Heading Home

I’ve had a great weekend visiting my brother and his wife in Grand Junction, Colorado, and it’s now time to head home.  I miss my boys….hubby, Al and dog, Bear.

Grand Junction

Leaving Grand Junction; heading east on Interstate 70

I contemplate the return drive to Pueblo West, Colorado.  Friday I drove to Grand Junction via Highway 50 and although it was a beautiful drive I opt for a change of scenery today.  Therefore, I decide on Interstate 70 and plan to head east driving past Vail and over Vail Pass.  Once I get to the town of Frisco, I’ll turn south on Highway 9 which will take me through the center of Breckenridge, Colorado.

After a quick breakfast and two cups of coffee, it’s hugs goodbye.  Skies are overcast and within thirty minutes a light rain begins to fall.  Living in an arid climate, my windshield wipers haven’t been used in a while.  So they skip across the windshield making a rather annoying sound….very irritating.

Just west of the town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is the Glenwood Canyon.  I was fascinated by this stretch of Interstate 70 the first time I drove through here back in the early 1980’s and I still find it fascinating today.  The Colorado River winds it’s way through this rock canyon and Interstate 70 meanders along the river elevated.  It’s basically two long bridges like the causeways you see in Louisiana or Florida.  East bound traffic sits at a level closer to the rushing Colorado River while westbound traffic continues highly elevated above the river.

Glenwood Canyon

Glenwood Canyon heading eastbound I-70. Upper bridge is westbound I-70

Due to the rain, it was rather difficult for me to capture this amazing road system.  And guess what?  It’s construction season.  So shortly after this photo was taken, traffic was diverted via the next off ramp to the upper deck.  The lower deck, eastbound lanes, are being totally redone/replaced thus turning the 2 westbound lanes into two way traffic – one lane in each direction.  Speed limit down to 45 mph.  At least traffic is moving.  If you have a fascination with bridges or construction like I do, click here for a little more info on the construction of the Glenwood Canyon corridor.

At this point, I’m wondering when the rain will let up.  The windshield wipers are still making that irritating noise from time to time.  Now with the interstate down to one lane in each direction AND raining, I need to keep my eyes on the road and can’t take in the gorgeous scenery surrounding me.  The original plan to make several stops along the way is scrapped with the promise to retrace this drive another day.

As I approach Vail, the rain is turning to sleet.  Nope, won’t be stopping for a photo-op.  Sorry folks.  I wasn’t planning on snow today!  I continue east, the road climbs in elevation as I approach Vail Pass.  The summit of Vail Pass sits at 10,662 feet and as I climb the rain and sleet quickly turn to snow.  Since the pavement is relatively warm when the moisture hits the road fog starts to form playing with visibility.  Fog, snow, potholes, semi-trucks, twists, turns, up, down does not make for a relaxing drive.

Here’s some photos I snapped out the windshield.  Click on any photo to view larger and FYI…the date all these photos were take; May 20, 2013.

Once over Vail Pass, it’s a mere ten minutes before I exit Interstate 70 and pick up Highway 9 at the town of Frisco.  I head south toward Breckenridge.  It’s still raining and at times pouring, but thankfully no more snow.  I stop for gas and a bite to eat in Frisco.  Darn rain.  I had all kinds of ideas for photos to share with you.

As I head south out of Breckenridge, the road climbs once again.  I need to get on the other side of the Continental Divide.  After a series of switch backs, I climb up and over Hoosier Pass (11,542 feet in elevation) then down into South Park and the town of Fairplay.  Yes folks, there really is a South Park, Colorado.  Highway 9 between South Park and Canon City is pretty remote with ranches here and there.  Therefore, when I stopped in Frisco for gas and lunch, I sent Al a text message letting him know where I was.   The next 2 hours I’ll be in and out of cell phone range and pretty much have the road to myself.

These are some of the folks I saw along the way……

Al and I have traveled this stretch of Highway 9 plenty of times, thus I’m not surprised to be out in the middle of no where by myself.  Years ago, this former city slicker would have felt very uncomfortable traveling through this environment alone.  Today, not so much.  I make sure my CD player is loaded with music because good radio reception is also sparse around here.

I’m cruising along enjoying the scenery and thinking how grateful I am to call Colorado home.  It was at this point the CD player changed discs…..The Moody Blues…..wow, a flood of memories waifs over me.  Nights in White Satin……I hit the repeat button at least three times.  Click here to listen.  As I reflect and reminisce about years past, I’m careful to keep my eye on the road.  The speed limit may say 65 mph, but I assure you many of the curves require reduced speeds of 35 or 45 mph.

My journey continues.  I enjoy the music and scenery.  As I come around another bend, an on coming pick-up truck flashes his brights.  Now normally I would think there’s a cop trying to catch speeders, but out here?  It’s got to be wildlife.  So I slow, looking around to see why he flashed his lights.  Sure enough, Mule deer on the side of the road.  I roll down my window and catch this gal as she scales the fence.

Mule Deer

Mule Deer scales the fence

Six hours and 328 miles later, I pull into my driveway.  Yep, I figured this route would be shorter, but I think I prefer the route I took Friday.  Hmm, maybe if the weather had been nicer and I could have stopped here and there for photo-ops.  Maybe then I would have enjoyed it more.  Perhaps a repeat is in order 😉Colorado


35 thoughts on “Heading Home

  1. Pingback: Moving on! | Live Laugh RV

  2. When you headed south out of Breckenridge on 9, you passed my old home…was there only for a year….a cabin back off the highway and a few miles south of town. I loved that year and the snow but too many months of snow for me….still beautiful though. Thanks for the great pictures.

    • That’s such a pretty area but I agree…..way too much snow – long winter. Great place to visit. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  3. Ugh. That sounds like some white knuckle driving. I think the trucks make it so much worse. Glad you’re safe and sound. The good thing about that particular scenery is it will always be there. 😉

    • Yes Lisa, it will still be there when I get a chance to return. I agree, the trucks make me nervous especially doing mountain driving. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods 🙂

  4. I remember that portion of I-70 west of Denver where one is elevated over the top of the other. I was so fascinated by it, and that drive (to Moab from Denver) was probably one of my favorites ever. Glad you had a safe journey, thanks for bringing back the memory of Colorado.

    • I was really hoping to stop along the way but the weather had other plans. It is normally a beautiful drive through that canyon. Guess I’ll just need to go back…oh, darn. I know, tough job….lol.

  5. Thanks for the ride! This is getting me excited for our move to Colorado via travel trailer in about a week. We will be there three months. I haven’t been since I was a kid, so I am excited. Love your pics!! Keep up the great blog!

    • Thanks…you’ll love Colorado. You might want to follow Amanda’s blog of Watson Wanders. She commented on my previous post. She and Tim are young and do a lot of boondocking. They are currently exploring CO. Let me know if I can offer any guidance. Last July/August I have some posts on our trips around CO. 🙂

  6. Thanks for the vicarious drive through the scenic CO mountains. So odd to see snow in the end of May, I’m sure it was not easy to navigate. Great photos, too…thank you!

  7. I love Colorado for the change in weather in the blink of an eye. Even though snow is not what one usually wants to see in May, you still got some beautiful shots to share. Love the image of the mule deer scaling the fence. 🙂

    • I wasn’t sure that mule deer photo would turn out. It happened so quick. Just one of those hurry up, point and shoot moments. Weather in Colorado is never dull, that’s for sure. We’re hoping to explore more of CO this summer. Hopefully by July 1st….fingers crossed.

  8. Looks like you got the storms from the clouds I was watching in Utah. Makes for some wonderful shots, but I’m not altogether fond of driving in snow these days. I’ve always loved to meander the back roads, with or without the dog…. it’s so much more interesting and relaxing than doing the interstates.

    • So agree in regards to back roads vs interstates. Yes, it was most likely that same storm as the jet stream usually brings in the weather from the west. I’m with you, not fond of driving in the snow. I’m grateful the pavement was warm and thus no accumulation on the road. Hope it was a fun road trip that you took 🙂

      • I had always avoided the stretch through the middle of the state (through Burns and Bend) thinking it would be boring, but it turned out far better than I expected and quicker to get home, too. A nice plus after a long stretch of living on the road.

    • Are we suppose to get used to snow in May? I love the snow on the peaks but not on the roads. Oh well, it’s still awfully pretty.

  9. Even with the rain, you still got nice snowy photos. I just love seeing snow on the mountains. We have a few snow covered peaks out our front window here in Durango.

    What a great photo of that mule deer hopping the fence!!

    Glad you had a nice visit and got home safely.

    • Just wait until you get to Rocky Mountain National Park. I know you’ll be loving that scenery. I look forward to all your photos and the nimble hiker traversing the snow covered trails. Enjoy the western slope 🙂

  10. And why do I live amongst miles of cornfields?! Nice catch of the deer jumping the fence and thank goodness for those who heed warnings. Ingrid, you sure brought the beauty up front to my doorstep this fine morning, even through a windshield. Thanks for the tour…it was sure enlightening and I’ll remember Hwy 9 and “never reaching the end’!

    • Cornfields and why? Not sure why you’ve stayed. We left those cornfields behind in the early 90’s and haven’t looked back. Ah, great response “never reaching the end” another Moody Blues fan I see. The margaritas will be chilling whenever you decide to high tail it to Colorado and leave those cornfields in the review mirror….lol.

  11. What you capture was brilliant in any case.. and it was a nice visit that we had with your Brother.. I enjoyed the trip home and boy you do have some high passes in your area… where are we off to next…??

    • High passes? Yep, this is the Rocky Mountains after all. We have more excursions planned at the end of June and hope July and August will be fun and eventful. Stay tuned until then 🙂

    • Yeah, that Vail Pass snow surprised me, but then again I’ve lived in Colorado long enough to know it can snow in the middle of July. Hope to be exploring a lot more on your side of the Divide this summer.

  12. Those states out West can look beautiful even through a rain soaked windshield…Moody Blues?? Oh, yeah…The Rolling Stones did a concert at the United Center a couple nights ago..Mick Jaggar will be 70..and he’s still lookin’ pretty darn good to me!!! Glad you got back safe..Now, let’s sell this place and hit the road!!

    • It’s hard not to find beauty around here regardless of the weather. They’re still snow skiing at Loveland Pass….crazy. That music brings back memories, doesn’t it? Hope to be hitting the road this summer. I have to find stuff to blog about 🙂

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