We started our road trip by picking up my mom. With my husband overseas I needed another driver and another adult to keep the other kids in line 🙂 My mom was a true hero on the journey, she bought individual DVD players for the kids (in different colors so they didn’t fight over who’s was who’s) and we brought a huge bunch of movies, mostly from the cheap bin at Wal-mart and a few copies of what we had from home. I liked doing it this way because then I didn’t worry about them getting lost or scratched, but it still entertained the kids on the long stretches of highway each day.
The first day we took a straight shot down to Ogden, Utah. This day was one of our longest in terms of driving without stopping. We have been through this area plenty of times, so we just wanted to get in the miles and not really stop much. We did stay at a nice hotel, with a swimming pool, so my kids were happy.
After resting for the night we left bright an early the next day to head into Colorado. We left Ogden and went through Echo Canyon, along I-80 into Wyoming. There was some construction which slowed us down, but what do you expect in the middle of summer. About halfway through the state, we turned down into Colorado. We were going to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, and wanted to drive along the Trail Ridge Road.
Talk about a Scenic Byway! The road was breathtaking. It starts low in the mountains with lush forests and lakes, then takes you up into the top of the Rockies with gorgeous vistas (and lots of switchbacks). We stopped along the way for a quick 1-mile hike on the Coyote Valley Trail. It was super easy, totally accessible and, of course, beautiful. The kids liked the break from the car, and it wasn’t so long of a hike that they got overly tired or cranky.
We then continued on the road to the tops of the mountain and stopped at the Alpine Visitors center. We got there just before it closed, and I got another stamp in my National Park Passport Book. After that quick break (and bathroom usage), we headed back down the mountains and into Estes Park for the night. And that was the end of our first leg of the journey.
Click on this panoramic to view it bigger, trust me it’s worth it!