My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

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94Corolla5Speed
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My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

Postby 94Corolla5Speed » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:38 pm

This summer I took a 2 week roadtrip around Colorado and it's national parks with my girlfriend. She recently put up the pictures on FB but for those who are not FB friends/haven't seen them, here are a number of them. I apologize since there are a shit ton of them, but we went to so many great places I want to share them all:

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This is outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, in Estes Park, CO

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Me going over to chat with the owners of a 911 Turbo S cab (!) and a Miata. Turns out they took a road trip themselves from Oak Park, IL (about 10 miles away from I live). Father, son, and his friend. Yes, they were rich. Yes, I was jealous as hell. Cool folks though.

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RMNP is a spectacular place to be. I seriously urge you to go if you ever get a chance. The views are stunning.

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In a cloud at about 12,000 feet.

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We got caught in a hailstorm on the main road through the park. Let me just say that being inside your car during a hailstorm is possibly one of the loudest things I've ever heard. It sounds like machine gun fire. Amazingly, her car got out dent-free.

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Me at the end of a short trail near the west end of the park.

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Driving through a cloud with a mountain cliff just feet away. This was both terrifying and awesome.

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I think this was called Emerald lake. Near Hallett Peak in RMNP.

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Drove up about 12 miles of rutted dirt road to get here. Completely worth it. The views were awesome.

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One of the best hikes I've ever been on. 8 miles round trip and it goes above the treeline. Perfect weather at high elevation also.

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Another shot of said hike

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At a cafe right before the entrance to Mt. Evans Rd. Bunch of manufacturers here with camo cars driving really, really fast on tight mountain roads. They go here for high elevation testing I assume, since it's the highest paved road in the US. (14,130')

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Partway up

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SLS AMG mule

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Road to nowhere

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At the top. 51 degrees in the middle of July during mid-day!

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Coming back down

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Us at the top of Loveland Pass. 11,990', great little offshoot from I-70.

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Entering Colorado National Monument

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After a very hot hike in CNM

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The little car that barely could. Small engine + Colorado elevation = painfully slow. Great MPG though. Got upwards of 40 on multiple occasions.

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First gen M5 at one of the pullouts in CNM. I couldn't help myself.

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So I lied a little bit. We had two days to spend near CNM. In one day we did all the hikes and views we could (other than the really long 8+ mile hikes in desert heat so we made a detour...

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Any guesses where?

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Still nothing?

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Arches National Park! One of my favorite parks. We went here last year and promised ourselves we would come back sometime since we loved it and didn't have much time to spend there last year. Really damn hot, but I love the red rock formations.

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Crazy looking lizard. No photoshopping here, those were it's natural colors.

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Since our hotel in Grand Junction was only about 25 minutes away from Flyin' Miata (big Miata tuner shop), we decided to swing by in the morning on our way to Black Canyon.

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Two customer cars getting LS3 swaps

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Keith Tanner's (well-known tuner in the Miata world) personal Mazdaspeed turbo swapped Miata. About 200 horses at the wheels. He gave me a ride in it... this thing was damn quick! Although it didn't prepare me for...

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See the fairly innocuous light blue one on the right? It has a 480 HP hot-cam LS3 Camaro engine. I got a ride in it, and he dropped the hammer on an empty farm road from 30-90 MPH. Hands down, the fastest thing I have ever been in. It pulled like a freight train all the way until he let off. Absolutely mind-boggling speed.

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Their 450+ hp turbo 4. The dyno they have maxes out at 450 HP. This thing went past that on it.

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It was a very rainy drive to Black Canyon. In this weather, it almost looked like New Zealand.

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Early morning near the visitor center. The canyons are vastly deep.

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Painted Wall in the canyon. The stripes were lighter colored rocks that formed about the same time the gneiss and other darker colored rocks were forming, 1.7 billion years ago. Billion.

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On the way into Great Sand Dunes NP

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Yes I certainly do! The stars here were fantastic. We hiked onto the dunes after the sun went down and just stared at the stars. The Milky Way was visible! The stars were second only to the ones we had seen in the middle of nowhere in Nevada last year.

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Amazing looking dunes

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Sunset on the dunes

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Hiking through some near freezing water at a trail a few minutes outside the park. Painful does not begin to describe how my feet felt.

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Sunset on the mountains behind the dunes

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On our last morning at Great Sand Dunes, we got up before dawn to hike to the High dune (one of the highest sand dunes in the US)

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So beautiful

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Jackie at the top

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Me at the top

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Just a picture for scale... 30 square miles of nothing but sand dunes.

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Leaving the park the next morning... our phones had regained signal and we found out about the Batman theatre shooting in Aurora CO. Last year on our road trip to CA, Anders Breivik shot and killed numerous people in Norway and we found out about it a few days later when our phones regained signal leaving Sequoia NP. We seem to have a bad streak of going on trips during bouts of mass murder.

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No shots going up (we had some coolant issues on the way up and the camera was not the first thing on our minds), but we made it to the top of Pikes Peak. Sadly, after having awesome times in Gran Turismo 2 ripping up and down the mountain in a Suzuki Escudo, it is far, far too commercialized and touristy now. Mount Evans seemed much better. And the entrance fee was way cheaper.

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At Garden of the Gods Park near Colorado Springs

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And that's pretty much the end. No good photos after that since the next day we started to make our way back, and that meant going through Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois. The only eventful thing that happened was that we were stopped for a full hour on I-80 in the middle of Nebraska because a truck had stalled, conveniently, right on a one lane bridge during construction on the highway.

One more thing to note: We took this trip pretty much right in the height of the huge wildfires that had been hitting Colorado this summer. While we certainly didn't go directly to the places that were on fire, we were in Colorado Springs toward the end of our trip (one of the places that was hit hard) and the only evidence we saw of wildfire was a few acres of smoldering trees near Pikes Peak.

Hope you guys enjoy the pictures!

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Re: My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

Postby Squint » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:36 pm

Fantastic pictures. My question: did you just walk into that Miata tuner shop and start talking to people or what? I would assume that guy likes to show off his crazily overpowered car, but still.
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Re: My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

Postby 94Corolla5Speed » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:47 pm

I called them up a few days before we got there actually. Just asked them if I could have a tour on such and such date when they open and they were glad to have me. I didn't leave empty handed though, I bought a jack adapter from them. It's made so you can jack up a Miata from the pinch welds without destroying them. Helpful since the pinch welds run the length of the wheelbase so you can jack up one side at a time from the center of the car.

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Re: My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

Postby Shadow » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:02 pm

Like I said, if New York ever blows up, I'm headin' to Colorado. It's beautiful out there.
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Re: My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

Postby AHTOXA » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:13 pm

Been to Colorado only briefly.

That's the next place I'm going to spend some actual time outdoors. Great pictures.
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Re: My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

Postby Squint » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:42 am

AHTOXA wrote:That's the next place I'm going to spend some actual time outdoors. Great pictures.

When you say that, it makes me think you're going to strip down to a loin cloth, take a bow/arrow, and a small hatchet and go live off the land for a bit. Come back to civilization a while later yelling about someone named, "Wilson".
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Re: My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

Postby potownrob » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:52 am

this is just awesomeness!! i've never been to colorado and haven't seen many pics of that area. i could only picture snow-covered mountains and little cities in valleys before you posted these pics :shock: :lol: :D 8)
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Re: My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

Postby Rope-Pusher » Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:27 pm

Didja get a chants ta see the Flying W Pile of Ashes?
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...or the Air Force Macadamy?
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Re: My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

Postby wannabe » Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:53 pm

i've been to colorado and pikes peak, but at least a decade ago (more like a decade and a half, and boy do i feel old....) since i've been there. (that sentance doesn't make sense, sorry).



love your photos btw
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Re: My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

Postby noob5,000,000 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:56 pm

Awesome awesome awesome. I really need to go somewhere like that for a while.
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Re: My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

Postby 94Corolla5Speed » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:57 pm

noob5,000,000 wrote:Awesome awesome awesome. I really need to go somewhere like that for a while.

Do it. It will completely change the way you think of America as a country. Before I went on the trip to California a year ago, I had no idea how truly vast this place is. Every state is completely different, and each state (especially a state like Colorado) has huge differences and great things to see within.

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Re: My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

Postby Jastreb » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:18 am

Absolutely amazing pics. You have a knack for getting the great shots that convey feeling. Most of the ones I try to take come out like boring post-cards. What camera were you using?

Now I know what I should have done last summer.
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Re: My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

Postby Squint » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:28 pm

Jastreb wrote:Absolutely amazing pics. You have a knack for getting the great shots that convey feeling. Most of the ones I try to take come out like boring post-cards. What camera were you using?

Now I know what I should have done last summer.

Riding 3rd wheel on a vacation with 94Corolla5Speed and his girlfriend? :wink: :lol:
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Re: My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

Postby potownrob » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:16 pm

Jastreb wrote:Absolutely amazing pics. You have a knack for getting the great shots that convey feeling. Most of the ones I try to take come out like boring post-cards. What camera were you using?

Now I know what I should have done last summer.
twss?? looks like either canon or fuji colors, assuming they're not postrocessed, otherwise fuji film or...

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Re: My trip to Colorado (Summer 2012) (LOTS of pics)

Postby noob5,000,000 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:32 pm

I just realized...

THEN WHO WAS CAMERA (in several of the shots)?
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