Colorado Here We Come!

This is the 1st in a series of posts focusing on our recent road trip to the mountains & deserts of the American Southwest

A month ago….

44th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival

….we embarked on our first real vacation in many years and it was quite the aggressive trip that we had planned. Our motivation was to attend the 4 day, 44th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Telluride, CO.  For a number of years  I’ve wanted and sometimes tried to get tickets but finding that they’re sold out within minutes. When I got the announcement this past fall I said what the hell….might as well try again this year, asssuming I’d be met with the same result. Not this time! Of course I was surprised as hell and once I received the ticket confirmation I said…”Ok, now what?” I hadn’t planned that far down the road but I knew that the worse case scenario was that I’d be able to re-sell them. I decided it was to be my Christmas gift to us but decided I couldn’t keep it under wraps for that long for any number of reasons so I spilled the beans early and thankfully didn’t get decked when I gave Pat the news. She was much more pleased and excited than I had anticipated. So with that cat out of the bag, it came time to plan.

The first big piece of the plan was whether to drive or fly. That became a no brainer when we discovered that we’d need stocks and bonds to sell in order to afford the airfare and then a car rental locally. Driving then became the most feasable option. As long as we were going to be driving 4,000 miles, we decided we might as well take advantage of the geography and spend some additional days exploring some of the national parks/monuments in the area. Our trip then became an 11-12 day trip. We planned stops at Mesa Verde, the Grand Canyon and Canyon de Chelly

Sun setting over the Sandia Mountains

The drive plan was to leave 2 days before the start of the festival; drive approx 14-15 hours the 1st two days and then about a 5 hour drive on the morning of the 1st festival day. We had very good luck making our targeted stops the 1st 2 days; the first being the ever popular Conway, AK. Totally forgettable…but a place to catch a good night’s sleep and hit the road at dawn. Next stop was Bernalillo, NM, just north of Albuquerque and we actually made it there just a bit ahead of schedule & well before sunset. It gave us the oportunity to go out, sit down, & have a nice hot meal (instead of our travel diet of pre made wraps and crackers) and 1 or 2 adult beverages. (more on that later). A spectular sunset in the desert greeted us shortly after dinner. All in all a spectacular Day 2.

Taking a break in the shadows of the Rockies

Dawn on Day 3 brought an abundance of anticipation as we headed north through the desert and up in to the Rockies. (An amusing aside to our morning: Google maps allows you to share your location in real time with anyone so naturally we were sharing with our boys. Since we left the motel before breakfast was served, we decided to stop at McD’s for a breakfast sandwich. As we drove up to the window to pick up, a text message came in from Gianni with his sandwich order!! Talk about REAL time! Gotta just love today’s technology!) The desert was magnificent and the mountains ahead of us were nothing short of breathtaking. Once we got into the mountains, the drive also was breathtaking…as in taking our breath away and whitening our knuckles! Our recent history of being flatlanders here at the beach did not help us with negotiating the windy roads up & down the mountains and through the valleys. Stunning it was…but also absolutely frightening. More on that later too. We did of course manage to make it up to Telluride with memories and soiled underwear to spare. The rest is most certainly a remarkable history…one of which we will never forget. 

Below is a map of our trip out (if you’re so inclined to make your way out west!) Following that are some of the photos we were able to take on the drive out. Click on any of them to view them full size and see the full description. Next up will be a gallery of some the of stunning photos of the mountains, desert & sunset in Bernalillo, NM. Hope you enjoy.


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