We woke up in the airstream a little stiff and worse for wear. I showered in the tiny trailer shower, which was an experience, but the water was warm, so something to be said for that. We jumped back in the car and drove to the nearest decent breakfast spot according to google. Here we were greeted with the longest wait for take-out that I’ve ever experienced, but it was ultimately worth it. We stumbled back to the car full of coffee and egg wraps stuffed with hatch chilies, which seem to be just as popular in this part of Colorado as they are in New Mexico. I guess this makes sense considering we were still in southern Colorado, not at all far from the border.
We spent the day driving up and sometimes back down through ever-growing mountain ranges, a journey in stark contrast to the dusty red roads of a few days prior. We slowly found our way to more flat landscapes and drove to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. I almost didn’t believe this was in Colorado. Look one way and you’ll see mountain ranges and look the other and there are huge sand dunes, a mountain range of their own.
It was incredibly warm on the dunes and Alex and I watched in awe as people crossed miles of sand to get to the higher dunes. The sand burned my feet just standing on it and there was no way I was going to make it to the top of those dunes. Maybe a return trip in cooler weather. That day, they were to be photographed from afar.
Next, onto Colorado Springs to visit my friend Brittany who took us on a tour of her neighborhood and sent us off to the incredible Garden of the Gods just before sunset. I would have loved to spend hours here, hiking around and getting shots of the red rocks that jump out of the green surrounding landscape, but sadly we were on a schedule. We had to get to Alex’s grandfather’s place in Golden by nightfall. It was only an hour or so away, but traffic was horrible, and we were subjected to torrential rains and the only near car accident that we’d encounter on the trip. A truck cut in front of us and the spray totally covered our windshield. It was like being in a carwash. What was likely only 30 seconds felt like ten minutes as we desperately braked hoping the windshield would clear. Luckily, the rain cleared not long after and we began our assent to Golden, even encountering some rogue snow patches along the way. These were definitely worthy of a double take in mid-August.
We arrived at Alex’s grandfather’s amazing home in Golden and were greeted by his Grandfather and wife who made us an amazing dinner and told us to relax in their sauna before going off to bed. Having our own rooms and really comfortable beds was an amazing luxury after our previous night in the trailer.
Well rested, we awoke to a beautiful breakfast and hopped in the car with Alex's grandfather who gave us a tour of the surrounding area, even introducing us to some bison. Our final stop in Golden was the much contested grave-site of Buffalo Bill and on-site restaurant, which we couldn't miss. Who knew he made such excellent fudge?
Back at their house, we packed up, said our goodbyes and headed off to a full day of Kansas. Yes, it's as flat as they say it is. More on that next week...