Fort Collins, Loveland & Grand Lake: Dinner Bell

Fort Collins, CO is known as the Napa Valley of Beers. So why are we visiting when I tend to prefer bourbon over beer? It also happens to have one of the largest historic downtowns we’ve visited to date and I was very much looking forward to strolling around. Unfortunately, we brought the heat with us and ended up cutting our stroll short.

We did stop into famous The Silver Grill for lunch but they don’t allow pets on their patio so we opted for the Penrose Tap House right across the street.

Now mind you, we aren’t foodies. For the most part, we eat for sustenance and not for any major love of food. You have our permission to call us weird… But, every now and then we get wowed!

Like this Papi de Gonzo made with garlic sourdough bread, fried chicken breast, buffalo sauce, blue cheese aoli, lettuce, tomato and crispy onions… My mouth is STILL watering!

And, when in Rome… Even though I’m not a big beer drinker and even less of a DARK beer drinker, I couldn’t pass up this coconut, almond, chocolate porter. It was so good that I wanted to find a case of it to bring home. Thankfully, my sister-in-law and author of The Charming Millers reminded me of something about travel: some things are best appreciated in the moment.

Alas, we couldn’t entirely pass up on The Silver Grill and their famous cinnamon buns. Verdict? Where’s the hot, melty frosting on top? I did mention we weren’t foodies, right? We weren’t impressed.

And, because so much of this post is about food, we are aptly naming it Dinner Bell!

Boyd Lake

Our campground wasn’t in Fort Collins but in a state park in Loveland on Boyd Lake. The park was very nice though typical of a state park, no sewer and limited power. In fact, the entire area of Loveland, Fort Collins and surrounding cities do a wonderful job of creating multi-use trails that wander around the lakes, farm land and city blocks.

Perfect for us novice bicycle riders who don’t like hills or treacherous gravel trails, and by treacherous, I mean a single stone could throw me head over handlebars!

We even got in a little kayaking with Rizzo on Boyd Lake. She’s still figuring out this inflatable thingy that keeps her from getting wet but we are hoping, with practice, to have a full fledged kayaking dog in no time.

Grand Lake

Our next short stay was in Grand Lake on the west side of the Rocky Mountain National Park. Had it not been for the trailer, we could have saved a couple of hours and driven right through the national park on Trail Ridge Road to get here. But we chose the safer, longer route around.

Grand Lake was a pleasant surprise. Our campground was called Elk Creek but should have been named MOOSE Creek since we saw not one but TWO moose next to our camper! OK, maybe it was just one moose on two different days. I’m not a moose, I can’t identify one from another! A few of our travel buddies showed just a tad bit of jealousy over this as they haven’t gotten to see a moose this close in all their years of travel around the country!

Sometimes camping is about the little things. Like discovering how to use your microwave convection oven to make garlic bread for spaghetti.

Or discovering that the campground has provided a sewer dump hose so you don’t have to pull yours all the way out at the dump station.

And sometimes it’s celebrating two 4 mile hikes in one day with a super fancy dinner of Dinty Moore Beef Stew and a 10 year old Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling.

Hiking Adventures

Our first hike was to the Adams Falls. The hike to the falls is pretty short but you can continue past to see some spectacular views.

I think I found my dream home location; one part mountains, one part trees, some meadows and a babbling brook/ small river that runs through it.

Yep, we look right at home!

We kept hiking to some smaller falls where we opted to put our feet in the cool, refreshing water.

Don’t you love the hiking tan lines?

It’s like brain freeze on your feet!


After a couple of miles, the mosquitoes decided it was an open buffet on people and we didn’t bring bug spray. I’ll be posting soon about my favorite bug bite solutions so stay tuned.

Since Adams Falls was technically within Rocky Mountain National Park, Rizzo couldn’t accompany us. But, gotta love our dedication to our active dog, we opted to take another “easy” hike around Monarch Lake.

Monarch Lake is a reservoir that is part of Lake Granby, which, along with Grand Lake, happens to be the start of the Colorado River. Us Arizonians depend on the Colorado River for our water needs so we tend to take a keen interest in it.

Next we will be visiting the town of Steamboat Springs on one of our longest stops.

2 thoughts on “Fort Collins, Loveland & Grand Lake: Dinner Bell

    1. So glad to hear that! I love writing them. It also helps me remember these amazing adventures.

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