The Great American Road Trip 2019, Day Eight

Day Eight: Colorado Rockies

Here’s where things went a little off the rails. I was pretty good about planning things or at least having a vague idea through Utah, but I figured by the time we hit Colorado we could play it by ear. I mean, for years we lived in Kansas and Colorado was the neighboring state so everyone vacationed there frequently, including us. We knew what was up, where things were, and what cities were good for a day trip.

Or so I thought.

Turns out, we’ve been gone for awhile and I mixed up what was where. Totally took Ft. Collins for a Boulder type town initially (not really. Like, at all), Greeley to me was like, totally just a northwestern extension of Ft. Collins, right? Yes? No. Also I confused Loveland for Longmont for some reason. Dummy alert. Anyway, that had some major repercussions on how things went for us over the course of our time here.

At least we had a nice, long, relaxing morning for our last day at the cabin. Moose and I were the early birds, he watched cartoons from the couch while I filled in the airbnb journal and tried to finish off those huge blueberry muffins from our check in (I failed, unfortunately. SO HUGE. SO MANY).

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We got the car loaded up, cleaned up the cabin, then said good-bye to the chickens before leaving.

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Bye bye, Rocky Mountains. We loved you so.

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Because our planning kinda petered out at this point and also my nighttime planning mentioned previously was mostly filled with hotel/motel bookings, we just kinda winged it from there. We drove to downtown Fort Collins to see what was good.

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Specifically: Old Firehouse Books.

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You know how you’re so happy to take your kids to a bookstore and then it’s only when you are faced with checking out and you realize you have 12 books in hand that you are about to hand over a serious chunk of change? Yeah. That happened.

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After signing away a great deal of money, we went to explore more.

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Downtown Ft. Collins isn’t terribly large and 99% of the stores are NOT kid friendly, but we still had fun walking around.

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After awhile we stumbled upon my most favorite of things: a thrift store.

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They found some doggies.

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Spoiler: we bought the doggies.

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One thing that stuck from my searching the night before was Mary’s Mountain Cookies, so when we happened to find one on our downtown walk well: in we went.

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OMG such huge cookies.

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These are brilliant.

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Took me two days to finish off this cookie, no lie. It tasted like the best chewy brownie ever.

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After cookies we finished our walk around downtown and, because it was then lunch time, we went to the best-sounding place we could think of. Which was: heading back to Black Bottle, which we loved so much from the day before that we couldn’t help but go back.

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It is a very big deal for us to do a repeat brewery, especially in a craft-brewery mecca like Fort Collins. But this spot was worth it, all the beers were again just perfection and the food was also a great repeat. Linus got a kids meal, Peter ordered “Barbarian Pretzels” from the apps menu, and Scott and I each ordered the daily lunch special (two of their sliders of our choice, plus a side and beer, for ten bucks). Funny aside: our bill was substantially cheaper than from the day before, even though we got real meals this time.

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Then I was all HEY LET’S GO TO LOVELAND, thinking not only was it a cute little hippie mountain town but also the home of Oskar Blues, which would make a fantastic dinner stop. Except: haha, nope, I’m thinking of Longmont. Whoops.

That’s okay though, Loveland had the Best Store By a Damn Site, so. There’s that.

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*Dab!*

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A family owned icon for the past 50 years, this is a major tourist-attraction-heavy store  (not like I can complain, we got shirts and a blanket and pins and slap-bracelet and some squished pennies, being the first place in Colorado where we actually found a penny machine).

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Then off we went out the back door, to see the actual dam thing.

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Very scenic.

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Even though I personally preferred the opposite view.

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After our time at the dam site, we were kinda like: what else, Loveland. Seriously. No Oskar Brews? But instead, this town had to offer one of the most fun sculpture parks we have ever encountered.

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Benson Sculpture Garden, folks. Don’t sleep on it.

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Holy moly, we spent so much time here. And the kids had a blast, because they let you climb all over all the sculptures. So many imaginary duels.

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So many dramatic play options.

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Moose meets moose.

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Pete meets… gorilla.

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After thoroughly running off our children, it was late afternoon so we headed out to find our hotel. We booked a spot at a new hotel chain, Cobblestone, just west of Greeley.

It was very, very new. And in the midst of ranching territory. And we got there and settled and then Scott was all LET’S GO OUT FOR DINNER and I was just like, no, dude. I don’t want to go anywhere, I am legit EXHAUSTED.

But out we went, anyway, because I figured it wouldn’t hurt to at least grab a beer. We drove into Greeley and I was instantly mad when I realized that I forgot my camera at the hotel and dammit, even though Greeley is a ranching town that smells vaguely of manure all the time, it is still a cool little town and it had some pretty amazing murals and I have NO PICTURES TO SHOW FOR IT, dammit.

Here are a few pictures from my phone, sorry they kinda suck.

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So, Weldworks! It was great. I stuffed my tote bag full of snacks, all sorts of mini trail mixes and chips and dried fruit and such, this was the food we fed to our children to keep them quiet while we split a nice beer sampler.

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I am not a fan of the “milkshake IPAs” and the “JUICY IPAs” but I swear to god, the key lime and orange hazy IPAs here were glorious. The key lime was appreciatively tart and sour and the orange (called Juicy Bits) tasted legit like orange juice. What a revelation. Other people that jumped on this beer trend need to come taste these guys to see what they need to fix because they were both fantastic.

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Then we headed back to the hotel, and the skies got pretty wacky. Reminded me of Kansas weather.

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Okay, that’s it! More later, friends, gonna get this sucker finished off like This Week.

Day Eight Stats:
Lunch: Black Bottle, again. Great spot!
Museum Count: 0, Womp.
Roadside Attractions Count: 2 (i) Best Dam Site, and (ii) Benson Sculpture Park
Peter’s Penny Count: 1 (Dam Site, steppin’ up)
Moose’s Dab Count: 1 (insert praying hands emoji)
Dwellings: | Cobblestone Inn and Suites, Kearsey, CO. Again: very new. In the middle of nowhere, really. But you can’t beat a shiny new hotel and kind staff.
Motel Dinner Madness: Objective: eat up that basket of stuff. We brought chips and snacks to the brewery, then after back at the hotel we split ramen bowls and mashed potatoes.

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