|Boy are we glad to finally be here. What a trip. It didn’t start out that bad. We got all set to go just before it started to rain. We left Rifle Gap at 10:00. We had fueled up the day before, so we got back onto Interstate 25 and headed east. We drove between some mountains for a long ways. We had the Colorado River running along the interstate. It was pretty country. The towns we went through were not very big. They were much longer than wide because the mountains were not very far apart. None of the houses were over ½ mile from the interstate. We had been driving between the mountains for a couple of hours before we started going up and up and up. We hadn’t looked that close at the map to see the elevation change. We went through Vail about lunch time and the elevation at the pass is 10,666 feet and instead of rain, we were getting sleet and snow. I had started driving, but Carolyn wanted to drive on the interstate so we had switched off. Going up the mountain in the snow with the temperature hovering at 32 was nerve racking. We were only going about 30 miles an hour. You couldn’t tell if the road was icy or not. None of the other drivers were going much faster. The road is real rough and in need of repair. I don’t suppose they get that much good weather to do that and with all the freezing and thawing, it’s hard to maintain. Vail is another town that is not wide at all because of the mountains. We could see lots of snow that had not melted yet, and once we found a place to pull over, Carolyn said she was through driving for the day. Now, I get to go down the mountain – 5000’ of elevation change. Great, just what you want to do with it sleeting and snowing.
Guess what, we weren’t done climbing yet. We still had to go over Loveland pass at 11,990’. We better stop, have lunch and maybe the weather will clear up and we can get calmed down. We stopped in Silverthorne and decided it was too cold to make a sandwich, so we got a hot bowl of soup and a sandwich at a sandwich shop. I hope the girls found their way under some covers. It might be a little chicky in the 5th wheel by now. Guess what, its time to go and its sleeting again. Nice. Back to driving 30 miles per hour. I was concentrating on the road pretty hard and trying to figure out if it was just wet or if it had ice on it. I’m watching the temperature and figuring I’m probably safe as long as it doesn’t get any lower than the 32 degrees its been running, but who knows for sure.
Ok, we are finally going down and down and down and I punch the button to keep the truck out of overdrive and try to stay off the brakes and make sure the trailer button is on. The only way I can do that is drive about 30 miles an hour and let the truck transmission keep us from going any faster. It knows we are going downhill and that I don’t what it to shift to a higher gear. Thank God the truck is equipped that way with the trailer button. It’s a nerve racking ordeal, but the snow finally turns into rain. We actually drive through a mountain. You come to a spot where the pass just ends and there is nowhere to go, except through the mountain. They put 2 tunnels through. The one we went through is called Eisenhower. I don’t remember what the other one is called. I was a little too busy to notice.
This trip was supposed to take 5 ½ hours. It’s been 5 ½ and we are only to Denver. We are in need of fuel by now so we pull out our “Exit Now” book. A friend of Carolyn’s told her about the book. It shows what there is at each exit for gas, food and lodging. It sure came in handy as we wouldn’t have had a clue which exit to take otherwise. We can’t go to any gas station. It has to have diesel and we have to be able to pull in and out of the place and we have to have 14’+ to get under any gas canopies they have.
Once we reach Denver, we are out of the mountains and into rolling hills that is mostly farm ground. It’s still another hour to Loveland and we finally arrive about 4:30 and start setting up. While we are setting up, we see a Western King bird, a Bullocks Oriole and a Summer Tanager. Nice! We can see the lake from our campsite. I guess we weren’t paying attention when we made the reservations, because we only have electricity, no water and no sewer. We will have to take showers at the bath house. We had to fill up with water when we got here so that should be ok. We are at 4900’ elevation here so about the same as what we left. Our site is just a little short for us, but we can make it work. We have grass all around us and we are on a blacktop pad. The campground is only about 10% full right now, but will be full for the Memorial weekend. That’s why we have to find another place to stay.
Today, Thursday, 5-26, Carolyn needed a day to herself, so I went to see the movie, Thor. It was better than I thought it would be. I got back and washed the windows. The 5th wheel is filthy after driving in the rain and snow. I even went for a bike ride along the lake. They have done a nice job in making a trail by the lakes. Tomorrow, if the weather permits, we will drive up to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. We shall see.