Loveland CO and Estes Nat'l Park
Trip Start Aug 31, 2009
9Trip End Jul 07, 2009
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July 7, 2009
We leave behind Wyoming and enter Colorado where we will stay near Estes Park in Loveland, CO. We arrive early as the distance is short from Cheyenne to Loveland. We leave I-25 and drive down what I would describe as the expanding Loveland area. Lots new shopping centers and chain businesses like Wal-Mart and Lowes, etc. The area still shows signs of the once farmland that was here. Driving further on we pass residential areas and older parts of the city. A beautiful lake is on our right with people swimming, speed boating, etc. It is a warm day with clear skies.
We find our campground about 10 miles in from I-25 set among the cottonwood trees and along the Big Thompson River which is booming
The area where we park has large cottonwoods next to each site as well as trees next to the river. To the west of the highway on the other side of the river is a large hill and further on the Rocky Mountains of Rock Mountain National Park. Bill and Laurie may remember camping there one summer and watching the elk come down to Mr. Houseman's meadow in the evening. (Mr. Houseman was a friend of their grandfather.)
The water is rushing down the river and flowing rapidly over a spillway next to our campsite. It is loud but soothing at the same time. This is one of the nicer campgrounds we have stayed at, and we would like to stay here again. We will miss all the rivers, streams, creeks, wildflowers and greenery when we return home.
We do not have phone service at the campground so leave to go to a couple of antique stores we saw along the way out. I also phone my friend, Judy Partain, from college who now lives in Ft. Collins. I called her a couple of days ago and we now make plans for her to meet us at the campground in the morning. We will spend the day together and see the home she just bought in Ft. Collins.
July 8, 2009
My friend Judy arrives around 10:30, we catch up for a bit then head out toward Estes Park with her as our guide
Our drive is along the river and the scenery is beautiful. Again we see lots of wildflowers growing among the rocks and dirt – yellow, red, blue. At one point the road is closed in by very tall, full pine trees growing right next to the road with virtually no shoulder. We feel very closed in as we can see nothing beyond the trees. Along the way we pass many homes built right next to the road and a number of small businesses.
Estes Park is quite the bustling community now. It is your typical mountain town and very busy with lots of tourists. Judy suggests that we stop at an old hotel which sits up on the hill above town. It is called the Stanley Hotel. The hotel is nestled among 35 pristine acres and has been a Colorado tradition since 1909. It has a New England inspired fašade and beautiful wood floors. We drive up to the entrance and must pay a fee to see the hotel since we are not guests.
The grounds consist of three buildings – the main hotel, a manor house, and a concert hall. All of the buildings are white with red accent trim. We park in the lot and walk to the front of the Hotel
The lobby area is large and has beautiful dark wood trim and paneling. We walk to the right where there is a seating area in front of a large fireplace on our left. On the right is more seating and large windows overlooking the front of the hotel. Beyond this area are large doors labeled Music Room and Billiard Room. Each has information regarding the room posted next to the doors. We are unable to see the Music Room but it does have a large pocket door so popular at the time this hotel was built. We are told that John Philip Sousa tuned the piano (sitting outside the Billiard Room) belonging to Mrs. Stanley, the wife of the owner of the hotel.
Next to the Music Room, is the Billiard Room which we enter through double doors. The first room has a large fireplace and windows overlooking the east side of the hotel. It is not furnished. Going through the doors to the north, we enter the actual Billiard Room. There are pictures on the wall here of the room showing billiard tables. A cue stick case still filled is on the wall. Beyond this room is a corridor with rest rooms and entrance to the patio behind the lobby.
Returning to the lobby, we find a gift shop and to the left of that a hallway leading out to the back and to the left of the hallway, the reception desk. Beyond the reception desk is a lounge and dinning room with a large fish tank. At the far end of the lobby is another room with windows across the front and the west side of the hotel
Before entering the large dining room, there is a Stanley Steamer car that is in the process of being restored. Mr. Stanley and his brother are the ones who built this car and for whom the hotel is named.
Behind and to the right of the reception desk is a hallway and behind it a stairway to the lower level. Here are the hotel offices and a cafeteria. Photos and other memorabilia line the walls.
Returning to the main lobby, we exit the front of the hotel and walk around to the right to the Manor and Concert Hall both of which are closed to us.
Returning to our car, we drive down the main street to find a parking place. Judy has told us about a restaurant the sounds good for lunch. It is called Poppy’s and is a sandwich and pizza place. Poppy’s is located along the river walk which runs through town with shops and restaurants all along it. We can see the rushing river from our seats. After lunch we go outside to stroll along the river and take a few pictures. It really is a pretty place.
Getting into our car, we notice a stone structure up on the hill above the area and decide to investigate
Driving back to the main road, we continue through town and turn off toward Rocky Mountain National Park where our Senior Pass lets us in without paying a fee. The remainder of the afternoon we spend driving through the Park up to the top which is tundra (above the tree line). On the way up we see a herd of elk grazing on the side of a grassy hill – perhaps 20 -30 elk. On the way back, we see another herd grazing down the side of the hill but cannot stop to take pictures. However, cars are stopped further along and we see the head of an elk with a large rack. We snap a quick picture which did turn out and will be included with this page.
Return to haRVey to let Trixie out before going to dinner at a Lone Star Steakhouse and then on to see Judy’s house
We say goodby and return to our RV. This has been a lovely campground and we have enjoyed listening to the rushing river.