The car was packed up nicely, by my standards not his royal highness’ though as when I went to get something from the boot he had moved it all around!! That’s the last time I get his clothes out, sort the car out and help take down the tent πŸ˜‚!!

We began to drive the few miles back into the Great Sand Dunes National Park and thankfully there were only a couple of cars in front of us. We used our pass to get in again so saved us another $15! Such a great investment! The dunes were on our right as we entered and we then began a fight for a parking space. Luckily the car in front of us had no clue where they were going what they were doing or probably what day of the week it was, so we sneakily overtook them and grabbed a space! #winner

For once we decided to be sensible and put our walking boots on. This seemed to be THE stupidest idea ever! I’ll explain why. The sand dunes, the biggest in North America, are located behind the Medano Creek. That means there is a steady stream of relatively fast flowing, shallow, yet still quite deep, water that runs all along the car park that you have to cross in order to get the the dunes. Here was a test to see if our boots were waterproof πŸ˜‚! No no, they definitely weren’t! Worst idea ever however what was the alternative? Oh yeah, what everyone else was doing….wade across barefoot!! Sometimes I wonder if we have a brain cell between us!! 

We eventually reached dry land and began the wretched trek through the sand to the dunes. There was a long stretch of flat sand before you hit the dunes. Nathan was sulking because we didn’t have a sand board to board down the dunes on. He claimed to see a sign selling them to rent but failed to describe where. It was only upon exiting the park that we realised it was the shop at the campsite where we stayed last night πŸ˜‚! I’m surprised he didn’t go and push a little kid off theirs and steal it! As we walked along the sand, dragging our heavy, wet feet through it we began to climb the first dune we came across. The sand gets to 140 degrees really quickly here so early morning hikes as opposed to daytime ones are encouraged. I liked the idea most people had and that was sitting by the creek catching some sun and going for a paddle every so often.The walk back to the car was just as pretty except it had forested mountains instead of sand dunes and snow capped mountains. This time we decided to take our shoes off and wade through the creek in our socks. It was already incredibly hot so a dip in the creek was quite refreshing! Trying to figure out how to dry our socks and boots, along with my pjs and clothes which were still soaked, was not. In the end we chucked it all in a bag in the boot and hoped our hotel this evening had laundry…

We began driving towards Colorado Springs, back along the same roads we drove yesterday. We stopped in Fort Garland, a cute little town about 40 miles from the park, where we had Subway. A nice healthy sandwich to lunch. It was a boiling hot, Saturday lunchtime. There were only two servers in there doing an incredibly good job keeping up withnot only those in store, but also the drive through. These guys could seriously multi task! They’d put a lot of women to shame!!

We continued our journey but instead of going to Colorado Springs, we went to Pikes Peak. This was such a cool place! It’s off the main freeway and you begin driving up Pike Peaks Highway. As you get two miles in you get stopped at a toll booth to pay $15 per person. We don’t mind paying for parks or tolls over here as everywhere we have been, has been so unbelievably clean, that you can definitely tell the money we pay gets used within the parks etc. It’s quite incredible really how clean everywhere is!

After paying and receiving our map, we begun. Pikes Peak stands 14,115 feet above sea level and is the 31st highest 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado. The best bit? You could drive…the…whole…way!!! 19 miles up, 156 bends to reach the summit!After driving up the steep, tight-turns of the highway, with me saying “slow down,” or “back off that car,” or “put your hands on the steering wheel,” we finally made it to the top. And it was……

Freezing!!!!! The temperature had dropped forty degrees to a measly 52 degrees!!! This is not what we were used to. We exited the car and I sensibly donned a hoody. Macho man braved the cold in just his t-shirt…guess who ended up complaining about how cold they were πŸ€”πŸ˜‚!! 

The view was beautiful but there was a haze descending which clouded some of the view but the pictures don’t do it justice. It truly was a breathtaking (literally) view! We liked the snow!!! After a wander round the gift shop, restaurant and a visit to the toilets, we got back in the car and headed down. We hadn’t stopped at any viewpoints on the way up so we did on the way down.

I learnt lots about cars on this trip up and down a mountain. You shouldn’t use air con unless at high speeds as the engine could overheat. This terrified me so we shut the air con off and opened the windows. I then start sneezing…can’t win πŸ˜‚! Next up why do you have to drive down the hill in low gears? I have just asked Nathan to refresh my memory and turns out he fine know either πŸ˜‚! Something to do with it stopping you getting up to high speeds and engine braking blah blah blah…I’m not a mechanic!! The engine sounded like it was screaming! All of a sudden it screached very high pitched which resulted in me then screeching at Nathan wondering what he’d done πŸ˜‚! Wasn’t him it was the car that can pretty much drive itself! The views were beautiful on the way down. The haze was lifting so you could see further too! Cars were pulled in at all sorts of angles trying to capture the perfect picture. The roads were incredibly windy but less scary going down than going up. Thank god we didn’t have the lane guidance on else she would have been screeeeeaming!!!As you reach mile 6 on the descent, there is another gift shop and cafe, as well as, a hut in the middle of the road with a ranger stood there. Their purpose? To check your brake temperature. Anything over 300 degrees they told you to pull over and pop your hood. There were lots of cars in the parking lot doing this. We cruised on down at a comfortable 160 degrees…As we neared the bottom we reached crystal reservoir. A beautiful reservoir with the mountain as a backdrop. You can’t swim in it but can fish in it πŸ˜”. I knew I should have invested in a fishing rod!! 6 miles later we reached the end but not before venturing to the North Pole!!I meant always thought the north pole was in the Arctic, not Colorado, but today I have been proved wrong. It’s official kids…Santas workshop is here in Pikes Peak, Colorado! And if you take your man or grandad it’s free for them!! I don’t think I could pass for over 60 so begrudgingly we drove away.

We haven’t had much luck with our cars over here. Our first car, the Hyundai, needed an oil change, second car, the Chevy, needed an oil change as well as the brake fluid topping up and something to do with traction control. Now our third car, Tony the Toyota, needs an inspection. The bloody dash screams at us when we start the ignition saying “maintenance needed contact your dealer…”

Really frustrating when enterprise can clearly see on our account how many miles we doing and we don’t want to waste time pulling into airport rental car places to swap over. Again. Still, needs must so Denver airport it is tomorrow. πŸ˜”

Our accommodation this evening was the Econoldge in Fort Collins, an hour north of Denver. Motels in Colorado seemed expensive so I had to book somewhere a little out the way. We arrived and I went to check us in but then stepped out again gocheck we were in the right place. It had a pool and everything which wasn’t what we were used to. I mean the last Econolodge we had stated in, had police outside for a few hours. 

As we checked in we were met with the most obnoxious twit behind the desk that we had encountered so far. I mean he made me so angry. When I handed over. My drivers license and credit card, he rolled his eyes and tutted because we we from the UK. I mean seriously! He then just kept on, “how do you feel about Brexit?” “You know we’re not allies at the moment right?” “Have you been to the dakotas yet?” Yes, yes we have you idiot! We’ve been lots of places and not encountered such hostility from a check in desk assistant! All we want is our room then we will be on our way. Even he asked our final destination I told him LA, he went “ooooh ya’ll encounter something different there. It’s so unclean.” By this time I was giving one word answers. He even had the audacity to say he didn’t get our accents do was jus nodding g and gearing the odd word! I’d have complained if his manager didn’t appear to be the same as him! And I never complain…

The best part? As he handed be my card back I look at the map to see where room 163 is. I ask him when I can’t see it…his response? “It don’t matter. Ya’ll be taking over territories soon anyway….”

I was literally livid. Fuming. Seething at the inept shoddy non existent customer service we had just received! Note I shall be leaving a poor review on!! 😑😑 So we literally wandered round the hotel trying to figure out where our room was and eventually we found it.  

All that was needed was a glass of wine, a shower with my new men’s shower gel πŸ˜‚ and a good film such as suicide squad….

Until tomorrow folks….