Our second day in Colorado we drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park with a stop at the top as well as Estes Park. What a beautiful day in a breath-takingly beautiful state!
This road eventually became a dirt road and we were surrounded by God's gorgeous creation.
Big Thompson River. My Dad loved fishing this river! I thought about him all day and the family trips we took here. More on that later!
We took this drive a couple of years ago and saw wild turkey (Carey was even interviewed for the evening news on that occasion as the turkeys totally stopped traffic as a news team was driving ahead of us), mountain sheep and a double rainbow. On this day we saw this funny creature laying in the middle of the dirt road, seemingly nibbling on dirt/rocks. ??? Carey jumped out of the SUV to check him out further. It was a marmot. He finally got up and waddled off the road.
We saw several out-croppings of these beautiful mushrooms. Never have seen red/orange ones before! We assumed they were not edible.
I was very taken by the spires on the mountain tops.
Wild flowers abound.
Nancy and I at the Visitor's Center - at the end of the road, elevation nearly 12K feet. BURRRR it was chilly! It began to rain and temp dropped to 20s. You can't tell from this photo but we saw a very large herd of elk in the distance near the patches of snow and rocks.
As we left the mountain top, we actually climbed in elevation a bit and yes the white stuff was snow/sleet.
When we got to Estes Park I wanted to find the salt water taffy shop that I remember from our family vacation trips as a young girl. There are other taffy shops in town, but I knew they weren't the one, because I remembered which side of the street it was on. So Rich kept driving. There it is - on the right just as I remembered! The Taffy Shop, est. 1935!
Yup, they still have the white boxes with green printing and the taffy pullers in the front window!
It's smaller than I remembered. Aren't memories like that??
Same black/white tile floor and counter. The lady that waited on me on this day had worked there from the beginning. Probably sold us taffy in 1948! The lady that started the store still owns it. Oh, and by the way they are the only store in town that still makes THEIR OWN salt water taffy. Isn't it nice to know that SOMEWHERE some things never change!
Our last stop was at the Stanley Hotel. We talked about tea on the veranda, but weather wasn't conducive to that so we just strolled around inside. This grand building, known for its architecture and magnificent setting, was built by F.O. Stanley - of Stanley Steamer fame. It took two years to build and it opened in 1909 and has a very interesting history. Mr. Stanley built a road from Lyons, CO to Estes Park over which he used his Stanley Steamer to transport visitors to Estes Park. This was the first time in history that an automobile was used instead of a train to transport visitors to a resort. He made many other notable contributions to the area.
The four of us alongside the Stanley Steamer. It was built in 1903. Weighs 1000 pounds and cost $800.
A view of the elegant interior.
Driving back to Ft. Collins along the Big Thompson. My family stayed here for the several years we vacationed here 1948-1950s. A massive flood wiped out the area in 1979 (I believe). I tried to imagine where we stayed. It was a little log cabin resort called the Cha-Nel-Bo, named for the husband Charles, wife Nell, son Bob. We had a fish fry and had garlic bread - the first time we ever tasted it. I remember Mom going nuts for it! Dad fished in the river close to our cabin. The river looks very high and was really rushing on this day.
A walk down memory lane - old photo so not terribly clear, but it is of Dad and we three girls - ages 2-4-6. Cheryl is next to Dad, then Kathy, and I'm on the right wearing saddle shoes on my feet and a headscarf on my head. Year was 1948! Mom remembers we drove a new Chrylser off Dad's car lot but my photo caption is 1948 Snazzy Chevie. Kathy had just turned two and her "seat" was a box on the front seat between Mom and Dad. YIKES! Mom's memories (at age 94!) are very funny and very clear!
Dad thought it was beautiful then, just think of all the trees and vegetation now! Breathtaking beauty abounds!
I love this photo - Dad standing in his waders, holding his rod and reel - with his arm around Mom. It may have been at Bear Lake because I remember him fishing there, too. The picture of happiness.
Colorado is such a lovely state. I have such warm, happy memories of visits there as a young girl and now since we've met Carey and Nancy, Rich and I have such lovely memories of visits with very dear friends! Whether it be fun games of Contract Gin, eating out, eating in (Nancy's a MARVELOUS cook!), seeing their kids and other mutual friends, shopping, sightseeing, enjoying the weather (on this trip it was 115 in Newton - while we enjoyed cool Colorado evenings sitting outside on the patio!! I even wore s lightweight jacket! AHHH!), you name it, their hospitality and friendship keep us returning.
'Twas the Dream Before Christmas
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