Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Before Winter Gets Away From Us......

Back in the days when my schedule was a bit more, shall we say, flexible, I was able to build my work schedule around my travels rather than the other way around.  There were numerous trips west, some flying, but mostly riding and driving.  Redding, California was home for a brief time, though most of my trips west were for fun (no work).

Utah was a favorite and still is....I love the high desert.  Some hitchhiking worked (there was a crazy girl in a VW Beetle once...), Charter flights from Minneapolis to Las Vegas were popular back then and I took a couple, though have never set foot in a Vegas casino.  Taking the bus to Moab was very easy and efficient.  Often my trips seemed to happen in the long 'off' season, so driving in my cars was the easiest.

Peg and I were there on our very first long trip together.  While visiting our daughter at Aspen many years later, Moab made a very nice day trip for we three.

I need to get back out there and run Highway 128 again......

Anyway, back to decades ago.  One of the sections of the trip I truly miss is the old Glenwood Canyon leg on I-70, before it had been "4 laned".  The new, stacked Interstate is beautiful on its own, an engineering marvel and the canyon remains lovely and mostly natural.  I still miss the old way though.

This was one of my driving trips, Arches National Park, the campground amazingly quiet that day; the car still so warm I had to let it cool off.

There was a time when I was very fleet of foot.......

Almost there.....

Setup and cozy....

The slides didn't scan very well and the color seems to be fading, something I've seen even in many of my old slides that weren't taken in a snowstorm.

There was a very fun night at the Moab Pizza Hut with some new friends; the next day I headed for home.  The snow had really started to get serious, at Grand Junction I pulled in behind an eastbound U.S. Mail 18 wheeler.  Staying just far enough behind so that his taillights were visible, those lights about the only two things I saw for miles and we made really good time.  Visibility was terrible and to this day, I remember us passing a CO State Patrol car that I hadn't really seen until he was almost beside me.  As we eased past, the patrol car's headlights quickly faded into grey....we just kept on truckin'.  For the record, I very seldom pass CO State Patrol cars.

I stopped in Eagle and spent some time visiting with friend Sue.

It was very late by the time I got to the Vail Pass.  There were blinking lights ahead, all traffic was being stopped, I-70 closed "unless you had 4WD or chains".  Thinking I'd have to pull over for the night, but really, really wanting to stop for the night in a Denver motel, I was very relieved when the official shone his flashlight (torch?) on my rear wheels and saw big, coarse snow tires there.  With the window rolled down, he asked if I was really from Minnesota.  Upon confirmation, he let me go ahead with a stern "be careful".  I was able to get down into Denver and then wound up sleeping in the car anyway before my big push back to MN.


  1. I am sitting here marveling at the scenery... and thinking why would somebody need to pitch a tent in this kind of weather...

    I am freezing now and need a cuppa tea... ;-)

    1. Sonja, I probably should have waited for August to post this trip; might be a good time to report on my hike into the Grand Canyon.

  2. Coop,

    Cool pics - made me very cold, though. Is that a '63 Impala?


    1. Tom, you are close with the car, but Bob is closer. That was a '64 Chevelle, Chevy's brand new entry into the mid-size market. Gramp had it and sold it to me when he got a new one. It served me well, I put lots of west coast trip miles on it, a great deal of exploring everywhere.

  3. Coop:

    you are really a hard core camper. It must have been really, really, really cold

    You had a 4 door chevelle ? 327 ci ? there's lots of room to sprawl out on the back seat

    I recognized balance rock. I don't mind going back to Moab and Arches NP again, but this time on my motorcycle

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. Bob, it was a '64 Chevelle 4 door, but not with the 327, though still a small-block 283. "Three on the Tree" with a cable operated Overdrive which would allow free-wheel coasting when the OD was engaged. Great mileage in a lighter car than the big Impala. Often the back seat was out so i could carry my 10 speed inside. Plain, basic and easy to work on.

  4. Camping in the snow? Now I'm cold.

    I'm with Sonja - where'd I put my coffee cup?

    1. Trobairitz, I sort of got on a kick to do winter camping, the goal to get past endurance and actually have it be fun. I got there but you'll note that I haven't been out winter camping, not even once this year.

      The very worst part?? I really struggled with short days. My first snow camping was up in Erik's neighborhood and dark at 4PM left way, way too much night time for someone that enjoys daylight. The second worst part was trying to pull my pants on that had been "put away wet". Those cuffs almost have to be kicked-through.

  5. I think the blue tint on the slide scans make it feel much colder. Winter camping isn't much different than summer camping except your gear stays cleaner. I recognize some of the locations though it's been to long for me to remember the names given to the formations.

  6. Richard, I'd agree about clean camping....not much mud though I found some on brighter days. It was wet and cool that trip, never really dried out. Honestly, it felt good to get back in the dry heat on the way home.

    The only reason I remember any of the formation names is because I've been back 2 times, the last time maybe 6 years ago with our daughter. That was a lovely August day, very dry and very warm.