Saturday, August 09, 2014

Kansas Hasn't Shrunk

"The mountains are calling, and I must go."  - John Muir

Ole John and I have something in common.  About any time of year when I'm travelling west on I-70 a voice inside me will suggest "you know, you could just keep going..."

The worst part about a trip to Colorado is Kansas.  Now don't get me wrong.  I find Kansas fascinating.  I've said before I'm a geology nut, and the changes from central Missouri to central Kansas is interesting to watch.  The fields of giant windmills are awesome.

It's just that there's so ... much ... of it.  I think like 480 miles or so of I-70.  The group "Missouri" did the song "Movin' On" that says "that road goes on and on into the sunset"....

Maybe it should have been Kansas.  Missouri doesn't go on and on like Kansas.  Oh well.  Nothing for it.  Carry On My Wayward Son.

But we got through it, and into Colorado, and we could see thunderstorms brewing in Colorado.  They started to hit by Burlington.  We were only getting about 17 mpg going uphill, against the wind, 75 MPH, and hauling a trailer that I think should probably be more leveled out.  I think we need more of a drop on the hitch.  The front is high, and the back is low, so I think it acted sort of like a parachute.  And in the west, you don't have a gas station every 20 miles.  I knew I needed it before Limon.  Found a gas station and filled up, and that's about when the rain started.

After Limon, we got into some heavy stuff.  And around Limon, there's another large stretch of giant windmills.  At one point, I wondered aloud what happens when lightning hits one.

Without hesitation, Vicki responded "it probably goes, 'Whoooooooo!'"

I don't think we stopped laughing for at least 5 minutes.  Yeah, Kansas is a long state.  Everything is funny after you cross Kansas in one day.

A couple of years ago when Mark and the kids and I went out to RMNP, we took an alternate route that took us around the entire Denver metro area by jogging through the country and hitting the mountains through Longmont and Lyons.  We took that route this time, too.  It adds about 20 minutes to the trip ... maybe.  Depends on the traffic.  Certainly cuts down on stress.

National Guard engineers from several states are still working on US-36 from the flood damage.  The Little Thompson River really did a number on it during the flood.  But they were opening a big gravel section of it on weekends so people could get to Estes Park and RMNP, and it was Saturday, so we were able to drive right up it.  Almost a year later, you could still see some devastating flood damage through the canyon.  Homes filled with mud and debris, and some debris still left just scattered about -- piles of trees, and you can see where they've had to repair the road and where they're still working on it.  It is impressive.  Mother Nature is powerful.  Try not to get in her way.

We pulled into Estes Park about 7:00pm.  Going to catch Brad Fitch was pretty much out at this point, but I kinda knew that by the time we left McDonalds in KS.  We had a couple of other opportunities.

We checked in to the Columbine Inn ... a quiet, reasonable, clean, and serviceable ... even a bit nostalgic motel I'd stayed in with Mark and the Kids back in 2010.  Went to eat at a Mexican restaurant next door, and turned in early.  We hit the park in the morning.

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