Rocky Mountain High

I got my a** handed to me yesterday when I left North Platte, NE.  I was so busy checking the weather in Wyoming that I neglected to see what the rest of Nebraska had in store for me.  One word… wind. And I’m not talking about a light breeze.  No, I’m talking about 30-40mph wind with gusts that topped 50mph+.  It was beyond scary and at 9 1/2 feet tall, I thought the MoHo would get blown off the road.  After two hours and 120 miles, I pulled off the road in Sidney and proceeded to cry in the Walmart parking lot.  Then I saw on that there was a high wind advisory in western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming and that it was going to last all day. Driving for the day was done and after a few phone calls, I was able to check into the Best Western in Sidney where I hunkered down for the rest of the day. Note: Nicest people ever at the Best Western. I gave them a 5-star rating on Trip Advisor

Since I had lots of time to look at maps and yesterday, I determined that my best course of action wasn’t necessarily to continue to Wyoming as planned but to head south on I-76 and go across Colorado on I-70 instead. When I woke up this morning, I checked the weather for both routes and since the Wyoming route still had 20-30mph winds forecasted where the Colorado route had almost no wind, I decided for the latter.  Wyoming will just have to wait.

The drive today through the Rockies was beautiful, albeit a bit harrowing when coming off the first big mountain pass.  I think I was at an elevation of around 10,000 feet when my stomach started to hurt. This could have been for one of three reasons:

  1. The beginning of altitude sickness, which I am prone to getting
  2. Nervous knots for having to drive down a 7% grade for 7 miles in 10 degree weather with potentially icy roads
  3. The sausages I ate for breakfast

The mountains are covered in snow and I saw several resorts were open, including Vail. My priority was to keep both hands on the wheel so pictures just weren’t feasible.  Sorry.  But I did get the Welcome to Colorado sign because I am a pro:


I spent approximately 7 hours in Colorado before crossing the border to Utah. An hour later and I was checking into a Holiday Inn Express in Green River.  Fun fact:  when I graduated high school, I did a 3-week Outward Bound trip in Utah.  The first week was spent river rafting the Green River.  And here I am again after all these years.  Crazy.

So yes, I was on the road for 8 1/2 hours today and I am done done done. I’d say the coolest thing about the drive was seeing the Rockies from both sides.  Truly impressive.  The saddest part was seeing the turn-off for Arches National Park and having to ignore it (for now). Now the big debate for tomorrow is whether I take Hwy 50 across UT and NV or do I head north to I-15 and then reconnect with I-80.  Will check the weather tomorrow and will decide then.  Of course, if any of you reading this tonight have an opinion, please weigh in!  One more mountain range and I’m back in NorCal…

iPod playlist for the day: Metallica all morning (since yesterday was a bust), followed by Journey, Joey Ramone and Lou Reed this afternoon.

Cross country route thus far:  NY, NJ, PA, OH, IN, IL, IA, NE, CO, UT

State count: 29, 30





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