1,000 Places To See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz is like a self-help book for people that do not like self-help books. You may not want anyone to see you buying or reading it, but you certainly are not tossing it into the donate pile until you have crossed off at least another 100 or so dream destinations from your wish list. A nagging voice in the back of your head tells you that you should be on the road and not holed up in your bedroom with this book, but you can easily justify this pursuit by telling yourself that this is no glossy travel brochure. This is a text-dense travel bible with the smallest black & white photos. It is up to you to supply your own grand-scale colored photos when you reach your destination.
And now my wanderlust friends, please turn your book to page 589 to view Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Made this drive this summer and the vistas were breathtaking. Wildlife mere feet away (please be careful!), snow in July, sharp drops just a few feet off the road to awake a real sense of adventure in the most jaded traveler, and over 350 miles of nature trails.
There is no lodging within the park, but this provides an excellent excuse to make a reservation at the Stanley Hotel just a few miles outside of the park gates. This grand old hotel is perhaps most famous for its ghosts and being the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in the Stephen King novel The Shining. The movie runs constantly on its own channel on hotel TVs so watch the kids. Go on the extremely popular ghost tour if you must or just enjoy the lovely architectural details (like my bathroom window shown here that looks out on the manor house) and beautiful views.