Our second month of adventuring in Colorado this summer was just as awesome as the first. If you haven’t learned about the campgrounds we stayed at, food we ate or activities we enjoyed in Colorado Springs, Golden and Yellowstone (okay, not exactly Colorado)…read all about it now!
Okay, back to August 2015. August 1st found us in northwest Denver, specifically Wheat Ridge, at Prospect RV Park. The gravel sites are small, but there are full hook-ups at a reasonable price, in a great location. Not only is it a short drive to Golden (one of our new favorite places in the world), but Prospect Lake and miles of walking trails are right behind the park. We loved taking walks there three times a day. Maybe the best thing about Prospect RV Park is the owner, Nancy Laird. She is a sweet heart and went out of her way to take care of us during our visit.
After Prospect, we spent a week at Dakota Ridge RV Resort, technically in Golden (but it doesn’t feel like Golden because it’s a ways from the good stuff). We probably won’t go back to Dakota Ridge because of the value for the price, but we did enjoy the well-maintained swimming pool on a hot summer day!
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is a must-see if you’re in this area! The amphitheatre was beautifully built into the surrounding rocks by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 30’s/early 40’s. Performances date all the way back to the first decade of the 20th century!
Your favorite musician has probably performed at Red Rocks. We’re talking the Beatles, U2, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Sonny & Cher, John Denver, Dave Matthews, Neil Young. Do I need to go on?
What to do there: stop by the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, where you’ll see a cool John Denver exhibit and a gorgeous view off the back veranda. Go up to the Amphitheatre, where you’ll find another small museum (the highlight is a hallway with plaques recording every performance at Red Rocks ever). If you’re so inclined, wear your workout clothes! Locals go to the amphitheatre to run the steps or use them for box jumps and other conditioning exercises. You can access the space for free whenever there isn’t a concert.
Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave is at the top of Lookout Mountain. William Cody, known for his Wild West shows, communicated that he wanted to be buried at this site. For only $5 (adult price), you have access to an informative museum that follows Cody’s life and accomplishments.
I had no idea how much this man did. One of the most fascinating things I learned about was the diverse composition of his traveling band. A photo of his troupe shows American Indians, eastern Europeans, Mexicans and others from all over the world. He accepted people groups who weren’t widely accepted at the time. Can you imagine how much he was able to learn about the far reaches of our globe, long before globalization was a word?
Wait, what happened to Colorado? I can’t help myself. I have to have a proud step-mommy moment to brag on Darius, who graduated from Coast Guard Basic Training in Cape May, NJ on August 21st! Eric and I had an amazing time at his ceremony, and he even wanted to spend his leave with us in New York City. We made precious memories together.
August 26-September 5
Our time in Golden in July wasn’t enough, so we booked more time for August. If you’re going to be in the area, make sure you read about food and activity highlights in our last blog post.
Clear Creek RV Park may be my favorite RV park…not because of its amenities, but because of its location. The bubbling creek right behind the sites is charming, and the 10 minute walk along the creek to main street (and its restaurants, bars, coffee shops and shops) is convenient and fun.
Table Mountain Inn is fun for happy hour and the margaritas are so yummy! And so much happy hour! 2-6 PM and 9-11 PM. The bar and grill area is welcoming with southwest decor, and the outdoor patio gives you a view for people-watching on main street Golden (Washington Ave).
We tried a couple different Chinese restaurants in Golden, but Peking Garden was the best. Located in a strip mall, it’s not much to look at, but the food is delicious and inexpensive. I wish I had some right now! We had the egg rolls, wonton soup, sesame chicken and General Tso’s chicken. All so good. Save money by going during lunch. The prices are better then, but the portions are still huge.
If we hadn’t discovered Thai Gold right before we left town, we would’ve become regulars! The ambiance is charming because the restaurant is located in a refurbished house with stunning original wood fireplaces and relaxing mood music. Another place where everything is delicious, but watch out for the spice scale. Even though it’s on a scale from 1-10, even the 4 was pretty fiery.
The Farmers Market is every Saturday from 8 AM-1 PM. The dates for 2015 are June 6-October 3. This is one of the best farmers markets we’ve been to, with a ton of vendors, food trucks and participating farms of all kinds.
And finally, the event we’ve all been waiting for! The whole reason our 2015 route took us to Colorado was because of my youngest brother Timothy’s wedding. The big day finally came on August 30th, and we enjoyed almost of week of family in town. It was a lot of fun to take my 91 year old grandfather to some of our favorites places like Red Rocks and Woody’s Pizza.
Pueblo West, CO
We’ve been looking forward to our time in Pueblo West, where we are now. Haggard’s RV Campground is on the open plain with a 360 degree view. At least 180 of those degrees are taken up by the beautiful Rocky Mountains. I love it here and would definitely come back, especially when I need a break from traffic and noise.
Bingo Burger in Pueblo was just what the doctor ordered after a long day at Great Sand Dunes National Park (more on that below). We met the friendly owner Richard Warner, who was proud of the fact that he knows where all of his ingredients come from. We appreciate that, and enjoyed Colorado beef (burgers) and potatoes (fries) out on the patio, with live music playing in the background.
Richard’s wife owns a bakery down the street, and we ended the meal right with one of her delicious raspberry milkshakes!
The Colorado State Fair is among the top 10 state fairs in the country, per USA Today. We arrived in Pueblo at just the right time to catch 4-H displays, huge belt buckles, funnel cake, mariachi music…and to not go on those spinny-dippy rides that inexplicably appeal to people of younger ages.
How to describe Bishop’s Castle? One eccentric man built a legitimate castle, stone by stone, in the middle of the mountains…and he may not be done yet. With no entrance fee, roam the grounds and the castles. Climb to the spires of the castle and see the dragon’s head. You’ll probably never see anything like this.
We wouldn’t have known about Great Sand Dunes National Park were it not for our friends Dan and Lisa Brown of RV Liberty. We day tripped to the national park with them this past Saturday. Who knew there were 30 miles of sand dunes, towering up to 700 miles high, in the middle of Colorado?? These are the tallest dunes in North America. In an hour, Dan and I hiked up and down dunes through soft sand to the highest peak. It was a tough hike, especially with the altitude.
But the peak made everything worth it. Once we were up there, the whole park opened up to us, and we could see dunes for miles, skirted by the mountains. It was so much fun running down the dunes on the way back! Others had sleds they used for unique recreational enjoyment.
Royal Gorge Bridge is an hour from our campground in Pueblo West, and it’s one of the highest suspension bridges in the world. Sometimes we take spontaneous trips without a lot of planning, so we didn’t know until we got there that it costs $23 to walk on the bridge. A view other things are included in general admission, like a trip across the gorge in a gondola. (Note: You can save $2 online.)
We opted to save $46. There are a number of scenic outlooks that give you a good view of the bridge and the gorge below. Good enough for us!
Since it was only early afternoon when we got done at the Gorge, we gave in to billboard advertising and detoured to Florence, CO. What fun! This small town of only 4,000 people is antique heaven. What used to be a wealthy mining town has somewhere around 20 antique shops, and they’re all fabulous antique shops. I may or may not have told Eric that they tempted me to buy a house. Sacrilege.