Colorado’s Greatest Road Trip #1 (We think so anyways)

Whether you live in Colorado or you’re just coming for a visit, the following places are totally worth the extra miles on your vehicle! From photographic nature scenes to small towns with great spots to eat, check out these places the next time you’re looking for some adventure!

 

From Colorado Springs to Boulder:

Starting from Colorado Springs, head north on I-25 for a quick hour and a half drive to Boulder, Colorado.

With Boulder sitting right at the foot of the Rocky Mountains you will not only find outdoor adventures, such as climbing, hiking and biking trails, but also urban adventure right at your fingertips. If you like shopping, then check out the Pearl Street Mall where you’ll find historic buildings filled with trendy boutiques and independent shops along with bookstores and cafe’s. Twenty Ninth Street is another a sight to see, offering amazing views of the flatirons while you check out high-end retailers such as, Anthropologie, Apple, Nordstrom Rack, and Sephora.

While shopping may be fun, we urge you not to miss out on all that Boulder has to offer as far as outdoor activities. Because Boulder has been deemed the number 1 sports town in America, we recommend coming here in the summertime to take advantage of the 300 miles of serene hiking and biking trails. If rock climbing is at the forefront of your brain then you’ve come to the right place; Boulder is blessed with some of the best rock climbing destinations in the country where climbers, hikers, alpinists and mountaineers from around the world come to congregate. From the Flatirons in town, to Eldorado Canyon to the south of Boulder Canyon to the west, there’s a plethora of outstanding climbs you wouldn’t want to miss here.

Where to eat:

Snooze an A.M. Eatery (Breakfast Only)

Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar

The Sink

 

From Boulder to Estes Park:

Starting from Boulder, head northwest on US-36 W for a short trip of 37 miles  where you’ll land in Estes Park, Colorado.

Located in Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park is home to some of the greatest hiking trails you will find in the entire State of Colorado. Estes Park also offers some unique attractions such as the infamous Stanley Hotel which dates back to 1909 and is known for being the location of Stephen King’s movie “The Shining”. Estes Park is a great destination town all year round, offering snowshoeing and winter activities throughout winter and spring, and more hiking and in town adventures during the summer. Also, let’s not forget about the changing colors of the trees during fall! You really can’t go wrong making a stop here, we promise you won’t regret it!

Where to eat:

If you like good BBQ, check out Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Brew (We assure you we’re not suggesting it because of the great name, although it does have a nice ring to it)

 

From Estes Park to Glenwood Springs:

Leaving Estes Park, you’ll head down I-70 towards Glenwood Springs for a drive time of approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes, don’t forget the snacks!

Glenwood Springs is popularly known for the biggest hot springs pool in all of the world, The Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, dating back to 1888. While relaxing by a hot spring is nice we dare you to seek out a more thrilling adventure by going to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. If the name doesn’t say it all, we’ll give you a little hint, America’s only Mountain-Top Theme Park. Do we have your attention now?! With the nation’s highest-elevation roller coaster, cave tours, and giant canyon swing, people of all ages will be sure to have the best time of their lives here. After getting a boost of adrenaline from the theme park, feel free to check out the beautiful and otherworldly gem, Hanging Lake Trail.  Located off I-70 just 10 miles east of Glenwood Springs. Make sure you have your camera or phone ready, this spot is known for making epic photos.

Where to eat:

Slope and Hatch

19th Street Diner

From Glenwood to Aspen:

Approximate time: 1 hour

From Glenwood you’ll travel southeast on CO-82 to Aspen, where four ski mountains make up the terrain for the world-renowned Aspen Snowmass resort.

Aspen lives up to it’s winter reputation with it being the home of the X games; But that’s not the only thing that draws people to Aspen, it’s because there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy. To cross-country skiing, to snowshoeing or snowboarding, fly fishing and even hot air ballooning, and believe it or not, but summer offers even more outdoor recreation opportunities. In Aspen you’ll also find the most photographed peaks in all of North America, the majestic Maroon Bells. If you’re looking for something a little more upbeat don’t worry, take a short 20 minute drive to the town of Snowmass where Mardi Gras In Snowmass has you covered.

Where to eat:

Literally anywhere, and everywhere.

From Aspen to Ouray:

Now heading southwest from Aspen you’ll drive on CO-133 S for just over three and a half hours to get to Ouray.

If for no other reason than the views Ouray offers, you wouldn’t be missing out. The scenery here is unlike anything you’ve even seen, a small mountain town surrounded with 360 degree views of all you can get, mountains. Explore these mountains on foot, horseback, four-wheel drive, rafting or climbing. In winter, Ouray is nicknamed “The Switzerland of America” and here you will find the most popular winter attractions are the Ouray Ice Park and the Ouray Ice Festival. After soaking in all the activities this small mountain town has to offer, consider relaxing in one of the natural sulfur-free hot springs or chilling in a vapor cave.

Where to eat:

Backstreet Bistro

 

From Ouray to Telluride:

Back on the road to venture to the next stop, Telluride! Heading north on 550, you’ll then take CO-62 to CO-145 S for a total travel time of 1 hour.

Telluride is a charming historic town surrounded by 13k and 14k foot peaks which offer activities for both the summer season and winter. If you enjoy checking out the amazing views this place has to offer then be sure to make a trip up the free gondola ride. Telluride is home to the iconic Bluegrass festival that happens every June and the Telluride Film Festival that takes place every Labor Day weekend. People from around the world come to join in these festivities so put them on your bucket list if you’re looking for a good time that you’ll be sure to remember forever!

Where to eat:

Allred’s Restaurant (located at the top of the Telluride gondola!)

 

From Telluride to Durango:

Heading south for a travel time of two hours and eleven minutes, Durango is situated in the southwest corner of Colorado, just east of Cortez.

Flanked by dramatic landscapes like the Animas River Valley and the San Juan Mountains, there’s unparalleled access to anything outdoors here. Along with Western traditions and a growing collection of trendy shops and tasty food joints, Durango is the perfect town to visit all year-round. If you’re looking for a little extra adventure, we recommend checking out the largest zip line course in the world, the Soaring Tree Top Adventures! Located six miles from the nearest road in the San Juan National Forest, you’ll travel on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to arrive at Soaring’s property where you’ll fly over 1.5 miles through the trees and cross the Animas River!

Where to eat:

Carver Brewing Co.

 

From Durango to Pagosa Springs:

Back on the road heading east to Pagosa Springs, an hour and ten minutes on US-160, just 35 miles north of the New Mexico border.

Pagosa is named after the sulfur springs where travelers from all over the world come to relax in these baths while the mineral-rich water continues to be celebrated for its therapeutic benefits.

Where to eat:

Borde Rio Riverside Restaurant and Tavern (seriously guys, don’t leave town before grabbing a bite to eat here!

 

From Pagosa Springs to Salida:

Now heading north for 2.5 hours into Salida, where you’ll find a dozen 14ers and countless hiking and biking trails.

And in the winter, get a taste of what all those 14ers have to offer in the nearby Monarch Mountain ski area. Salida was recently named a Certified Colorado Creative District by the state and is steadily growing as an arts community. Salida offers a fun family friendly artwalk, which highlights many local artists and is a hub of creative activity, including more than 20 artist studios and galleries.

Where to eat:

Boathouse Cantina

 

From Salida to Breckenridge:

Moving north to Breckenridge, it’ll take you about an hour and 40 minutes to reach your next destination.

Breckenridge, Colorado is made up of four mountain peaks, making it a popular tourist attraction for winter time activities such as snowboarding, skiing and snowshoeing. The quaint in town main street looks like something out of the movies and is filled with places to shop and eat. This little mountain town will always leave you wanting more but don’t worry, there’s plenty of Breckenridge to go around! If you like history, take a tour of the oldest museum in the state – the Edwin Carter Museum, dating back to 1875! If you happen to be around during winter, be sure to check out the Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships. And if summer is more your style, Breckenridge puts on an Annual Summer Music Festival that takes place on the Riverwalk Center. No matter what time of year you come here, you’ll be sure to find something fun to do!

Where to eat:

Blue River Bistro

 

From Breckenridge to Denver:

Venturing northeast to our next destination, you’ll take I-70 for an hour and a half to land in The Mile High City.

As you make your way to Denver, you’ll have many opportunities to stop and do some sight-seeing, such as Frisco, Georgetown and Idaho Springs, so take your time and explore more of Colorado! In Denver you’ll find a plethora of shopping locations like the Cherry Creek Mall and Ikea. Take a stroll through the Botanic Gardens, the Denver Art Museum or the downtown aquarium. Here in Denver, there’s no shortage on things to do, including places to eat and drink and adventure. Denver truly has something for everyone to enjoy.

Where to eat:

Uncle

Sam’s No. 3

Sushi Den

Yard House

Williams and Graham

 

We hope this blog post encourages you to get out there and do some exploring of our beautiful state and all the fun and exciting things it has to offer! If you happen to go to any of these places mentioned above we would love to hear from you and see your pictures! You can send them to our Facebook page or as always just come on by and say hi!

 

How often should you really change your oil?

     If you ask your dad how often you should change your oil, he’ll likely tell you to change it every 3,000 miles. It’s not that he’s wrong, but the answer isn’t as simple as 3,000 miles or every 3 months. It’s a bit more complicated and has a lot to do with the type of oil your vehicle requires, your personal driving habits, and numerous other factors to consider. Keep in mind, oil and engine efficiency has come a long way and most modern engines require your oil to be changed anywhere between 5,000 miles up to 10,000 miles or between 6 months up to 12 months. While having your vehicle looked at every 3,000 miles is beneficial, it is absolutely not necessary to change the oil that frequently. Although, keep in mind there are other services required in that time frame.

     Today, most mechanics are unfairly judged as dishonest thieves. Not that there aren’t dishonest mechanics out there, but let’s put this in perspective; If you were to go to the dentist and the dentist recommended you get your teeth cleaned twice a year, you know that likely you aren’t going to lose your teeth if you don’t follow their recommendations, right? Are they lying to you or just trying to take your money? I wouldn’t think so, I think they are trying to prevent disease and other problems associated with the lack of dental care. Same goes for the “traditional” 3,000 mile recommendation. It doesn’t hurt, except for maybe a little bit out of your wallet. It is likely unnecessary to keep your car on the road. Most repair shops like to see your car at least 3 times a year to keep an eye on what’s failing or needs serviced with your car. Which is partially why mechanics use the 3,000 mile oil change rule.

     If you take your car to a repair facility to just get a “once over”, it could cost anywhere between $20 to $100. Or you can take your vehicle in for a $30 oil change and get the same inspection along with the peace of mind that your oil is changed and your engine is healthy. I’m not saying you should actually go in every 3,000 miles or 3 months. I’m merely saying that taking it in every 4-5 months is ideal and will get you the most out of your car. Most manufacturers have 5,000 mile intervals between different types of services in the maintenance schedule anyway. Some go as little as every 2,500 miles before there is a specific service or component inspection that needs to be addressed. So, you should be seeing your mechanic for those other services 2-3 times a year, not just for oil changes.

     I want to challenge you to open the owner’s manual, look through the maintenance section and note how often you should really be changing your oil. While you’re there, take a mental note of all the other services you have neglected on your vehicle so far. It seems as if we were able to get it through that your oil needs to be changed, but what about other services? Such as, cooling system flushes, power steering flushes, transmission fluid changes, etc.. If your oil is the lifeline of your engine, what are these often overlooked maintenance items to those components? I would suggest passing on oil changes every 3,000 miles and using the saved money to put towards other necessary services.

     There are a few stipulations if you decide following dad’s golden rule is too excessive. First and foremost, check your oil level often. Most manufacturers accept minimal oil consumption as a normal condition and place the responsibility on owners to make sure it is full periodically. Another thing to note is the length of time your vehicle is running at a time. If you are making short trips, your vehicle hasn’t had time to maintain a steady operating temperature. Most vehicles run somewhere around 210 degrees. Although heat does have a drastic effect on the reliability of a vehicle, it also helps clean the impurities and burn off moisture. So, if you aren’t maintaining operating temperatures for an extended period of time, your engine oil will need to be changed more frequently.

      So, let’s get to the point here. The intention of this post is to inform you of how often a car owner needs to change their oil and, the easy answer is to refer to your owner’s manual or ask an auto repair facility that you trust. Most cars have service reminders now as well. Using those reminders are fine, as long as you’re sure the technician is resetting it at every oil change. You can also find a lot of handy tools online to help you make your decision. There isn’t an exact science to it, but make sure you don’t surpass your recommended schedule. Yes, auto repair shops use your oil change intervals to sell you on other services. Some are needed immediately and some can be put off while you prepare your budget.  My recommendation is to find a shop you trust and they should be able to educate you about all the services your car requires and help you come up with a good schedule to maintain and repair your vehicle.

   

   

Preventative Maintenance – Features, Benefits, & Value

Cooling System Flush

FEATURE

  1. Removes scale and rust buildup that damages metal and restricts coolant flow.
  2. New coolant is set to proper freeze point protection
  3. Provides additional lubricant to the moving parts of cooling system

BENEFIT

  1. Reduces damage to individual parts
  2. Keeps the engine from freezing or from overheating
  3. Allows for better protection of moving parts

VALUE

  1. Vehicle is in the repair shop less often for part failures
  2. Avoiding engine block freeze-ups and engine overheating will save hundreds or thousands of dollars
  3. Save money on repair bills

 

Transmission Service

FEATURE

  1. Removes contaminants and old filter from the system
  2. Replaces the lubricants lost during normal operation; provides better protection of the internal moving parts
  3. New fluid is better able to dissipate heat and keep the system at the optimum temperature

BENEFIT

  1. Protects the internal components from damage and debris
  2. Helps reduce the chances of transmission failure
  3. Allows the transmission to perform better and shift smoother

VALUE

  1. Saves money by not having to replace or overhaul the transmission
  2. Better protection for the transmission’s internal components
  3. Creates a more comfortable drive

 

Power Steering Flush

FEATURE

  1. Removes contaminants from the power steering system
  2. Replaces the lubricant lost during normal operation that protect internal components from excessive wear
  3. Removes broken down aluminum particles from the system that accelerate fluid deterioration

BENEFIT

  1. Reduces the chances of further damaging the pump or steering gear
  2. Prevents premature failure of the pump and/or steering gear that happens from lack of lubrication
  3. Extends the life of the fluid in the system

VALUE

  1. Reduces the time spent in the repair shop to have power steering system replaced
  2. Saves money by not having to replace the power steering system
  3. Helps save money due to fluid not needing to be replaced as often

 

Brake Fluid Flush

FEATURE

  1. Removes contaminants from the system
  2. New brake fluid will be less likely to damage rubber components and seals
  3. Makes it easier to accurately measure the true fluid level

BENEFIT

  1. Decreases likelihood of hydraulic component failure
  2. Helps prevent brake failure by keeping the brake fluid from leaking out
  3. Reduces the chances of water contamination in the system

VALUE

  1. Helps keep the vehicle on the road and not in the repair shop
  2. Saves hundreds of dollars by avoiding brake failure, which could also lead to a serious accident

 

Fuel System Treatment

FEATURE

  1. The treatment cleans the fuel, air intake system, and crankcase at the same time
  2. Cleans carbon deposits out of the passageways that otherwise would be sent into the environment
  3. Cleans the inside of the engine’s combustion chamber

BENEFIT

  1. You receive multiple cleanings for the price of one
  2. Minimizes harmful emissions being sent into the environment
  3. Maximizes gas mileage and performance

VALUE

  1. Extends component life
  2. A cleaner burning engine will cause less pollution leading to a better environment
  3. Less fuel lost before burning will save you money in gasoline