Monday, July 25, 2011

Days 17-18: Back to the Home Time Zone

Isn't it funny what makes a person feel at home? Here we are in the 107-degree weather of Las Vegas, but I find it very comforting that we are back in the Pacific Time Zone. Haha - we still have a few more days of travel ahead of us before we are truly home, but at least I won't be changing my clocks again.

We crossed from Kansas into Colorado, accompanied by huge thunderstorms in the distance, to the north and south of the freeway. Towering clouds and huge lightening flashes...goodbye, Midwest! We were glad to see the thunderstorms in daylight and in the distance.

We planned to camp west of Denver in a small National Forest campground, but it was Friday night, not too far from Denver...full. The camp hosts told us the next campground down that road was also full, but they said we might try another one a little further west on I-70. We figured if we found a campsite, fine, but if not, we would get a motel and call it good. Meanwhile, we were off the freeway and poking around mountain roads on a pleasant summer evening...ahh. We pulled into the Clear Lake Campground, just south of the little town of Georgetown about 7:30 pm. Once again, all the sites were full. We were consulting our map, figuring whether to try one more campground, or just give it up and head back to town, when there was a tap at the window. There was a man, who we had seen strolling through the campground as we drove the loop, offering to share his campsite with us! He was camping in a truck + camper shell, and didn't need the tent area or picnic table. Hooray!

Here is our tent set up to the left, and Paul's camper truck to the right. We spent a pleasant evening roasting biscuits on sticks over a campfire, and chatting with our new neighbor, who is a retired teacher.

The only problem with our campsite? We were camped at 10,000 feet elevation, and both of us had headaches. Mark was feeling dizzy and nauseated by morning, so we packed up quickly and headed for lower altitudes. I drove through gorgeous mountain scenery all morning until we were back below 5,000 feet and Mark began feeling better. I had heard of altitude sickness before, but this was the first time experiencing my body's reaction to being almost 2 miles above sea level. Oh, but it felt so good to sleep snuggled in our mummy bags, comfortable and cozy with the 40 degree temperature that night!
The next morning we headed back to Georgetown and I-70, which you can see in the distance in this photo. (We drove I-70 for its entire length, from Pennsylvania to Utah.) Georgetown is one of the little historic mining towns in this region of Colorado. Other towns have names like Copper, Leadville, Silver Plume, indicating the area's history. You can still see active mining shafts as you drive along the freeway, and I'm sure there are many more tucked back into the mountains.

We stopped at Georgetown's post office to mail post cards to grandkids, and then began our drive to Las Vegas to visit Angela and her family. Yes, that is the "hillbilly Subaru" again. We are loaded up with boxes from David and Holly for their move back to Oregon. Good thing we know how to pack efficiently!

The western mountain vistas had as "oohing" and "ahhing" all the way through the rest of the Rocky Mountains.
And the road dropped gradually lower until we were into the deserts of southern Utah. They are dry and barren, but beautiful. My photos do not do justice to the fantastic scenery.
Every bend in the road brought new sights, new views of the region's geology. It was fascinating! I wish we could have explored more, but it was time to stay focused on our goal: more grandchildren, and another dear family settling into a new home!


Dorothy said...

It's all so beautiful, isn't it? We found that our photos simply couldn't register the "Ooooooh" factor that we experienced in real life viewing. So sorry that the altitute affected you poorly!

Mike said...

There is no doubt in my mind that is a beautiful part of the country. I rode a motorcycle through that area a number of years ago and enjoyed it very much.