August 16 – Longmont, Colorado

Early start this morning (off by 8:30 AM) because we had no campground reserved ahead (need to get to State Park early). Heading toward Denver there are not too many parks with vacancies. Easy drive south and it was exciting seeing mountains again.

We stopped at St. Vrain State Park and the ranger indicated they couldn’t give any sites until 12 noon. We left there (wouldn’t wait 2 hours) and headed to our second location – Boulder County Fairgrounds. Read good things about this site and cheap, but first come, first serve.IMG_1883

Arrived about 11 and found a spot. Glad we got there early because others were coming in right behind us. Not too elaborate, dirt roads and sites and we could pay according to the utilities we used. Decided to go with electric only for $20. We had a full tank of fresh water and they have free showers.

After lunch we went into town to check out Visitor’s center and picked up brochures about the city. There are numerous restaurants and 9 breweries. After leaving the VC, there was a brewery right there – the Pumphouse Brewery – so why not.

Wednesday we went back to Rocky Mountain NP. DSC_0001

First time there we had the dogs and couldn’t hike and today we were ready for hiking. The trip from Longmont to Estes Park was beautiful. It was a road along a large stream and canyons. So clean and few homes. That’s what I have enjoyed so much about this area of Colorado, not a whole lot that has destroyed the scenery.

We did see 6 eagles flying over the lake (no pics because I was driving) and we saw numerous chipmunks (begging – naturally) in the park.DSC_0041

Because there were so many people visiting in the Park we had to take a free shuttle up to Glacier Gorge.

First hike was up to Alberta Falls, trailhead at Glacier Gorge. It was a mile there and up 220 feet. Great visit and tremendous scenery. Lots of people there. We both felt good after that hike.

We were sitting eating lunch (Subway it’s our quick go to for lunch) and I looked across at a family sitting there. Thought I knew the woman and had to go up and ask if she worked for Paric (I forgot her name) and she said “yes” and then she recognized me.

Her name was Jen Wilson Kissinger and she had been the project manager to build the new Franklin County Courthouse (where I worked) and in University City (worked there too) the new Washington University Lofts on Delmar Blvd. Small world! We visited awhile and then went on our ways. It was great to see her again and her family. We had gone through a lot of discussions during the building of those projects.DSC_0049

After seeing the falls, we took the shuttle and went up to Bear Lake to hike some more.

We began the venture but the clouds rolled in and some rain fell. Taking heed of the warnings from the NP (thunderstorms roll in quickly, so keep an eye out for lightning) we headed back to the shuttle stop and picked up our car.

On the way, we saw two huge elks. Got a picture of one.DSC_0088
After we got our car, we went back to the sighting of the elks and stopped and saw 3 elks.

With all that hiking we needed a cold one and a location that had wifi (we don’t have any at the campground). We stopped at Estes Park Brewery and had one to wash all the dust away.

I do have to say that I have really enjoyed looking at the mountains. They are so inspiring!

Thursday I wanted to investigate the bike trails (heard Longmont was bicycle friendly). I was able to jump on the trail system right from the campground which is always nice. I discovered quickly that some sections of the trail are under reconstruction.

Read a sign that stated in 2013 a 1000 year storm happened (supposed to rain that much once every 1000 years) and it devastated the town and the trail which is along the river. They are spending 62 million dollars to repair the trail and bridges so that in the future this will never happen again. The sections of trails that have been repaired are all concrete and really nice.

I rode 20 miles today, started heading toward Boulder but didn’t quite get there, I made it to Niwot (small town). The trail toward Boulder is pea gravel, similar to the Katie Trail.

I had read earlier that there are 12 breweries within a short distance of this section of the trail. I past a couple but didn’t stop.

After the ride, I took Brenda first to McDonalds to use free wifi and then we went to REI to help her choose a bike. She took two out for a cruise but the one she wanted they didn’t have in her size. We will have to order it and pick it up in STL.

When in Denver do as Denverians do, yes we stopped at Dry Dock Brewery and had a cold one. Also bought a growler of Double IPA with a 9% ABV.

Pizza for dinner at home and watch some Olympics.

Friday was an overcast morning. We had decided to stay an extra two days (originally planned to go north of Cheyenne and visit some National Monuments) but as the weather was predicted to be cooler (a lot cooler for us) and rainy up north, so we thought stay here as there is lots to do in this area inside.

We went to Fort Collins and first stopped at REI and Brenda did connect with a bike and we bought it. To celebrate we went to New Belgium Brewery and had one and bought a growler of Trippel to go. IMG_1232Since we were in Fort Collins we also had to go to Odell Brewery and have a second one for the day.

I was shocked when I wanted to tip one of the bartenders and she said “no tip” we are employee owned and don’t take tips. I was impressed.

Both places were packed and had impressive campuses. Would be a great place to spend the day.

Saturday we took a walk to the Farmer’s Market which was on the fairgrounds property. It was a huge one but I found out no dogs, so I headed back and Brenda got to walk around.

After Brenda returned with roasted chilies and some other items, we went for a bike ride. Remember she just bought her new bike the day before and was anxious to get on it. We rode 8 miles round trip. It is amazing the trail they have in Longmont. All concrete and you have the view of the Rockies in front of you and the hills are not too big. Brenda did great on her first ride in 4 months.IMG_1896

After lunch we went to Boulder to explore. Got there at the end of their Farmer’s Market which was bigger than the one in Longmont. Lots and lots of people.

Went downtown afterwards and walked the streets. A very inviting downtown with lots going on and lots of people. They had all kinds of street acts.

We discussed the idea that this could be a town we could settle in after our adventures.

What was amazing as we drove around the area was that there was a brewery on almost every corner – no wonder it looked so inviting. We resisted the urge to stop because I was saving myself for Avery Brewery. It has a reputation or at least a lot of people suggested going there.DSC_0017

Again, lots of people, dogs and kids. Found ourselves a spot at the bar and did some tasting. They had at least 24 taps of their own makings. IMG_1898Had a friendly bartender who was offering all kinds of samples and suggestions – and we went along with his ideas.

They had brews with 16 and 17% ABV. Asked about a growler refill and it was $64. I’d have to have a few friends over to share that. We did get a growler of Reverend at 10% ABV.

Needed dinner and I had one more stop I wanted to make but it was back in Longmont. Needed to visit Oskar Blues Brewery DSC_0019and have dinner. It like all the other breweries was full. The food was so-so according to Brenda. But it was an evening out.

Sunday we head to Nebraska.

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