On Thursday May 14th, (46,369.5 miles) when we were told that our windshield was done at 2 p.m., we couldn’t wait to get out of town. The folks we dealt with in Grand Junction, CO, were great, however, it was not our intent to spend as much time as we did.
On the road at 2 pm with plans to drive as far as possible. According to Magellon (the GPS device for the motor home), we are within 150 miles of Denver. The I-70 from Grand Junction to Denver is such a wonder, that it is hard to put it in words. No wonder the folks who live in Colorado are proud of their state. We have a camera that has quit working, so our phone is our next choice. Not the best, but better than nothing.
As we left Grand Junction on I-70 and passed Parachute, CO, along the Colorado River, the canyon walls were narrow and it was hard to believe anyone could build a roadway, much less a railroad line and share it with the Colorado River!
The Colorado River is what you see at the base of the mountain.
As we traveled we saw a number of what I would have called tank farms along both sides of the Interstate. Most were painted tan to match the terrain and several had solar panels, I presume for the electricity to run the ‘tank farms’. When we stopped for a map of Colorado, I asked what those tanks were all about and was told that they are “compression stations for natural gas.” From Wikipedia they are defined as follows: “A compressor station is a facility which helps the transportation process of natural gas from one location to another. Natural gas, while being transported through a gas pipeline, needs to be constantly pressurized at intervals of 40 to 100 miles. The compressor station, also called a pumping station, is the “engine” that powers an interstate natural gas pipeline. As the name implies, the compressor station compresses the natural gas (increasing its pressure) thereby providing energy to move the gas through the pipeline. Pipeline companies install compressor stations along a pipeline route. The size of the station and the number of compressors (pumps) varies, based on the diameter of the pipe and the volume of gas to be moved. Nevertheless, the basic components of a station are similar.” I have lived in Washington State almost my whole life with natural gas lines everywhere, yet have never seen any of these type of stations. Once again, we learned something.
The road we are on will go through several canyons and tunnels with beautiful tree covered mountains on the sides and in some cases a lot of snow. We are lucky that there was no snow on the roads, but it was cold.
Over the summit, we hit 10,662 ft altitude. On the city signs, rather than population, they post altitude. This height was attained at Vail. Vail and adjacent cities seem to be nothing but condos. I am sure it is the way to put the most living space in small mountain areas. If any of the rich and famous live in these areas as we often hear in the news, they must be far out with drivers to ferry them into town, especially in the snow.
As you can see from the pictures, spring has not arrived as all the deciduous trees have not budded or leafed out. (see preceding pictures)
Closer to Denver you can see more green. We also saw a bike path or hiking trail along the river and it went for miles. Something, if we were much younger, would be fun to follow.
Dry camping again, along a lake with a snow capped mountain in the back ground, outside Frisco, CO. Just beautiful!
Friday, May 15th (46,554.5 miles), up at 6:30 am and on the road. Coming down the road from the heights of the Colorado Mountains is not easy on the brakes….stopped once when the brakes overheated. No fire, but I did get the fire extinguisher out to be prepared. The smell is yuk!!
We pushed on, through early work day traffic and got to Buckley AFB, Aurora, CO, east of Denver. Drove to the FamCamp and it is nice, only three years old, so limited trees, but full hook ups. And lots of room with level cement pads for the campers. Buckley AFB has something to do with missile detection, with several geodisic domes on the sight and they are huge. They also had several small ones, looked like the rabbits on the grounds, making more domes.
Our stop on Saturday morning will be with the phone company to get help in putting our pictures in the blog. We just need to share the beauty that we saw.
Saturday, May 16th, 2015. We stopped at the phone store, found out about down loading pictures and bought a ‘selfie stick’. This allows us to take pictures with us in them, without having to ask others to take our pictures. Couldn’t use it immediately because the stick had to be charged first. But tomorrow is another day.
Lots of hours left in Saturday and we moved to our plans for the day. Our first stop was the United States Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, CO. It is a beautiful campus. Settled in the midst of hills/mountains filled with pine trees. The visitors center had some nice exhibits, documenting the first six weeks of ‘training’ and the next four years of training and education. When we left Aurora, it was warm with lots of sunshine. As we drove further south towards the Academy, we saw more and more dark, then black clouds on the horizon. By the time we got to the Academy, it was cold and raining. Nothing I expected or dressed for, so jumping out of the car to take pictures was not on my plan!!
I wanted to see the informational video that was shown in the visitor center, Jack was not so excited. He said, ‘see one basic training, seen them all’. However, I am glad that we stayed to see it. It was inspiring to see these young people learn basic military skills along with leadership and an education. The cadets are offered many degree choices and not everyone is exclusive to the Air Force.
From the Academy we drove further south to see Garden of the Gods. At the visitor center there was museum exhibits and a multimedia show. We choose to drive the course of the Gardens. I am beginning to have trouble finding enough adjectives to share the amazing rock formations, colors and magnitude of the “garden”. “The outstanding geologic features of the park are the ancient sedimentary beds of deep-red, pink and white sandstones, conglomerates and limestone that were deposited horizontally, but have now been tilted vertically and faulted by the immense mountain building forces caused by the uplift of the Rocky Mountains and the Pikes Peak formations. The Ice Age erosion and geologic process of the rock, created the present rock formations. Evidence of past ages can be read in the rocks: ancient seas, eroded remains of ancestral mountain ranges, alluvial fans, sandy beaches and great sand dune fields.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_of_the_Gods)
Balanced Rock, is now cemented in place. Three Graces formation.
Cathedral Valley. You can see some of the hiking trails in this picture. This was such a nice drive. Cloudy, just as it had been at USAFA, however no rain. But well worth the drive.
And guess what. It seems that everyone everywhere are just alike…just have to slow down to see what is going on, on the highway, looking for dead bodies or some such thing. Highway back ups with fender benders. And traffic, even on the week ends!
Today, Monday, May 18 we decided to head for Red Rocks Amphitheater. It is a cloudy day and many of the surrounding mountains are in the fog/clouds. However, no matter the weather, this amphitheater is just unbelievably beautiful and amazing.
The smudge on the picture on the right is a raindrop.
Red Rocks Amphitheater is a rock structure near Morrison, Colorado, 10 miles west of Denver, where concerts are given in the open-air amphitheatre. There is a large, tilted, disc-shaped rock behind the stage, a huge vertical rock angled outwards from stage right, several large outcrops angled outwards from stage left and a seating area for up to 9,450 people in between. The amphitheatre is owned and operated by the City and County of Denver, CO and is located in Red Rocks Park, part of the Denver Mountain Parks system. Once again we find that the Civilian Conservation Corps set up by President F. D. Roosevelt was instrumental in work on this amphitheater. The Indians in the 1800s had also used this for their ceremonies.
There is a museum at the Visitors Center that notes everyone who had performed since the first performance in 1910.
Our favorite performers through all the years. It was outstanding. But for our contemporaries, here is who played in 1964:
This information and much more is available at the Red Rocks Amphitheater Museum. It is well worth the time and energy to visit. There is no charge for the museum or viewing the amphitheater.
We have been busy but no internet connection that would allow for updating our blog. More to come from us and our traveling gnomes!