As a lad, my dad first took us to Colorado in 1950. He had inherited a '49 Plymouth (that was the first year we had TV too.) At the time, he was going to Medical School at Cook County Hospital, and we lived on Ogden Avenue... which happened to also be U.S. 34.
Dad bought a large green canvas tent, and stored it on the floor of the back seat. Above that he and mom rolled up a mattress and made the back seat into a big playground for me and my baby sister Nina. That summer we drove out to Colorado on Highway 34, across Iowa and Nebraska, up through Estes Park, camped at Glacier Basin campground and then up 34 to the top of the Trail Ridge Road! I was hooked then and there.
On subsequent years, we visited Uncle Bob and Aunt Dorothy when they lived in Montrose, drove across the suspension bridge at the Royal Gorge (with mom screaming), wandered the Great Sand Dunes, climbed a bunch of assorted mountains, and drove hundreds of scary "oh-my-god" roads.
In 1964, while on family vacation, I got a job at the Wind River Ranch (above Estes Park) and stayed behind. That year I came home on the Union Pacific, which then served Denver and St. Louis (I lived in the beautiful vista dome car). I think our last family trip happened in 1966. Then, life happened I grew up, got married, had kids and stopped going for a while. However, a divorce in 1974 sent me quickly out West. I made my first trip with GFred in '75, and another that year with good friend Mike Bell. In 1976 I moved to Denver, in what I thought was the beginning of my life in Colorado. Alas, the siren song of TSR called me back to Wisconsin. For many years Colorado was driven to a back burner. After TSR I went to the Lake Geneva Public Library and as I took charge of a very unreliable computer circulation system, I was never able to leave town for even as long as a week... that was until 1999, when we finally upgraded to a reliable network (sadly provided by Windows 95/98). Then I was off to the races and took a whole week and some extra days off.