U.K. to U.S.A. Fantasy flydrive

This is a fantasy fly drive that is being created on the message board of the yahoo travel group uk2usa. Follow the growth of the holiday fantasy as it grows on the group pages or on this web site. Enjoy !

part 7 Colorado

Day 118 We land in Denver and crash out in a motel near the airport to sleep off the jet lag

Day 119 Off we go around the sights of Denver. Today we go to the Museum of Natural History, the Denver Art Museum, the US Mint and the capital with its marked "mile high step" and see the beautiful view of the Rockies from the rotunda.

Day 120 Today we do a walking tour of downtown, the 16th Street Mall, Molly Brown's home, Union Station, and Larimar Square. We go a little outside of Denver to Lookout Mountain with a beautiful view see the train museum and take a tour at the Coors Brewery in Golden.

Day 121 Up bright and early we head off towards Rocky Mountain National Park and the town of Estes Park. We take a stroll around the shops in this pleasant town before heading off into the park. The road that goes through the park (trail ridge road) is the highest elevation road in the USA. On the way up we pause and walk around the beaver meadows and stop at many scenic lookout points along the way. Near the highest elevation is a visitor centre and we get out to walk around. At this elevation (more then 3 miles above sea level) you can tell the air is thin and its easy to get breathless. We wind our way down the other side eventually stopping in Grand Lake for the evening. We stay at Grand Lake lodge a wonderful wooden lodge
with marvellous views from the front porch and a characterful interior.

Day 122 and 123 We hang out in the Grand Lake area. Some of us go sailing, some go horse riding and others go hiking whilst I sit on the porch and watch the humming birds.

Day 124 We head south and end up in Leadville We tour the mining museum and walk slowly as we are at over 10,000 feet altitude.

Day 125 We drive on through the magnificent Rockies to Colorado springs where Debs gets to see the Will Rogers shrine of the sun.

Day 126 We spend the day in the town of Colorado Springs see the Mountain Zoo before driving down to Canon city for the night.

Day 127 Up early we head to Royal Gorge and do all the touristy stuff in this stunning location. We cross the suspension bridge over the Gorge, travel across the gorge in cable cars and go down to the bottom on the mountain railway.

Day 128 A restored railway runs up the bottom of the gorge (the 'Grand Canyon of the Arkensas') and we take the return trip. Its been called the most spectacular 12 miles of railway in America. The absolute train freaks among us pay extra and ride in the cab. We drive to Salida to stay overnight.

Day 129 We head off to see the magnificent Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Its a wonderful drive through the mountains and we stop at the many overlooks to see this canyon. The canyon is cut through hard volcanic rock unlike many of the canyons of the southwest which are mostly cut through softer sedimentary rocks. Because the rock is so hard, the sides of the canyon are very steep and the canyon is very narrow. Sunlight cannot reach many areas of the canyon hence 'Black Canyon'. We overnight in Montrose.

Day 130 Heading south we travel into the San Juan Mountains to Ouray . An absolute gem of a setting, surrounded by towering mountains with thermal pools at the north end of town we stay a few days.

Day 131-133 During these few days we go down a goldmine, take a 4WD tour on the mountain roads to see abandoned ghost towns and unspoilt mountain scenery. In Ouray itself we visit Box Canyon falls and swim in the geothermal pools

Day 134 We head south to Silverton via the million dollar highway, said to be one of the most scenic drives in North America and who are we to disagree ?. In Silverton we wander around the town and get a feel for what life was like when these mountains were opened up by the miners. The highlight is when the Durango to Silverton train steams into town right up the centre of the street! This being a fantasy we dump the cars and board the train for the thrilling ride through the mountains to Durango where we pick them up again as if by magic. We arrive in the station in Durango at the end of the main street and spend the evening in this delightful town centre.

Day 135 We decide that we did not see enough on day 36 and vote to go back to Mesa Verde and see the Anasasi cave dwellings again. We overnight in Cortez

Day 136 We head north and cross into Utah for a few days starting with Moab . Arriving in the afternoon we crash out by the hotel pool and mentally ready ourselves for some of the most spectacular scenery to come.

Day 137 Today its Canyonlands. We head north out of town, drive past the entrance to Arches National Park (tomorrows trip) on the right, and take the turn to Canyonlands to the left. Before getting to Canyonlands we take a detour into Deadhorse Point State Park. After a look round the vistor centre we drive up to the viewing area. Stand by for one of the most jaw dropping views on earth. The park is on a narrow finger with unimaginable steep drops either side. At the tip of the finger you gaze down to where the Colorado and Green Rivers meet. It really is stunningly beautiful. We drive on and into Canyonlands. With only a day to spend here we drive around the Islands of the Sky. This is the top of the high plains area that has been cut into to form the canyons. The many overlooks offer spectacular views. It is possible to drive down into the lower levels but we do not have the time. We return to Moab to reflect on the days glories.

Day 138 Today its Arches. As we drive around the scenic road, some of the sights look familiar. The opening scenes of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were filmed here. We stop and walk between the impressive fins of sandstone and see the many arches. Nowhere else on earth is there such a concentration of these features. Balanced rock is stunning up close.

Day 139 We leave Moab and head north west to Grand Junction. We spend the late afternoon wandering through the shady treelined streets of the city centre.

Day 140 We go to see Colorado National Monument. Even more spectacular sandstone scenery.

Day 141 We drive to the town of Glenwood Springs and visit the graveyard to see the last resting place of Doc Holliday of gunfight at the OK corral fame. After the famous gunfight, Doc retired to Glenwood Springs for the mountain air as he had tubercolosis. He died in a sanatorium here.

Day 142 We loop south from the interstate to drive through Aspen. The millionaires winter resort. Pressing on we get to Denver international to catch a flight to our next leg of this epic journey.

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