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    Plan your Summer Road Trip!

    There's nothing more refreshing than taking a road trip to escape the monotony of daily life. The open road, beautiful scenery and different culture rejuvenates the soul and provides invaluable life lessons only learned through experience. Colorado offers all this and more with its majestic mountains, treasured archaeology, endless vineyards and roaring rivers.

    Whether you decide to relive the Old West at the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum in Golden or sample fine wines at Carlson Vineyards outside Palisade, your trip will leave you feeling enlightened and peaceful. Here are some great tips to ensure your trip reaches it maximum potential:

    1. Carefully consider your company
    Travel with family and friends who you enjoy to be around, have similar interests and can share driving duties. This way, there will be no better company to share a 480-mile drive from Mesa Verde to Hovenweep!

    2. Come up with a rough itinerary
    Gather your travel companions before your departure to discuss some aspects of the trip. You may want to decide on must-see attractions, hotel choices, restaurants and a rough schedule of daily events. Standing in a campground isn't the best time to decide whether you should visit the Louden-Henritze Archaeology Museum in Trinidad or drive down Route 12 at Cucharas Pass to experience incredible views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains or the Great Dikes. It's important to compromise and include everyone’s interests so all your travel goals are met before your intended return date.

    3. Make a list of things to pack
    Take the weather into consideration, as well as activities you plan on doing. If you and your travel companions decide to hike the 14 mile round trip climb to Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, then proper shoes, bug spray, sunscreen and water bottles are necessities. However, if you choose to tour the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, then perhaps a stylish summery outfit and comfortable sandals are more appropriate. Always include sleeping gear (pillow, blanket and sleeping bag) for impromptu naps, essential toiletries, identification and non-perishable food items.

    4. Set a budget
    Decide very early on how much you can spend and then add at least a few hundred dollars to that total for emergencies. Always remember unforeseen and sometimes forgotten costs, including fluctuating gas prices, national park fees, toll fees and maybe even a spontaneous trip to the Isle Casino Hotel® Black Hawk. We can help complete your experience! We offer an extensive selection of casino games, fine dining, giveaways and lively entertainment. You definitely won’t regret setting money aside to try your luck at winning big. Just remember to stick to your budget so you can purchase necessities and enjoy other local attractions!

    5. Check your vehicle
    Take your vehicle to a reputable shop and have everything fixed and maintained before you head out into the country. The last thing you need is an overheated engine on your way to experience the ultimate archaeological adventure at Mesa Verde National Park! A dead vehicle under the scorching sun isn't ideal, especially when you know you're missing 5000 archaeological sites and 600 dwellings carved into cliffs.

    6. Pack a map and a GPS
    Choosing to take both a map and GPS seems redundant, but you never know when the GPS might act up. If you're on a quest to the World’s Largest Fork in Creede and your GPS fails, a good old-fashioned map will get you there in record time to take ridiculous selfies and check it off your bucket list. Not to mention, having a backup plan is recommended for nearly every situation!

    7. Pack recreational items
    While talking with fellow travelers is a key part to any trip, taking time to tune out for a while is essential for your sanity. After a long day of hiking along Cows Creek near McGraw Ranch or partaking in the Boulder International Film Festival, you may need time to plug in your headphones and relax. Remember to pack books, portable DVD players or gaming devices for some well-deserved alone time.

    The ideal road trip involves careful planning, but is also an opportunity to develop close friendships and make memories. Your experience traveling across Colorado will be unique, so try to remain positive and document your experiences through video, photos or a journal. Although others outside your traveling group may not care to browse through your 800 pictures, you'll have them to take out later in life and remember your journey. You can even share some photos with us on Facebook®!

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