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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

driving "through" mountains

                          Coming home from our Thanksgiving holiday,
We decided to drive home via I-70 partly because of Flat Stanley, partly because it's much more interesting than Wyoming.  Part of what makes it more interesting are the tunnels.  to make the interstate more user friendly for cars they carve tunnels through the mountains that you drive through.  We also had to pick up Oscar Dog in SLC so it didn't matter which way we went, it would all translate into about a 10 hour drive. As you can see, the weather is perfect for traveling!

Some tunnels are rounded like this one

 Others are square like this one.  This is the Eisenhower Tunnel,  it is 1.6 miles long and is the 4th longest tunnel in the United States.


you can see the reflection of tail/brake lights on the ceiling.  The green lights tell you the speed limit, or let you know that you are going down the road in the right direction.
All the tunnels are lit up with lights all day and all night
This one is lit up with white lights.

 Some tunnels are lit up with yellow lights

This is a short tunnel, you can see from the beginning to the end.



      Here we are exiting the tunnels.  the tunnel on the right is entering Glenwood Springs, CO where we stop and eat lunch.  The bridge you see at the end is the same bridge we rode our bikes over last summer when we went on a "mini" vacation.

We saw some amusing and funny things on this trip:

 The first amusing sight of the day was this suburban.  It's spotted because we hadn't found an opportunity to clean the windows from our trip over yet, but you can see that this family has dressed their car up like Rudolf the Red nosed Reindeer!

This isn't new, but Flat Stanley thought it was cool, this is a runaway truck ramp.  When you drive through the mountains and get going down some long steep hills, the big semi-trucks have to use their brakes alot and sometimes they get so hot that they quit working or even catch on fire.  So they put these ramps going up a big hill that is made with lots of rocks.  The truck drives up into this and it makes them stop.  Otherwise they would just go faster and faster and eventually just fly off of a cliff and possibly run somebody over in the process.  I've actually only seen a truck on a runaway truck ramp once, but I didn't see the truck drive up, it was already there.

This big guy was huge, he took up the entire backseat of this car.  The thing that made him fun to watch was that he would stick his head out the window for about 15 seconds, duck in and lay down in the back seat, less than a minute later he was back up with his head out the window for about 15 seconds.  We followed this car for probably 15 minutes before we passed him.

Ahh, Village Inn.  This holds a special spot in our hearts, for it is where we often would, and still do stop for a snack either coming or going on our way to Denver.  This particular stop is memorable because of the waitress we had.  I had decided on one of my personal favorites, Eggs Benedict, but I do not like my eggs in a living state, so well done is the order of the day.  The waitress brought the Geniuses lunch, which was absolutely excellent, it was a cuban pork sandwich or something like that, anyway it was super tasty, at that point I was informed that the cook was having a hard time getting my eggs just right.  When I got my eggs, they were perfect!  I relayed this message to our waitress who in turn went back to the kitchen and hollered "hey Phil, the eggs for the benedict, they are PERFECTO"  the entire restaurant was able to hear her.  It was quite amusing.  While it was good the cook got the message accurately, the Genius and I just laughed.

This river is flowing with huge chunks of ice, it was absolutely beautiful, 
even though this picture doesn't do it justice.

 This river is just outside of Grand Junction as you can see the banks are covered with snow and these (I'm assuming) geese are just happy to be there.
 Then there are the Mountains, Lots of them, which is why they built all those tunnels.  
These pictures, like the mountains, speak for themselves.

 Part of the reason the Genius got his title is because he seems to know everything and has the ability to recall information instantly when needed.  As we went passed this mountain he said this is a
'Quintessential" mountain, which translates as: The perfect example, which in this case is a mountain. (yes, I had to look up the definition when we got home) sharp peak, snow-capped, tree line. . .
My thoughts on the topic of mountains, it's a mountain alright, but I think that tree covered mountains are quintessential :-)  sort of like this picture

Snow covered mountains, these are at the summit of Vail Colorado

Not only are these cliffs beautiful, but the reflection of the dash in the van gives it a cool effect.

These mountains are just prior to Glenwood Springs, Colorado

This is why I enjoy going over I-70, even when I don't have to drop off the Dog in SLC, or Wyoming roads are closed.  It is beautifully scenic. . . . there isn't much more to say than that.  Even this is nothing to compare to the scenic majesty of going the long way of Hwy 40, that is quite possibly the most exquisitely beautiful drive I've had opportunity to see.

Flat Stanley had a great Thanksgiving visit, and while Colorado is beautiful, it's always good to go home.  Home is where the most comfortable beds are.  We decided to have fun with Stanley as we said goodbye to colorful Colorado.

Utah is pretty colorful too. . . .

This picture is a little funny.  The genius purchased a leather coat on black friday that had this fleece insert that zips into the coat.  When he wears it alone he reminds me of an "ewok" from Star Wars or something.  It's a long drive from Denver to Home, and strange things start to happen to the brain. . .

this beautiful Sunset was taken just after we crossed the border into Utah.

The Genius was sawing logs at this point so the picture itself is a little fuzzy, I mean, take the challenge to get a perfect shot while driving down the interstate, not so easily done.  but the colors are still wonderful as the sun sets.  I find it amazing the time difference between each of the three sunset pictures is between 10 and 15 minutes.

It was plenty cold, even the windshield water at the gas station was starting to freeze.

Tail lights are starting to accumulate in a long line as holiday travelers, like us, are heading home, out of the canyon leaving Price, Utah.  Which means we are almost home, always a welcome sight.