Friday, September 22, 2023

Rocky Mountain National Park - Day 5 - The Last Day

[Composed 7/27/2023]

It's a true testament to the beauty of Estes Park and Colorado in general that on our last day, where we did little more than pack up and drive to the airport, I still managed to catch some amazing landscape and animal photographs. Even from a speeding car, no matter where we looked, there was something gorgeous to see.

And speaking of speeding cars, a word needs to be said about our rental. Over the years, when needed, we've splurged on the extra-large SUV class from various rental car companies. With the massive interior, these are often a joy to be a passenger in (Shira drives & navigates; I cruise direct & code). However, this was the first time we were assigned a Grand Wagoneer. Any car with the name 'wagon' in it is going to conjur up images of the car of my childhood, a Ford Cown Victoria Station Wagon (man, she was beautiful). While practical, these cars were anything but luxury.

The Grand Wagoneer was obviously a high end car, however, it wasn't until I noticed something was a bit strange about the panel above the glove-box in front of my seat that I came to appreciate how high end a car this was. It wasn't just a panel, it was a screen. A bit of poking around, and I found an HDMI input that would let me plug my phone into this screen. Check it out, here's my phone displaying Samsung Dex on a screen directly in front of the front-row passenger, right above the glove box:

Impressive! But why? A few days into our trip, we discovered another hidden screen here:

Again, very impressive, but why?

The Grand Wagoneer also offered a massage feature on the front seats ('rock climber' mode for the win!) and Shira got a kick out of the dashboard indicator that showed how many degrees the car was leaning off center. It's hard to know exactly what model of Grand Wagoneer we were driving--was it the grandest? At a price tag hovering around, or maybe even above, $100,000, this is most likley the fanciest car we've ever driven. One mystery, is that the only indication that the Grand Wagoneer was a Jeep was the tiniest 'Jeep' wording that was printed on the plastic of the tail lights. Who makes the most luxurious vehicle possible and then neglects to paste their brand all over it?

The drive to Denver and flight to DC were uneventful, and our luggage and car was waiting for us at the airport as intended. I simply couldn't have asked for anything more from this adventure: the wildlife, the scenery, the weather, the huffing and puffing at altitude, the lux rental car and even High Beam who kept on messing with me by nibbling on my feet, was all next level. Sure, we gave up sleep and downtime to accomplish all this, but we've got those back in DC. Rocky Mountain National Park, you're a winner.

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