Last Saturday, we packed up the trusty Suburban and headed west for the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Dad rented us a cute Airbnb house in Ouray, a quaint town my parents visited over 15 years ago and fondly vowed to return to someday. That “someday” finally came on August 5th, 2018. Once we arrived in the “Switzerland of America,” we quickly settled into our vacation home before eagerly grabbing the keys to the sweet convertible-top jeeps that we got to call “ours” for the week.
I can see why Ouray found a special place in my parents’ hearts; our vacation there just concluded and I already want to return! I mean, Genesee and I had the absolute best time, despite enduring sunburn, whiplash, and 70+ hours of traveling. It’s no easy feat driving in mostly low-range to cover 400 miles of rugged terrain that reach upwards of 13,000 feet elevations, even with a small gang of good sports who span the age spectrum, but we did it like champs!
Apparently, the most beautiful scenery in Colorado is reserved for the brave souls who dare to venture up switchback roads, hoping they won’t meet another vehicle on the loose rock, one-lane, no guardrail trails. Therefore, we were constantly surrounded by absolutely breathtaking views, enhanced, of course, by mom’s favorite instrumental songs streaming through the speakers on repeat: St. Elmo’s Fire and The Ludlows. Trust me when I say the pictures hardly do it justice.
Our most memorable sights, however, were found driving along the Million Dollar Highway, climbing the mountain to Clear Lake, braving the dead-end that overlooked Silverton, and surviving Ophir Pass’ sheer-drop-off shelf road. If you add these routes to your bucket list, go with an experienced driver and be willing to shamelessly pee your pants a little. Genesee recommends diapers.
Still, although we truly enjoyed the ride, no amazing landscape or thrilling jeep route can rival the simple family time that Genesee and I treasured most. There’s just nothing quite like playing Scavenger hunt along the Interstate stretch with Mom, peek-a-booing in the middle row with Grandma, wrestling on the bunk bed like only siblings can, eating a ham-wrapped string cheese “sandwich” in a park with loved ones, opening daily presents from Grandma, exploring the fancy playground in Telluride, tossing a frisbee across the backyard with Grandpa, fishing in the cool Colorado waters with Dad, soaking in mineral water at the Ouray hot springs, “watering the flowers” in front of a mountain range backdrop, hearing the steam engines leave Silverton, and visiting the local toy store to find a red model jeep.
Ouray, you gained another superfan! So, this isn’t goodbye; it’s just “see you later.” And by “later,” I don’t mean 15 years…. got that, parents? Until next time, thanks for the memories!