Saturday, July 30, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 7-9 – Denver

We left the WaKeeney KOA on Tuesday morning and headed for Denver traveling I-70 to Limon, CO where we took CO-86 over to Castle Rock.  Except for some rough road patches on CO-86, I enjoyed the back road and we got to see some real SE Colorado ranch country.  

From Castle Rock we went north on US-85 and came in the back entrance to Chatfield State Park – I think this route saved us both time and distance verses taking the interstate the entire way.

We had two Sweetie issues along the way – during my walk around at a rest stop, I discovered a bolt had broken that holds the large rear mud flap and we’d been dragging it for who knows how long.  When we got to the campground we discovered that the plastic insert from one of the trim pieces was completely out so both of these will need to be dealt with before moving on.

This is our second stay at Chatfield and I can’t imagine a better place to camp in the Denver area - the park is part of an Army Corps of Engineers dam to control flooding on the South Platte River and it had to perform its job not long ago by holding back so much water that part of the campground was flooded.  This is a morning shot of our site, no. 170, and I really like that we have afternoon shade.  Look hard and you can see my morning set up in the back complete with coffee maker, computer, and for this morning, a blanket.

After getting up to 99F temps and high humidity in the KC area, it was nice to need a warm-up suit to sit outside in the dry, cool, early morning temps here in the mile high city.  Our first day here, the girls went shopping and I spent the day recovering from driving out here and watching the dogs of course – Pat’s new puppy is a real piece of work.

The plan for our second day in Denver changed from a drive into the RMNP (Riley wasn’t really interested) to running some errands and a trip to Casa Bonita for a good meal in an interesting restaurant. The errand running went fine but the meal was kind of a bust - the restaurant is very unique and popular with tourist as evidenced by the license plates in the parking lot.  Casa Bonita is a former chain of Mexican-themed "eatertainment" restaurants which originated in Oklahoma City. As of 2015, only one location remained open, in the western Denver suburb of Lakewood, Colorado.  Here are some shots from the web:

I had eaten at the one in Lakewood and Beverly the Oklahoma City one each 30-35 years ago and we both had really memorable experiences. Like many places, they change for the worse over time and so it was with Casa Bonita.  The food was classic tourist fair – high prices for mediocre food and the dive show wasn’t much.  Oh well, at least Riley can say she’s been-there-done-that and none of us will need to go back. 

After lunch, we drove up into Red Rocks Park hoping to see the amphitheater but they were already seating people for the night’s concert – The Avett Brothers (whoever they are).  Dolly was here earlier in the week and it is obviously very popular as most of the near term shows are sold out – about 9500 folks.  A couple of shots from the web:

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


7/26 – 7/28/16 event dates


  1. Larry, Didn't know that you had Riley with ya'll. Now I understand it when you refer to the 3 ladies with you! Must be nice to have those nice cool mornings. Enjoy! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  2. Looks like more fun adventures, nice to see new places.

  3. Looks like you snagged a great site at Chatfield. It's my favorite park to stay in the Denver area.

  4. long as you've found a way to get that coffee pot ready for the mornings, the world is your oyster. Accommodating teenagers can be a pain; I'd have dragged her to RMNP and told her to go play in the snow a while! Everyone has to laugh at a good old fashioned snowball fight in july! Good luck getting the mudflap issues sorted out; at least this is a minor glitch.

  5. Beverly and you take the most amazing road trips! Wow, K.C. was really hot when you were there. I love K.C. and have family that I need to visit to since I haven't been there since I moved to the SE. Great barbecue and shopping! Love the photos of the red rocks. The West and Midwest are truly so beautiful!

  6. Sounds like a great time, even if the meal wasn't up to par. What I wouldn't give to have a cool morning right about now! :)

  7. Great trip and photos, Larry! I love the Denver area and would love to go that amphitheater. It looks pretty awesome after seeing a concert from there on TV! Lucky you guys with a new pup!

  8. I'm sorry that Sweetie has had a couple of problems but the photo of her certainly is nice.

  9. Sorry about your new RV issues... Hopefully they are not major...

    We like to take the back roads when possible ---and sometimes they DO save time...

    I'd love to visit Red Rock sometime --and even see a concert there... What an awesome place.


  10. This brings back so many memories for me. Haven't been to Casa Bonita in over 40 years - guess I'm not missing anything! But I do miss Red Rocks and saw some of the best concerts there back in the 1980's. Thanks for the great memories!


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