Road Trip! (Part 1)

Occasionally we will pack a small bag, leave the RV at the campground, and take a 2-3 day trip in the car to some place on our “Bucket List.” It has been a really long time since we have done a little trip like this.

We were excited to finally feel like our lives were at least getting a little bit “back to normal” (since COVID-19 we have all felt like our lives would never feel normal again). So, we booked two hotels, one night at each, and headed out on July 1st. With suitcase in hand, we set out for Rocky Mountain National Park.

We drove about an hour to the town of Estes Park for our first night. Even though we were way early for check in, we stopped at our hotel anyway. They actually had a room disinfected and ready for us, so we checked in. Of course, we took our own disinfecting wipes and wiped down everything we would be touching again. I am not a bit paranoid about cleanliness, am I? 😊

It was a really good thing that we did check in early. There were things we did NOT know about going into national parks these days!

The lady at the desk told us that because of the virus you could only enter the park with what they call a “timed entry ticket.” It’s a ticket you get online that allows you to go in the park at a certain time (they don’t want too many people “bunched up” going in at the most popular times).

(NOTE: If you are wanting to visit a national park, historic site, etc, you might want to call ahead and check about changes made because of COVID-19. You can also go online to the National Park web site to get timed entry passes: http://www.recreation.gov)

It makes sense, but we had no idea about this! We went online to get tickets, and the first date we could get for a morning entry was July 12th! WOW! Needless to say, we were somewhat upset.

That’s when the hotel lady told us that you can enter the park without an entry ticket any time before 6:00 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. Welllll, now we had to reevaluate our plans. UGH!

Since our hotels were booked and we didn’t want to put off seeing the park until July 12th, we decided to “bite the bullet” and enter according to the before 6 a.m. and after 5 p.m. times. We weren’t going to enter the park until 5:00 p.m., so we drove around that afternoon. Here are some photos of the drive to Estes Park and the surrounding area.

That first day we entered at slightly after 5:00 p.m., and the next morning we got up at 4:30 a.m. and were at the park entrance by 5:40 a.m.! For those of you who know me – – I am NOT a morning person! 😝 However, I made the best of it; the late evening and early morning sun and animal sitings made it worth it!

Also, if you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know I take about a zillion pictures of beautiful places. Rocky Mountain National Park was no exception. I won’t bore you with all the pics; I will try to share just the most gorgeous ones.

We entered the park at Fall River Entrance Station after 5:00 p.m. We had decided to travel the eastern side of the park (a left turn at the T intersection) that led back to Estes Park and left the park at Beaver Meadows Entrance Station. Here are a few of those pictures:

The next morning we entered at Fall River Entrance again and turned right at the T intersection. This route took us across the northern part of the park (accessible by road anyway) to the western side of the park and then south to Grand Lake Entrance Station. It also took us to the highest elevation accessible by car: 12,183 feet. The views were spectacular!

After we left the park, we drove to our hotel in Fraser, CO (Fraser is between Granby and Winter Park), to spend the night. Needless to say, we were very tired and ready for a nap after getting up SO EARLY!!

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

San Antonio Missions National Historic Park

I had a birthday in January (the 23rd to be exact), and Jack asked me what I wanted to do on my birthday. Without hesitation I responded, “Go to the Missions National Historic Park.” So we went.

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is a National Historic Park preserving four of the five Spanish frontier missions in San Antonio, Texas. These outposts were established by Catholic religious orders to spread Christianity among the local natives. These missions formed part of a colonization system that stretched across the Spanish Southwest in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. All four of these missions were built during the late 1600s and early 1700s.

We didn’t do the missions in any particular order because we went to the one closest to us first. If you decide to visit these missions, I would suggest getting a pamphlet of information about them first, and then plan your course. I would suggest going from south to north or north to south. Then you won’t “back track” as much as we did.

We went to Mission San Jose first. It was the one with the biggest visitor center (we didn’t know that at the time). Mission San Jose was established in 1720. The church that is still standing was built in 1768 and founded by Father Antonio Margil.

Next, we went to Mission Concepción which was established in 1716 as Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de los Hainais in East Texas. The mission, which was founded by Franciscan Friars, was moved to San Antonio in 1731, and is the best preserved of the missions. We were not allowed inside the church because they were doing some preservation work that day. In fact, in one of the pictures you can see part of a camera crew with two workers. They must have been doing some kind of news story on the renovation work to be aired in San Antonio in the near future.

The guy on the far right is the cameraman.

Then, we went to Mission San Juan which was established in 1716 as Mission San Jose de los Amazonia in East Texas. The mission was renamed and moved in 1731 to San Antonio.

Finally, we went to Mission Espada. It was established in 1690 as San Francisco de los Tejas near present-day Augusta and was renamed San Francisco de los Neces in 1721. It was moved to its present location in 1731 and given its current name.

Each of the missions is unique, and the churches are so different not only in size but in decor, style, and color. We really enjoyed strolling around each site and learning its history.

So, for now ….. “In the Road Again!”

Betty

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