Colorado

When I hear the name of the state — Colorado — I usually think about mountains and the vast urban sprawl anchored by Denver on the Front Range or perhaps the red rocks that give the state its name, but more than a third of the state is the western edge of the Great Plains.

Colo Plains fm Andrea.JPG(photo by Andrea)

As we got closer to Denver, we saw more and more snow.  Winter still has a hold on this area.  The cottonwoods are showing just the beginnings of buds, but the other unplanted vegetation is winter brown.  (The few spring wheat fields we passed were bright green with patches of white snow.)

With only 11,000 miles on our car, one of the headlights wasn’t working.  We swung by the service station on the south side of Denver to get it fixed.

Joe and Kate cropped.jpg(photo by Andrea)

We spent a wonderful day with Joe, our brother-in-law.  We were delighted to see him doing so well.  (My sister died last October.  They had been married 55 years.)  It was a brilliantly sunny day, warm but with piles of snow here and there.  We had lunch at  a MadGreens, which is a local chain of salad places that might be described as Boulder food or perhaps Portland food — fresh and delicious and at least apparently healthy.

On the way back to Joe’s place, the back of his seat inexplicably tilted backward.  I thought: Oh no, the car is acting weird again.  (It does do strange things sometimes.)  Joe said he was fine with it that way, so we kept going.  But then another mile down the road the seat back tilted even farther back.  I pulled over and walked around to the passenger side.  I found that his cane, which he had laid beside the seat as is his habit, was operating the seat back lever.  Whew.  Another mystery solved.

Spring is coming but not far advanced here.  Forsythia flowers have just passed and flowering trees are in full bloom, but other trees are still holding their buds tightly.

Single Bud.JPG

Again lucky with the weather, we left as the bright sunlight was reacting with the massive automotive use in the Denver area, the smog shroud gathering.

The climb into the mountains took a lot of the car’s energy, but once past the initial climb we gained a lot back through the regenerative braking.

Runaway Truck.JPG(photo by Andrea)

Andrea at Vail Summit.jpg

Once we climbed into the mountains, the weather again became perfect.  We stopped at a rest stop just east of the Vail Summit, which is the highest point on I-70, at over 10,000 feet.  The rest stop was full of cross country skiers and snowshoers enjoying the deep snow.  But once we descended into the town of Vail there was little snow.

Vail.jpg

Interstate 70 west from Denver is perhaps the prettiest of the interstates, particularly where it goes through Glenwood Canyon.  It was built with great sensitivity to the natural beauty of the canyon, but unfortunately there is nowhere to stop for pictures in the canyon.  I always love driving through there.  (It’s better on a motorcycle, though.)

Glenwood Canyon.JPG(photo by Andrea)

We got to the charger in Grand Junction just as a couple from Nevada that we’d met at the Silverthorne charger were ready to leave.  They were on their way to Moab.  I was a little jealous.  But we’re ready to be home and are taking the most direct route this time.

We checked into our hotel in Grand Junction.  There are five buses in the parking lot, and there are high school kids everywhere.  (The kids are here for a performing arts competition.)  Fortunately, the hotel had the foresight to put us on the seventh floor, tucked away from the kids’ happy energy.

Friday, April 22, 2016

One thought on “Colorado

  1. I am really enjoying your trip!! Will be good to see you back at RV when you arrive here!! I have crossed the USA via gas driven vehicle several times and this has been by far my most relaxing trip!!!

    Like

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