The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

A Long Day to Vegas

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on May 15, 2010

IMG_9596As we woke up in Denver, the weather had cleared up significantly from the snow the night before, but we somehow couldn’t imagine the weather being nicer as we moved up the mountain. Fortunately, though, no snow had stuck to the roads, and it appeared I-70 was still open through the Rockies.  We decided to at least get in the car and go see what it all looked like. 

It was snowy.  The Wife and I, when we were coming across the country, considered taking I-70.  We did not, however, want to get stuck in snow as we came across the Rockies in mid-April.  In mid-May, however, Dad and I figured we were good, and since we were coming from the D.C.-area, it probably made the most sense (although, yes, I-80 is also a good alternative).  We were clearly wrong.  As we climbed the mountains up toward Vail, the roads were really crappy with both snow and salt.  The mountains themselves, however, were beautiful.

IMG_9127 This whole concept of “blogging” was new to Dad.  He’s got the concept of READING the blog, but it took a little time for him to get that pictures and notes need to be taken during the trip for entries to be written.  On the first day, he looked at me quizzically when I asked him to take pictures of the trip.  After seeing me write an entry or two, and photodocument some other things, he got more into it.  By day two, he was taking pictures.  By day three he was taking a lot of pictures.  Today, he took over 570 pictures of our trip.  570.  We’ve got pictures of everything.  When we were in Australia, we were averaging about 300 pictures per day.  It’s hard just to cull through the pictures when there’s that many.  With nearly 600, it’s taken forever.  Needless to say, we have plenty of pictures of our trip through the Rockies.

IMG_9129 Eventually, once we passed Vail, the snow stopped.  The window was filthy, and I admitted to my dad that I had never added windshield washer fluid to the car.  It wasn’t that I was out of fluid, but I figured, as much as we had used it through the mountains, I was probably running low.  The car has 37,000 miles on it, and I don’t use the windshield wipers all that often; I find them tedious.  Still, with the filthy car, and the 4 cups of coffee between us, we decided to stop for a quick break, and resupply, to include wiper fluid.  The car was filthy.  Notice the dirt around the seams of the panels.

IMG_9418We continued on, through the western part of Colorado, and it nice and beautiful.  The mountains were picturesque, and the valleys were beautiful.  It was the canyons that we drove through, though, that were the most stunning.  One canyon is so narrow that I-70 is built almost westbound-over-eastbound.  It’s the interstate, the river, and the rail line. 

IMG_9327  Some canyons were nice and dry, but there were still snow-covered trees on the tops of the ridges.

IMG_9339Several of the ranges had exposed rocks of different colors.  This was a common theme with the mountains, actually.  Colors ranged from red to blue to sometimes almost a purple color. 

IMG_9372 We stopped again at a rest stop on the far end of Colorado, in Rifle.  We finally got a picture of us together.

IMG_9396 Then we headed into Utah.  We were destined for Richfield, UT for the night, but we were making such good time, and the time zone changes had been promoting getting up early.  I think we got out of Denver around 7:30 am, and we were due into Richfield around 3 pm.  We realized that if were to just drive straight through, we could be in Vegas around 7 pm local time.  That was 13 hours in the car, but we decided that getting in a day early would be nice for us and the Wife.  I was missing her by this point, and was anxious to get home.

As we got into Utah, we were running a little low on gas, and while I was thinking I’d go another 20 miles before gas, Dad mentioned that he was hungry and we noticed a sign that said 106 miles to the next service.  I don’t know exactly what that meant, but I read it to mean 106 miles to the next gas station.  The gas light indicated we would NOT make it 106 miles before taking on more fuel.  We stopped to get gas, a nice meal, and to figure out of we could cancel our hotel with no penalty.  I was able to cancel the hotel with no problems, via my iPhone, and we made the decision to go the whole way.

IMG_9473It was a hike; 13 hours in all, but as we rolled into Vegas at sunset, it was all worthwhile.  It didn’t even seem like it was all that long, although the 3 fill-ups definitely indicated it was a long day. 

The trip from the Rockies traversed some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen.  Probably more beautiful that most of the Australian landscape I saw… probably, although it was pretty stellar in itself.  I would absolutely recommend this drive to anyone considering a road trip.  To make stops at the overlooks, and to see a couple of the plethora of national and state parks along the way, I would encourage two nights (Rifle and Richfield? or maybe St. George?) to really get solid coverage of all of it, but to be fair, we rolled through in 13 hours and felt it was spectacular.

Either way, another road trip done. I think that puts me at driving something like 7,000 or 7,500 miles of road trips 10 weeks.  It’s been a great run, but I’m glad the road trips are mostly over for the time being.


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