Today TraveLinkSites is honing in on Colorado with Chad of The Road Dog Blog. A real lover of the great outdoors, Chad blogs about his travels throughout the U.S. His interview has advice on what this state has to offer and gives us some great photos too.
1. Could you briefly introduce yourself, your site and your experience travelling in Colorado?
Hello. My name’s Chad. I’ve lived in Pennsylvania most of my life, but have visited 45 U.S. states, much of Canada, Europe, and Mexico so far. Hiking and outdoor destinations have always been high on my list of places to visit, but I have pretty broad interests and I think that’s reflected in my travel site – The Road Dog Blog. On my site you’ll find lots of information and photos of the outdoors, but post topics range from music festivals to museums. Lately, many about Colorado. Having a love of mountains and nature, I’ve always been drawn to Colorado. I first visited the state on a cross-country trip in 1997. I returned in 1999 and 2001 and decided to make it my home base as of January 2013.
2. What made you choose this state and what were your first impressions?
I always say Colorado has just about everything but an ocean. It has towering mountains, lakes, prairies, desert landscapes, and a clean modern city in Denver. I also chose Colorado because I think it’s a great base of operations for exploring the rest of the American West. Having a few family members and friends here from Pennsylvania doesn’t hurt either. I remember my first impressions of the “Rocky Mountain State” vividly. We entered into Colorado from Kansas on our way to our next stop, the Grand Canyon. As soon as we crossed the state border, I immediately started scanning the horizon for the Rockies. As we drove farther and farther into Colorado, through flat prairies, without any mountains in sight, I became disappointed. I assumed my idea of what the state looked like was an exaggerated one. Upon reaching Denver, I was no longer disappointed! Seeing the city, snowy peaks of the 14ers (Colorado peaks over 14,000 ft. high) in the background, my vision of Colorado was restored.
3. How much money can someone travel around Colorado for? What are the greatest expenses? What things are relatively cheap?
Prices for most things are on par with the rest of the U.S.. Colorado is definitely not an “off-the-beaten-path” destination and some things, like lodging, can be expensive in places. The good news is there are cheap ways to travel and stay here if you look hard enough. I’ve found one place, in the pretty mountain town of Estes Park, that provides food and lodging in exchange for volunteer work. Gasoline is about 20% cheaper here than in big cities like New York or LA.
What is the local cuisine like? Did you find yourself trying new things or pining for the familiars of home?
The food in Colorado is similar to the rest of the U.S., in that you can find just about anything from Thai to French to American burgers and steaks. I did notice more Mexican food and less Italian than on the East Coast. One Colorado delicacy, that I must admit I haven’t tried yet, is Rocky Mountain Oysters. Despite being called oysters, they have nothing to do with seafood. Rocky Mountain Oysters are fried bull testicles. They’re served at restaurants and sporting events.
What would you suggest everyone do while visiting Colorado and why?
If you’re a snowboarder or skier, of course I suggest you do that while in Colorado. The state has a long snow season, lots of ski resorts, and great powder (or so I hear, I’m not a skier, but I have to mention it. It’s Colorado!). A visit to the state wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park either. It has beautiful postcard mountain scenery and there’s a great chance you’ll see elk and deer and if you’re lucky maybe a moose, bear, or mountain lion. For those who aren’t the outdoor types, I’d suggest grabbing a craft beer in one of Colorado’s nearly 2,000 breweries. My favorite beer so far, Breckenridge Vanilla Porter!
What is your favourite thing about travelling around Colorado? What is your least favourite thing?
The mountain scenery everywhere is my favorite thing about the state. Sometimes it’s hard to keep your eyes on the road while driving, the views are so incredible. It’s also great that there are so many sunny days here. It gets over 300 days of sunshine a year (that’s what a voice announcement on the airport train said anyway). In the last month there’s been only a few cloudy days, and that’s when it’s snowed. A sunny January is a welcome change from the northeast U.S. where it’s often cloudy and dreary in winter. As far as my least favorite thing, I don’t have too much to complain about. I have said I wish there was a better network of public transportation.
What things do you focus on most when you blog about Colorado? Why do you choose these things?
I’ve been focusing on the outdoors and hiking. I could probably run an entire blog writing only posts about Rocky Mountain National Park. Hiking is one of my favorite things to do and there are seemingly endless trails and parks to explore in Colorado.
What’s one thing you can’t travel around Colorado without?
I’d say you pretty much need a car. As I mentioned earlier, the public transportation system here isn’t great. You can get along ok in Denver without a vehicle, but if you want to really explore the state, especially the national parks and natural areas, you’ll need a car. Colorado is pretty big (bigger than the entire U.K.) and things are spread out.
Do you have a favourite U.S. State? A great travel blog? Advice for fellow bloggers? We want to hear from you.