Our New Jersey to Colorado road trip was one of those spontaneous kinds of experiences. Have you ever experienced a moment where something you’ve looked forward to for months and months is taken away from you with the blink of an eye? It all started with an email stating that our departing flight was canceled, forcing us to take a road trip to Colorado!
We just checked into our airline about 2 hours before receiving word that our flight from Newark to Denver was canceled. There also were no flights we could switch to until Monday. The snowstorm made our situation a mess and both of us were feeling pessimistic about the entire situation. We exhausted every option possible, including taking a flight out of another airport in a different state. However, we’d have to invest in new tickets and we couldn’t afford that. Neither of us was ready to give up on our vacation, which only left us with one option – to do a New Jersey to Colorado road trip, which meant driving more than halfway across the country! We packed our bags and left on our adventure at 7:00 pm that Thursday night with our wonderful 2018 Nissan Rogue that we rented from Enterprise. We gave little thought to the challenging hours of driving that lay ahead of us on our New Jersey to Colorado Road Trip.
If you’re under the age of 25, car rental companies always add on that extra pesty fee. But, don’t worry, there’s actually a way around that. Young adults under the age of 25 are able to avoid that fee if they’re a registered USAA member (it’s FREE to register!). Although David was 25 at the time, he was still able to add me as an additional driver with no additional cost with my USAA membership. Rental car companies such as Avis, Budget, Enterprise, and Hertz allow for this. Just remember that you have to be that company’s minimum age to drive, as well as present a valid state driver’s license.
Read More: On how to prepare for a flying emergency.
I am a firm believer that most things happen for a reason and I think we were meant to do that New Jersey to Colorado road trip together, no matter how difficult that 30-hour drive was. I don’t regret making that last minute, spontaneous decision to drive across the country. If you’re in a situation that is similar to ours one day, I hope we encourage you to not feel intimidated!
Our Route: The Road Less Travelled
Memorable Moments During Our 30 Hour Drive:
During one of my driving shifts in Ohio, I got stuck in a huge snowstorm. It was white-out conditions and lasted only about 15 minutes. As many other people, I am not one of the best drivers when it comes to snow. Yes…you probably guessed it: I freaked out. I was forced to pull over on the side of the road and switch driving with David.
If you’re considering a road trip during the winter and you’re not a fan of driving in the snow, make sure you bring someone along who is comfortable with it. We also highly recommend renting a four-wheel drive car, as we had.
Ever get jealous that a guy can relieve himself in a moving car without pulling over? Have no fear…It’s possible for you too, ladies! Once we FINALLY got to Colorado, our goals were set on getting to Denver as quickly as possible. And, no one likes that one person who has to take a bathroom break every hour during a lengthy road trip. In other words, David had no intention of stopping. You get the idea of what happened next, sometimes you’re forced to improvise during long road trips!
Reminder: Driving Out West Can Be Pretty Boring…
Unfortunately, driving out west isn’t one of the most exciting things to do. But, when you’re in a car for that long, you have to have a positive mindset. I came to appreciate every new state I was in, including their scenery. Maybe everyone doesn’t feel this way, but I loved seeing the corn fields, windmills, acres of hay bails, cattle, and miles of flat plains that accompanied the midwestern states. We’re from Jersey, so we just don’t get to see land like that: It’s very peaceful. Below are a few shots I took while David was driving.
C O L O R A D O
Once we got to Colorado, our goal was to drive to Denver to drop off our rental car. From there, we planned on borrowing David’s friend’s truck to travel another 2 hours to our rented time-share in Avon, Colorado. Once we began reaching hour 30, the drive did become incredibly difficult. We were too stubborn to stop and take a break. All we wanted at this point was to get to our destination successfully, and sleep in a bed!
We wound up putting about 1,300 miles on our rental car. I bet you’re thinking: “Okay, cool, you had a great car. But, I remember her saying she wanted to do this on a budget, so what the heck did renting a car to drive about two-thirds of the way across the country cost?” We expected the cost to be about $250, as originally estimated. However, it wound up on being a total of $170! On top of that, we paid a total of $200 for gas. With the refund from our flight, we really wound up only spending maybe an extra $20 each to drive there. I just want to note how friendly and flexible Enterprise’s employees were. They made the entire process for us super simple and carefree, even if we coated the car in half an inch of salt!
WE MADE IT! Our First Day “Officially” in Colorado
After about a total of 30 hours of our New Jersey to Colorado road trip with as minimal stops as possible, we were both incredibly tired. We arrived in our timeshare in Avon at about 2:00 am, MST, so 4:00 am our time, on Saturday. As soon as we walked in that door, we dropped our bags and headed for a shower. Now was the perfect time for us to grab a drink, draw a bath, and finally, RELAX.
We woke up the next morning around 10:00 am. We decided to take a ‘quick’ nap and wound up falling back asleep until 3:00 pm that same day. Although we slept that Saturday away, we both desperately needed the sleep. Overall, our last minute and 30 hour trip from New Jersey to Colorado was well worth it!