Our 2000 Trip to Colorado
Page 6 of 6
|Stop to take a photo of Paonia Reservoir with the mountains behind it. They have a state park here at the reservoir with campsites. Elaine sometimes gets just a little bit annoyed with me for stopping so often to take photos but who knows if we'll ever get to see some of these sights again.|
|Heading up McClure Pass, which is a 6 mile long steep grade, we pass a man on a bicycle heading up the mountain. No thank you... don't think I would like to try that on this long grade! Just pass the summit of 8,755 feet, I stop to take a photo and a woman on a bicycle passes by coming up the other side of the mountain. There must really be some tough bicyclists out here!|
|Looking down into the valley below we can see quite a few RVs camped out along the Crystal River near the town of Marble where a marble quarry is located. We come to an area where all the rocks and mountainsides are red in color and pass through a town called what else but Redstone. The temperature down here is 86 degrees up from the 79 it had been at the top of McClure Pass. There are a long row of round brick domes along the left side of the road that have a hole in the front and appear to have been some kind of oven? Follow the Crystal River down to Carbondale where we stop in a 7-11 store for some cold drinks. Pick up route #82 north out of Carbondale headed up to Glenwood Springs and I-70. Route #82 is a nice smooth divided 4 lane blacktop highway. Take a few photos while driving through here and arrive in Glenwood Springs, elevation 5,746 feet at 3:35 PM. The temperature in Glenwood Springs is 95 degrees.|
|Elaine spots her first Mc Donalds of the day... or for a few days for that matter. She had joked about wanting an Egg Mc Muffin for breakfast this morning. Sure would have been a long wait! Pass a large pool complete with slides which says it is a hot spring. I believe they are noted for their hot springs around here. Pick up I-70 east which follows the Colorado River. There are a lot of rafters coming down the river today. Looks like a lot of fun!|
|I-70 for an interstate is very scenic in this area as it winds through rocky gorges and canyons. Pass through 2 tunnels as we climb through the mountains till we reach the town of Vail at 8,150 foot elevation. Stop for a quick pit stop and then right back on the highway toward Denver. We climb over the steep Vail Pass at 10,600 feet then stop at Silverthorne to get fuel. We have to go to 5 different stations before we can find one that has diesel. Finally find one and get 25.4 gallons of fuel at $1.58 per gallon.|
|I-70 we climb up toward Loveland Pass but go through the Eisenhower tunnel rather than having to go over the top of the pass which would have been 11,992 feet. This now makes 4 tunnels that we've been through on I-70. We reach Denver at 6:30 PM and was hoping for rush hour traffic to be over but soon realize that Denver has heavy traffic at all times. Rush hour is 24 hours a day! Follow I-70 east to I-225 south to Aurora where we stop to see Elaine's brother and his family. We park on the street in front of his house and get fairly level. It is now 7:30 PM and Elaine's brother has prepared a cookout in the backyard so we all sit down to eat and visit for a while. After dinner I show the trip photos then go back to the camper to work on this journal while Elaine visits with her brother. Just as I get done all I'm going to do for tonight, Elaine comes back to the camper and we get ready for bed. By now it is midnight! We drove 348 miles today.|
7-20-2000 Thursday (day 13) Elaine gets up at 5:30 AM and goes in to have her morning coffee and visit with her brother before he has to go to work. I get up at 6:00 AM, get washed and dressed then go in to find Elaine and her sister in law talking as her brother has already left for work. We say our good byes and get ready to head out by 8:00 AM. First stop is at a Wal Mart to replace the pocket tape recorder that I dropped yesterday. We also pick up a box of floppy disks and a second battery for the digital camera so I can have a spare. There is a Micky "D" in this Wally World so we grab 2 egg Mc Muffins for breakfast while we're here. Now this is what I call one stop shopping! We head out on I-225 north to I-70 east across eastern Colorado. Eastern Colorado looks more like Kansas than Colorado as it has no mountains. Go through a couple of construction areas where we have one lane in each direction. The temperature is 73 degrees today and blue sky with just a few puffy clouds. A beautiful day! Speed limit in Colorado is 75 MPH and the traffic is very light today. The scenery is boring after all our mountain driving the past few days. At 12:07 PM we cross the Kansas state line and pass the town of Kanorado right on the border of Kansas and Colorado. Speed limit in Kansas is 70 MPH and the road is not bad driving. At 12:39 PM we cross a time zone and turn the clock ahead to 1:39 PM... boy, that last hour flew by! Stop at Wakeeney for fuel and take on 25.2 gallons at $1.42 then get back on I-70 where we run into a rain shower. About the most scenic thing I see is a few oil wells pumping in the fields. Not much in Kansas! At 4:00 PM we pull into the town of Hays which is about 1 mile off the highway and stop at a Country Kitchen to get some late lunch. We get the buffet at $6.49 each and it turns out to be a good choice. There is a Wal Mart across the street with one camper parked in their lot. There are a lot of food stops, gas stations and even motels along this street. Looks like Hays is a good rest stop off I-70. The temperature is a warm 86 degrees at 5:00 PM as we get back onto I-70 east. The rain showers have ended but the clouds linger on. At 5:30 PM we reach the half way point across Kansas or the 200 mile post. Reach Topeka at 8:15 PM and pick up the Kansas Turnpike. At Kansas City Elaine tells me route I-70 goes right through town and should be no trouble at night. Wrong! The drive through town was a nightmare... lane shifts... rough road... heavy traffic... narrow lanes. HELP... get me out of this place! Make it through the city with my sanity, but just barely. Pull off at exit #49 for a Williams truck stop where we take on 24.8 gallons of fuel at $1.31. It's 10:45 PM so we pull into the back end of the parking lot so we can get a few hours sleep. Was wondering if I could sleep with the truck noise but must have fell asleep as soon as I hit the pillow. Drove 646 miles today.
7-21-2000 Friday (day 14) Awake at 5:00 AM, grab a shower, dress and get ready to go. Go into the truck stop and have a good breakfast then hit the road at 6:30 AM. The highway is rough blacktop here in Missouri. By 7:45 AM we cross the Missouri River and the road becomes new smooth blacktop. Outside of Saint Louis we pick up I-370 which takes us to I-270 around the north side of town. At 10:25 AM we cross over the Mississippi River and the Illinois state line. I-270 takes us back onto I-70 east and at 1:08 PM we cross the Indiana state line and another time zone which moves us up to 2:08 PM. This puts us back on east coast time now. Stop at a roadside rest area for a pit stop and take advantage of the dump station to flush the holding tanks out. This should last us till we get home. Get off at exit #23 for a Williams truck stop to get fuel and take on 26 gallons at $1.33. Continue on I-70 to I-465 south around Indianapolis. The time is 4:15 PM and the traffic is a little heavy but we get through without any trouble. Stop to grab a bite of dinner and call some internet friends that we plan to visit in Ohio. Cross over the Ohio state line at 5:55 PM and continue on I-70 east to exit #141 where we get off and follow the directions to John and Judith's house about 15 miles off the highway. Pull into their driveway to find hardly a level spot to be had. Finally get the camper half way leveled up for the evening and sit down to visit with them for a while. We show them the trip photos, make plans to share breakfast together in the morning then head back to the camper to get ready for bed. We drove 668 miles today.
7-22-2000 Saturday (day 15) After a good night's sleep we awake at 7:15 AM to get washed and dressed then start putting together some breakfast. Whip up a batch of my famous blueberry buckwheat pancake batter and take it inside to cook up for everyone. We enjoy the pancakes and some pleasant conversation till 9:30 AM when we have to pack up and get back on the road.
|John and Judith mention a Basket shaped building just down the road that's worth seeing. It is the corporate headquarters for the Longerberger Basket Company near Newark, Ohio. We drive over and take a few photos of the building then head back to I-70 east. Go around Wheeling on I-470 east and cross the West Virginia state line at 12 noon. Stop at a truck stop to get fuel and take on 12.2 gallons at $1.52 per gallon.|
|At 12:32 PM we cross into Pennsylvania and the road changes from smooth to bumpy. Try to decide whether to take I-79 to I-68 or stay on I-70 or take the PA turnpike east. As we see a sign for I-79 south come up, we decide to take that route. At 1:29 PM we enter West Virginia for the second time today. Follow I-79 south to I-68 east and stop at Coopers Rock State Forest for a break. The 3 mile drive into the park is a good road but very narrow. We park the camper and take the short hike to the overlook where we get a great view of a river in the valley far below.|
|Take a few photos of the rock formations and connecting bridges.|
|And of course I have to take a photo of Elaine on the rocks....|
|.... and she has to take one of me. After a short break from driving and a cold drink, we're ready to get back on the road. Take I-68 east and enter Maryland at 3:00 PM where the scenery is fairly nice rolling hillsides.|
|Finally reach Sideling Mountain at 4:30 PM where we pass through the cut in the mountain and make another quick pit stop. When we reach I-70, we head east toward Baltimore stopping once at Frederick to take on 28.6 gallon of fuel at $1.53. We then take the beltway around Baltimore and pick up I-95 north to Delaware and home. Drove 464 miles today.|
Total miles driven in 12 days ............ 4,544 miles
Total fuel consumed .................... 316.43 gallons
Average mileage ........................... 14.36 MPG
Total camping fees for 11 nights ...........$108.24
Average camping fee per night ............. $9.84