Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A Trip Part three

Over The Rockies
From Burlington, the next major town is Denver, around 150 miles further on. The scenery started to change a little as we approached Denver and by the time we were driving towards this city, we could see the mountains ahead of us.
The Rocky Mountains ahead
Click on any picture to enlarge 
Driving through Denver towards the mountains
The Denver cityscape
From Denver we started to climb and climb and soon we were several thousand feet above sea level. We started to see snow on the slopes around us and road signs set at intervals giving the altitude showed we were still climbing steadily.
Snow on the ground still in June

Several tunnels have been bored through the mountains here to enable the road builders to keep the road as level as possible and the first one we encountered was the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel.
The entrance to the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel
Whilst the road occasionally went downhill from time to time, there were more climbs than drops, so we continued to climb and as we were approaching ten thousand feet, a pack of Doritos suddenly burst and we found that all of our other crisp packets (or chips according to Americans) were like fat balloons as the air outside had thinned.
A Lays pack almost at bursting point
People in the know, apparently put a pin hole in their packs before driving over mountains. We stopped at a place called Idaho Springs to stretch our legs and eat lunch, including the conveniently self-opening Doritos.
The highest point on this stretch of the I-70 is 10,663 feet just before Vail, a ski resort.
The highest point
We stopped there for a quick look around and a coffee. In the town centre, there were several statues of recognisable individuals dotted about in various places, some sitting on chairs.
This gentleman I would Theorise is Relatively comfortable
A river runs through Vail

As we drove on from Vail, the road follows the Colorado River and is in the canyon eaten out by this river.
Glenwood Canyon and the Colorado River 

On this stretch of the I-70, it is mostly downhill for a long long way and driving down mountain roads is not quite so relaxing for TS especially when a large slow truck decided to join our lane when we had nowhere to go. The brakes worked admirably considering the big heavy car we were in was fully laden with four adults, a child and a heap of luggage.
The scenery was quite impressive for someone brought up in the Home Counties, where a hill was considered big if it was almost 200 feet high.
Spectacular views
 The next town we passed was Grand Junction, about 160 miles from Veil and almost thirty to the state line.
Lower down the view is still impressive
Soon we crossed into Utah and passed through more amazing country heading for our next night’s stop at Moab.

Moab is in some spectacular country and is a big tourist attraction for hikers, canoeists and trail enthusiasts. A lot of the time you are out in this kind of country you will see people towing a trailer with up to four Quad Bikes or ATV buggies on the back. These are used to follow trails right out into the wilderness and have a very big following as a recreational sport.

Moab is about thirty miles south of the I-70, on route 191 and the reason we intended to stop at Moab was to visit the Arches National Park, which is nearby. There are other areas of natural beauty close by, with a vast area along the Colorado River known as Canyonlands National Park and two national forest and mountainous areas stretching over several hundred if not thousands of square miles.
The La Sal Mountains from the I-70

The La Sal Mountains form a backdrop to the red hills on  route 191

If you look closely, about a third of the way up and a quarter of the way in from the left, you can see three cars, which give you an idea of the scale of this ridge.

Approaching Moab you start to see the characteristic rock formations that have made the Arches.
A proto-arch is forming at the foot of this rock formation
Having left Burlington around 8:30AM, we arrived at Moab around 6:30PM, almost nine hours of driving for TS and the longest stretch of the trip. We spent the night in a much nicer hotel with no smells or dirt and even used the swimming pool.


  1. Our first view of these areas was quite breath taking -- literally in the case of altitude. I love the desert-y states. They are so completely different from what we were used to.

  2. Wow - what a trip,Snafu! Such amazing, awe-inspiring views. So glad you kept safe on those scary roads -- good for TS!

    Sorry for my ignorance, but what was the connection with Einstein there?

  3. Katbee, just a bit of geek humour, I was alluding to his Theories of Relativity.

  4. I got your humour, Snafu! But just wondered what his connection is with Vail?

  5. No connection, there were several statues, there was one was of Saint Francis, Shakespeare, a US soldier and several animals, bear, wolves and elk.

  6. Wow, this is some trip, Snafu. How interesting about the crisp packets ('Walkers' were called 'Lays' in Iceland as well, by the way) - I would never have thought of that 'though it is logical when you think about it! I love the Einstein sculpture - he looks more laid back than I'd imagined him to be. x

  7. Wow. What a fabulous trip. Can I tag along next time?

    Ellie Garratt

  8. I loved your trip report - felt like I was riding along that road with you! Love all your pictures and observations. Einstein made me chuckle. :)

  9. Even when I see the cars (and the people under the arches in your next post) I still can't quite grasp how big these things must be. It all looks amazing!