Day 27: Dinosaur National Monument > Golden, CO
Today, I planned to drive about 500 miles to get over toward Denver, Colorado, to meet up with friends.
Along the way, I stopped at Dinosaur National Monument, a place I had never been before, but had always wanted to experience.
This region contains tons of dinosaurs from the Jurassic Period. An ancient river created a kind of “log jam” of dead animal remains and they were preserved in the mud until they became fossilized. The park built a large building attached to the side of a cliff where they were excavating bones. This way, visitors can actually see the bones still in the rock.
The sun was setting by the time I reached Denver. There was an awesome storm cloud hovering over the city. It kinda made me think of a mushroom cloud from a disaster movie.
Day 28: Colorado Springs (Cheyenne Mountain, NORAD)
After spending the night with my friend at a hotel in Denver, I trekked on down to Colorado Springs for the day. David, Mike and I were planning on doing some sightseeing together the next day, but there were a few scenic drives I wanted to take before they got there.
Colorado Springs is home to NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), which is located underneath Cheyenne Mountain. I’m a big disaster movie fan, and poor NORAD seems to get blown up a lot in those movies, so I wanted to see how close I could get to the front gate. Not very close, but I got a good picture of Cheyenne Mountain from the road.
I then took my car on a fun, dirt road tour up the backside of the mountain range behind Colorado Springs.
After that, I took an early day off of sightseeing and went to my hotel to chill out. (I decided to splurge and spend the night at hotels while I was with friends.)
Day 29: Colorado Springs (Garden of the Gods, Pike's Peak)
This morning, David, Mike and I headed to the nearby Garden of the Gods city park. It was awesome! This free little park is nestled up to the Rocky Mountains, but still has the red rock formations sprouting up from the green trees.
We then headed up for a scenic drive to Pike's Peak, one of Colorado’s 14,000 high mountains. They have an incredible winding road which takes you to the very top.
Of course we stopped along the way for a snow photo.
I also saw Bigfoot! (He’s the one on the left.)
Since I completed week 4, I did a little financial calculating. I doubled my $50/day budget since I stayed in a few hotels, ate out a couple times, and bought a few travel gifts.
Average per day: $100