Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 25 – Head East!

Sunrise Over Grand Junction
The time has come to head east…back to the Lou and to Decatur.  But first, a short trip to Utah.  Geocaching is our hobby and we’re trying to find caches in all the 48 contiguous states this year.  Grand Junction is only 30 miles away from the Utah line.  So, I (Marvin) head west before sunrise, trying to time my arrival in Utah at first light.  Got there just in time to find the cache before sunrise.  Another state done!  I get back to the hotel just in time to have breakfast with Mona and we begin our journey east on I-70.

The scenery along the interstate is incredible!  Beautiful mesas, the Colorado River winding back and forth along the highway.  We snap picture after picture.  Is the entire state of Denver postcard perfect??

The engineering on this highway is incredible as well!  They put this highway in places you couldn’t imagine unless you’ve seen it.  And the highway doesn’t disturb the beautiful nature…instead it seems to fit right in!

We stop at a rest area for a break.  The snow here is over our heads!  They are still bulldozing snow away.  As we come down the off ramp there is a line of snowmobiles parked to our right.  We visit the facilities….go to wash our hands, and there are no sinks!  Just hand sanitizer and blow dryers.  There is an interesting sign over the toilets…check it out and think about it.

Driving through the mountains on the interstate is stressful, but nothing like yesterday’s trip north from Durango.  Compared to that, this is a breeze!

In the tunnel
Frozen Waterfall
We come to the summit and cross the Continental Divide inside the Eisenhower Tunnel.  This huge tunnel is the largest in the U.S. interstate system and the longest.  We were over 10,500 feet in elevation when we peaked.

We exit the tunnel and start our descent.  There are lots of highway signs, mostly cautioning semi-drivers about the steep decline and to check their brakes.  It’s really steep!

Soon after the tunnel we exited to try to see some Bighorn Sheep.  Didn’t see any, but did find a cache.  A few more miles and Marvin spots a herd of buffalo.  This will return $25 of the $50 paid to Mona for winning the wild horse bet!  Couldn’t get a good pic of the buffalo, but did get this sign:

Pulled into Denver fairly early.  Time for lunch and a little relaxation.

Isn’t it interesting how smartphones have changed travel?  We have used ours extensively throughout the trip.  We have used our iPhones to:  plan our routes; Google for information on sights, birds, geology, etc; book our hotels while driving; read books; check our elevation - love the altimeter; message our friends; find reviews on restaurants and hotels;  blog; update and read Facebook; keep up with our emails; pay our bills; geocache - of course; take thousands of pictures - best camera we own; jot down notes, to-dos, bets and license plates; check on the weather for our travels; light our way with the Flashlight app; check our calendars; route away from traffic problems; listen to music when there are no stations availabl;, and oh..yeh, call our friends, families and others.  Not bad for a device that fits in a shirt pocket.  Oops, thought of another use…finding night stars and planets.  And…kept up with the Post Dispatch….and shopped for Austin’s birthday present on Amazaon.,,,and…and…

Buckhorn Ambience
We met our good friend Paul and his friend Anne B. for dinner at The Buckhorn Exchange in Denver.  Paul has been trying to get us to visit Denver for almost twenty years and we finally made it...about time!  The Buckhorn was the first restaurant in Denver and the first place in Colorado to recieve a liquor license.  The license is still posted on the wall.  This place feels like it's from the Old West, which it is.  Hardwood floors, swinging doors and stuffed animals from all over the West adorning the walls.  (And maybe a few animals from a bit further afield.)  It's a very relaxed and casual atmosphere; and while you're waiting you can look at autographed pictures from most of the celebrities and Presidents that you've heard of.

Rocky Mountain Oysters

The food, well it's western.  We end up sharing Rocky Moutain Oysters for appetizers.  Good stuff!  Then our entrees came out....Mona had salmon and ostrich, Marvin had elk and buffalo.  All were prepared to perfection, perfectly sized and served with style.  This is a do-over place!  Thanks again, Paul!

All in all, it was a wonderful evening...a great dinner with an old friend and a new friend.  Hard to beat that!

1 comment:

  1. We also drove that stretch of I70 when there was snow, but it was a gorgeous drive. The one picture looks like Mount Garfield in Grand Junction. And, Jim's mom and his sister and family are in Fort Collins. (So are Amanda's in laws.) Lots of connections to Colorado.