Wow, I dont know where to start. The scenary makes you realise why Americans dont travel, it ranks with the Yeman, Equador, the Himalayas, magnificent.
I flew into Denver curtesy of the worlds favourite airline,the airport is easy to navigate and stayed the night at a hotel complex down the Pena Boulivard and collected the car in the morning. Did not expect a 4 wheel drive SV on a "cheap we choose deal" had doubts about this, but worth it to visit ghost towns etc. Stayed in a mixture of branded motels and B&B's from BandB online. Thought B & B's better value$150 against $90 as B&B's include fully cooked breakfast which for me negates having lunch.
In order of visit
Estes Park , has superb scenery, saw elkes etc in vicinity,good easy walking, many fishermen catching 20lb trout, river rafting, the national park is magnificent and very easy to navigate, the $20 fee lasts week
Grand Lake worth a night
Georgetown, again good historical value and easily walkable, staying in the B&B was a highlight especially the Joan Rivers like Innkeeper. Visited Breckonridge, Dillon, Loveland from there, forget the shopping experience at Silverthorne.
Aspen, very very expensive, full of beautiful people together with the scenery. Stay in Snowmass its half the price and endure the rush hour drive into Aspen.
The drive from Aspen, to Ouray via Carbondale, Crawford, Montrose, Ridgeway. is very quiet with some very obvious side excursions and stops.
Didnt like Ouray, though had a good meal at the Bulow hotel. Dark with only 1 street, a ribbon town, reminded me of some past TV drama "Twin Peaks" obviously vey good for off raos visits. Would have preferred to stay in Ridgeway.The drive on the main road toward the pass is not for the faint hearted and is thoroughly reccomended, and thats when I ran out of space in my memory card
Do Silvertown on the train, though its crowded then, there is not much to see except the silversmith on the same side as "Grumpies, "err in doors" loved it, she chose her Christmas present.
Durango is something else, a superb town full of charm and interest, good for retail therapy and the best eating at Ken and Sues, Would on hind sight have preferred the the Gen Palmer to the Strator. Gliding $100 a tow against mountainside with good thermals, thunderclouds developing in late PM. Take the train, Parlor Car is worthwhile, good commentary, nothing like the British presevation scene, not a bit of polished brass in sight. Went to the Theatre for the Hiss and Boo show plus Vaudeville, glad to see Abbot & Costello are alive and well in Durango.
Chama in New Mexico, I have to confess having one of the best days of my life on the train, the guide, the local vet was truely impressive with his knowledge of nature and geology. There is no need to book the Parlour Car as everybody goes into a large open wagon for the journey The big Motel is not as described in the online guides, we had a large cool large room, no breakfast provided but coffee in the room. Dinner in the roadhouse back towards the filling station was a lot better than expected. I didnt think much of Pergosa Springs, a smell of Sulpher hangs over the Town, but I did see some balooning early in the Morning
Cripple Creek is intesting as a base, to visit Victor, go to the viewpoint to see an amazing sight as the dig 0.3 oz per metric ton of gold out of an mountainside and leach it out of the ore with cyanide. The B&B in Cripple week is wonderfull. Eating is to be endured with Ruby Tuesday out of town the best of a very bad bunch
The Garden of the Gods near Manitou Springs is a must, well worth a day, you can hire Mountain Bikes or walk as you wish.
as an after though on every mountain pass one finds cyclists who are very agressive towards the car, Wher else can you see a £5000 on £500 old banger. I hope this helps.
Some warnings, apologies if the are too obvious. Hight, we never slept below 7000ft which even though I have slept higher old age caused us problems with shallow sleeping and short nights. Chip and Pin does not exist and your C/C is taken from you, the scope for fraud is enormous. Water, is it half a pint per hour per 1000feet? drink plenty of it, the long drop dunny is alive and well in Colorado.
Again hight, means you sunburn very easily, factor 25 is a must, and moistureriser used at night, ok I had 3 nasties taken out of my face last year, but having a face like an old boot and having taken no care in the past it ,I deserved it. I hope this helps and you enjoy yourself, if you want any more specifics PM me. Regards Alan Forgot Fairplay superb museum of rural life and good motel. Also avoid cashless Toll Road E470 car hire charges exhaurbitent sums for thingme to use road. Easy to avoid with map