Wednesday, July 2, 2014

It's A LOOOONG Drive......

From Long Beach to Fort Collins!

Took us about 17 hours, and we averaged 16.8 MPG, not bad considering we spent HOURS cruising at 75 MPH (80 through Utah!).

Haven't looked at the odometer yet, but we went through $250 worth of gas.

Outside air temp peaked at 116* on the way to Vegas, and it was 113* in Baker where we stopped for fuel.

Stopped for dinner in Veags (BIG mistake!), and I wanted to go to Planet Hollywood.

Big mistake #2.

We got the menu, saw that the steaks were $55,  and everything was a la carte, so we politely thanked the staff and slipped out to find something cheaper.

Wasted over 90 minutes in Vegas, including getting off and back on I-15.

At least the parking was free!

Continued on out way through Nevada, cut through the NW corner of Arizona, and then on into Utah, where the speed limit went to 80 MPH!

We picked up with two brand new Dodge Challengers wearing manufacturer's plates, and cruised at 80+ MPH until just before sunset, when they peeled off at a small city that advertised "Gas Food Lodging".

Since they both had "SRT" emblems, and judging from the hood scoops, splitters, and spoilers both had, I'm guessing they were the new "Hellcat" models that aren't quite for sale yet.

Crossed most of Utah in darkness, which is a shame, as I remembered it being nice scenery from the last time I drove through it, some 30 years ago.

Came through the Vail area about 30 minutes after sunrise, and it was just beautiful.

There's still snow in large sections of Vail, and the outside air temp dropped to a low of 31*, quite a difference from some hours earlier in the desert!

Had breakfast in Denver, then headed North to Fort Collins. Got to our hotel several hours early, due to my wife estimating our travel time to be 22 hours, very tired, so I napped in the Jeep.

When we got our room, I laid down on the bed and slept for 7 hours. Got up, had some dinner, watched some TV, and went back to sleep for another 10 hours!

This high-speed traveling is kinda fun, but only when it matches your sleep schedule.

I'm going to be out-of-it until tomorrow........


  1. Love that area. If you have the time scoot down to Colorado Springs and visit Garden of the Gods and/or Canon City Royal Gorge Bridge. You could grab CO 9 down near Canon City and drive it all the way up through Hoosier Pass (Continental Divide) then down into Breckenridge and south through Frisco to I-70, back out through the Vail Pass and on home. Just flatout gorgeous!

    1. Oh, I think 99% of Colorado is just beautiful!

      We're going to do the Pike's Peak tour and the cog railroad, so we'll kinda-sorta be down that way. My wife and her friend are going zip lining Saturday morning, so we'll get a chance to check out the GoPro Hero3+ I bought a few weeks ago. The zip line place has all the mounts and adapters available for a $10 rental fee, and they told us people bring their GoPro's all the time, and they know exactly how to mount them.

      It's too bad we came through all the pretty scenery at night, as I've driven from Chicago to L.A. several times, and it's just stunning.

      I'm planning on leaving early enough that we'll go through it during daylight hours, and going home I want to stop overnight, probably in St. George so we can see the Utah/Arizona stuff during daylight also.

      My wife would like to move out here after she retires so we can be close to her son, his GF, and her family for when the grandkids start coming!

      I grew up in the Chicago area, so I pretty much know how to deal with the winter, but she's a California girl, so I'm not sure how well she'll cope with it!

    2. When I was a yute, shortly before I ETS'd out of Ft. Carson, my Bride-2-Be and I hiked up Pikes Peak. A solid bit of hiking that was.

      We'd like to head out that way if we ever get the chance to retire. I'd like north of Denver towards Ft. Collins. I was out there about 30 years ago for a couple weeks of work. Been to Denver, the Springs, Canon City much more recently. We go out to Breckenridge every year anymore for a ski trip. Been twice the last couple years. Not certain I could live at 9,000 ft though.

      If you stay on the front range the winter cold comes and goes. Plenty of warmer weather and sunshine. Get up in the hills, on the other hand, and it gets and stays a might chilly. I've seen -28F in Breck.

      I love it out there. Live 1.5 miles from the Atlantic Ocean now but I'd trade it for the mountains any day.

      Enjoy your trip!

    3. The guy at the front desk told me pretty much the same thing about the weather.

      Last winter was the coldest on record, and they had a solid week where it never got above 10*F.

      He says on the Eastern side of the Rockies is much "nicer" than the Western side as most of the snow gets dumped further West of here.

      Yeah, I know what you mean about the altitude. I've been living at sea level since 1982, and I definitely notice it even though we're "only" at about 5000'!

    4. "...they had a solid week... never above 10*F".

      That's not a cold spell! That's "brisk" for a week. And its a dry cold! ;)

      Somewhere in our boxes of stuff we have photos (remember when you took photos and turned them in for developing?) of us down around Ft. Carson standing in shorts and t-shirts with knee deep snow all around. Wake up to a blizzard and by noon it'd be 65F. (To me that's shorts and t-shirt weather if the sun's out.)

      On the other hand, I've been out in Breck in near whiteout wind and snow and below 0F that went off and on for days. Gives one an idea how people can perish in such weather when they don't have a lodge to go warm up in. You'll pass Castle Rock that Jed mentioned on your way down to Pike's peak. You'll also likely see the Manitoba Springs area that was burned out a 3 or so years back. We were out in Denver for our youngest's graduation for her masters from DU when that was going on. Fires everywhere around.

      When we lived down by Carson Manitoba Springs wasn't much of anything. Certainly didn't have hundreds of high end homes. There was a melodrama dinner theater there that did Snidely Whiplash kinda stuff. Good fun, we enjoyed that.

      People are generally great out there. If you can't tell, I get excited just thinking about going out there. Back in the day we used to drive up the dirt road along the eastern side of Cheyenne Mountain at night and just look back over the front range. I doubt its a dirt road anymore. Took the inlaws up there once and they got to see the fences with the "lethal force area" warning signs. "What's that mean?" "It means what it says. Keep your arse on this side of the fence or they'll blow it off for you."

    5. Yeah, the people out here are just great. The people at the Pike's peak and Cave of the Winds were FAR superior to the people at the tourist attractions in L.A.

      All were very friendly, would answer your questions in a manner you could actually understand, and seemed like they'd really go out of their way to help you.

      The stepson's GF's parents live just West of Fort Collins up in the mountains, and lost most their stuff a couple of years ago in the fires that swept through the area. Her Dad owns a construction company, a Christmas Tree farm, and does a bit of ranching. GREAT people and we felt terrible about their loss.

      We drove past the Air Force Academy, and I noticed they have a B-52 "Out In The Woods". I'm guessing it's a memorial or something.

      Traffic wasn't bad at all, and we were going at the speed limit most of the time.

      So far it's been a nice trip, but man, my wife has to back off a bit on cramming so much stuff into one day!

  2. What? You're in my territory? Well, I'm sure you'll be busy enjoying yourself, but if you want to ragchew or say hello, I'm usually listening on 145.280 (-600, usually no PL, but 100 if it's on) in the evenings. Whether you can hit Centennial Cone from your QTH on 2M is another question. I've talked on it in my car almost to Castle Rock. Don't know about up north there. Hmm, lesee, I usually join the DRC Learning Net on wed night at 7:30, and that's on a different machine. Otherwise, if I'm home, I'm usually listening.

    Enjoy your stay.

  3. Cool, Jed!

    I brought an HT, and I have a 50 Watt mobile with a 1/2 wave antenna in the center of the roof of my Grand Cherokee.

    After I have my dinner settle, I'll see if I can hit the repeater.

    I'll probably be the only "6" you'll hear on it.....

  4. I think I'll skip the DRC Learning Net. They'll probably just be yakking about Field Day anyway. I'm occasionally outside getting my nicotine fix for a few minutes here and there. Otherwise, I'll be parked in the office chair here most of the time.

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks!

      Been quite a grind so far, but the next couple of days should be better.

      Going to a big family BBQ on the 4th.

      Fireworks and guns will be involved!

      Saturday the girls are going zip lining, so I'm going to go find WWV and take a picture.

      They replied to my email about tours, and due to security, and a manpower shortage, tours are generally not offered, although I've heard it is possible to get one with enough advance notice, and some finagling.


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