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Short (3-day?) road trip from Boulder, CO, to . . . where?

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In May, we're visiting friends in Boulder and then plan to take a few days to drive and explore before flying back to Georgia (and our two-year-old!). We were thinking Boulder–Albuquerque–El Paso/Juarez (and flying back from El Paso) as a strong possibility, but I'd be interested to hear where you would go if you were us. Any direction as long as we could end up in a more or less major city so we could fly home from there. Ideas?

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  1. Have you considered staying in CO for your roadtrip?

    There are many 3 day round trips through the mountains although May is mud season, if you want to go white water rafting this year is going to be one of the best.

    Another consideration would be to drive to Vegas from Boulder. Western CO and Utah are beautiful, and at least a day at Moab would be fun.

    3 Replies
    1. re: denden

      Vegas is a smart suggestion, but at least one of us will be back there for a conference in the next year, so we thought it best to go somewhere else on this trip. (Although now I've started thinking about how great it would be to go to that famous Thai restaurant . . . )

      It's certainly possible that we'll end up tooling around Colorado the whole time, and I've been searching this board extensively for ideas.

      Right now we're also thinking about Tucson. Did anybody see the Food Network special (I think it was a special) that said the best pizza in the country is in Phoenix? It looked pretty darn good, I must say, but I'm still a bit skeptical.

      1. re: Liana Krissoff

        I don't know anything about Phoenix, but I did have a really amazing lunch at Cafe Poca Cosa once. Also the Desert Musuem (really more of a very classy native animals zoo) is worth a visit.

        1. re: frisbeesage

          That is actually Tucson, which is an hour south of Phx.

    2. This being a foodie board we better talk about culinary trips. If it was me, I'd do the Colorado, Northern New Mexico loop and experience all the interesting food you can find in the area. In May I would not want to suffer the temperatures south of Abq. There is no food worth trying north of Fort Collins and east of DIA. Also, renting a car and dropping it other than where you picked it up is a bad financial deal.

      3 Replies
      1. re: BlueOx

        I agree, I'd stay in Colorado and do a trip around here. Head up into the mountains, hit a meal at Dish in Edwards. During mud season they do a discount tasting menu. You could then go on and hit wine country in Palisade/Grand Junction. Gateway Canyons resort south of Grand Junction has a really nice restaurant and accommodations. Or you could head from Edwards toward Aspen and see some of that area.

        Having been to school in southern New Mexico I'll agree that it can be quite warm and while there is decent food it's not anything super special.

        1. re: RobynS

          I like the sound of a mud season tasting menu. Thanks for the tip!

          1. re: Liana Krissoff

            What's your purpose? To burn rubber? To actually get out of the car now and then? Boulder-Tucson is 620 miles. Tucson-El Paso is 250 miles. Do you have to fly out of El Paso, or can you return home via Albuquerque? If the the latter, northern NM has a lot to offer, foodwise and scenically. It's about 5 hours from Boulder to Taos (get off I-25 on Walsenburg and make your way via Fort Garland and San Luis). Taos offers nice places to stay (esp off-season) and have a good meal. Taos Pueblo is a place from another time (not the casino, the pueblo itself). Go to Santa Fe for a couple of days, detouring to Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu and Georgia O'Keefe's home/studio (if it's open and there are still visitor slots). Santa Fe's selection of restaurants, galleries, museums, etc is unsurpassed in the SW. Then you're "only" about 65 miles from ALB airport. Stop in NM's biggest city for bkfst or lunch or a visit to Old Town en route to the airport. Once you get south of ALB, the countryside is less interesting, as is the food.