Sunday morning my wife and I decided to go for a drive to one of my favorite places, Estes Park. We got up early, grabbed some breakfast and headed up the mountain. My wife is one of those people who likes to read every road sign as you pass them. “Buffalo jerky 99 cents, Panda Buffet $5.95, Lake Loveland turn right.” She reads every one of them. Did you know Loveland has little hearts on the traffic poles along highway 34 with love messages on them? Want to know what each one says? She read them all. I do love that idea though. What a cool city Loveland is.

Once we got through Loveland and passed Sunny Jim’s candies, we saw a herd of critters down the road. Every time I drive in that direction it reminds me of why I live here. Seeing those snow covered Rocky Mountains sitting right in front of you is just breath taking. Not only is Estes itself amazing but the drive up there is equally as incredible. We passed the world famous Dam Store and resisted the temptation of stopping in for a box of shiny rocks. We proceeded up the canyon with its icy mountain streams sporting a few brave fly fisherman trying their luck.

We pulled into Estes and were lucky enough to find a good parking spot right away and started walking down main street. I just love all the shops. There is not a single chain store on the route, just mom and pop shops with those unique items you can only get in the mountain town. Where else can you go and find caramel apples and taffy in just about every store window or a t-shirt that says “mountain dude” instead of “mountain dew”? We of course did all of our required shopping. After a stop at Bob and Tony’s for some delicious pizza we grabbed one of those evil caramel apples and continued on. We stopped and got all the essentials one would expect. We bought a bottle of chokecherry honey, a stuffed chipmunk named “peanut” and a jar of chocolate covered sunflower seeds.

We drove down the mountain feeling great, full and ready to tackle the rest of our day. We stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home and it took about 4 minutes in that store before I missed the wonderful feeling of that mountain oasis. There is a paradise awaiting you. Get in the vehicle and get to Estes Park