In Search of Cooler Temps

I know it’s Southeast Wanderers, but dang.  It’s been a HOT summer and instead of baking in the wet heat that is Alabama in August, I decided to head somewhere with some elevation.  So, I took Calamity Jane (previously Story!) and Theory on a road trip.  This was our first trip sans Paycheck AND Journey, both stayed home to punch the clock.  I am ever grateful and ever a little guilty for that fact-that Paycheck funds way more adventures than he goes on.  But we both agree getting the kids exposed to as many new things as possible is vital for their growth and since I need to be there to fend off marmots, I get to go, too!

The trip we took lasted 2 weeks and we went through Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, back through Missouri and across Arkansas and Mississippi on the way home on a kind of whirlwind tour because a true visit would require months.  Missouri is HUGE.  I think 20 hours of the drive was in that one state.  We camped most nights and stayed in AirBnB houses 4 nights.  Here’s a link to check them out, it’s $35 off the first night and I get some type of credit as well.  If you want to try them, might as well get us both a discount!

Our first stop of any length was in Colorado, we stayed at 2 different houses and camped at Golden Gate Canyon State Park.  We swam at the El Dorado spring fed pool (which was REALLY COLD) and toured Celestial Seasonings in Boulder, went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, hiked all around Boulder, ate Hatch Valley chili cheese fries and custard at Good Burger, which is a CO based business and a local told me people from Colorado don’t eat there!, and enjoyed the mountains from a distance.  Golden Gate Canyon was at 10,000 feet and from there, the snow capped Rockies were visible in the distance. We opted to skip them this trip, Colorado was busy.  Trails and towns alike were full of people and we are very much arms-length type people.  I understand that’s the lifestyle there, very active!  But after 4 days, we’d had enough rubbing elbows and Wyoming was calling.

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A couple shots from Golden Gate Canyon State Park.
It rained off and on the first day and then hailed!  It flattened my tent (not hard, it’s a Marmot Amp 3 and I don’t recommend it!) and the hail quickly melted on the flat tent and ran in under the rain fly.  My sleeping pad was bobbing when I unzipped the fly to check the damage.  But the park had laundry just across the road from our campsite and I was able to put the tent and my sleeping bag in the dryer.  hahaha

What I did like: laundry! Views!  Trails!  Quiet time was mostly quiet.

What I did not like: it’s $7 to go into the park, then $20 to camp with no power or water and then they charge $1 for every 4 minutes of shower time.  The change machines are in the bathrooms by the sinks.  It took me a while to find them because you’d think they would be in the laundry area and my brain sees any dispensing machines in the bathrooms as tampon dispensers!  Laundry is $1.50 a load, which is pretty standard.
The campsites were really close together with not much in the way of privacy.  We were the only campers in our little loop, but we could still hear spoken conversations from nearby sites, especially those uphill.
There’s no stopping people from coming in after the office closes (at 4) and setting up, which meant folks showed up through the night, some setting up then taking down and leaving before they opened up again at 8.  I do prefer a campground host or at least a gate.

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The view of the capital from the museum.  We got in free using our local science center pass!  We saved more on those tickets than the pass cost in the first place.  That’s one of my best money saving tips for travel with kids-ALWAYS get a science and zoo pass!
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El Dorado Pool, open Mem-Labor Day  $10 each, though AFTER I paid I was told you can go to the bottling operation nearby and ask for a free pool pass.  grr

It’s supposed to be heated to 80 degrees, but it didn’t feel that warm!  It was too cold after our 38 degree night and we only swam 45 minutes or so.  We did take advantage of the hot showers in the changing area, I bet we got our $30 there.  hahaha!  This would be awesome in hot weather and the slide was fun, if a little (lot) terrifying.  There’s no ‘landing’ at the top and it’s 15 feet high.  One must negotiate from the ladder to sitting with nothing to hold on to, water pouring down the slide the whole time.  I managed it once.  I am not as fearless as I was at 17!

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The various hikes in the Boulder Open Spaces were amazing!  We by no means hit them all and all we did hit were full of locals.  I can see why Coloradans love hiking. who wouldn’t with all the state and national parks, city parks, trails and open spaces available.

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