End of Summer Road Trip

**This should have been out a month ago, but, ya know, life…

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It all started with a concert. Last December I purchased tickets to see one of our favorite bands, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, perform at Red Rocks in Colorado. We have been following Mr. Rateliff’s music since before he formed the Night Sweats; when he performed as an opener and we could buy tickets to see him for $12 a piece. Ever the fans, we jumped at the chance to see another concert and it gave us a specific date around which to plan a vacation. We were initially going to fly out to Denver for a long weekend but soon decided we wanted to pencil in another road trip before summer ended.

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I remember taking several trips out to the Black Hills as a kid and had such a great time. I was able to convince Travis, who had never been out there, to mark Keystone as the first spot on our trip. We booked a cabin at the Holy Smoke resort for our first two days of the trip. The next leg would include a drive through Wyoming on our way to Denver, although we technically stayed in Lakewood (3 miles from Red Rocks). While in Denver we were able to see family, visit a dispensary and endure the terrifying traffic that results from an under-formed highway system (thanks to those big ole mountains called the Rockies).

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From Denver we headed north toward Fort Collins. We found an amazing campsite in Theodore Roosevelt National Forest just off the La Cache de Poudre river. And when I say just off the river I mean just off the river. We were about 30 yards from its banks and could hear its rushing waters from our site. We had our own private beach on the banks of the river where we hung our hammocks in a little grove we affectionately dubbed “hammock hollow”. We spent the next four days ‘mocking’, fishing, napping, reading and doing nothing. It was refreshing, rejuvenating and terribly sad to leave.

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From Colorado we drove back through Wyoming and crashed another night at Holy Smoke before we headed home. It was easily one of the funnest trips we have ever taken. There is something freeing about filling the car and taking off on the open road. As we drove through vast and open spaces with people from California, Georgia, Michigan and even Alaska I was overwhelmed with a sense of community. We were all out there spending our vacations to see a small corner of America.

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We hit as many hokey road side attractions as we could: the Jolly Green Giant, the Corn Palace, Wall Drug and Mt Rushmore, but also made time to drive through the Badlands, Custer State Park and Iron Mountain Road. We drank coffee while enjoying morning rain, fell asleep to the sounds of a rushing river, stopped along the roadside to bask in a red sky sunset, watched a herd of buffalo graze the rolling hills, shared a meal with strangers and named all the constellations we could find in the star filled skies of the Rocky Mountains.

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The open road gives you the freedom to explore, seek adventure and find yourself. Wishing you many miles of travel.

Cheers,

Amy

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