As we were leaving Grand Teton National Park, we felt that our trip thus far has been quite relaxing, fun and a huge learning experience for all of us. Now we start our 8-hour drive to our next stop Denver, CO. Vang lived in Denver for quite some times 20 years ago so he was looking forward to seeing the city and how much has changed. As well as catching up with some friends and family.
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We drove right into Jackson Hole, WY. I have never even heard of Jackson Hole. It is quite a touristy spot. We decided to stop and look around for a bit and headed out again.
Driving through Wyoming was long and dreadful but on the bright side, it was still daylight out. Nothing but land… We were still in Wyoming when we decided to stop at McDonald’s for dinner. I had ordered our food and when the cashier asked me what kind of drink I wanted, I replied to her “pop”. She asked “what?” I said pop. Still looking confused, she asked me what that was. I responded to her that I wanted soda. Oops… forgot where I was for a moment. Minnesotans says POP 😉. Just a side note, I grew up in Southern California and we said soda there.
Back on the road and it was starting to get dark and still nowhere near Denver. I started to get nervous. At some point, MapQuest told us to make a left turn. It looked like a left turn into nowhere. I woke Vang up and asked him what I should do as it doesn’t look like that left turn looked correct. He tells me to not turn in that “road” and continue on the highway. A little disagreement we had about what to do. Ultimately I listened to him. He insisted he is familiar with this particular highway and it should lead us to Denver. I let him drive the rest of the way to Denver. We finally made it and everything look so unfamiliar to him. There have been so many changes since he lived there.
We stayed at our aunt and uncle’s home for a couple of nights and planned on visiting Mount Evans the next day.
Our day trip to Mount Evans started out early. Driving up the Mount Evans Scenic Byway the highest paved road in America was quite scary. The temperature shifts through five different climate zone as we made our way up to over 14,000 feet above sea level. Be sure to come prepared for any weather conditions when visiting Mount Evans. It was sunny in Denver but as we were driving up to Mount Evans, it started to get cold and cloudy. We wished it was sunny and clear so we would be able to take in the view but oh well. It just means that we will need to come back out here.
The drive down Mount Evans was a lot scarier than the drive going up. It started to rain really hard and visibility was poor. And there really wasn’t anywhere to stop. So we kept on going hoping to make it down safely.
Rocky Mountain National Park
The next day we visited a close family friend and he took us to Estes Park and the Rocky Mountains National Park. What a sight to see! He told us that as often as he comes up here, it was his first time to see the low clouds. We did some hiking and enjoyed the scenery. We spotted some wildlife as well.
While in Denver, we wanted to try out some authentic Asian food. With such a diverse population here, there is much to try. But try convincing the little ones of this. While stopping at a stop light, Landon sees a Burger King and tells us he wanted to go there for lunch. Being the bad mom that I am, I told him that Burger King was closed. He then asked why there were so many cars there. Again, bad mom that I am, I told him they were workers that came to clean the store. Well, he believed me and we went to a Vietnamese Restaurant. When an opportunity comes to eat some authentic Asian food, we go for it. We have been eating tons of burgers and pizzas during this road trip that this was definitely a huge treat. Being with family also meant home cooked meals. Yum!
Oklahoma Farm Life
Our next and final destination is Tulsa, OK. I have never been out there but Vang and the boys have been a couple of times. We were going to visit our sister and brother in law on their farm. Where there are farm animals!! We are city slickers who wouldn’t know the first thing to do on the farm. I think that is why I have hesitated to go out there for so many years.
We rode on their ATV across
Can you tell we are city slickers? Even getting up close and personal, we couldn’t help but hold our nose. Can we get out of here already? 🙂
For dinner, we couldn’t say no to fresh meat. Vang is our grill master and even on vacation, we put him to work. The food was awesome.
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed our time there. Definitely a much slower pace. So relaxed and peaceful. However, the nights are really dark. It was too dark and secluded for me. That I was too scared to go outside or even look outside the window.
What a great way to close out our road trip. Spending time with family.
Our way back home, we took our time even though we woke up at the crack of dawn to head out. It was only a 12-hour drive according to MapQuest. We made it in good timing as it was still daylight when we got home back in Minnesota. Here is the first sign we knew we were almost home.
This has been one epic road trip. All done in 9 days. Quite ambitious but we made sure that we stick to our plan as closely as we can. There were some slight delays but we wouldn’t change anything if we had to do it again. It has been quite an experience and the boys traveled so well. They only asked “are we there yet?” a few million times.
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