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Trip Report 8 mountain passes, 1 Marriott resort, 39.6MPG... rkkwan's CO trip report

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AA had a special for $57+tax each way LAX-DEN for last weekend. I had only driven through the Colorado Rockies once on I-70 but never really toured. So, I decided to take advantage of that deal.

I love mountain driving, so I tried to hit as many high mountain passes as possible in 2 days. Here was my itinerary:

Sat 10/10 - arrive DEN late. Pick up Hertz rental car (Priceline, $26/day+tax, compact). Overnight at Marriott Courtyard (Priceline, $50+tax).

Sun 10/11 - Pikes Peak, 3 mountain passes, Vail Marriott Mountain Resort (Priceline, $65+ tax).

Monday 10/12 - 5 more mountain passes, back to Denver (stay with cousin)

Tuesday 10/13 - Denver downtown. Fly home.

---

Sat 10/10

First, about the flight. DEN (the new Denver International Airport, or DIA) would be my 100th airport I've flown into or out of. Big milestone that took 38 years to achieve. :) Also, this was my 20th flight of the year. Previous record was 19 in a year.

I got the Hertz rental car from Priceline. $26 is not cheap for compact, but couldn't find anything lower. I was offered either a Toyota Yaris or a Chevy Cobalt. The Cobalt is larger but I prefer Japanese cars. And smaller car means better fuel economy. So, i took the Yaris. It's smaller than the Nissan Versa I rented last month in Utah. The Versa is also more powerful and fun-to-drive. But the Yaris feels better built, and as I found out, has better fuel economy.

I also got my airport hotel from Priceline. $50 got the 3* Courtyard. It is on Tower Road with the 2 dozen other airport hotels. I showed my Marriott Rewards card (no status), and got a king balcony room on the 7th floor (out of 8). Very nice room. HDTV with actual HD programming. However, the pool is very small and I didn't use it.

It was almost 10pm at that time, and their restaurant was about to close. So, I drove down the block to the Ruby Tuesday instead. Not many dining choices in this airport-hotels cluster.

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