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  1. Default my first solo road trip- Denver to Boise!

    Ok, so this is actually a continuation of my first thread, where I posted about being "scared as hell" about my first thoughts about a solo road trip from NC to Idaho. After lots of feedback and further thinking, I decided to go for it, but tweak the trip a bit so that it wasn't so much alone driving for my first time, and also included my husband- who couldn't do 8 days with me but can do a long weekend.
    So, I"m now going to fly to Denver ( I got a one way ticket, of course hubbie will have a roundtrip) Tour the sights in and around Denver for 2 days- then hubbie flys home on sunday and I will take 3 or so days to drive to Boise. I am planning on going north to Cheyenne, then meandering west, back down to Salt Lake area, then up to Boise. I can easily do it in 3 days ( it's about 830 miles total)
    Any suggestions for sights to see? Routes I haven't considered? Things to do in and around Denver?
    Thanks so much! You guys are awesome!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-22-2007 at 04:30 PM. Reason: added the navigation link to the orginal thread

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Good news and some Denver sites

    Glad to hear that your hubby is willing to be part of the trip - I think you'll both enjoy yourselves, and you'll still have the time to do some solo driving, too.

    Denver itself is a nice place to visit, and I've heard good things about the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, the Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Garden, and the US Mint.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Denver sights

    Hi, I'm another vote for the fly to Denver (or Salt Lake City) and drive from there plan.

    Of course, the first question is "what kind of things do you like" but failing an answer to that question here are a few ideas:

    A show at Red Rocks Park. This is the most amazing outdoor amphitheater. When I lived in Denver we went to several concerts there (Linda Ronstadt, Loggins and Messina, Judy Collins, etc.) The sound is amazing and the site of the towering red rock walls and the city beyond is unforgettable. But even if you can't coordinate a time to see a show, it is an interesting place to go look around. The last time we were there you could park and walk through the amphitheater any time.

    Drive to the top of Mount Evans. Just west of Denver is one of the 52 14,000+ foot mountains in Colorado, and the only one (anywhere) with a paved road to the top. It is an interesting drive, and of course, the view is tremendous.

    Denver Art Museum. The new wing of the art museum is open. The architecture is "unsual" and dramatic. The entire collection is good, but we found the Asian and Native American art especially fascinating.

    Coors Field. One of the new "old style" ball parks, where the Colorado Rockies play.

    Larimer Square. On of the classic restored old market/warehouse districts with fun shops and restaurants. The downtown pedestrian mall, which goes for blocks, starts here. Free shuttles run all the time so you don't have to walk if you don't want to.

    Central City and Blackhawk. Gambling is available near Denver. Take I-70 up to the Central City exit, but come back via Hwy 6 through Golden for a pretty/dramatic drive (assuming it isn't night time). Central City is an old mining town and kind of fun, even if you don't gamble.

    Coors Brewery. In the middle of Golden is the Coors brewery. The huge building is undecorated, monolithic concrete, but for Coors fans it is "the source."

    There are a couple of amusement parks. Elitch Gardens is the new fancy park right downtown, but I like Lakeside which is a classic old park with a wooden roller coaster that passes right next to the lake.

    Colorado Springs/Pikes Peak. About 70 miles south is this famous tourist area. If you have time it is worth the drive. Get a guidebook on "The Springs" and you'll find lots to spend your time and money on. The drive up Pikes Peak, which goes to the top, but is gravel most of the way, is fun. Alternatively, you can take the cog railway to the top 14,110 feet, which is less stressful. There is Wind Cave, the cute little town of Manitou Springs, the Air Force Academy chapel, and much more that I can't think of right now.

    After, Denver. Allowing yourself just 3 days means a quick drive through the Tetons and Yellowstone, if you can fit it in at all. Google puts it at 12 hours going from Denver thru Cheyenne thru Rawlins thru Jackson to Yellowstone. As you can see, it takes two days just to get there, and while you can drive right through the Tetons and still get a good feel for them (do it before noon because they face east and you'll want morning light), you'll want to spend at least a day at the geysers and have some time to hunt down bison, bears, elk or moose while you are in Yellowstone. Then Yellowstone to Boise is another 6.5 hours. Sounds like 4 days to me.

    Alternatively, the Salt Lake City area has some nice things to see and do, too, but I've rattled on too long as it is.

    Hard choices!

    Regardless, you'll have fun.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-22-2007 at 04:32 PM. Reason: Preferred URL Format

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default You're gonna have fun!

    It looks like you've already gotten good hints for Denver itself. So I'll stick to the route. Before I list things, I encourage you to use the AAA-roadtrip planner. I think it's the best one on the web. If you zoom in, it will give you attractions, hotels, and more for the areas you're going through. If you've joined AAA get their free guidebooks and maps for the area. And you might want to have them create you a TripTik as well. Even if you don't use it as your sole source of trip information, it can be a handy resource.

    Fort Collins, CO: historic Fort Collins and the Anheuser-Busch Brewery

    Cheyenne WY: Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum

    Laramie, WY: Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site

    Rawlins, WY: Wyoming Frontier Prison

    Rock Springs, WY: Mining Museum

    Salt Lake City: There's the tabernacles, which are pretty cool. I don't remember what all the buildings are called there. I just did whistle-stop-like stops to take a picture. It's worth spending some time checking things out here.

    At Twin Falls, ID, you might want to veer off of I-84 and take Hwy. 30. This is a fun stretch of about 50 miles. Along here you can see the infamous ramp from which Evil Knieval tried to do a motorcyle jump across the gorge (he didn't make it), the Hagerman Fossil Beds, and just a nice drive through a river gorge and farm country. It comes out at Bliss, ID.

    There's more stuff out there to see but this should give you a good start. Enjoy! I'm excited to hear your trip report upon your return.

  5. Default wow! thanks for all the recs for Denver. Also, I'ved changed the itinerary...again!!!

    Thanks guys, for all the recs! Especially re: the Denver area. I definitely think we will do lots of the downtown Denver stuff, plus a trip into rocky mt national park....Plus, Cooking Light magazine has a whole section on Denver this month, so we've already found a good place to eat even!! We'll stay at a really nice B&B in Denver...But.....I"ve also changed the itinerary after Denver...AGAIN!!! LOL!

    Now, I am dropping my husband off at the Denver airport on sunday- he'll fly back home and I"ll drive to Grand Junction, Colorado ( about 280 miles, so a short drive relatively) . Spend the night there, go see the colorado national momument park either when I get there that evening, or the next morning. Then i'll drive into Utah, meander up- see some cool sights along the way- and end up in Salt Lake City, stay the night and drive up to Boise the next day....So, 3 days total. I've already made the hotel reservations in Grand Junction and Salt Lake so I"m SET!!!!! that should be an interesting trip! I"ve never been and I cannot wait!
    Thanks for all the help and recommendations, guys. If anyone has driven the Grand Junction to Salt Lake route, or the salt lake to Boise route, send recs along!!!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-26-2007 at 02:20 PM. Reason: added some white space for clarity

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