Thursday, April 24, 2014

Shut out!

We awoke Wednesday morning around 5 am, and were walking towards Starbucks by 5:30 for coffee, a bagel (or croissant) and free broadband with which to post my blog.  It wasn't too cold, but it was still breezy with a hint of more to come later.  We were pretty much the first customers of the day as it appeared they were still setting up, but we had our coffee and pastries within just a few minutes.

By the time I posted my blog and had finished my venti (20 oz) coffee it was about 6:45 and time to get ready to roll the wheels by 7....we wanted to do the long climb with the cool morning temperatures.  It hadn't gotten too cold the night before so I decided to forego running the generator to run the block heater and just turn the key.....the DD started right up!  Yay!  We were on the road by 7:10 and starting our upward climb from around 5,300' in Rifle, CO to 11,158' at the Eisenhower Tunnel.

The almost 6,000' climb to the continental Divide was very gradual, but to completely cross the Rockies on I-70 you must go over 3 passes.  The country side was green and lush as we climbed steadily toward the first pass of the day......Vail Pass.  Initially the countryside was green and lush......


.....but as we approached Vail Pass it began to look like the frozen tundra....


 After clearing Vail Pass we took a break at Dillon Reservoir (9,300') at this very scenic Rest Area.....it is still frozen!

Dillon Reservoir just past Vail Pass and 
just before the Eisenhower Tunnel

 The Eisenhower Tunnels is one of the highest vehicular tunnels in the world, and is 1.697 miles long if you are going eastbound.  Thankfully the traffic was quite light this Wednesday morning so the tunnel did not feel too claustrophobic. 

Inside the Eisenhower eastbound tunnel

Once we had cleared the final pass it was all downhill into the Denver Metro area.  Our gamble to only put in $100 worth of diesel in Grand Junction paid off as we arrived at the Sooper King (supermarket chain....part of Kroger's) fuel station with about 35 gallons left in the tank.  We were able to use our Kroger's customer card to get 10 cents off the first 63 gallons ($3.59/gallon) and then paid $3.66 for the remaining 72 gallons.....for a total of 135 gallons.

From there we headed over to Westminster, CO to a local Walmart Supercenter that had been recommended to us by our friends David and Denise. It was right across the street from a Lowe's so we were hoping to be able to use their (Lowe's) WiFi while we over nighted there.  That dream was short lived.....within 20 minutes of our arrival we were advised by the manager of the Walmart that the City of Westminster, in their infinite wisdom, prohibited overnight parking of RV's anywhere within their city limits.  So, that ruled out moving across the street to the Lowe's.  Okay, this happens once in a long while.....a long, long while.....the last time was in March of 2012 in Jacksonville, FL.   She advised, however, that the Walmart Supercenter in Thornton (just back down the Interstate at 104th street) did allow overnight parking.......well, they used to.....we had barely arrived at the Thornton Walmart when we were advised by their manager that the local PD was having RV's towed.....hmmmmm....what to do?  I checked with the Cracker Barrel just a few exits back up the Interstate from where we had just come in the lovely burg of North Glenn and was advised the same.   Wow, that's the first time we have ever been shut out.

After some discussion, and checking places east of Denver on I-76 we found a free campsite in the lovely, welcoming town of Ft. Morgan at Riverside Park.  I found this on RVParkReviews.com.....they offer free overnight camping with either 20 amp, or 30 amp receptacles available.....no water, or sewer, but what a deal!

So, we got back on the Interstate bidding farewell to the Denver Metro area, and headed east 78 miles to the rural farm town of Ft. Morgan.  The wind was coming from the north at a steady 25-30 mph as we cruised northeast, which forced me to steer leftward into the wind to go straight....it was a struggle!  On top of that we were driving into a rain storm.

The approaching thunderstorm

We arrived in Ft. Moran just before 4 pm, but it looked like it was evening already with the heavy cloud cover.  We were able to snag one of the 30 amp sites....they are all laid out end to end along a median, and were plugged in just before the storm broke hard.....there was lightning, thunder and rain on and off most of the evening.  The forecast for Thursday is clear skies, but continued wind.   We have been blessed over the past 27 months with very little wind on the days we were traveling, so I guess once and while we have to pay our dues and take a little punishment like everyone else.  We try to avoid driving in the wind, just like we try to avoid driving at night, but sometimes it just does not work out.

We spent the evening watching Survivor and a few Fraser's then were off to bed by 11.....Thursday we will continue our northeastward trek to North Platte, NE.....one of our favorite mid-west towns.

Thanks for stopping by!

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