With some amazing things to look forward to, we have been anticipating the summer of 2018 for a year now. We raced out of IL immediately after running camp for a free stop at a Walmart in Gretna, Nebraska, possibly the nicest Walmart we have seen. Stays at Walmart are never the best, with lots of truck generator noise, and other unforeseen circumstances, but free is good! (for example, just a few days later, we would find that the Glenwood Springs Walmart that we had ok’d a stay was now under construction, so we continued on to the Rifle, CO Walmart. In the middle of the night, a “striper” woke all the campers up and said we would all need to move because they were painting the parking lot of course. Another fun Walmart night!)
After being cooped up in the car for hours, it has become a tradition on these long travel days/Walmart stays to have a little fun once we get there.
Ethan wasn’t very excited about traveling on his birthday, but we made sure Day 2 was the shorter travel day, and he was excited to test out his new sleeping back, as well as enjoy a morning of Grandma’s crepes. We split up all his birthday gifts, and gave him a new gift at each gas stop, which he really enjoyed,
After doing this trip year after year, we seem to make many of the same stops. The girls love this gas station dino in Ogallala.
Our second stop was the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont, which doesn’t take reservations, but we were fortunate to get a camp spot. We immediately raced off to meet some friends at Chataqua Park in Boulder.
It’s been a couple years since we met up with the G family, so it was great to catch up for a couple hours while we stretched out our travel legs!
The kids of course insist on taking pictures at every rock or tree.
I loved that Laney found this kindness rock along the way, a reminder for my “wicked strong” girl. She carried it along for awhile before replanting it in this fence post for others to find.
Ethan enjoyed testing out some of his new gifts, including hiking socks, zip off pants, and hat. Turning 13 is big, and I can’t believe how far he has come so fast, yet he’s still the same boy that changed our lives forever many years ago. See the resemblance?
It was only a couple mile walk, but it felt so good to be back!
We enjoyed a late night stop at Pearl Street too.
The next morning, we drove the couple miles up to our first apartment when we were married. Boy, do we miss this place! The boys were able to get a nice run in, while I walked around the old neighborhood with the younger ones.
The kids were ecstatic about all the prairie dogs.
We spent a little too much time in our old stomping grounds, and had to check out, move our camper, and come back to our spot to finish cooking breakfast. Disaster!
As luck would have it, the fairgrounds was hosting a dairy goat show across the street from the campground, so we had a blast checking out all the different breeds of goats.
Our next stop was the V family, who we also haven’t seen for 2 years. It was so hot in the Denver area, so a swim in their neighborhood pool was so welcome! It just so happened to be a neighborhood pool pizza party, which made for a perfect lunch!
The kids loved playing on all their fun inflatables, and look forward to seeing the V family again soon.
Our final Denver area stop was at the M family’s house, and they are definitely the queen and king of hospitality. They were able to finish putting in a campsite in their backyard just in time for our arrival! It was so good to see them again, and their perfect spot was equipped with electric (for some welcome AC), 2 parks, a trampoline out our door, meals included ;), and great company.
Even though it was the day after Ethan’s birthday at this point, of course, they had a little celebration for him too. Without much warning, Laney lost her front tooth and was oh so proud!
We spent Sunday boating on the Cherry Creek Reservoir, and the kids couldn’t have been happier.
Ellie opted off the “crazy ride” for some practice driving the boat with Mr. Rick and some cuddle time with Dad.
After witnessing some interesting paddleboard yoga moves, Rick made his best attempt too 😉
We enjoyed meals on the deck while the kids played away with one of our favorite families while the “kids” played on slippy slidey.
Julie’s dad has an amazing hand made train set in his basement, which was even more amazing this visit now that the kids are a few years older and more appreciative of the work involved. Unbelievable!
The girls managed to sneak into our bed a few times as they adjust back into camper life, and its always a surprise coming in to find them there.
Our last morning in Denver was spent working on a game the kids have been creating over the last several visits, complete with laminated cards.
We made an attempt to stop at Crispy Crème for some free report card donuts on our way out, but found out that was discontinued a few weeks ago. They were a delicious treat regardless.
On our way up to Glenwood Springs, we passed a truck that had started smoking, and as we passed, the lady driving raced off as it became engulfed in flames. The whole truck burnt, and I-70 was closed down for the rest of our day. If we had been 5 minutes later, we would not have made it through. We are always so appreciative of a safe day of travel, but devastated to see something like this on the way. It was a reminder that as safe as you can try to be, you never know what could happen. Seconds later and impossible to stop our car with camper attached, our car and camper would have also caught fire as we passed by.
We were very appreciative to make it to the beautiful Glenwood Hot Springs. For years, we have passed by it, saying “someday.” The kids are all decent swimmers now, and it was a perfect time to enjoy the world’s largest hot spring pool! (Travel dates 6/7-6/11)