50 Shades of Chicken, a cookbook set to hit the stands in early November. Apparently this “established food industry professional” has some tantalizing recipes to whet your appetite when it comes to chicken: Mustard Spanked Chicken, Dripping Thighs and Holy Hell Wings.
Mother nature doesn’t require accessories to taunt and tantalize although feel free to writhe with pleasure as I share intimate details of the drive Jim and I made to the top of America’s highest continuous paved road. It’s safe to say Jim took me to new heights of pleasure as we explored the alpine tundra and crossed the Continental Divide at Milner’s Pass.
Jim and I got out of line and out of our car the first chance we got, before risking going out of our minds following said Winnebago. Ah, there’s nothing like a breath of fresh air and breathtaking scenery to improve one’s outlook on life. There was plenty of both for cleansing the mind, body and soul.
elevations, the trees and people diminished considerably. This ‘land above the trees’, the highest of any national park at a little over 12,000 feet above sea level near Fall River Pass, is a hostile environment year round, often buried in upwards of 20 feet of snowpack during the winter months; the Trail Ridge Road is typically closed from the first snowfall to mid-May each year.
That’s the thing about travel. There’s something out there for everyone, for every need, interest and budget. I’d neglected this part of my humanity as a wife, mother and teacher. There were only so many hours in the day, so many ways to stretch a dollar. The concept of a global village had yet to move my horizon beyond the American dream.
I marvel and envy the tenacity of today’s generation to explore and expand their world, to discard the 9-to-5 for a different interpretation of a life fulfilled. They have so many more options than I did. They also seem to know much sooner that there are only so many days in a
lifetime; and no amount of money will buy more of those days.
Of course, the world is a different place too. But some things are timeless. It’s those timeless
things – the fjords of Iceland;
It was heavenly driving Route 34's ‘highway to the sky,’ seeing the world from a distance with a perspective we can rarely afford in the fray of the moment.
We needed food and water and a chance to stretch our legs after all the mind-bending, 50 shades of magnificent beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park. It was pure ecstasy; okay, maybe the next best thing.
Verdict: A must see if you're in the Denver area, especially when the hustle and bustle of the big city gets old.
How to Get There: From the Denver area take Highway 36 northwest through the towns of Boulder and Lyons to Estes Park. Pick up Route 34 in the heart of Estes Park. Approximate driving time is 90 minutes to cover the 65 miles of two lane highway between Denver and this gateway to the Rocky Mountains National Park.
Ideal for: Anyone who enjoys biking, hiking, camping, fishing, skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding or the great outdoors. I think that covers just about everybody who's not living under a rock.
Inside Tips: Dress in layers. Temperatures at the higher elevations often drop ten to twenty degrees. If you're not accustomed to the altitude, allow extra time for acclimating. Be sure to check weather conditions before visiting via this link. If you want to stay in the park rather than nearby Estes Park, the YMCA has two year-round accomodations, including cabins. Plan ahead; it's a popular choice. Be sure to check park website for days the entrance fee are waived. There are five alone this year.
Nearby Food: There are a handful of visitor centers; some serve food, some do not. And of course there is a plethora of food options in nearby Estes Park.