meat loaf and Andrew had macaroni. After dinner the traffic was a little better, so we got back on I-25 and headed just south of Colorado Springs to the Colorado Springs KOA near the town of Fountain, Colorado.
The Colorado Springs KOA, our evening destination, was almost as hopping a joint as the one in South Dakota. This one was cleaner and better laid out, but the attractions were a tad weedy. The cabins actually had card keys instead of a wooden latching bar, which just felt weird. Also, a guy on a golf cart led us to cabin K6 because, apparently, there was some fear that we might not be canny enough to count up six cabins from the office.
The boys hit the playground, and after a while we wandered down to the game room. There was a family movie, but we weren't interested in Harry Potter, and the ice-cream social boasted neither evident ice cream nor sociality, so we retired to write postcards, chatter, and basically pretend we were in the 1920s with, inexplicably, an Internet connection.