We started off the second day of our trip by driving to Mt. Evans, west of Denver. The Mt. Evans Scenic Byway starts in Idaho Springs and ends at the top of Mt. Evans, at an elevation of 14,130 feet. It's the highest paved road in North America. A friendly gas station attendant gave us directions to get on the byway since there was a little construction going on. The drive was gorgeous, through evergreen forest and with great views of the mountains all around. We arrived at Echo Lake after a little while. There's a gift shop and restaurant there so we took some pictures of the pretty lake, used the restroom, and caught our breath, since the air was already noticeably thinner.
We left after work on Friday night and drove on to Valentine, NE. Along the way we stopped to get gas at the Cowboy Town place (first bison sighting!) and got dinner at Al's Oasis, which has long been a favorite place of mine. It's kitschy and touristy but the food is actually pretty good. We were served quickly and enjoyed people-watching the many Sturgis Rally attendees who were there while we ate.
We then hit the road and drove mostly through the dark onto Valentine, NE, where we were staying for the night.