Denver Road Trip 2018

We are back home after a quick road trip to Denver, Colorado! It’s so nice to be home, but I wish we’d had a little bit more time in the Mile High City. We are definitely going back!

The whole point of this trip was to visit my grandpa, who I hadn’t seen since I was 8. I remember telling my mom last year how we should go visit him sometime, and when she told me she would love that, I basically planned the trip on the spot! I knew we would have an 8 month old, and I knew that the husband wouldn’t want to fly with a baby, so I planned a quick road trip around the 4th of July, so we would get an extra day off of work without using vacation time. (Since the 4th is on a Wednesday this year.) After I got the ball rolling on plans, my brothers quickly wanted to jump on board. I found us a house in the Denver area that would fit us all, and we all had a great time. Let’s recap, shall we?

We left on Thursday at 4 am! (Well, more like 4:30.) We knew that with the time change, if we wanted to get ourselves anywhere at a decent time, we’d need to leave early. Plus, I wanted Milly to sleep as much as possible in the car. I was super nervous of how long trips in the car with her were going to go! We met my parents at the gas station, picked up some last minute snacks, and left town just as it was getting light outside. (We caravan-ed the whole way in two cars – me, Marty, Milly, my parents, my younger brother, and my niece & nephew.) Milly was asleep by 6 am, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

We drove through Washington, crossed over into Oregon, and stopped at Starbucks in Pendleton for a much needed second dose of caffeine. Milly fell back asleep after we left, and we drove straight through to Boise, Idaho. One of my best friends lives here, so we grabbed sandwiches at Subway and met her at a park for lunch and a visit. This stop was a must because she hadn’t met Milly yet!

We continued driving through to Utah, until we made it to our day 1 destination – Salt Lake City. We grabbed food (In N Out) and headed to our hotel. We were exhausted but still got into swimsuits and made use of the heated pool. I was dying to take Milly swimming, and she loved it!

Spending the night in SLC was supposed to be our opportunity to recharge for the remainder of the drive to Denver. Well – that did not happen. Milly wouldn’t sleep for longer than 45 minutes, and finally she was up at 2 am, as wide awake as I’d ever seen her. After trying our hardest to get her back to sleep, around 3 am I finally threw in the towel. I looked at Marty and said, “I feel like we’re just wasting time. If we’re not sleeping, we should be driving.” So, I called my mom who was in the next room over and let her know we were going to pack up and hit the road early. I gave them the option to stay and just catch up with us later, but they decided to just leave early too. Thankfully we found a Starbucks that opened at 4 am, and we stopped to grab coffees. We were all so tired! 

Of course, Milly fell asleep right away in the car, and I fell asleep for about 30 minutes as Marty navigated us out of SLC. After my little catnap, I drank my coffee while the sky was lightening up. I think parts of Utah are so pretty, so I was happy to be enjoying the view with my coffee – even though I was so tired.

At around 9 we stopped for food in a random town, and I grabbed another coffee. When we crossed over into Colorado, the landscape changed almost immediately – it was awesome! You guys, I can’t even begin to tell you how gorgeous Colorado is! Ahhhhh. I was just in awe driving through it. So many varying landscapes, giant mountains, beautiful rivers with rafters enjoying the sunshine, and everything else in between. (I’M GOING BACK, I TELL YOU!)

We stopped in Rifle, CO for a break and let Milly stretch her legs a bit. Thanks to our early departure from SLC, we were making great time. We were in Denver by 3 pm, and since check in wasn’t until 4, we went to the super Wal Mart that was less than ten minutes from our house to stock up on groceries. My mom and I had meal planned so we had a list of what we needed, plus we loaded up on snacks.

The house we rented from VRBO was perfect. It worked perfectly for our group – we were all so happy with it! Right away we fired up the grill and started prepping our BBQ. We had pork loin, rice, pineapple, Hawaiian rolls, and Asian salad. When my grandpa got there, we all ate outside and chatted until nighttime rolled around.

Saturday morning Milly was up and at ’em at about 6 am after not having slept much all night. I rolled out of bed around 6:45, to see that my parents were up too and starting coffee. (Thank goodness!) The rest of the house was asleep, including my brothers & cousin – who my parents had picked up from the airport at 1 am. Apparently my stepdad had read the clock as 9:30 instead of 6:30 (hah!), so they weren’t planning on being up so early, but I was happy for the company. We sat outside and drank our coffees (multiple cups for me!) and it was perfect. This is always my favorite part of any vacation – sitting outside with coffee in the morning.

We had a big breakfast casserole and bacon for breakfast, which was ready right about the time the rest of the house was waking up. Saturday was just spent hanging out at the house with my grandpa, who came back over for a visit. We played bags outside (cornhole, I call it bags), played darts in the garage, BBQed huli huli chicken a la my Hawaiian dad, and just all around had a great day. When evening rolled around, some of the house loaded up and headed for the mall. Marty and I met up with them at an ice cream shop called Cream that has “make your own” ice cream sandwiches. Um – SO GOOD! I’ve been craving one since we’ve been back. I had chocolate chip cookies for the sandwich, salted caramel ice cream, and mini gummy bears because I wanted some color. Delicious!  We hit up Target for a couple necessities and it was HUGE. A super Target – it made me wish we had one like that at home. It had a parking garage, an escalator, and a Starbucks!! When we got back to the house, we ended the day by relaxing, and my mom, niece, and I did face masks.

Sunday morning Milly was up early again, although she actually slept the night before. (Hallelujah!) I had coffee outside again, just as the sun was coming up and getting really warm. We had leftovers for breakfast, trying to use up all our breakfast items. When my grandpa came over for his third and final visit, he brought old photo albums, and we sat around and looked through them. I love old pictures so much! Many laughs were had (my grandpa is hilarious). After, we all loaded up in a couple vehicles and took a driving tour around Denver. My grandpa showed us Mile High Stadium, Coors Field, the church where he and his wife got married, the capitol building, the governor’s mansion, and lots of other cool places. Denver is an awesome city that is very easy to drive around. Nothing like Seattle! After our tour, we said our final goodbye to my grandpa. :(  Marty and I decided to head back to the city and hit up a brewery. There are so many to choose from, but we ended up at one called Great Divide Brewing. By the time we got back to the house, those who had flown in were already back at the airport, and it was down to just 6 of us + Milly. We put the baby to bed and stayed up way too late playing darts with the rest of the family. (Seriously. Our VRBO was awesome.)

We were up at 6 am on Monday morning to load up the cars and head out. It was a little sad leaving our house behind – so many great memories in such a short amount of time! We drove up through northern Colorado and all the way through Wyoming. For the most part, Wyoming was pretty desolate and looked exactly how I imagined. It was very green though, and we did see some buffalo! I really want to go back and spend some time in Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. (I’m thinking maybe next summer??) But still, it was cool to cross another state off my list.

We crossed over into Montana and drove through a thunderstorm. (You can always count on Montana for that!) We stopped for the night in Bozeman and hit the pool at our hotel so Milly could swim some more. I thought this pool was significantly colder than the last one, but she still did so well! My little mermaid! After the pool, the boys went and picked up Famous Dave’s BBQ which was really good! We went to sleep pretty early that night – our last night of the trip.

The drive home the next day was pretty uneventful, and we made it home by late afternoon. This was a whirlwind trip with a lot of driving, but it was SO worth it! We had such a great trip. I always love how road trips give me multiple tastes of different places I want to revisit.

Til next time Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana!

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