Three friends and I have just been given an awesome opportunity. We're going to visit an uncle who lives in Aspen, Colorado. He's invited us to come over the winter holidays and stay at his house and ski, provided we can get there ourselves. We want to leave the day after Christmas and come back on the 3rd of January, giving us 9 days total for the trip. We figure we'll allot two days for travel both ways, which will give us plenty of time to do some sightseeing while getting there.
I know that one stop will be Colorado Springs, because I really want to visit the Air Force Academy there. Otherwise, everything else is open.
With a quick google mapping, this will generally be the route we'll take.
Where can we stop along the way? What cities are worth walking around in? Google puts us through places like Des Moines, Omaha, and Denver. Of these cities, what are some cool things to see or places to eat?
For those of you who've been on long road trips, what should we bring to make the experience easier or more enjoyable?
What should I expect as far as driving conditions in late December through these areas?
What can we see once we're in Aspen? We figure we'll ski most days, but I'm planning on one or two off days where we'll bum around town or drive somewhere nearby. Where do you suggest we go?
Any other fun advice you can give us?