Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Avon

Traveling during the pandemic

Plans might have to be cancelled, and with the pandemic surge over the summer, I started a list of each hotel’s latest date to cancel without paying for the first night. We stood ready to cancel this trip. Then five days before our departure, we decided to just stick with it. After all, Colorado’s and New Mexico’s coronavirus response have proven to be better than California’s. To prepare, we packed germicidal wipes and a spray bottle.


We have the routine down. After boarding our direct flight on Southwest, we glove up and wipe down all the surfaces in our area: seats, seatbelts, tray tables, arm rests, windows. Daphney loves doing this. The routine is the same at each hotel, with the addition of hydrogen peroxide spray on porous surfaces. Daphney takes charge of this after we check in to our stay in Denver. On this first day, we get supplies from REI and visit the aquarium.

Rocky Mountain National Park

After stopping for Chinese take-out lunch in Estes Park, we arrive at Rocky Mountain National Park. The park has a timed entry reservation system; for us, because we’re camping, we can go in at any time. Moraine Park Campground is beautiful. Across from our campsite is a ledge overlooking the meadow. Around a meandering stream, elk graze and bugle. We set up lawn chairs and cook dinner: tomato bisque and cheese tortellini. As the sun goes down, everyone leaves. We’re left alone with a front row view of a bull elk trying to get his harem’s attention.

In the morning, we have hot oatmeal on the shores of Bear Lake. A patchwork of fall colors light up the opposite slope. We walk the loop. Back at camp, we move campsites since we could only get two different sites for the two nights. With no one nearby, we all shower. Yan throws naked Jayden into the tent. Unfortunately, he thinks my blue stuff sack is a nice place to poop on.

In the afternoon, we drive Trail Ridge Road to the Alpine Visitor Center. Keeping with our tradition, we buy a picture frame, and I also get the kids stainless steel mugs depicting animals and points of interest. These mugs will become their favorite ones.

After dinner at Bird & Jim, the Milky Way glows bright over the ridge. We fall asleep to the sound of elk calls. The next morning, we wake up to the same hauntingly beautiful sounds. We spend more time along Trail Ridge Road. After camping for two days, we look forward to a hotel stay.


Avon is a beautiful town, and its lakeshore has the beginnings of fall color. We find a fully stocked kitchen and washer and dryer in our villa at the Sheraton. It’s so nice to do laundry and have comfort for dinner and breakfast.

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