I managed to sneak car related activities in on Saturday and Sunday! Both were enjoyable, Sunday was more fun for me, though.

A couple of years ago, I took my wife and son up Jones Pass here in Colorado. They didn’t love it. There were a lot of tight switchbacks and drop offs that frightened them both a bit. Enough so that when we got up to the top, neither of them would exit the truck. With that in mind, I hit up the trusty Charles Wells book, Guide To Nothern Colorado Backroads and 4WD Trails to choose something a little less intense for them, but still easy and within an hours drive or so of our house. I chose the Nevadaville Loop and Apex, which combined make up about 20 miles of off road fun.

Before we hit the loop, we made a quick pit stop to check out the Coeur d’Alene mineshaft house. There was a tour guide there, knitting herself a scarf, that gave as the history of the mine, including looking down into the shafts as well as the various equipment around. My son is quit excited by history, so he was pretty happy to make this stop.

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Once you start driving on the first road (Nevadaville Loop is really just an unpaved county road, so a good start just to see some stuff) there are a lot of old mine ruins along the way.

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Also along the route, a lot of old cemeteries. Near an OHV area, we found a parking spot to go explore a couple of the cemeteries. Looking at the tombstones, life was definitely hard as a miner. While I did manage to find one plot where its inhabitant managed to reach 70 years old, the average was definitely closer to 45. A lot of infant, children buried here as well.

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Once we left this area, it was a left turn onto Upper Apex Rd. Upper Apex Rd, and the road it turns into Apex Valley, are once again, unpaved county roads. While my passengers were happy plodding along on the groomed forest roads, i was hoping for something a little rougher. After a quick detour to visit the near ghost town of Apex, we retraced our route and made a turn onto Elk Park Rd.

Since I was driving (duh) I didn’t get any pictures of the terrain, and my wife was too scared of getting lost to wield the camera, so....no good shots of the roads themselves. While still easy roads, they were larger loose rock and not groomed. Fun! We made another turn onto Monarch Gulch Rd, where after a brief climb, the trees opened up to this beautiful valley. Along the road were a couple of folks on Ducati Scramblers.

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The remaining 5 miles or so was back through the trees, and through some rocks where I pretended I had to pick a line. Ha! After a little bit, we popped by a little creek. We all go out again, and my son was surprised at how cold that mountain water was. Don’t mind the weird lighting on the picture below, I mistakenly hit one of the goofy filters on the phone and didn’t realize it until I got home. The trail then hooked up with another groomed road before returning to pavement. From there, we took the Peak to Peak highway back into Golden.

All in all, it took most of our Sunday, and I was glad it did. I’m ready to go back out, but I’ll most likely wait until my brother in law visits in a couple of weeks and find a nice mountain lake as a destination to get some fishing in as well. The mild roads, lack of “staring into thin air” switchbacks did make it more relaxed for the rest of the family. I can’t say I’ll be that nice the next time out. I have been reading about the northern Sand Dunes and think that might be our next outing, making a weekend of it, since it is a bit of a drive.

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Oh, the other part of car weekend as the Golden Super Cruise. I had mentioned it to my neighbor, and he and his friend wanted to go. I was a bit afraid that I had oversold them on what to expect, but they were stunned at the amount of cars there. Next month, I plan on taking the Cougar. Amongst the hundreds (if not more) cars there, there were 3 Cougars there, one ‘67, one ‘68, and one ‘69. Tons of Mustangs, Chevelles, etc. I didn’t get any pictures other than that nasty Ford Escape. Probably my favorite was a ‘47 crew cab Power Wagon. I’ll close with the shot of my wife and son out on the trail.