Colorado '17

fishEH

Well-known member
Jan 26, 2009
6,779
137
Lake Villa, IL
UPDATE: Between Photobucket screwing things up and the new Dweb, none of my pictures transferred. The old Dweb pic upload was pretty clunky as well, so I had very few pics. I'm going to go through and refresh this thread with plenty of pics and better descriptions. Hopefully it inspires some to get out there!

At the end of July 2017 I embarked on a 15 day trip from Illinois to Colorado in my 1994 manual trans D1. Having very little experience driving stick, I figured it'd be a good idea to cram my family of 5 into a 23 year old vehicle and drive out West. :)

My biggest concern with the D1 was its lack of a shoulder-belt and headrest for the middle passenger. I snagged a D2 bench seat from the local scrap yard and got it properly bolted into the D1.

Day 1: Departed IL. Drove to Lincoln, NE and spent the night.
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This was our basic plan. Places and features were all pinned on a Google Map. Lines were drawn in different colors representing different days travel. This was just a rough outline, all of the primary navigation was mapped and done on a Samsung tablet running AlpineQuest.
Trip Overview.JPG
 
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fishEH

Well-known member
Jan 26, 2009
6,779
137
Lake Villa, IL
Day 2: Lincoln, NE to Colorado Springs via Kansas. Hit some pretty dense fog. My wife loved the rolling hills landscape. Stayed at the Great Wolf as my wife's cousin has the hook up there20170723_074447.jpg20170723_085347.jpg20170723_111135.jpg20170723_124245.jpg.
 
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fishEH

Well-known member
Jan 26, 2009
6,779
137
Lake Villa, IL
Day 2: After checking in to the Great Wolf, we hit Garden of the Gods. Not a bad view out the hotel room window, I love a mountain backdrop!20170723_133644.jpg20170723_143044.jpg20170723_143824.jpg20170723_145135.jpg20170723_145826.jpg20170723_150532.jpg20170723_155328.jpg20170723_173947.jpg
 
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jprover2

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Apr 8, 2017
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Birmingham,Al
Looks like a good time. How long did you drive "timewise" each day, and how did the kids take riding each day. Reason I ask I have twin 6 yr old girls, and we're starting to make our trips longer.
 

fishEH

Well-known member
Jan 26, 2009
6,779
137
Lake Villa, IL
Looks like a good time. How long did you drive "timewise" each day, and how did the kids take riding each day. Reason I ask I have twin 6 yr old girls, and we're starting to make our trips longer.
I don't think we had any days over 8 or 9hrs in the truck. That said, we routinely drive 12-16hrs straight to Atlanta or Outer Banks with them and have since they have been little. NO DVD's either. 2 of the 3 got car sick for a long time, so we just told them to deal with it and look out the window. If you ask them its borderline child abuse, but we don't care.
 

fishEH

Well-known member
Jan 26, 2009
6,779
137
Lake Villa, IL
Probably should have stuck this in the first post, but oh well. I mapped out everything my wife and I both wanted to see/do on Google My Maps. Once I had all the pins dropped I formed a basic route. My wife not being a huge camper, and me wanting to get as far away from people as possible compromised on about a 50/50 split of camping and hoteling. That was before I realized just how terrified of our family being eaten by a bear she was. No amount of rationalizing would satisfy her, so concessions had to be made on my end if we were to stay married, LOL.
Looking back, my plans were too ambitious and a lot of on the fly decisions were made to keep on some sort of schedule.

Anyway.....Day 3: Colorado Springs to Great Sand Dunes NP.
Made an impromptu stop at Focus On The Family.... The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe!
Drove the skyline road in Canon City. My wife got her first little taste of narrow roads and steep drops. I told her she better get used to it or its going to be a looooooong trip! :D20170724_105412.jpg20170724_131542.jpg
 
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fishEH

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Jan 26, 2009
6,779
137
Lake Villa, IL
Day 3:
After the Skyline Road we dropped by Bishops Castle. This thing was really cool and the anti-government theme is strong here. Its basically a "castle" this guy built over the course of his life, by himself. Most of it is really cool, some of it is sketchy as hell and I wouldn't stand on it!
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fishEH

Well-known member
Jan 26, 2009
6,779
137
Lake Villa, IL
Day 3:
After Bishops Castle we took some back roads to Medano Pass. The plan was to remote camp on the pass, then head into Great Sand Dunes NP the next day. The proposed campsite was in the vicinity of the deer pic. My wife freaked and we had to push through. There was one point on Medano Pass that was pretty steep immediately after a tight turn. I had the truck in the wrong gear and couldn't make it up the first try. This is where my inexperience with stick shift really showed. I made my family exit the truck so I could back down, find a lower gear, and start on the incline. I figured that way only one of us would die if I rolled off the back edge of the steep hill, LOL.20170724_154922.jpg20170724_155531.jpg20170724_161139.jpg20170724_162825.jpg20170724_175452.jpg20170724_180946.jpg
 
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fishEH

Well-known member
Jan 26, 2009
6,779
137
Lake Villa, IL
Day 3:
Came into Sand Dunes the back way. Checked for spots at the campground, yeah right. Tried another place but the road was washed out from recent rains. I pleaded my case that I had a Rover and could probably get there anyway, but no luck. Ended up staying at Zapata Falls about 20 minutes south. Decent place. Saw another Rover. did the slow roll past his campsite but he didn't even acknowledge. Shameful.20170724_183616.jpg20170724_184301.jpg20170724_184914.jpg20170724_192638_001.jpg20170724_201705.jpg
 
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fishEH

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Jan 26, 2009
6,779
137
Lake Villa, IL
Day 4: Sand Dunes NP to Lake City-ish
After not dying from a bear attack we explored GSDNP. Really a spectacular place. I've been to lots of sand dunes around Lake Michigan and also Jockey Ridge SP in NC, but there was something really special about having the Rockies as a backdrop.
Original plan was to drive to Wheeler Geological Area and camp there, but we were too late in the day to make that happen. Ended up finding a campground somewhere near Lake City.20170725_111903.jpg20170725_113138.jpg20170725_115930.jpg20170725_122428.jpg20170725_122608.jpg20170725_122614.jpg20170725_135707.jpg20170726_071242.jpg
 

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fishEH

Well-known member
Jan 26, 2009
6,779
137
Lake Villa, IL
Day 5: More.
Got into Ouray kinda early. Did some grocery shopping, laundry, and hit the hot springs. Had dinner at the Ouray Brewery, and ice cream at a small shop.
 

jymmiejamz

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Dec 5, 2004
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Los Angeles, Ca
That was before I realized just how terrified of our family being eaten by a bear she was. No amount of rationalizing would satisfy her, so concessions had to be made on my end if we were to stay married, LOL.
My wife is the same when it comes to bears. She wants to have bear canisters and a bear resistant cooler if we are camping in bear country. My compromise is to just stay in the desert. I mean, is it really camping if you don't have a refrigerator?