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Trip Report Short Colorado trip report

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We (husband, 19-year old son and I) spent a week in Colorado in late May. We spent 4 days in Colorado Springs for a family reunion and took a short 3 1/2 day trip looping from Denver west to Frisco south to Buena Vista area (Mt. Princeton Hot Spring resort) and then east/NE back to Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs.

We had visited the Denver/Co Springs area when our kids were younger and before that without kids so we tried to see some areas that were new to us without having long, tiring drives each day. I also tried to pick towns with some historic interest. Because of the loop approach we moved to a different hotel each night until we reached Colorado Springs. We were traveling pretty light and the packing/unpacking didn't take much time.

We spent the first night in Golden which was very easy to get to from the Denver airport, skirting the city to the north. We ate at Woody's, a popular local restaurant with a pizza bar.

On Day #2, we (well, mostly my husband) wanted to see the Colorado Railway museum which is a very good spot for train buffs. Most people associate Golden with Coors brewery tours but that didn't appeal to us. From there, we drove on from Golden to nearby Georgetown, a pleasant town with lots of historic (for CO) buildings downtown. We had a good lunch at the Euro Grill. There was a small street fair in town.

We spent the second night in Frisco. My husband and I toured the outside of the good historic museum in the park there (inside of the buildings were closed) that afternoon. (Our son was back at the hotel catching up on Lost episodes in preparation for the series finale that night) We felt the altitude a little that afternoon since we were at about 9000 feet.

Day #3: Despite his mild complaints about the altitude, my husband rented a bike in the morning and rode around part of Lake Dillon in very high winds. It is a scenic ride but the weather was certainly not ideal that day. As we were leaving Frisco it started to snow, and it snowed all the way on Rte. 91 to Leadville. The snow was not sticking but it was not the pleasant scenic drive we had hoped for.

In Leadville (highest town in the US) we toured the mining museum and had lunch. The museum has a lot of interesting exhibits but we didn't think it was very well organized.

By then it had stopped snowing so we could see the beautiful scenery along the Arkansas River on our way to Mt. Princeton hot springs resort. This is a good resort if you like outdoor activities (horseback riding, biking,hiking, rafting, tennis) with gorgeous scenery of the Collegiate range. The resort has cabins for rent but we stayed in one of the "cliff side" rooms. We ate in the dining room there, which was fine. Some of the hot springs were closed due to spring run off but we all enjoyed soaking in the main pools after we arrived and the next morning before we left.

On Day #4 we took a rather indirect route to our next overnight stop in Manitou Springs--south to Salida, where we ate lunch, west as far as Canon City, then NW on Route 9 to Hartsel and east on Rte 24 . Many beautiful mountain vistas. West of Manitou Springs on Rte 24 we stopped for about an hour at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. I was fascinated to learn that this area once had huge redwoods.

In the Manitou Springs our son got a pizza and watched the NBA game. My husband and I walked around town, sampled some of the mineral water springs and had a good dinner at the Adams Mountain Cafe in the historic spa building. There was live music--acoustic guitar and a violin playing an eclectic mix including old Beatles songs.

On day #5 in the morning we spent several hours at Garden of the Gods which is a really beautiful spot, before heading to the family reunion in Colorado Springs.

Most of the rest of the trip was family time. Our main tourist outing in Colorado Springs was to the Cheyenne Mt zoo and Will Rogers shrine (combined ticket). I usually don't like zoos, but this is a good one. Our 19 year old was not very enthusiastic when we started out but later listed the zoo as one of his favorite tourist sites on the trip. The shrine is has great views and quite a lot of interesting information about Will Rogers and the Penrose family who built the shrine and many other buildings in Colorado Springs.

In addition to family cookouts, we had good lunches at the Blue Star Cafe, the Edelweiss restaurant and the Phantom Canyon Brewing Company in Colorado Springs.

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