My niece Sarah and her family live in Fort Collins, Colorado, so when we started making travel plans we decided to swing north to visit them first. We originally planned a 4-night stay at Boyd Lake State Park in Loveland, but found out when we checked dates with Sarah that she had a conference to attend in Mississippi over the weekend we would be there. We added 4 more days on to the front end of our visit so that we would have plenty of time to spend with her. Boyd Lake State Park in Loveland, Colorado turned out to be a wonderful place for an extended stay.
Loveland, Fort Collins, Greely and several other small communities north of Denver used to be just suburbs of Denver. As Northern Colorado has grown, property values in Fort Collins have increased exponentially, and the surrounding communities have grown rapidly to pick up the slack. Prior to settlement in the late 1800’s most of the area was grassland extending from the base of the foothills east for hundreds of miles. Now much of that area is covered by sprawling housing developments.
One of the most impressive things to me about these northern Colorado communities is how they have managed to build and maintain beautiful public parks and bike trails. Boyd Lake is an urban State Park, and is completely surrounded by development while still meeting the challenges to perpetuate wildlife habitat, provide recreational opportunities, and educate people to be good stewards of these resources.
On our first night in Loveland (Wednesday) we met Sarah and Nate for a five-star dinner at Henry’s Pub. We planned to get together again for a cocktail party with some of Sarah’s colleagues on Saturday and a BBQ at Sarah’s home on Sunday.
The next day we received the great news that our house was indeed going to close the next day, so we spent most of the day battling three plus inches of sleet and slush to get to Office Depot to make copies, Wells Fargo to get our signatures notarized, and Office Depot again to overnight everything back to the title company. We celebrated with Baskin-Robbins in spite of the weather!
Over the next several days, we went shopping in Fort Collins with Sarah (balsamic vinegar at the Olive Oil Store and a little splurge at Savory Spices), took Maybe the Dog to Benson Sculpture Garden in Loveland (very cool)
and a nine-mile bike ride with Sarah along the Spring Creek and East Poudre River bike trails. While the RV was in the shop with Dave we took the dog and the cat (she did a lot better than I expected) up to Rocky Mountain National Park.
On the way up the mountains we spied a small herd of elk, mostly juveniles, in the city park in Estes Park. We stopped and took a few pictures while we walked among them. Maybe thought they were really big dogs!
The night before Sarah had to leave for her conference in Mississippi she and Nate came over for dinner. It was our first time entertaining in our new home, good food, good friends. On our last afternoon Shannon and I did a 7-mile bike ride around Boyd Lake.
We finished off our stay in Northern Colorado with three nights at the North Fort Collins/Wellington KOA. One of the things I haven’t yet mastered about being the campsite planner is holidays. Memorial Day weekend took me completely by surprise, even though I know it comes on the last weekend of May every year. In this area, anyway, the state and county parks seem to fill up on weekends. This KOA still had sites open, and while the location did not afford as many recreational opportunities as the state park, it was very quiet on the weekend. On Friday we did the free tour at Anhauser-Busch. The famous Clydesdales were in house and it was fun to see them up close. The tour was interesting and we had dinner in the Biergarten.
The next day we took the opportunity to sneak across the border and explore Cheyenne, Wyoming. But that’s a different blog!