June 21, 2020 Estes Park to Breckenridge/Tiger Run, CO

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and granddads out there. The skies were partly cloudy and the morning temp was 55 degrees. We got ready and were leaving the campground at 9:30. We took the truck route through the back streets of Estes Park to avoid some difficult turns on the main street. Traffic was non-existent for a Sunday in Estes Park which is what we had planned for. We descended out of town past Estes Lake. From there, it was all downhill and we were getting 24 mpg.

The highway paralleled the Big Thompson River for awhile as it flowed down out of the mountains.

The mountain range to the south of us looked dark and ominous.

We jumped on I-25 to Denver as it ran along the snow-capped mountains we had just come from.

Traffic going through Denver wasn’t bad for a Sunday.

Coming out of the mountains and then again around Denver we could smell smoke. We wondered if it wasn’t coming from those wildfires on the south of Colorado near Durango and the sky looked like it was filled with smoke.

We stopped for fuel on the west side of Denver and then began our climb. At times, we were doing 40 mph getting 2 mpg. It wasn’t too bad being passed by everyone. It gave us more time to enjoy the scenery. Traffic coming down out of the mountain was very heavy. It was probably a lot of the weekend traffic.

Bob pointed out the “spaceship house” on the top of the hill. He remembered it from the 70’s when he lived here.

We finally got our view of the mountains.

We approached the first area of 6% grade downhill and got 4.5 mpg going downhill. Bob pointed out a mine stuck in the hills.

In Idaho Springs, we approached our first tunnel.

Idaho Springs is “where the gold rush began” and I could see a few old mines stuck in the hillsides. This one was right in downtown Idaho Springs. It’s quite the tourist town.

Our speed went up to 45 mph, getting 5.8 mpg now. In the hillsides further out of town were the “tailings” of a huge mine. The tailings are what was pulled out of the mine to dig for silver or gold.

It was quite a climb! Sometimes we would do 50 mph and sometimes it would be 35 mph, depending on the steepness of the grade. Approaching the Eisenhower Tunnel which is the highest and steepest of grades, we were down to 35 mph, but kept a constant speed.

Before the tunnel, we saw Loveland and Loveland Basin ski areas with the chairlifts visible from the roadside.

We passed through the 2-lane Eisenhower Tunnel which is 1.69 miles long with 2 gentle turns in it. It is the highest vehicular tunnel in the world.

We came out on the other side of the Continental Divide. This side of I-70 has a 7% grade for 7 miles with stern warnings to truckers and large vehicles to keep their speed to 35 mph on the long descent.

For those that don’t heed the warnings and lose their brakes due to overheating, they have 2 run-away truck ramps which are very steep inclines with soft gravel that you drive up at a runaway, screaming speed until your vehicle comes to a stop. While waiting for help, you can discreetly change your shorts.

Emerging from the tunnel, we got a great view of the valley where Silverthorne lies.

We made it safely down the grade using the jake brake system that came with the bus. Bob only had to apply the brakes briefly a couple of times during the descent.

As we approached the valley, we got our first glimpse of Lake Dillon.

We got some great views of the mountains in the area. This one was so sharp and steep.

We exited on Highway 9 at Frisco.

We drove through Frisco and exited on the other side toward Breckenridge. As we approached our destination, we could see the Breckenridge Ski Area off in the distance.

We arrived at Tiger Run Resort at 1:15 and stopped in the parking lot to disconnect the Jeep and check in.

This is a high-end resort where all the sites are owned by individuals. They are rented out when the owners are not in residence. We were in site #291 for 4 nights. This is the most expensive place we’ve ever stayed in when we’ve been “camping”. There aren’t many nice RV parks in this area of Colorado, so we were lucky to find this one.

Auggie enjoyed his new digs and a real patch of grass. Our site is paved with a swing and a covered table with a small log shed.

The cottonwood trees were shedding their seeds and it looked like snow was in the air. The white seeds were sticking to everything. From our site, we can see Breckenridge Mountain.

The clouds rolled in from over the mountains later that afternoon and we felt a coolness descend upon us. The resort seemed very full, but the pool, tennis courts, and clubhouse are closed due to COVID. Many of the motorhomes in the resort are pulling Jeeps, so seeing a Tiger Run Jeepers sign was not surprising. We’ll have to check into that. Our drive of 155 miles today took us through Denver and into the mountains over the Continental Divide and through the Eisenhower Tunnel. It was a beautiful drive with lots to see. We relaxed after our drive today enjoying our new location and the new scenery. We had a couple of short rain showers and there was more rain or snow in the higher elevations. While we are here, we plan to visit Silverthorne, Breckenridge, and Vail. Bob lived in Vail for 4 years before I knew him. He will be my tour guide to some of the areas he is familiar with and wants to revisit. We have skied at many of these areas over the years, but haven’t been back to visit during the summer. After dinner, we took a walk around the resort and checked out more of the area. We talked with a gentleman that also owned a Discovery and compared our experiences. We will enjoy our 3 days of “super-glamping”. What a treat!

3 thoughts on “June 21, 2020 Estes Park to Breckenridge/Tiger Run, CO”

  1. Patti McBride

    Awesome pictures! As you know mountains are my thing and you’re really making me want to go back out there! This campground you’re at is amazing. We’ll definitely have to check that out when we go back. Thanks for sharing your travels! Stay safe!

  2. Beverly MacKenzie

    What a nerve wracking ride that would have been if I had been in the car! Bob must have nerves of steel! So glad to see these photos because I’m pretty sure I will never navigate those mountain roads! Thank you!

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