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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Mother's Day in Estes Park

~Sunday, May 8, 2022~

Day 693 (Travel Day)

Happy Mother’s Day 🌷🌸 to all the special women in my life who have been the most incredible role models for myself and countless others. I am most grateful to my own mother, with her limitless patience, unconditional love, and unwavering support. She’s definitely been my true guiding light throughout my life and I can’t thank her enough for being a part of it. And I’m beyond grateful that God gave me the 2 most amazing children. They have been my greatest gift and continue to amaze me with their strength, will, and caring attitude. Through all of the ups and downs, challenges and ease, I am so blessed to have brought you into this world.

My Mother’s Day celebration began with a special Starbucks coffee delivery from my hubby. Ah, he knows me so well! And since we can’t be with our kiddos, our son Shane asked his dad to hand select a lovely bouquet of flowers

for a special delivery to me. So sweet and thoughtful. They are now lovingly displayed on our kitchen table. I’m just happy I could find a container big enough to put them in. I was able to talk to both of our kids before our 4-hour drive to Estes Park. Definitely the highlight of my day. We may not have timed our moving day well with it being Mother’s Day, but it still turned out to be a wonderful day.

Jeff and I had tried to visit the Estes Park area in 2020, but due to the awful wildfires that year, we had to cancel our plans. So we’re trying again. Traveling on Highway I-70 east was new territory for us and was it gorgeous! We passed unbelievable scenery (I know I keep saying this, but Colorado is one beautiful, jaw-dropping state)........huge snow-covered peaks, tunnels, trains moving through the snow covered terrain, and The Colorado River. De Beque Canyon which encompassed all of this, is a path carved by the Colorado River that separates the Book Cliffs from Battlement Mesa, and was the highlight for sure.

We also went through the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnel (2 tunnels for each direction) that traverses 1.6 miles of the Continental Divide. Here are some amazing stats about it:

  1. Took 5 years to complete, opening in 1973

  2. The first bore (westbound) cost $116.9 million and the second bore (eastbound) cost $144.9 million (roughly $1 billion and $1.5 billion by today’s standards)

  3. 1 million cubic yards of rock and earth were removed from each bore

  4. 190,000 cubic yards of concrete were used in its construction

  5. About 1,140 people were employed to create the tunnels

  6. Crews worked 3 shifts, 24 hours a day on 6 day shifts

  7. Elevation is 11,155 (Continental Divide)

The 4-hour drive felt more like 8 stressful ones for Jeff with the high number of cars on the road, poor road conditions (chewed up from ice and snow likely), and managing speed on the numerous, never-ending descents from the summits. The highest pass was through the Continental Divide at 11,300 feet. Poor Hank was really put through the ringer until we settled at 7,500 feet at our little slice of heaven at Paradise on the River. Wow, what a place! It’s taking me back to the time we stayed at Inn on the Gallatin in Gallatin Gateway, Montana, also on a river. Though $75/night is double our budget, we figured with all the boondocking we’re doing in 2022, that we’ll still be within our budget. You gotta splurge once in a while….right? While host Brian helped Jeff back into our space, I met his wife Stephanie in the office to get checked in. The staff was so sweet to hold our special delivery packages from Chewy and Jeff’s water pump part. Tightly packed spaces made getting our trailer aligned just right a challenge. Since our slides are pretty deep, Brian was trying to get us right to the edge of the electric box and sewer. They had to realign about 3 times to get it just right. Not only are we on the Big Thompson River, we are OVER the river (our bike rack is right over the rushing water). Crazy! We even have our own private deck waterside, already having spotted a couple of deer grazing on the property across the way. The resort employs quite a few seasonal workers, also providing them a spot at the resort during their stint. Where do we sign up for next season? Most of their accommodations are riverfront cabins, RV rentals and a few riverfront spaces for RV’s. 9 months of booking ahead certainly paid off in getting such an amazing spot. Being here in the early season also helps. Definitely a gem of a place.

I felt so bad for Jeff having had such a stressful drive. Having to be on high alert the entire drive is quite exhausting. Yet, he was determined to still make my day extra special. I suggested a simpler breakfast dinner but he was insistent on making my primary wish of homemade Chimichangas. So off to the store he went, while I sat, riverside, making my Mother’s Day phone calls. Great to Facetime my mom, my sister and my kiddos! My talented hubby pulled off

another amazing meal complete with an added surprise of bubbly…a bottle of Domaine Chandon Brut. Thank you honey for making my day so special! 😘❤️

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