Beaver, UT -> Boulder, CO – Epic Road Trip Day 2

2014 road trip logo

When we woke up on the morning of July 8th at the Comfort Inn in Beaver, it became clear to me that a pattern for our Road Trip mornings would be set.

Mom, who is an early riser (but also an early bedtime girl), would wake up first, scramble to free breakfast to forage for coffee, and spend some quiet time in prayer. She would check email, deal with any professional pots boiling over, and then grab a shower. She would pack the car, and then at the last possible moment awaken the nineteen year old musician who had been up until goodness knows when skyping with friends and practicing his instruments in a gym, conference room or other relatively soundproof spot. Said teen would then rise, shower and locate the nearest vending machine for a diet soda, the breakfast of Road Trip champions.

Nutritional? No. But it seemed to work that first morning and many others after it.

Day two of the trip was filled mainly with driving. We logged only 540 miles that day, because we’d planned a visit to see my brother and his family in Denver. Along the way, we drove north through Utah along I 15 and then heading east on Interstate 70. I didn’t realize then that we were picking up I 70 at its starting point, near Cove Fort, Utah.

One of the highlights of the drive included a very brief stop at San Rafael Swell (where we learned that Adam should hold the camera for selfies because mom is both shorter and not very good at taking them):

Two thousand square miles of narrow, circuitous canyons, scenic cliffs and towering buttes make up one of Utah’s best outdoor playgrounds. The “Swell” is particularly suited for many activities such as camping, hiking, biking, rock climbing, sightseeing, ORVs and even canoeing.

This large geologic anticline is located between Castle Dale, Green River, Price and Hanksville. It began its formation 50 million years ago. Over time the sandstone has slowly been lifted and through erosion many cliffs and canyons have been carved. Enormous pressures from a deep basement fault have pushed Wingate and Navajo sandstone on the Eastern edge, the “San Rafael Reef,” near vertical.

san rafael swell

Soon after our entry into Colorado, we learned that even their rest areas are crazy beautiful! When Adam gave an pulled out his instruments at the No Name Rest Area near Glenwood Canyon, we both realized that it was important to enjoy even these impromptu stretch breaks along the road. There is just something completely majestic about hearing him play music in a setting like this one. Rest stop concerts became something regular to look forward to on the trip.

No name rest area

After our lovely drive across Colorado and a visit with our family, we arrived at our hotel for the night, the Quality Inn & Suites Boulder Creek, Boulder.

Quality Inn & Suites Boulder Creek, Boulder, CO

Some of my favorite features of this hotel included:

  • Beautiful setting – The hotel offers very large rooms decorated with a mountain theme which was perfect. The decor of this entire hotel felt very “lodge like”, unlike a budget or chain hotel.
  • Free bikes – although we arrived too late to use them, the property provides free bikes and helmets. A great way to explore Boulder.
  • Terrific pool & jacuzzi – These are indoor in a wood-paneled facility. You feel as though you’ve entered a nice spa.
  • Great breakfast and free wifi – I’ve learned not to take these features for granted. Both were awesome.
  • A short walk (less than a mile) to Pearl Street Mall and very close to CU Boulder – both “must see” destinations when you visit Boulder.

We ended our evening with dinner and a stroll along Pearl Street Mall. All too late, I realized that Adam should have brought his bouzouki and busked – he could have paid for our dinner!

Pearl Street Mall is filled with all sorts of great shops and restaurants, but it’s truly awesome for the type of people watching we love to do. We had dinner on the patio of a great pizza restaurant and enjoyed some fantastic, free live music. When you visit, be sure to carry dollar bills and plan to stay for a while.

All too soon, it was time to head back to the hotel. Day two had come and gone in a swirl of canyons, sweeping vistas, family moments and hippie culture.

Continue to check in regularly for additional installments my ongoing “Epic Road Trip” series. Lisa

About Lisa M. Hendey

As a Catholic who loves her faith and a frequent adventurer who’s always up for a new journey, Lisa is a wife and mom, a writer, a speaker and an impassioned traveler. Visit her at LisaHendey.com to keep up with her comings and goings.