The plan for today read:
Wednesday drive 5.5 hours and Stay 8-24 in Days Inn Vernal, UT (2 rooms);Google Maps says: Get on i-70 from 40th Ave. Exit 90 in Rifle to Co 13 North. 13 to Meeker, then 64 to US 40 to Vernal.If you follow I-70 through Grand Junction to Loma and go N on 139 to Rangely, then 64 to 40, it will add an hour, but be a scenic route. Everyone recommends this as more scenic/better.Optional stops:Lunch at Beau Jo's Pizza In Idaho Springs (just west of Denver, and probably not 11 yet when we pass).Idaho Springs, exit for 103/ Mt Evans Road/ Highway 5 scenic byway. hour of hair-raising. US's highest paved road. No guardrails.rest stops at mile # 254 to see Bison herd, 226 (overlook), 190 (Vail - restrooms, trailhead), 160 (Edwards - restroom), 128.5 (Bair ranch, Glenwood Canyon - restrooms, trailhead), 125.13 (Hanging Lake - restrooms, trailhead), 121 (Grizzly Creek, Glenwood Canyon - restroom, trailhead), 118.64 (No Name, Glenwood Canyon - restroom, trailhead), 90 (Rifle - restroom).Colorado National Monument: Exit 19 (Fruita). Turn south on Highway 340 to the west entrance, which is approximately three miles from Fruita. The visitor center and campground are four miles up from the west entrance.139 is 70 miles with no towns or services. Make sure to fill up and potty before turning north.
What happened was:
We went to a Walmart for water and things (cough drops, maybe? more food since the hotel breakfast was unsatisfying?), through a nice-looking modern neighborhood.
It wasn't nearly lunch time when we passed Idaho Springs, so no pizza today. We also decided to pass on the hair-raising road, since Taryn was already threatening car-sickness. As you can see, I did some digging on I-70, which is supposed to be a marvel and a wonder all on its own, besides all the scenic overlooks. While I had been to both Denver and Dinosaur before, it was on a different route, and Bob had never been in Colorado at all. So we were pretty excited to get to see the Rockies.
Well. Hmm. It started raining about the time we left Denver. So we skipped the bison overlook. The next stop sounded promising, but it was freezing, and really pouring. We did use the restrooms, and Bob chatted with some bikers from Arkansas. One of them had cell phone service and discovered that the rain was clearing out to the west. So we convinced Riah that we would have other opportunities to "climb a mountain" and went on. Perhaps this would be a good place to mention that the children really didn't get the concept of road trip. They each had a single thing that they wanted to get to do, and no matter what we were doing *Now,* they only complained about that one other thing that they wanted. It really wore on my nerves and made me regret the whole thing more than once.
In spite of the long list of trails, overlooks, etc, there weren't quite as many opportunities as I expected. At least 2 of the best stops were only accessible from the East-bound lane. We did get to walk down 2 trails, but both were paved walking/biking trails, and both at the bottom of the canyon/along the Colorado River. Funny thing about the bikers: none of them looked like they were enjoying themselves. Anyway, we got to touch the river, see a raft, see Japanese tourists at the Pearl Harbor memorial, walk in the mountains, and get lost on a roundabout. But it wasn't "climbing," nor as scenic as I had hoped.
By the time we got to Rifle we decided to take the shorter route. We filled up with gas, and then went on a detour to Rifle Falls. It was very nice. We climbed, took pictures, ate supper. Then the drive down a labeled "scenic route" through great gobs of nothing. There was a stretch of road construction where the highway turned into gravel. Ruth cried. The others complained. It got dark. Then we turned west, and chased the most amazing sunset for over an hour. More crying and complaining. Finally we stopped on a pullout. Everybody out for some exercises and a lecture.
Then more driving in the dark. Finally got to Vernal, but of course the hotel was on the far side of town. Finally found it. The "indoor pool" was in a sort of greenhouse, between the parking lot and the main road. Since we were exhausted anyway, we skipped it and went to bed. Finally, a comfortable bed! And amazing pillows! Ah, sleep.