Here are the highlights:
- Thrilling drive on the highest highway in the US up over the Rockies and across the continental divide
- Amazing rock formations at Garden of the Gods (and it's free!)
- Amusement park-like experience of a waterfall at 7 Falls
- Great variety of eating experiences: local mexican place in Craig where the whole family ate fajitas for 25 bucks; old-style Italian in CS where the decour had certainly not changed in 50 yrs; grass-fed beef at Conway's Redtop burger joint--a step back into the 70s; and finally a little Hunan Chinese place in Evanston.
- A hike to Barr Camp--actually a mile past it--on the famous Barr Trail up Pike's Peak with oldest son: 16 miles round trip. The only negative is that running several miles downhill has totally trashed my legs.
- Lots of talk time with the kids--I love how trips create close-quarter situations which switch up the normal family relationships. We laughed at all kinds of things and enjoyed each of child's unique personality, something that seems to come out more on a trip like this.
- Lost brakes just outside of Craig, CO but it worked out--no crash and a local guy in a tiny station fixed it the next morning (note: Craig is a rather ugly town, almost impossible to walk anywhere)
Vacations with older kids have several advantages (and some disadvantages I won't mention): less fighting, more willingness to try new foods, easier to do difficult hikes, and when tired of them you can send them to the pool for some alone time.
Next year's trip: Grand Canyon or Highway 101 to see coastal redwoods