Part 1: Colorado

Day 1: Dallas to Paonia

STOPS: Horsefly Brewing Company, San Juan Brews, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Root and Vine Market

Caitlin flew into Dallas the prior day, then we flew together in the morning to Montrose. Got some midday burgers and beer at Horsefly Brewing Company and some coffee at San Juan Brews (good). We headed to Black Canyon of the Gunnison to check it out (such cool views of the rock walls), then drove to Paonia for our AirBNB. Since we were tired from all the travel, we picked up dinner at Root and Vine Market.

Today's distance: 95

Total distance: (/day)

Day 2: Black Canyon of the Gunnison

STOPS: Coffee Trader, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado Boy, Stone Cellars

We got up, made breakfast, then picked up coffee at Coffee Trader (okay) before heading back to Black Canyon and doing the Warner Rim nature hike all the way at the end. We stopped at some of the different viewpoints but it was getting hot, so we went back to Montrose for some pizza at Colorado Boy. We headed back to the AirBNB and spent some time winetasting at the nearby Stone Cellars.

Today's distance: 149

Total distance: (/day)

Day 3: Colorado National Monument

STOPS: Doghouse Espresso, Colorado National Monument, Cafe Sol, Octopus Coffee, Grand Mesa Scenic Byway

Today we headed to Colorado National Monument, getting some Doghouse Espresso (good) on the way. We did the Serpent's Trail hike, which gave some nice views of the town. The scenic drive took us past all sorts of crazy views and steep ledges. The weather was getting hot again, so we went to Grand Junction for food at Cafe Sol and Octopus Coffee (bad), then took the scenic route on the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway.

Today's distance: 213

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Day 4: Paonia to Grand Lake

STOPS: Coaltrain Coffee, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Needles Rock, Big Wrap, Ink Coffee, Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway, Independence Pass, Sagebrush BBQ

Today we picked up coffee at Coaltrain Coffee (okay) and went to the North Rim of the Black Canyon, which is much less visited but has a great couple-hour hike to Exclamation Point. We backtracked, stopping by Needles Rock for me to examine before heading to Aspen for food at Big Wrap and coffee from Ink Coffee. We took the long route (Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway) to see the snow-capped peaks at Independence Pass before making our way to Grand Lake and our AirBNB. We picked up some Sagebrush BBQ and wandered the town before bed.

Today's distance: 324

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Day 5: Grand Lake to Berthoud

STOPS: Grand Lake Marina, The Hub, Rocky Mountains National Park, Odell Brewing Company

With the new Rocky Mountains NP entry timing, we had some time to kill before our 11AM entry pass, so we went kayaking on Grand Lake (rented at Grand Lake Marina), which was perfect in the morning before the boat traffic picked up. We entered the park and took our time, it wasn't overly busy. We saw a ton of elk and a few moose (meese?) but no sheep. Having enough, we went to our AirBNB (which has llamas!) before meeting some of Caitlin's college friends at Odell Brewing Company, then called it a night.

Today's distance: 132

Total distance: (/day)

Day 6: Berthoud to Denver Airport

STOPS: Denver Airport

Got up and said goodbye to the llamas, then took Caitlin back to the airport so she could head back to Cleveland since she had to work the next day (sucks). But that left me with some more vacation time, so the adventure continues...

Today's distance: 51

Total distance: (/day)