It’s taken over a month to finally recap my entire vacation. I still have a few lingering diner reviews left, but with one phase of life over and the next moving forward, I figured it would be best to wrap finally wrap the trip up.
As I mentioned a month ago, my husband and I had no plans when we went out there. We booked two plane tickets and a rental car. We had no hotels booked, no plans of which towns and cities we would see, but figured we would wing it. We didn’t imagine we would drive to four different states and put over 2600 miles on our car…but we did.
So where to begin?
We flew into Denver.
We stayed for a few days in Denver. We explored the city a bit, and went for a few gorgeous runs. We also got to see my good friend Kevin and his wife which I haen’t seen in a while.
While in Denver, we drove up and went hiking at Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder. We went to a few diners including Sams 3 which was on the Food Network as well as the brand new Snooze Cafe.
Next, we headed out West towards Utah. My good friend Janae had said there were a fun 5k/13.1 and we thought…why not. It’s only about 400 miles, right? Plus, we would see what we would see.
Earlier in the year one of my closest friends, Angela, moved to Colorado (from South Jersey). The route to Utah went right through her town which we had been planning to do anyway. We stayed the night at Angela and her husband’s house, went for a gorgeous run, and of course at her local diner: The New Castle Diner.
Then we continued towards Utah. It was a scenic and beautiful drive. Most of the time we didn’t have cell service which was actually nice. No internet, blogging, or Facebooking. Just the road and rocks on either side.
We got into Provo late that night, found a nice hotel near the race. Since there was a half marathon, packet pickup was the night before at the mall. We overheard some locals talking about the “lazy people” doing the 5k…YAY for being lazy.
The race itself was tough. NJ is at sea level, Utah is 4000-5000 above (I can’t remember). There was also a massive hill at the end of the race, and I finished in 19:40 dry heaving the whole way. You can read more about the Haunted Half 5k here.
No, seriously it was painful
Janae, who just had her baby, finished and placed in her age group. It was great to hang out, and the morning was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. Another state I’ve raced in, not that I’m even sure how many that is.
After the race in Utah, we drove South. We stayed the night, woke up the next morning and explored both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.
Both were beautiful, and we could have spent days, weeks, and probably months in either. I hope one day to get back and spend more time and each. Both have half and full marathons too, which would be fun to run if we trained appropriately (IE: at elevation). Judging from the 5k, it might be awhile. We went to Meme’s cafe for lunch in Zion, which was an “interesting” experience.
After that, we stayed overnight and headed down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We were only a few hours away, and I’ve always wanted to see it. A few hours away is a lot closer than NJ, so we decided to just drive down there. It was absolutely breathtaking!
After the Grand Canyon, we progressed east towards Colorado. We wanted to make a stop at the Four Corners: where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. It’s a bucket list item, just to say you did. It wasn’t too crowded when we got there. You can stand in all Four Corners or lay there…
For the next couple of days, we just enjoyed the drive, view, and hanging out. We saw a lot of cute towns. We drove through Uncompahgre National Forest and over a terrifying mountain pass in which it was snowing. We decided to stop and take a photo at the top. It was one of the most incredible views of the trip.
Afterwards, we headed to Tim’s relative’s house in Montrose, Colorado. It was nice to see family, and they took us for a 10+ mile four wheeling expedition up a mountain. I’ve never been four wheeling before, so it was a brand new but so much fun experience. The mountain in the background is actually the mountain we drove over and took the photo (above).
After an enjoyable visit in Montrose, we headed back towards Denver. We stopped in Colorado Springs for a couple of days. Initially, we wanted to go walk around the Air Force Academy, but there were essential meetings, and we weren’t allowed on. We should have started our trip that way! We decided to hike the Seven Bridges Trail (yes, you cross 7 bridges) as well as the Grey Back Peak Trail.
We also stopped (of course) at the King Chef Diner which was featured on the Food Network. If you’ve never been, you have to go. It is definitely one of my favorite diners that I’ve been too, including in NJ! There are two locations but we chose the 13 seat, small purple castle.
They are most known for their Burritos. Even with running and hiking, I left full.
Finally, we wrapped our way back to Denver, and it was time to go. At the airport, I ended up getting food poisoning which I’m still dealing with but that is a blog post for another day.
Over 100 miles run
Highest elevation 11000
Lowest elevation 3200
Temperatures between 28-80 degrees
And 2600 miles driven (on the dot)
I had one of the best trips of my life, and it was nice to spend time with my husband before he deployed. One day we want to do something similar again, but going North to Montana and that way.
Questions for you:
Have you ever been on a road trip?
What is your favorite vacation?