Thursday, 22 September 2011

Day 19: Laramie, WY - Scottsbluff, NE

There are some days on these trips when I feel as though I could keep going forever.  Then there are days like today.  Bah!

It started well enough, with a trouble-free run down US-287 and passing the spot where Trooper Eastwood of the Colorado State Patrol let me off with a warning in 2008.  Right at Ted's Place onto CO-14 and a lovely run through the forests and gorges of the Cache la Poudre river to the top of Cameron Pass (10,276 feet).  And things were still OK along CO-125, over the Willow Creek Pass, down to Granby, and along CO-34 to the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Here it started to unravel.  A huge queue of traffic was stalled just below the summit of Milner Pass.  It became apparent that The Authorities were spraying some kind of herbicide to keep unwanted vegetation at bay - this being done from a truck travelling at the speed of a heavily-drugged sloth.  After taking fifteen minutes to cover fewer than 200 yards, the summit of Milner Pass (10,758 feet) was finally reached.  A photo stop and off again - the slow-moving truck and its tail-gunner pickup having disappeared.

From the top of Milner Pass the road continues to climb.  This may seem curious, but Trail Ridge Road - the road through the National Park - is not technically a pass, but rather followed what the local Arapaho called the Dog Trail along ridges and things. Somewhere along here I caught up with the sprayer thing again, and proceeded at about 6 mph for what felt like forever.  Very frustrating.

What is a pass is Fall River Pass.  This is ascended from east to west by a one-way gravel road which emerges at the Alpine Visitor Centre at 11,762 feet.  The road continues to climb to an altitude of 12,183 feet, making it the highest paved through route in North America, but there's nothing to mark the highest point except some blurry figures on the TwatNav.  A bit further on is a parking area with a couple of "comfort stations".  One of these used to have a board on the wall proclaiming it to be at 12,090 feet, but it en't there any more chiz.

And then down again, to the park exit near Estes Park.  There are numerous signs asking slower traffic to use the turnouts to allow following vehicles to pass.  These are roundly ignored by the numerous twats leading each little convoy.  Either that or they're so busy looking at mountains that they neglect their mirrors.  There are no straights worthy of the name so overtaking is all but impossible unless one is suicidally inclined, and after ten miles of this I wasn't, having instead flown into a big stabby rage and shouting rude things at the oblivious twat eight or ten cars up the line.
Mountains.  As observed by twats who ought to look in their mirrors instead

Finally I emerge from the park with my blood pressure through the roof (it was too cold to have the top down at all today).  "At last," I thought, " the road will open out and I shall be able to Make some Progress."  It did to some extent, but following the gorge of the Big Thompson river meant much the same thing happened for about thirty miles down to Loveland, only  at 35 mph instead of 20.  Finally back onto I-25 heading north.  Surely there will be no more twats today?

After crossing back into Wyoming I take I-80 east and into Nebraska, ticking another state off the bingo card.  Once you're away from the mountains it's all ever so gently downhill as far as the Missouri, about five hundred miles away.  Rolling grassland, mostly, with the occasional intrusion of sets of bluffs.  These are like miniature versions of some of the rock formations found in Utah and Arizona, mad all the more incongruous for sprouting from the flat prairie for no readily apparent reason.

I turn off the freeway onto NE-71 at Kimball.  There is a problem.  NE-71 is closed somewhere north of the town.  There is a diversion, but it takes me three attempts to find it - they have built a new road by-passing the town which even Emily the TwatNav doesn't know about.  Once she's got her bearings everything is right with the world zoom zoom along a deserted dual carriageway at 75 mph.  Until I run into more road works.  Each side is down to one lane as they are resurfacing it.  Still, nothing to worry about.  I am cruising down a hill at 60 mph with my lights on, when out of the west came a twat.  "Surely," I muttered, "with nothing visible behind me for miles, the driver of that forty-ton truck cannot be so much of a twat that he would pull out into my path at a walking pace?"

He was.  To add insult to injury, he was only going about a mile before turning off again.  The twat.  Finally into Scottsbluff.  I had made a reservation here this morning and with hindsight rather wish I hadn't.  Only about half the power outlets work and although there is a nice standard lamp next to the sofa, which would be ideal for reading by, the lead is too short to reach any of the sockets.  I smell twattery.  Had my credit card not already been debited, I'd have told them to shove it and looked elsewhere.  Also the ice machine on this floor doesn't work.

So if you hear of someone running amok at Mount Rushmore tomorrow, it's probably me.  Gagh!  Still, at least Project 10,000 has been completed successfully.  I shall have to think of another theme for 2012...
Moon, America, Wednesday (10:20 this morning)

1 comment:

  1. I am about to board my flight. I would say our planes might pass each other but I think you are still busy being annoyed by many axled road hogs. Toodles!