Ouray Colorado

After a few amazing days in Lake City we made our way around the mountains to Ouray Colorado. Ouray is a quaint mountain town that is a hub for San Juan mountain adventures. Offering plenty of food and lodging options, Jeep and ATV rental, off-road trail access, hot springs, spas, and stunning mountain views. Ouray has everything you need. Ouray sits along the famous “million dollar highway” U.S. 550 between Silverton and Ridgway.

San Juan mountains

The mountains surrounding Ouray are absolutely stunning. Everywhere you look while you are in town is a picturesque view. Cascade Falls is signature feature of town. A very short walk and you can be standing right next to the falls.

Box Canyon Falls is another short walk to spectacular views. Box Canyon comes with a cover charge though. $10 per group gets you in. Parking is limited so you might have to park on the road and walk a short distance. Box Canyon is a unique feature and worth the time and entry fee.

Box Canyon Falls

Ouray being located along the million dollar has many opportunities for trail access. Since this was our first off roading trip we did not tackle the more difficult trails in the area. There is access to Yankee Boy basin, Imogene Pass, Black Bear Pass, and many others. One morning we headed down 550 and took Hurricane Pass to get an amazing view of Lake Como. The unique color of the water is spectacular and pictures can not do it justice. I would recommend stopping at the lake for lunch. Hurricane Pass is a moderate trail, and a fun one to drive. There was not a lot of traffic the day we drove compared to the Alpine Loop, but the views were just as stunning.

There a few different way to get to Telluride from Ouray. You can take Black Bear pass, Ophir Pass, Last Dollar Road, or the paved way highway 62 out of Ridgway. We chose to try out Last Dollar RD for a more relaxing drive (I had done a lot of driving at this point). There are warning signs that the road becomes extremely muddy when it rains so pay attention the weather report and watch the sky. About a mile down the road we came across a large herd of Elk. We love watching the wildlife in Colorado. Last Dollar rd is a fun drive and at one point towards the top we were looking down the planes arriving at Telluride airport, a unique view for sure. If you are base camping in Ouray carve out half a day to check out Telluride. It is an upscale mountain town that still has small town charm. Grab a cup of coffee, stroll down Main Street, pop in and out of the shops, and enjoy the view of Bridal Vail Falls.

Overall our time in Ouray was amazing! I hope I never forget sitting on the patio of Red Mountain Brewery in the rain watching the multiple waterfalls form on the surrounding mountains, sharing a drink with my amazing. Or meeting great people and chatting at the rooftop bar at the Ouray Brewery. The trails we traveled, and the sometimes foul language coming from the passenger seat when the trail got narrow, haha. We loved our time in Ouray and the San Juans mountains, and we will be returning this summer. To all the travelers and adventures out there get to the San Juans. There isn’t a better place to base camp than Ouray. Explore the trails, see the wildlife, smell the wildflowers, and have a cold beer and meet some new people in a rooftop bar surrounded by beautiful mountains. Cheers.

If you missed the trail videos on the last post here they are againā€¦ http://ENGINEER PASS ALPINE LOOP COLORADO https://youtu.be/lGXnu8EBM3E http://cinnamon pass Alpine Loop Colorado jeep gladiator rubicon https://youtu.be/0lGQL59hbv8

Lake City, Colorado

This summer we took our first trip to San Juan mountains. This is an area of Colorado that is known for its off-road trials, so I have been wanting to take our jeep there for quite some time. We started our stay in Lake City, a small community that caters to off-roaders and their needs. Right outside of Lake City is where you can find Colorados largest nature lake, Lake San Cristobal. The lake is gorgeous, and The Inn at the Lake was a perfect spot for our stay. A quiet place with amazing staff, and delicious breakfast. The Inn at the Lake is one of our favorite places we have ever stayed, and a return stay is definitely in our future.

Lake San Cristobal was the perfect place for us to start our exploring, it is hub for what is known as the Alpine Loop. A 60 plus mile long off-road trail that is made up of Cinnamon Pass, Animas forks, and Engineer Pass.

Cinnamon Pass summit

Cinnamon is first up when you start out at Lake San Cristobal. It is rated as an easy trail. It has a rocky terrain, and steep drop offs in spots but a high clearance vehicle with proper tires is all that is needed. There are some other trails off of the main route, one that was recommended to us to explore was the American basin. It was wild flower season while we were there and the American Basin is one of the best places in the area to see colors of the flowers. Linked is a short video of our trip up Cinnamon pass. https://youtu.be/0lGQL59hbv8

Cinnamon Pass ends at the historic Animas Forks townsite. Give yourself time there to explore the structures. You can venture into Silverton for coffee and a bite of breakfast at Coffee Bear, before heading back Animas Forks and up Engineer Pass back into Lake City.

Engineer Pass is considered one of Colorados most scenic, and trust me it lives up to its reputation. It can be intimidating in spots, but wow what drive. Engineer is a Jeep badge of honor trail, but is not an extremely technical trail. The views you will see traveling up from Animas Forks to the summit are stunning. I cannot recommend this trail enough. Even if you do not have a Jeep, or vehicle capable of the trail get to the San Juans and rent one. You will not be disappointed. Click the link for a video of our trip on Engineer Pass. https://youtu.be/lGXnu8EBM3E

After a full day on the trail we decided it was time to relax and grab some dinner. Lake City has many great places to grab a bite to eat, even a couple of BBQ options. It was a Sunday night when we got off Engineer and arrived back in town and Southern Vittles had ribs on special for 19.99 that night so naturally that is what I chose. It was very good, especially for the price. It came with hush puppies and fries. I would eat this every Sunday night if I lived there. The wife had a pulled pork and sausage sandwich that she was very happy with.

Our time in Lake City was short, but memorable. We were moving on to the other side of the mountains to continue our San Juan adventure in Ouray Colorado. We will cover our time in Ouray in another post, but I will tell you we have a return trip to Ouray booked already. In the meantime keep traveling, exploring, spending time with loved ones, and eating good food.

Char Bar, KC

Char Bar, Westport Kansas City

Char Bar is place I had been wanting to try for a few years, but never found time to work it in while we were in KC. That changed a couple of weeks ago, when the wife, myself, and my in laws stopped in for dinner on a Saturday night in KC. The ascetic of the building is unique, fun, and inviting. The staff was very friendly, and provided great service.

love this affect on the ceiling. As an electrician I am glad I didn’t have to make up all those J boxes though

We ordered a round of drinks, and the wifes smore martini was the star of the drink orders. She said it was probably the best drink she has ever ordered.

Char Bar knows to make a cocktail

We chose the fried pickles as an appetizer, and I will say these were the most unique fried pickles I have ever seen. they were thick sliced pickle spears breaded with a tempura like batter served with ranch dressing. They were amazing, and that is coming from someone who doesn’t really like pickles. The ranch dressing was delicious and a perfect compliment to the pickles. They disappeared to quickly to get a picture of the full order.

These were delicious and a must try if you like fried pickles

On to the main course, the womp platter. The womp platter comes with burnt ends, half slab of ribs, pulled pork, pit ham, black Angus brisket, smoked turkey, hand cranked sausage, basket of fries, jar of pickles, and two “nice fixings”. You can also add crispy pork belly bites for $5, which of course we did. The womp platter says it serves two to three so this was perfect for sharing with everyone at the table. We chose to split fries between regular and sweet potato, and had beans and potato salad as the two fixins.

you gotta grab pictures quick

I have to admit we ate at Q39 the night before so I was a little worried the meal the night before would overshadow this one, but it did not. Everything on the platter was delicious. The burnt ends stood out to me the most. The were moist, tender, with great flavor. It is tough to see them in the pictures but I assure you they are there, and worth going for them first. The pork belly bites were most surprising to me. I am not one that likes a lot of a fat on anything so pork belly is not my favorite, but I really liked Char Bars. The only thing on the platter I did not get to try, but I am told it was very good. Char Bar is definitely a place we will be visiting again. It is hard to pin down a favorite BBQ restaurant in KC, but Char Bar is definitely worth being in the conversation. If you wanting a unique atmosphere in a fun part of KC, Char Bar is your spot. Check out their menu and make a reservation when you are in KC. https://charbarkc.com/menu/

Overland Park/Leawood BBQ throw-down

A few weeks ago I found myself tagging along with the wife for a short trip to Overland Park. She had a continuing education event, and I had an idea. Two Titans of Kansas City BBQ have locations in the Overland Park/Leawood area, I was going to try them both and compare. A little over three miles and few stop lights separate these two. We chose to do dinner at Q39 Friday night, and lunch at Joes Kansas City BBQ on Saturday. I had visited both of these establishments multiple times in the past at their original locations, but never at their Overland Park/Leawood spots. Not only did I want to compare the two head to head, but also to my experiences at their original locations. Were they just as good when compared to their original locations?

As you can tell from the picture I got a full spread. Onion straws, brisket, Chicken, ribs, and chipotle sausage, baked beans, and white bean cassoulet. This the same judges platter and ribs that I got at their original locations a few months ago. I will say the platter I got a few months ago at the midtown location was just a bit better. Since I was in no threat of being called into work I also ordered a drink, a whiskey drink. I can’t remember the name but I do remember thinking two of those and the wife would be driving back to the hotel. I can always get behind a place that isn’t afraid of a strong pour. The food was very good overall. Beautiful presentation on the plate, and great service. Brisket was perfectly tender and well seasoned. Ribs were cooked well, and the chicken was juicy with bite through skin. The wife had a wood fired grilled salmon salad, and helped me eat some of mine. She liked her salad, salmon was not dry, and had good flavor. Overall a great meal on Friday night to start the weekend.

Joes Kansas City BBQ 11723 ROE AVE

Saturday afternoon lunch had to be taken back to the hotel to accommodate the wifes class. I placed my order online, and followed the curbside delivery instructions when I got there. The staff was very friendly and made sure I had everything I wanted before I drove off. Our hotel was about a mile away so it was roughly 10 minutes from receiving my order to unpacking it in the hotel room.

I ordered brisket, pulled pork, sausage, and ribs, with beans and dirty rice. That plate of ribs is probably the best looking plate of ribs I have received at a restaurant. They would get a perfect appearance score from me if it was a contest entry. The taste backed up the appearance, delicious! Tender, good seasoning, the sauce complimented the rub. I have to give ribs to Joes. The brisket was good, but sliced very thin. Shaved brisket is not as good as a properly sliced portion. So I have to give brisket to Q39. Their slice was the perfect thickness, and tenderness. The chicken was very good at both places, honestly there was no winner here. They both turn out a fantastic chicken. Joes pulled pork was good, good flavor, tenderness, and good moisture. Sausage at both places were very good. The sides I would say go to Joes this time. The wife tried Joes gumbo for the first time and enjoyed it. She spent some time in Louisiana so she is very particular when it comes to cajun food.

Overall both places are worth eating at. I will give the nod to the original locations for both places. Not necessarily because the food is so much better, but the mystic of their original locations. The line at Joes gas station location, the atmosphere of Q39 midtown somehow add to the meal. I am sure I will be back to all of them in the future, and will enjoy every bite. I will leave to the menus below, please check these places out when you are in the Overland Park/Leawood area and let me know your thoughts. https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0818/5843/files/restaurant_menu_7.12.21.pdf?v=1626104554 https://q39kc.com/menus/#dinner

The Traveling BBQer

When Pigs Fly BBQ, Wichita KS

When Pigs Fly Bar-B-Que is one of the top rated barbecue spots in Wichita, and one I frequent semi regularly. My day job requires travel all over town, and anytime I am in the area around lunch I try to stop at When Pigs Fly. They are located on Wichitas west side, Central and ridge area. There are a couple of other BBQ options in at the area, but if you can only get to one, When Pigs Fly is the place to go. The service and food have always been top notch.

Brisket and sausage. Beans and corn for sides.

I always get some brisket when I am there. I have had fatty and lean (point, and flat) on multiple occasions and it has always been good. The brisket is moist and tender. I like that you get sliced brisket. Sliced brisket requires more skill. You could take the easy way and cook it til it is ready to shred and throw a mound a plate and call it a day, but sliced brisket requires knowledge, and a feel for the meat. You need to cook it just long enough to get it maximum tenderness, but not too long it falls apart. The brisket comes with a decent bark, and good flavor. Both smoke and their rub. This particular trip I got fatty brisket, and jalapeƱo cheddar sausage with baked beans and cream corn. They have two sauces on the table to choose, a regular and a spicy. I like them both, the regular a bit more. The jalapeƱo cheddar sausage is very good. I like it the with regular sauce. the sides are great complements to meats. Some barbecue spots need the sides to bring the meal up notch, When Pigs Fly does not. The meats are good enough on their own to make the meal memorable.

I am always looking out for my next chance to stop in for lunch, and maybe next time I will try a different meat to accompany my brisket. When Pigs Fly is a standout in the Wichita barbecue scene in my opinion. Good people serving good food. Please check it out for yourself and let me know your thoughts. I will leave a link to their menu. https://www.whenpigsflywichita.com/menus

The Traveling BBQer.

Q39 Kansas City

Last week I had the opportunity to tag along and take advantage of a work trip my wife was taking to Kansas City. We were in town for less than 24 hrs so I had to choose my barbecue spot carefully because I only had time to visit one. I decided on Q39 and made a reservation about a week ahead of time at their 39th street location. Q39 is one the most popular barbecue spots in KC so to say it gets busy is an understatement. They added a second location in Overland Park a few years ago. The wife I had visited Q39 three or four years ago so I had an idea of what to expect, but was still excited to try it. With that amount of time between trips you forget what it is really like.

I was really looking forward to having a drink and experiencing the atmosphere with my usual sampler platter order, but my plans changed. It had rained hard the whole drive up, and between that and the lack of parking I called an audible and just ordered to go. One piece of advice I can give you about Q39 is that if you can Uber/taxi there, do it. There is not near enough parking, and tow away signs in the extra spots. I circled for about ten minutes before I made the decision to order curbside online and take it back to the hotel. I know taking it to go is not as good as fresh in a restaurant but I was fried and wanted to relax, and the hotel was less than ten minutes away.

I ordered the Judges plate which is three meats and two sides. I got sliced brisket, ribs, chicken, and added chipotle sausage as well. For sides I got beans and fries. Keeping it consistent you know. I also ordered the Q39 spiced onion straws with bbq aioli. I ordered desert too but we will get to that in a minute.

spiced onion straws and a heavy judges plate.
So tasty

The onions straws with the spiced aioli were the best I have had anywhere. Perfectly seasoned, and crispy. The barbecue aioli was outstanding. I wish I could have gotten a gallon of it. The judges plate was all around fantastic. The ribs were perfectly cooked for my liking. delicious and tender as it gets. I will admit I do not prefer dark meat chicken but I wanted to give it try. Q39 gives you a leg and thigh, the first thing I tasted on the chicken was smoke. Not a bad smoke, good smoke that compliments a piece of meat like a seasoning. The skin was bite threw, and it was very good. Even for someone who prefers white meat, I enjoyed this chicken.

You can tell a lot about a barbecue place by their brisket. Do they serve sliced or only chopped. Is the sliced brisket sliced correctly, against the grain with the proper thickness. You can even get an idea of how they trim their briskets. In my opinion Q39 does it all right. The brisket slices were top notch in all regards. Sliced to a proper thickness, perfect tenderness, well seasoned with a bit of sauce the slice. Pulls apart with a slight tug, a great bite of barbecue. The chipotle sausage was good, but didn’t compare to the rest of my order. Both barbecue sauces they included with my order were very good. The meal was so good I didn’t realize until a few hours later when I was thinking about this blog that I didn’t receive my second side, the fries. The beans were good, but honestly after sampling all the proteins that was all I wanted. Q39 impressed the hell out me, even getting it to go.

That is a well cooked rib
Well cooked ribs, just how I like them

I ordered two deserts so I could have something for the wife when she got back to the hotel from her work function. I am a sucker for anything lemon, and cheesecake so naturally I selected the champion cheesecake, and the carrot cake with lemon icing. I know what you are thinking, carrot cake, really? Yes! Not something I would normally order, but I can’t say no to a lemon icing. If you like lemon, or carrot cake you will love this dessert. The cheesecake was excellent as well, but if I had to choose one I would go with the carrot cake. The have other desserts on their menu but were not available for online ordering. Could be they were already sold out for the day, or they only offer them in restaurant. Either way I was still happy with my choices. It was late when I could bring myself to sample the desserts so I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures, my bad. I also apologize for the terrible dimming lit, yellow pictures. Hotel room lighting is getting worse and worse.

In a city like Kansas City that is known all over for barbecue Q39 is a standout in my mind. They do everything right. You can tell they don’t skip steps, and are mindful of the small details. Anyone visiting KC should put Q39 at the top of your list. You will not be disappointed. Just remember to Uber to the midtown location. Thanks for reading. The Traveling BBQer.

Kansas City, April

Kansas City is a destination the wife and I try to visit several times a year. We love to spend the weekend eating, drinking, shopping, and exploring the city. This trip we decided to stay downtown close to the plaza, at the Intercontinental Hotel. We found a good deal on Priceline, $133 a night. The Intercontinental Hotel Is a fantastic hotel, with lots of amenities. Lobby bar with live music on Friday and Saturday nights, coffee shop, pool, and easily within walking distance of the plaza. There are a lot of nice Hotels in the Kansas City area so look around for deals.

It was a rainy Saturday, our first stop of the day was to get some coffee. We chose an unconventional spot, a chocolate shop. Christopher Elbow chocolates. It is a highly reviewed chocolate shop in the Crossroads area. We grabbed an assortment of chocolate to compare to our local hometown shop, and I ordered a mocha to get my caffeine fix in. The mocha was delicious. So good in fact that I shared it with the wife because I knew she would love it. I very rarely share my caffeine fix, but I was right she loved it. The assorted chocolates we selected were very good, packed with flavor. I will say I prefer our hometown place, Cocoa Dolce, but Christopher Elbow Chocolates is a must stop for a chocolate lover.

After we grabbed our chocolate, and mocha we headed to our first barbecue spot, Slaps Barbecue. This was my second trip to Slaps, but my wife first. Slaps barbecue has the atmosphere you want in a barbecue spot. Even on a chilly raining morning, there was a small line at opening. The line moves quick and in no time we were ordering. I went with my usually order, the sampler plater. It comes with brisket, pulled pork, smoked turkey, sausage, and two sides. I also chose to add ribs for a few dollars extra. For sides I selected fries, and baked potato casserole. The baked potato casserole was our favorite side of the ones we tried. All the meats were tender and juicy. Nothing had heavy flavor from rub, the meat was the first thing you taste. The brisket was sliced pretty thin, but you got a good helping of it. I prefer a little thicker slice, about the width of a pencil. It gives you better indication of how well it is cooked. The two meats that really stood out to me was the JalapeƱo sausage and the ribs. The ribs were cooked to absolute perfection. Perfect bite with just the right amount of smoke flavor. They were the star of my sampler plater. I am a sucker for jalapeƱo sausage, and Slaps’ sausage is right at the top of the list of my favorites. The wife ordered a no cow combo. She selected the smoked turkey, and chicken quarter. The chicken was cooked perfect as well. Bite through skin, and great smoke flavor. I was impressed the chicken, I wish I could cook chicken like that. Slaps offers two choices of barbecue sauces, normal and hot. We both like the mix of two the best. Overall Slaps is a must try on the Kansas City Barbecue scene. Check out their menu. https://slapsbbqkc.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Daily-Menu-For-Print-5.pdf

Sampler plater add ribs
No cow combo with beans and Mac and cheese
Since I had sacrificed most of my morning coffee, finding another cup was high on my list of things to do. Luckily there is a fantastic coffee shop right across the street. Imagine taken off their Facebook page

After a few hours of shopping at oak park mall, a serious bust, and a quick trip out to Duluth Trading Company we had to get to our dinner reservations. Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue plaza location was our dinner spot. I know barbecue twice in one day, but when in Rome. The plaza location was about a five minute walk from our hotel. Our table was ready right at our reservation time, and we were quickly seated. I appreciate being able to make reservations in barbecue spot, especially during COVID times. Sometimes you just don’t fell like waiting in a line. I was in the mood for a drink so I got what the waiter recommended, a blackberry basil lemonade. Not my favorite drink, but you could definitely taste the vodka. The KC smash I ordered next was much more to my liking. We originally ordered the smoked salmon dip as a starter, but was later told it would be an additional 30 minutes longer wait for it, so we switched to onion rings. They were good, but the homemade ranch dressing that came with them was the star of the appetizer. I once again ordered a sampler platter. Brisket, sausage, ribs, with fries and cheese corn. This gave me a pretty good head to head comparison to lunch. Overall I have to give to the win to Slaps. I really enjoyed my meal at Jack Stack, and the more upscale atmosphere, but the brisket, ribs, and sausage were all better at Slaps. I will definitely be back to eat at Jack Stack again especially if we are staying around the plaza, or crossroads area, I would like to check out their freight house location in crossroads. Here is a link to the menu. https://www.jackstackbbq.com/country-club-plaza-menus

Bad lighting and a few drinks hindered the quality of this picture. It happens right?

Messenger Coffee + Ibis Bakery was our Sunday morning breakfast and coffee stop. This place is a real gem. A coffee shop with rooftop seating, how cool is that! Messenger was packed when we arrived. We waited in line for probably 10 minutes before ordering. Not to bad considering how busy they were. Their coffee was very good. I got my typical drip coffee, no cream no sugar. I was told it was free refills, but I did not test that out. We ordered the country toast, a cinnamon roll, and a Lemon KOUIGN AMANN. All were very good. There is plenty of seating inside, we had no trouble finding a place to eat, and drink our coffee. We will be back to messenger, more than likely every time we are in KC. I really want to spend a morning drinking coffee on the rooftop. We both agreed this was our second favorite coffee shop we had ever been to. The little place in Southwest Harbor, Maine is still our number one. I read that messenger will be opening up another location in the plaza in the next few months. https://messengercoffee.co/pages/menus

Messenger Coffee breakfast.
Blue royal latte. Go Royals!!

Between the Plaza, Zona Rosa, Legends, Oak Park Mall, and the Leawood/Overland Park area, KC has everything you could want multiple times over. Most of our shopping was done in the Leawood, Overland Park area. This is usually our go to area for shopping. Scheels, LL Bean, REi, are a few of our favorites. The only store this area is lacking that I would like to see is a Duluth Trading Company. There is one East of KC in Independence, about a 30 minute drive from the area. The Aloft hotel in Leawood is a place we have stayed at many times, and I would recommend. You can get anywhere around KC fairly quickly so don’t limit your lodging options to just one area of town. I would highly recommend to anyone to spend a weekend in KC. We already have our tickets for the upcoming Immersive Van Gogh exhibit scheduled to open in December.

Estes Park, CO. Oct 2020

We decided we would take a return trip to Estes Park in October of 2020. We had previously visited the area in the fall of 2018, and loved our experience. The town is your typical Colorado mountain town. Quaint, lots of local shops, and restaurants to explore and eat at. The most surprising thing about Estes is the wildlife that is easily spotted throughout town. There are elk aplenty in town. The visitor center is usually a great place to spot some elk. It is located right off the Big Thompson River, across from a golf course, perfect for lounging elk during the rut. You can easily spend a day or two exploring the shops downtown, taking a tour of the historic Stanley Hotel, and viewing the elk around town.

I am hopelessly addicted to a good cup of coffee, and Estes has a few places to choose from. Our favorite by far was Coffee on the Rocks. It offers great coffee, breakfast burritos, and pastries. Coffee on the Rocks sits beside a pond with picnic tables set up around it, making it easy to social distance during the pandemic. Inside you can purchase a cup of food to feed the ducks that inhabit the pond outside. A great activity for kids (or your wife lol) while you enjoy your coffee drink of choice. Coffee on the Rocks is a must stop on a beautiful morning in Estes. Another stand out is Antonios Real New York Pizza. Antonios is perfect meal to grab after a long day of hiking, or shopping downtown. Antonios is right up there with Bleeker street pizza (the best New York style pizza in my opinion). There a couple of barbecue restaurants in Estes, we chose to try Smokin’ Daves BBQ and Brew. Due to the pandemic we ordered it to go and took it back to our hotel room. It definitely scratched my itch for barbecue. Nothing we ordered that night was spectacular, but everything was good, and well packaged for the short trip back to the hotel. would eat there again if we make a return trip. Barbecue is everywhere, even in the high elevations of the Rocky Mountains.

Estes Park is also home Rocky Mountain National Park. one of the largest national parks in the United States. It spans 265,769 acres, and 358 square miles. The mountain views are amazing. Everywhere you look there is another picturesque mountain view. This trip was a bit different from our previous journey to RMNP. The largest wildfire in Colorado history was threatening the park, and Estes. The smoke was visible in the air most days, and a light coat of ash covered the Jeep in the mornings. A Jeep is always our adventure vehicle of choice. When we traveled over trail ridge road to the other side of the park flames were visible in the distance. Trail ridge road is a must in my opinion. Keep your hands on the wheel, pay attention, and it is just a road like all the others. I had planned on taking all Fall River road up to the alpine visitors center this trip, but it was closed due to the wildfires. I guess that means a third trip will be in order.

Hiking in RMNP can be as strenuous or as leisurely as you choose. A quick easy hike around Bear lake, or Sprague lake. Or a longer hikes up to Nymph, Dream, and Emerald lakes. We learned from our first trip that if you want parking at Bear lake you have to get there early, and that is what we did. We arrived at Bear lake parking before the sun was up. This trip we decided we were going to hike up to Dream lake. We stopped briefly at Nymph lake to take a couple of pictures, and enjoy the scenery for a bit and then continued on to Dream. The extra bit of hiking is worth it to get to see the beautiful scenery surrounding Dream lake. We didn’t pack any supplies so that was as far as we were going that day. Take your time on the way back, you don’t have anywhere to be you are vacation. Enjoy the scenery, take some pictures, stop and spend more time at Nymph. Enjoy the quietness of the mountains, and listen for bears.

The wildfires, and some road construction going on in the park seemed to have the wildlife routines a bit off, but we were able to make the most of it. It is pretty easy to spot elk in the park, they are everywhere. It is very common during this time of year (October) to park at Sheep Lake at dusk and watch the elk heard come into the valley. The bugling from the bull elk can be heard from far off. It is quite the spectacle watching the interactions of the bull elk during the rut. Bring a pair of binoculars, a chair, and good coat and you can sit there until sunset experiencing nature at its best. Rocky Mountain National Park is a spectacular place to visit.

The Traveling BBQer

A little about me

First of all welcome! I am your typical middle aged midwesterner in most regards. Day job as an electrician, but traveling, and barbecue are what interest me. My wife and I are always planning our next trip. whether that be a weekend in Kansas City, a week in the mountains in Colorado, or exploring coastal Maine in the fall, we love it all. We have a goal of visiting every national park in the US, so far we have gotten to six in about 3 years. National parks are a true treasure in my opinion. The pandemic has definitely made it challenging to travel, but we have done our best to go where we can while still following travel restrictions and health guidelines. My wife is the researcher for most aspects of trip. I just take pictures, and find the barbecue spots along the way. I am by no means a photographer, but I do my best with whatever iPhone I have at the time. I am an Apple guy. Barbecue is something that I have found myself exploring more and more. Barbecue is very regional in styles, but all have their appeal when cooked properly. I try my best to immolate pitmasters from across the country in my backyard. Some days I actually do pretty well. I joke with my wife that she only loves me because I can cook. Good barbecue is so simplistic, but so hard to perfect. A good fire and a quality piece of meat can make magic together. Go explore, eat some barbecue, and appreciate the adventure.

The Traveling Bbqer

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