If you missed Part One, catch up here. Picking up where we left off…
Even though Colorado was some of the worst driving we had, we enjoyed this part of the trip the most. Colorado is a beautiful place and the ‘West’ for many in my home state. You don’t need to travel very far to get much of the same experiences.
Tuesday, July 24: Twin Falls, ID to Salt Lake City, UT
We checked into the La Quinta that took second to last place on our trip (UGH) and decided we would only spend one day in Salt Lake instead of two.
Drew and I went to Uinta Brewing Company that night and, even though they allow dogs outside, we didn’t bring Argo. You have to order their pub nachos and barbecue chicken wings. They were REALLY, REALLYYYY good. I loved their Piggyback Peach IPA and we built our own six pack on our way out.
Wednesday, July 25: Salt Lake City to Castle Rock, CO
I had a really hard time sleeping last night because of the noise and lights plus Argo wanted out at 3 a.m. We left the hotel just before 9 a.m. and this would be our longest day of driving; about eight hours plus stops. It was also going to be the worst weather-wise.
Once we were out of the construction zone that is Salt Lake, we didn’t have to stop for gas until Rock Springs, Wyoming. We left Rock Springs at 11:45 a.m. and started driving into Colorado’s weather.
It was filled with bad storms and the radio reported we were going through 15-70 mph wind gusts, quarter inch size hail, torrential downpour causing flash floods and standing water. We had to pull over with several other cars because of zero visibility. If you’ve been through a tornado it was very similar weather with a gray/olive green sky.
We finally got to our La Quinta in Castle Rock at 6:15 p.m. Argo wouldn’t stop barking so Drew stayed behind while I went to see one of my best friends, Shanae, who just moved in nearby. I hit another flash storm on the way to her house that had everyone on the highway pulled over.
She took me to a really good nearby bar and grill called Lodo’s. Their margaritas and burrito bowls were huge servings and yummy. After a long, stressful day I crashed when I got home and then slept in the next day.
Thursday, July 26: Castle Rock to Colorado Springs
This hotel was super crowded and had a very unimpressive breakfast. While there are a few things to do around Castle Rock we chose to fill up and leave for the hour drive to Colorado Springs.
We wanted to check out Colorado Springs not only because it’s full of sights and activities but it’s also a possible location for us to move to in the future. Since we were driving two cars, we usually parked one at the hotel and drove around to do things in the bigger car together. We toured post to see how it compares and if we’d like being stationed there. We were impressed by how nice it was on-post and I would enjoy being there because it’s the adventure we loved in Seattle but close distance in Kansas.
They also had a great dog park and extremely dog-friendly area everywhere you went.
We stopped into their on-post dog park to get some energy out until a storm rolled in and then drove downtown for PubDog. He did great! The canned and draft beer had tons of local selections and we shared their brisket/bbq sandwich. It. Was. Delicious! You can have your dog inside, outside on the patio or in the play area. Some of their dishes were even served in dog food bowls and they even had a mini-menu for the dogs.
The La Quinta Garden of the Gods hotel is THE. WORST. we’ve stayed in-probably EVER. It was motel style outside and very dark, musty and dingy inside. It literally smelled like dirty feet and smoke (the lobby smelled like smoke, too.) Even though we wanted a smoke-free room. It was one of the more expensive ones too because of the location. Most of Manitou is dog friendly but some places aren’t–you should have a pretty safe bet to bring your pup but just check-in individually.
We left him in our room while we went to the Burrowing Owl….which turned out to be a vegan restaurant. I missed that when looking online so I suppose that’s a good thing! We grabbed their BBQ Jackfruit Nachos and a couple local beers. Their canned beers come with free koozies. We were still hungry so we went down the road to the Ivywild School which has several distilleries and the Bristol Brewing Company in it. It’s a stunning, huge school that was converted and boasts the old-school features for adults to have fun at school again. I tried the flight of beers and enjoyed their Laughing Lab Scottish Ale and Red Rocket Pale Ale most. Their burger, fresh fries, handmade chips and Rueben were AMAZING!!! Definitely a must visit.
Friday, July 27: Colorado Springs
We slept in until 9 a.m. and woke up to beautiful weather which was perfect for the big hiking day we had planned. While it was overcast and 60-80s storms were of course creeping in that afternoon. Drew and I tried visiting Broadmoor Seven Falls but were let down by the location change and super long line for the shuttle. If this is something you’re interested in doing, check out the “Plan Your Trip” on their website for updated addresses to offsite parking and using the shuttle.
We decided it wasn’t worth it after so much wasted time and drove out to Pikes Peak instead. We started climbing up at noon and were back down by 1:30. (We didn’t do the entire hike because we were meeting family for another hike.)
It was a great hike, very established, busy and several great outlook points. Compared to Washington this was dusty but there were fewer trees. It was also a lower elevation but very steep. Dogs were allowed but we were basically the only dog on the mountain.
About 30 minutes drive down the road was Garden of the Gods where we met my family and explored for about an hour. This is a free place to visit and you can grab brochures inside their visitor’s center. While it was raining we drove around but once it let up we were able to pull over and climb through some paths and rocks. It was a good, quick visit with gorgeous red-orange formations.
Argo was done for by the time we got back to the hotel so we took advantage and drove out to Manitou Brewing Company for some amazing beer! I had the Wittle Wit Crazy and Drew had their Novella White IPA. We always judge a place on their truffle fries and there’s were served with Siracha mayo. I had the grilled chicken sandwich and Drew had the shredded pork tacos. The minute you walked outside the streets and town were fairly empty but you can find a couple places booming with live music. We heard a very talented musician at The Kinfolks and you could tell it’s where the locals went.
The next day we would head out to Kansas to visit the Alma Mater and home before finishing up the trip. Make sure you’re subscribed to these posts so you never miss a thing in your inbox.
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