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400 miles – Delicate Arch

Long day today. 400 miles driven, and a LOT of stops to take pictures. The drive from Denver to Moab is amazing, with breathtaking views. It was so hard to resist stopping to take pictures!

I’ll need to circle back to post pics, lots of them, since the internet access here in Monticello, UT isn’t very fast.

rocky mountains, trail ridge road, us-34

Travel rest day – 130 miles – No Facebook at 12,090 feet

This is what I woke up to this morning. It made me wonder what the big hurry was. I’m there, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains…I decided to spend the day exploring the mountain pass – Trail Ridge Road (US-34).

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Everyone I know who traveled cross-country told me US-34 is the most spectacular mountain pass in the US. Boy where they right! It may not be the Swiss Alps, but its an amazing sight. I took so many panoramic shots with my iPhone 6…I’m sure I annoyed some people. Or maybe they annoyed me – I’m watching these folks snapping photos…I mean, how do you own an iPhone 6 and not know how to do panoramic shots?! Ok, so I showed a few tourists how…

trail-ridge-road-outlook-01

Start at Loveland, CO, and head west on US-34. Pay close attention to road signs, especially as you approach Estes Park, since the road splits off to US-36. You want to stay on US-34, but if you do make the wrong turn (raises hand), you can always circle back. It’s a good thing I bought a Rand McNally Road Atlas; no fun being at 12,090 feet and having no cell reception. 😉

Google Maps route for the US-34 scenic trip.

The roads are very well kept, but as you can imagine, there will be a LOT of turns and ups and downs. If you have a manual transmission, bravo! If you have an automatic, hopefully you have something like Honda’s D3 which forces the car to stay in low(er) gears, and prevents it from shifting excessively. It also helps on the downhills, since the engine will help modulate speed (translation: less worry about overheating brakes).

Tons of panoramic pictures to touch up and post, but not today. I’m pooped. Not sure what route I’m taking tomorrow. I’ll decide over breakfast. 🙂

rocky mountains

480 miles – Windmills and mountains

Kansas was pretty cool. I didn’t realize there were so many windmill farms. Those things are huge. A blade barely fits on an 18 wheeler. There were many walls of windmills. Lots of rolling hills. Except for where there weren’t any hills. Then it was flat. Really flat.

wall-of-windmills

As cool as Kansas was, I couldn’t wait to get to Colorado. When I rolled over a hill and saw a wall of mountains, I knew I was almost there. Wow, the Rocky Mountains! Man, you read about this in school books, and you see it in movies. But you’ve got to be at the foot of the Rocky Mountains to appreciate the incredible beauty.  It was getting dark so I was only able to grab this picture at the light, and I was still very far away! Oh, and yes, the guy behind me was blowing his horn.

rocky-mountains-quick-pic

I planned this part of my route to stay at Loveland, CO. This way in the morning I can go over an 11,000′ mountain pass. Yes, I checked the weather and confirmed the mountain pass will be open. 🙂 Hope to get lots of pictures tomorrow.

Shit is finally getting real.

75mph, boring, kansas

520 miles – I love you Kansas, I will be in you tonight

I’ve been to Kansas a few times and all I can say is it has some great hotels, great roads (most have 75mph limit), and people are very nice. But man there’s nothing to see here. I guess I could have stopped at the Kansas Speedway, since it was along the way, but I needed to catch up, so I waved as I drove by.

520 miles today, thanks mostly to the fantastic roads.

chime, golf tee, pencil, world's biggest

410 miles – Breaking wind

How sad is it that the most exciting thing you see on the second leg of your cross country trip is a the “World’s Largest Wind Chime” in Casey, Illinois. How big? Over 50 feet. Ok there it is. Yea I pulled the rope. It was actually kind of cool.

Almost ran over a dog that a tourist accidentally let loose as he was taking a picture of the “World’s Largest Pencil”. Saw the “World’s Largest Golf Tee”, yadayada…I’ve got my eyes peeled for Paul Bunyan.

Staying at Comfort Inn, the “Only Smoke Free Hotel In eff’n Effingham”.

meteors, rain, volt

450 miles – Thirsty Volt

The first leg of my trip was mostly uneventful. I hoped to see a huge meteor, or a spectacular Russian style highway accident (cars flying everywhere but nobody is hurt) so I could post a video. But I saw nothing. Nada. Zilch. Except some rain. For the last 100 miles. I saw that.

Oh…wait…I did see a thirsty Volt (didn’t know they needed gas). Does that count as a rare sight?

The good folks at the RoadTripAmerica.com helped design the route. I figured I have a week to travel. Plus I need to stop to visit friends/family at 3 spots along the way. No way I’m going to not see Monument Valley and Horse Shoe Bend at The Grand Canyon.

Depending on how much time I have (hint to friends/family), there are other places to see along the way, but if not I’ll still be a happy camper. Well, there’s always Las Vegas, but if I got here I won’t be able to blog about it (you know, that bit about not saying anything).

Here’s the route so far

  • Take I-95 South to I-695 North/West
  • Take I-695 North/West to Exit 16B to I-70 West
  • Take I-70 West to Exit 1A onto I-68 West
  • Take I-68 West to I-79 North
  • Take I-79 to I-70 West

Staying at Microtel Inn in Cambridge, Ohio.

https://m.microtelinn.com/hotels/ohio/cambridge/microtel-inn-and-suites-by-wyndham-cambridge/hotel-overview