Road Trip Pt. 1--Taking Off

With a new car and a 5 year gap since visiting my home town, I decided a road trip was in order.  I planned to travel 2-lane highways (actually less stressful than Interstates these days), explore a couple National Parks, and in general, take my time. 

I left on a Sunday to avoid traffic, which gave me plenty of time to explore some parts of Dinosaur National Park that I'd never seen.  Here's a couple shots, including a view into Echo Park, where the Green and Yampa Rivers converge.

I'd seen the fossil quarry on previous trips, also camped at Echo Park once, but had never driven the road to the overviews.

Then it was onward to Steamboat Springs, a favorite ski town I've enjoyed many times over the years.  Of course, it's gotten developed all to hell like most ski destinations, but it still has its charm.  Also, Steamboat hosts maybe my favorite Mexican restaurant...  unique and well prepared Mexican delicacies.

Note my Steamboat Springs classic sports car races t-shirt (from the 90's).  No one in town noticed either...  Condos killed the classics...

The next morning found me back on US 40, a quite, wonderful ride over Rabbit Ears Pass and into some beautiful ranch country.  Hitting Granby, I took US 34 into Rocky Mt. National Park.  But there was a delay...  for an elk crossing!

As the road climbed to the summit, I crossed the continental divide.

Eventually I reached the summit of the park, where a long, steep path led to an overlook.  I was proud of myself able to make the climb up to the top at 12000 feet in one haul.  Still in some sort of good shape at my age.  A few pics from this site.

Coming out of the park, I followed US 34 down a long, steep canyon formed by the Big Thompson river.  The drive was slow and tedious, with a fair amount of traffic, which limited my scenic appreciation, until I finally reached Loveland.  Then it was into Eastern Colorado...  flat, hot, dry, stinky (lots of giant feedlots), until I got to McCook Nebraska.  I wanted to drop down to US 36 into Northern Kansas, but the little towns did not seem to offer much in the way of lodging.  In McCook, a reasonably sized cow town, I found an amazing, new, modern Holiday Inn Express.  This was one of the most beautifully appointed hotels I've ever stayed in (mine wasn't the only opinion about the design), quite the surprise in such a modest sized location.

Next up, Kansas....  stay tuned...

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