Epic Family Road Trip – Part 3

If you are just joining us, check out Part One and Part Two here on where our journey began.

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.

Mount Evans

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.

We made it!!! But it’s so cold!!!

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.

Big Horn Sheep at Mount Evans

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.

Our hike on Rocky Mountain. Someone does not look happy.
Elks at Rocky Mountains

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.

What a fun way to explore the farm in?

We rode on their ATV across their farm and just loving every moment there. Getting up close and personal with all their farm animals. There is no other way to be able to see all their farm has to offer.

Oh! Just roaming around.
Time to eat!

Wow! That’s a lot of chicken!
It smells Mom! Can we get out of here?

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? 🙂

Fresh Meat! Dinner is ready!!!

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.

Only in Minnesota.. On a Sunday afternoon. Summer construction.

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.

Thanks for taking on this journey with us! Again, if you haven’t started with us since we began this epic road trip, join us for here for Part One and Part Two .

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Beautiful view

37 thoughts on “Epic Family Road Trip – Part 3”

  1. This certainly is an epic road trip! Looks amazing. We loved our drive through Oklahoma and Route 66. Sad we never made it to Rocky Mountains but hopefully we will in the future!

  2. What a great trip! Like you I am a city slicker and I am sure I would of held my nose just like your kids ….lol

  3. Some of my most favorite ‘vacations’ weren’t vacations at all, but cross country trips because of moves. All the adventures, and misadventures along the way and the laughs for years to come. We still talk about all of our trips often!

  4. Your blog posts and picture really got me wanting to travel more out west! That is something I have never done. It looks like you family had a wonderful time!

  5. Hahahahaha!!!! Burger King is closed and those are all the worker’s cars!!! Oh my gosh, I love mom lies! Looks like a fantastic way to end a great road trip!

  6. I love Rocky Mountain National Park. It is such a majestic place to visit. There are so many things to do there. I have not been to any of the places on your list, but will have to make plans! They look wonderful.

  7. We have SUCH diversity of land and homes and people and experiences in our country. I’d be up for a different road trip every summer!!!!

    1. Same here. I am already trying to get my husband to agree on another road trip. Hoping to possibly go up to Canada and towards Niagara Falls. Crossing fingers… Thanks.

  8. If you ever make it down to Alabama, if you hear us say “buggy”, we’re referring to a shopping cart! I was in Nevada trying to get some groceries, and there were none in the little cart rack. I tried asking the clerk if they had any buggies, and responded, “I don’t even think we sell those!” 🤣 Mass confusion until I remembered that I wasn’t in the South anymore!

    1. That sheep was so awesome to see up close. I wish I took an accurate count but it was at least 4000 miles.

  9. For many of us here in the South, your pop is always a Coke! 🙂 Your trip looks amazing and I’ll bet your kiddos remember this for the rest of their lives.

  10. I remember going to Estes state park when I was little. I can’t wait to bring my kids there. It’s so fun to see all the animals up there!

  11. I am so surprised at how people’s preferences are so different! Living in the country for 12 years now, I can’t sleep if there is even a bright moon! I need the dark! I even wear an eye mask if it’s too light. How funny! 🙂 Loved this post – you guys got to see some really incredible things and I’m sure it will be one of those trips you always talk about!

  12. I know that people call it both (I live in the Midwest and you hear both), but I’m surprised the person didn’t know what you were talking about!… I feel like even if you don’t call it pop, you know what people are talking about if they say it! I go change based on who I’m talking to haha! If they say soda first then now I call it soda. lol

  13. What a great trip you had! You did so much too in nine days. I grew up in Tulsa! Your family must live outside of the city, if they have a farm. Tulsa is a sprawling city that’s grown and changed a great deal since I lived there. I still have family there so I visit frequently. Bet it felt good to get home!

  14. Hey! I grew up in Southern California as well… its definitely Soda! 😂😂 I loves your post and the pictures.. we plan on getting up to Jackson hole next year!

  15. Love it! What an adventure over nine days!! To think of all the memories you created on this epic adventure. The animals you saw, the people you met, the landscapes you viewed! Thanks for sharing.

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