This August, our family got rather adventurous as we packed up our three kids, stuffed our mini van to the gills, and took a road trip to Colorado! The main reason of the trip was for Joe to run the Spartan Beast there but it was also an excuse to see monuments, landmarks, and some completely different scenery. Spoiler alert, we were not disappointed!
The first day of our journey began with dropping of Zuzu at the Canine Country Club in Elko (so she could live her best life while we were gone) and then we headed toward South Dakota (with Kansas, Journey, Boston, and the Eagles to accompany us). Shortly before arriving at our destination in Rapid City, we got sucked in by all of the billboards and made a stop at Wall Drug (“A national treasure! You must stop!” said my mom).
As you can see, we were entertained by the trinkets and taxidermy. And all were glad for the opportunity to stretch our legs.
We settled into our hotel that night, ordered pizza, and paddled around in our teeny hotel pool before collapsing into bed.
The next morning, after breakfast, we reloaded the car and took a detour to Mount Rushmore. The weather was perfect that morning and the kids were surprisingly excited to see the monument. I’m so glad we decided to stop! We drove a little more through the winding roads in the Black Hills (Have you not gone? Go! It’s beautiful.)
We also visited the Crazy Horse monument-in-progress and the accompanying museum. Unfortunately, this project will probably not be complete in my own lifetime, but Cece hopes that she will see it all finished someday.
We then drove, drove, drove through the rest of South Dakota, through Wyoming, and then to Colorado. We got to our condo for the week and settled in.
We stayed at Pine Ridge Condominiums in Breckenridge. We had a two bedroom condo with a loft area that contained 4 twin beds (we should have invited more people!). I’m so glad we opted to have spacious accommodations during our stay. Having a full kitchen proved to be ideal for our family as well. I had pre-made some easy freezer meals (chili and chicken wild rice soup) which was our dinner for four nights of our trip. I still get giddy thinking about the money we saved by not going out for all our dinners.
Day 3 was Joe’s race day! He woke up early and walked to the start line and I assembled the kids to meet him there a couple hours later. It was definitely not ideal conditions for spectators or racers as it was very wet and cold. Still, Joe ran a fantastic race! We were so proud of him (even though I also thought he was crazy).
After we were all dry and warm, we spent a couple hours at our condo playing Monopoly while Ares took a snooze. Cece took all of our fake money as she proved to be a shrewd business woman declaring “STRAIGHT-UP HOTELS!” and won the game.
Once the weather cleared up and dried up, we strolled around Breckenridge, revisited the Spartan Race grounds, and checked out the town a bit (HOW CUTE IS THE TOWN? SO cute).
Day 4 of our vacation consisted of a trip to the Mountain Top Children’s Museum, followed by lunch/naps and a gondola ride! Swinging around in a glass box really isn’t my thing, but my family sure enjoyed it!
(You can see that it’s Cece-approved)
On Day 5 of our trip, I got to get out for a little time by myself in the morning, to shop, have a hot drink, visit a museum, and just take in the sights! I later met up with the rest of the family to check out High Line Railroad Park (which was in walking distance of our condo). We all had a great time, because who doesn’t love playgrounds and trains?
That afternoon we spent swimming, because vacation is NOT vacation without a pool day!
Day 6 of our trip was easily the most adventuerous and the most memorable. We packed food, what we though was sufficient gear, and rented one of those fancy baby backpacks. We hiked for about 4 miles on the McCollough Gulch Trail in Blue River. It was unbelievably scenic and gorgeous (and a bit challenging to navigate with all of our kids, but we did it). Unfortunately, we got caught in an afternoon storm and experienced hail. We had to quickly and carefully descend once the storm subsided.
We kicked off day 7 of our trip (and our final day in Colorado) nap-trapped at the condo. BUT Cece got to catch up on some of her summer homework AND she finally lost that wiggly top tooth (actually, I pulled it out for her. And guess what? The tooth fairy does come to the mountains! We were concerned the air would be too thin for her to fly. Once everyone was up and at ’em we checked out the very picturesque town of Frisco and stopped for some ice cream too.
After exploring Frisco, we headed back to Breckenridge, walked around a bit more, and bought some souvenirs (like hoodies) But Cece got the most memorable memento as we finally let her get her ears pierced! She and I went together while Joe stayed with the younger ones at the condo while Ares napped. She was so brave and can’t wait to put in the mountain studs that she bought. This was such a special mother-daughter experience!
(She got purple studs to start, of course.)
We ended the day with a trolley ride and then got back to our condo to pack up and get ready to leave the next day. Fortunately our drive home was pretty uneventful. We stayed the night in Rapid City again and got home on Friday afternoon.
Well there you have it! Although I’m excited to be moving on to fall and the school year, I find myself still fondly reminiscing about our trip and thinking about the next time we can go back (or go someplace else that’s new to us. I feel so fortunate to have been able to spend this kind of time with my family and see a different part of this grand ol’ country we live in. I know it’s something I am always going to look back on and treasure.