On The Greatest Road Trip’s tour of the United States, we visited the nation’s capital in Washington D.C. We have visited many state capitals. If the intermountain west has a capital, Colorado would be it.
In 1875 the Congress of the United States set out some guidelines for Statehood through an Enabling Act. It spelled out the steps the Territory of Colorado would have to meet to become part of the Union. These steps included land for public (government) buildings, schools…and penitentiaries. They didn’t call it the wild wild west for nothing.
Continuing the regional pattern, Colorado has more land (eighth largest) than people (22nd largest). That said there is a certain urban vibe to Colorado that distinguishes it from the other rural pioneer-type states. It’s wide open spaces, but it is also one of America’s most vibrant cities. It’s Rocky Mountain High, Colorado, and we can’t wait to show you!
Colorado is bordered by Wyoming to the north, Nebraska to the northeast, and Kansas to the east. A portion of Oklahoma provides the southeastern border. New Mexico bounds Colorado to the south, Utah to the west, and Arizona to the southwest, at the Four Corners.
We mention the highest and lowest spot in every state owe visit. The elevation is a big deal to the folks that call Colorado home. Ask any of them how high in the air they are and they can tell you. The highest point in Colorado is atop 14,440 foot Mt. Elbert just west of the mid-line of the state. The low point is on the banks of the Arikaree River at the Kansas border, 3,317 feet above sea level. The geographic center of Colorado is within the city boundary of Hartsel, 24 miles northwest of Pike’s Peak.
Major Airports in Colorado:
Eagle County Regional serves more than 150,000 passengers annually from near the town of Eagle. The most common destination is Dallas.
Aspen-Pitkin County serves over 200,000 passengers a year. Denver is the preferred destination.
Grand Junction Regional enplanes about 210,000 passengers each year. Denver is the most frequent destination.
City of Colorado Springs Municipal serves over 660,000 flyers a year. Many of them are flying to Dallas.
Denver International hosts over 25 million passengers a year. Los Angeles is the place many of them like to go.
Military/Politics: Scott Carpenter, Homer Lea, and Ouray.
Actors: Tim Allen, Hayden Byerly, Melissa Benoist, Elias Harger, AnnaSophia Robb, Gus Kamp, Kristen Schaal, Lauren Taylor, Lon Chaney, Zachery Ty Bryan, Ross Lynch, Keean Johnson, Murray Rundus, Douglas Fairbanks, Douglas Fairbanks, Jon Heder, Pierce Joza.
Entertainers: Rydel Lynch, Ivan L. Moody, Miss Mykie, Savannah Latimer, Trey Parker, Spencer Smith, Rachel Crow, Elliana Walmsley, Rocky Lynch, Ted Mack, Riker Lynch, Kenneth Harris, and Ralph Edwards.
Writers: Gene Fowler and Eugene Fodor.
Athletes: Jack Dempsey and Mallory Pugh.
Weird and Wonderful Facts about Colorado:
The world’s entire supply of “Beulah Red Marble” went into building the State Capitol building in Denver. It cannot be replaced and is, in the truest sense, “priceless”.
Denver turned down the invitation to host the 1976 Winter Olympics, fearing the cost, pollution, and congestion. No other city has ever declined.
On June 3, in Fruita, the town celebrates Mike the Headless Chicken Day. In 1945, Farmer L.A. Olsen cut off Mike’s head in anticipation of a chicken dinner. Mike lived without most of his head for another four years.
Denver lays claim to the invention of the cheeseburger. The trademark for the name cheeseburger was awarded in 1935 to Louis Ballast.
Colfax Avenue in Denver is the longest continuous street in America.
Katherine Lee Bates wrote “America the Beautiful” after being inspired by the view from Pikes Peak.
Hundreds of thousands of Valentines are re-mailed each year from Loveland.
Dove Creek is the pinto bean capital of the world.
Deer Trail hosted the world’s first rodeo, July 4, 1869.
Casa Bonita Mexican Restaurant on Colfax St. in Denver is the only actual business to be the subject of a South Park episode.
Let’s Take a Trip Through Colorado:
Singer and one of the voices of his generation John Denver described it this way. “I was born in the summer of my 27th year. Going home to a place I’d never been before.”
He was talking about Colorado. We’re going to take a trip through Denver’s Colorado. On the way, we will travel to and through Denver, Colorado. See how that works?We’re going to start in Steamboat Springs.
We could have selected any of a zillion ski resorts. We chose Steamboat for its winter splendor and the fact that it is both open and welcoming during the summer months, as well. If we were here in the winter we would ski some of the best powder in the world. In the summer we will ride the gondola to the top and hike some mountain trails. Great views of Steamboat, and from Steamboat, are available any time of year.In the car for the road trip of a lifetime! That sounds like hyperbole, but driving from Steamboat to Estes Park covers some unmatched beauty and sightseeing. The trip of 137 miles will take us 2.5 hours, but it will be an afternoon to remember passing through the Arapahoe National Forest on our way.
In Estes Park, we check into Discovery Lodge for $109 a night. Tomorrow, we’re riding an aerial tram!
The Estes Park Aerial Tramway is a European style tram that takes riders high above Estes and the surrounding mountain countryside. At the top, we will feed the chipmunks and enjoy lunch.
Back down and in the car for the run to Denver. On the way, we pass through Boulder, home of the University of Colorado. A hotspot of progressive thought, CU is a great school for those who wish to make a difference.
In Denver, we will stay at the Quality Inn Central Denver for $95 a night. Big cities are expensive and this is a good option.
Up early the next morning, because we have at least two things to accomplish today. First, we are going a little way southwest of town to Morrison. That’s where we will find Red Rocks Amphitheater. Obviously, Red Rocks is best when a concert is underway, though the natural setting is a joy to witness even when the place is empty. Red Rocks is a unique site where the prairie meets the Rockies. They shake hands and say, “Let’s make something special.”Colorado is a state known for people with a fitness regimen as part of their day to day life. Red Rocks is a popular gathering place for those who like a morning or noontime jog. We will look around and have lunch at the Ship Rock Grille inside the amphitheater.
Back to Denver (we were only 20 minutes out of town) for a little nightlife. We’re going to the Bovine Metropolis Theater. It’s a small theater venue in a historic building astride downtown Denver. Tickets are plentiful and the cast and staff do a great job entertaining the folks who show up. Good food, good views, and good laughs. It has been more than a good day.
The next day we’re off for a little Christmas shopping. What? Christmas? It’s summer, you weirdo!We start at the base of Pike’s Peak. That’s where we will find North Pole, Colorado and Santa’s Workshop. It’s Christmas 365 days a year at the North Pole. This enchanted theme park has something for every member of the family. We will meet Santa and his elves. Then we can ride the unique Christmas Tree Ride, and swing through the sky on the Enterprise Space Shuttle. The older kids will want to fly on the Aerial Tram. The younger ones will love the miniature train. There are more than 25 family-friendly rides here.
The best “Trips Through” on The Greatest Road Trip include an experience the kids will remember forever. This is the place for that very experience.
Back in the car for one last climb to the sky. We are going up Pike’s Peak! The 19-mile journey to the summit begins 15 minutes west of downtown Colorado Springs. When we get to the top we will look at the view that inspired song and poem alike. Look to your right. You will see the headlights of a car. By the time that car would cross out of your view to the left it will have traveled 400 miles. How cool is that? Obviously, no one has the patience to watch it happen, but how cool is that, anyway?
Pike’s Peak is one of the great pinnacles of the Rocky Mountains, and it is a good way to end this portion of our trip. We hope you enjoyed the magnificence that is the Great State of Colorado.