Quiet night in Wal-Mart's parking lot due due to the store closing at midnight & no all-night gas bars nearby. And nice to see this store manager keeps his lot free of debris & litter unlike other Walmart lots we have overnighted in through the years.
ROLLING EASTBOUND THROUGH VAIL COLORADO THIS MORNING & SURPRISED AT THE HEAVY TRAFFIC ON I-70 HEADED TO VAIL FROM THE WEST (PLEASE EXCUSE THE DIRTY WINDSHIELD)
PHEEBS TAKES THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS IN STRIDE
We made a decision this morning to un-hook the Jeep & drive both vehicles through the upcoming mountain terrain separately. And it turned out to be a very much most best decision. One of the toughest mountain grades lay just ahead & the rig handled Vail summit just fine. Kept a close eye on Kelly behind me in the Jeep & she was doing just fine as well. The Eisenhower tunnel summit seemed a bit tougher & that had the rig down to 30 mph over the top in it’s lowest gears. I have always manually shifted down grades so they were not a problem. Third tough grade to get over amongst a bunch of other up & down twisty grades was Floyd’s Hill & here I had a wee problem. Due to heavier traffic heading into Denver I got locked in behind a slow crawling 18 wheeler just as we started into the heavy Floyd Hill grade & could not get into the passing lane to get around him.
MOUNTAIN LAKES ARE STILL FROZEN
Both the rig & I lost momentum & I was already slowed to about 15 mph at the bottom end of the grade. By the time I saw a break in the passing lane I didn’t have the power needed to get around the truck despite having myself in a lower gear range. The rig struggled all the way up & just short of the summit with engine howling it began cutting out & bucking. The ‘check engine’ light which had not come on all the previous tough grades including Vail & Eisenhower now popped on. Barely creeped my way over the summit but as soon as we crested the grade the tranny quickly kicked itself up through the gears & the engine instantly resumed it’s normal power range. The wild Mustang was loose again as we barreled down the final twisting mountain grades into Denver Colorado. The westbound I-70 lanes were just choked with traffic coming out of Denver & I figured it must be all the city folks heading into the mountains skiing for the week-end or something. If not that then where the heck were all those people going anyway……………….
Traffic picked up all around & at one point I had to pull over near an exit to wait & watch closely for Kelly because I had lost her. Finally saw her holding her own in the morning traffic as I eased back onto I-70. Twenty minutes later I spotted a Conoco gas station so headed in for fuel for the first time since Cameron Arizona we filled it up. By the way I’ve stopped using the cheapest fuel at the pump & now use the 87 grade. We were out of the mountains now so hooked the Jeep back onto the rig at the gas station & away we went. Never bothered turning on our Garmin GPS because I-70 basically runs pretty much straight through Denver’s north side & I remembered not having any problem with it back in late 2008 when we headed into the mountains the other way.
Having done the I-70 route west of Denver in both directions now we will probably not use that route again simply because those many long mountain grades are just too hard on a vehicle. Remember, we have a gasser not a diesel. In the Fall we plan to head for Capital Reef west of Moab Utah so we will take a different route through the mountains to get there. Mike from North Ranch suggested coming through Cheyenne Wyoming (yep I’ve been there before) north of Denver on I-80 then heading through the Rockies & dropping south down through Craig Colorado to Rifle in Utah. We came down that Craig/Rifle stretch of road back in October so I figure that is the route we will take in October.
AND ONE LONG TUNNEL THIS MORNING
ROLLING DOWN OUT OF THE MOUNTAINS WEST OF DENVER THIS MORNING I WAS SO GLAD TO SEE THAT DISTANT DARK HORIZON SHOWING ‘FLAT LAND’ PLAINS COUNTRY:))
Just a great feeling to finally be free of the stressful steep mountain grades & east of Denver out of the traffic heading across the relatively flat expanse of the open Plains. I watched the distant snow capped Rockies slowly disappear in my rear view mirror. I am always sad each year to see those southwest mountains fading away but that sadness this year was also tinged with a big sigh of relief I must say.
YES I KNOW BY THE END OF SATURDAY I WILL BE SO TOTALLY BORED WITH THIS FLAT LAND DRIVING BUT FOR TODAY IT WAS JUST WHAT WE NEEDED
MIXED FEELINGS WATCHING THE ROCKIES DISAPPEAR IN MY SIDE VIEW MIRROR
AND MY VERY LAST GLIMPSE OF THE MOUNTAINS OUT OUR PASSENGER SIDE WINDOW (DARK STREAK IS A REFLECTION)
We decided to keep ourselves on a southern route & enjoy the warmer sunny weather for as long as we can so just stayed right on I-70 which headed us off for Kansas & familiar roads & routes. Stopped at McD’s in Limon Colorado for a couple of ‘wraps’ & coffee. Kelly picked out a Kansas town ahead with a Walmart & that became our destination for the day. We rolled into Colby about 3 p.m. Utah time or 4 p.m. Kansas time. Little bit of traffic noise from I-70 but not a problem. Parking lot is clean, sun is shining & it’s still warm out at 6 p.m. All is good.
It is always such a great feeling after driving for hours to pull in wherever & shut things down for the night whether it be an RV Park, a quiet boondocking spot, or a simple Walmart parking lot. They all have their pros & cons depending on your preferences. And it seems the longer & farther I drive in one day the greater I enjoy that total feeling of relief & relaxation when I shut the rig down & step away from the driver’s seat. It’s like a big favorable reward at the end of a long tiring day. Groovy:))
HERE I AM HAPPILY TUCKED AWAY IN MY LITTLE COMPUTER CORNER WORKING ON TONIGHT’S POST…TOWEL DRAPED OVER WINDOW BEHIND ME CUTS THE GLARE ON MY COMPUTER SCREEN
REST AREA UNDER A BIG KANSAS SKY WEST OF COLBY THIS AFTERNOON
ACTUALLY THIS IS THE KANSAS WELCOME CENTER ON EASTBOUND I-70
GROANER’S CORNER:(( A young clergyman, fresh out of seminary, thought it would help him to better understand the fears and temptations his future congregations faced if he first took a job as a policeman for several months. He passed the physical examination; then came the oral exam to test his ability to act quickly and wisely in an emergency. Among other questions, he was asked, "What would you do to disperse a frenzied crowd?" He thought for a moment and then said, "I would take up a collection."