I’m pretty sure that I promised this trip would be in two parts. I decided, this week, that it might be broken down into three parts: heading up, Steamboat Springs, heading back. The trip kinda broke down like that anyway (from what I could tell…most of the drive I was safely situated in the cup-holder).
By the way: can anyone see me in this picture? I’ll give you a hint: I’m at the bottom…
Anywho, we started a little late. I believe that every good road trip starts with a little hiccup, but we had a pretty smooth start, just a little late. Now, we were following Google’s instructions, which were a little different from going to Denver. Denver, I’m told, is pretty easy to get to: follow I-40 North. This was a little bit more of an adventure. We followed the back way up H-285, which was fantastic! We saw Galisteo, which is an awesome little town just north of Edgewood. We stopped by Camel Rock, the Rio Grand Rift, and the border between New Mexico and Colorado.
The ride out was interesting. Most of those places we’d never gone (us ponies or my person), so we were seeing entirely new terrain. Northern New Mexico is an interesting combination of shrub-tree forests and plains. We had long stretches surrounded by shrub trees that, if taller, would have created archways above us. It’s amazing how we still felt like we were getting lost in a huge forest, even though at the top of the hills we could see forever.
Southern Colorado felt more like home. There were mountains and plains; that seemed to be the majority for awhile. As we left Antonio, in the distance we could see the Great Sand Dunes, which were desert like we’d never seen before, definitely not like our green desert. They were a little outside of our area, but it’s definitely something we’ll come back to. We did stop at the Colorado Gator Farm, though.
For anyone who hasn’t been to the Colorado Gator Farm, it’s a fantastic experience. (WARNING: there are large reptiles there, including snakes, lizards, and alligators. This is definitely not a place for someone who fears those kinds of animals, that’s for sure.) We actually started with meeting a gator called Joey, who was kind enough to let me rest on his back while my person held him (nothing like feeling I was on the back of a dinosaur: the proportions were WAY off!!!). Then we were inside: there were huge iguanas of every type (including a Rhinoceros Iguana, which really did look like a dino), turtles everywhere, and of course, gators! Some were close enough we could get pictures with. I got a picture with Morris the Gator, who is a movie star! Sita was also able to get a picture with albino gators, which we all thought was cool (the white tiger with the white gators).
I also have to say that this is where we learned about Flat Stanley. Turns out, school kids have to take Flat Stanley around and have adventures with him. We didn’t actually see one, but we were asked if we were like him a lot. I’m hoping he’s a cool guy…
We were running a little late by this point (there was a theme, I’m telling you), so we didn’t stop too much going forward. We did find the most beautiful valley, though, and there we found the coolest thing: a monument to three towns, now long disappeared, and the site of the highest Masonic Lodge in the USA. The valley itself was picturesque, but just thinking that at one point there had been three settlements nestled in it was a strange and beautiful thought.
That was the last place we stopped, apart from gas, because we had dilly-dallied a little too long and were now running really late. It turns out that there was a check-in time for the place we were staying, and it was getting too close. So we hurried along in the dark, traveling on windy roads through pitch-black forests, until, finally, in the distance, we could see lights. We came down a mountain and found ourselves in Steamboat Springs.