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DSCN9958We woke up at 3:30 am because it is impossible to sleep the night before a big trip. With nothing more than coffee and the toiletry bag to add to our packed car, we headed out on 1-25 heading west. A drive through Colorado means lots of beautiful highways and steep grades among tunnels and mountain passes.

While Kansas has some of the cleanest rest stops in the country, they certainly don’t have any gorgeous mountains or roaring rivers to gaze upon as you stretch your legs and take a potty break. Our favorite rest stop along I-70 comes just before Glenwood Springs. There, you can find picnic tables and a path leading down to the banks of the Colorado River. 

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We had our first official road trip lunch here. We vowed for this trip that we would skip out on getting greasy fast food and, instead, we brought an amazing assortment of snack food (thanks to World Market!) and a loaf of Chris’s homemade bread. You should probably do yourself a favor and make a loaf before you head out on your own summer road trip.

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We’ve mentioned the steep grades and mountain passes: do make sure you know what you are doing before it’s too late and you are flying out of the Eisenhower tunnel, the smell of burning rubber suddenly emanating from your now-defunct brakes. (Do you want to take one of those runaway truck ramps? Of course you do. But you shouldn’t). Instead, drive the passes like an experienced mountain driver. As you are flooring it to get up the pass, make sure to turn on your heater and let down your windows. This will help dissipate the heat from your engine. Once you are headed down the mountain, also be sure to switch into second gear rather than ride on the brakes. Without a doubt, you’ll see other less-informed drivers start to smoke and overheat. But thankfully, because you read this, you will continue on like a pro.

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Growing up, Colorado was the destination for nearly all of Sarah’s family vacations. The only area of Colorado she hasn’t been to is Dinosaur. We may have to venture out there one of these days so she can completely conquer the state. Now that Colorado is home, of course, we get the pleasure of starting out every road trip with this sort of gorgeous scenery.

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It is approximately 343 miles from our front door in Colorado Springs to the “Welcome To Utah” sign:

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By this point in the trip, we were making pretty fantastic time. But then the “navigator” sitting there, with a brand new Rand McNally map across her lap, had a brilliant idea: “Lets go see Moab on the way!” And there began the first detour of our 26-hour drive from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Portland, Oregon.

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