To get out west, we drove from Boston through St. Louis and Kansas City to reach Denver with stops at the Gateway Arch, Joe’s KC BBQ, and yoga at Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Trip Date: June 2018
We started our National Parks Road Trip with a 22 hour, almost 1,500 mile, first leg from Boston to Kansas City. As we drove through the night across MA, NY, OH, IN, IN, IL, and MO, we only stopped to gas up at truck stops and switch drivers every 6 hours or so, trading off time in the passenger seat “bed.” When the sun rose behind us the next morning, we knew we had launched ourselves on exactly the adventure that we hoped for.
We hit St. Louis in the mid-morning, grabbed some breakfast, and visited the Gateway Arch. As the “Gateway to the West,” it felt like a fittingly symbolic first stop as we headed westward toward the incredible national parks on our itinerary.
Our first stop in Kansas City was Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. Do yourself a favor and go to the Original Gas Station Restaurant location and order a Z-Man Sandwich – it’s truly amazing! By the time we made it to our Airbnb, we were both exhausted, but it was too early to sleep for the night. We stayed awake by visiting the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art which had a pretty great collection and beautiful outdoor grounds to wander around and stretch our legs after so much time in the car.
The next morning, we booked it about 600 miles across the flat plains of Kansas dotted with wind turbines – I really enjoyed seeing so many. We took in our first views of the Rockies as we approached Denver. After checking in with our Airbnb hosts, we spent some time at the Denver Botanic Gardens. They are gorgeous and well worth the visit. Kathy did some sketching in the gardens of the vibrant flowers while we relaxed into the afternoon.
The next morning, we woke early for the activity that prompted our sprint out there at such an absurd pace: Yoga on the Rocks at Red Rocks Amphitheater! This breathtaking outdoor concert venue built into the red rocks of the hills outside Denver hosts yoga on Saturday mornings in the summer. We reserved our spots well in advance – they do sell out, so plan ahead if you want to experience this. Once we arrived, we were greeted by sponsors and vendors offering samples and selling their products. Expect options for drinks, snacks, and apparel. The whole experience was great! It was something we just couldn’t miss and it was absolutely worth driving over 2,000 miles in only 2 legs to make it in time.
After yoga, we visited the Denver Art Museum. We were a little disappointed that much of their collection was not on view due to construction and updates, but they still had lots of great art to see. For the afternoon, we explored the Rino District Breweries. Great Divide Brewing Co was the perfect place to enjoy a flight, hang out, and play some cards.
After a couple great days in Denver, we were ready to leave urban landscapes behind and begin the outdoor portion of this road trip in Twin Lakes, CO.
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