August 7, 2011

4 Colorado photos.

From last week's trip...

Driving I-70:



Mountain flowers:



Tree reflections:



Columbine:

22 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

Great pictures.

Sixty Grit said...

The trees reflected in the puddle reminds me of Escher.

WV: purfmf, shut you mouf...

gadfly said...

Nothing like a Colorado "high sky." Even the cumulus clouds are more majestic.

MarkG said...

Tomorrow: Photos from the Nebraska leg. I can't wait!

LYNNDH said...

Hope you enjoyed my state.

Carol_Herman said...

It looks like such a pretty road trip. Alas, too few trucks. And, it seems they kept to the right. Is this due to the 55 MPH rule?

Where have all the truckers gone?

Wasn't there once a time truckers kept inventories stocked "just in time?" Fewer places to deliver the goods?

Odd, I can remember highways nearly bumper to bumper with trucks. And, when the cops came out ... truckers in the opposite direction ... would flash their lights.

There was once even a movie? Remember the movie star whose name was Reynolds?

And, the trucks moved in such a way ... they could "hide" or "imbed" a vehicle between them?

I don't go to the movies much.

Don't drive the freeways.

But it sure looks like stuff is missing from view.

Carol_Herman said...

Burt Reyolds!

Karl said...

C_H: Odd, I can remember highways nearly bumper to bumper with trucks. And, when the cops came out ... truckers in the opposite direction ... would flash their lights.

What happened to that?

I drive thru the Racine County tax zone twice a day. At least 2 County guys north or south bound on 94 during rush hour(s).

Nobody flashes anymore. I do it now & again, but it mainly confuses the people in front of me.

madeleine said...

I see that I-70 photo is taken on the west side of Vail Pass coming down into Vail. What a fun drive that is! Hope you enjoyed your visit to our high altitude wonderland.

Chuck66 said...

If anyone is up right now, you should put on CNBC. Related to the death of the NY governor of the 70s, they are replaying a story on NYC mismanagement, circa 1960-1975. Facinating. It could be Wisconsin. Story on financial shenanigans by past mayors to hide the problems (cough cough Jim Doyle). Entranched gov't unions holding huge protests, saying they shouldn't have to give up one thing. Just very interesting.

Chuck66 said...

Oh man...they just said the line....the teachers union was holding the city hostage. This is priceless. NYC in 1975 = what Wisconsin could be in 2011.

MamaM said...

What your eye and view finder manage to find and focus on continues to amaze me. I especially enjoy the compositions that include a second look or second level of reality, like pines in the rocks and sky in the water. I find the rock/water photo hauntingly beautiful. There is a quality to it that reminds me of the Pensieve in Harry Potter, a stone basin used to retrieve memories. As for the columbine, it appears as a dancer that has taken a leap and is about to catch the wind.

lewsar said...

truck drivers will do pretty much anything to avoid i70, east or west, between vail and denver.

there are long, steep mountain grades. while there are a few places to stop, there is no fuel or food without a pretty long walk. don't even think about a shower.

and the grades are looooonnnnngggg. and steeeeeeep. west bound the downhills are killers. literally. the west face of eisenhower (between the tunnel and silverthorne/dillon is 7% on average and something like 7 miles long. if you are running hazmat, you go over loveland pass, which is longer, just as steep, and much more twisty.

experienced mountain drivers usually don't have much trouble with this grade, if for no other reason than they have likely been down it before and know what to expect.

new or flat-land drivers scare themselves silly on a regular basis. there is a little scenic area between the dillon/silverthorne (keystone ski area) and the frisco/breckenridge (breckenridge ski area) exits. i used to stop there all the time, and it was not unusual to see truck with smoking brakes and drivers with shaking hands.

driving down a steep grade like west bound eisenhower under a heavy load is all about energy management. the brakes do not have the ability to dissipate the heat that can easily build up during such a long descent. the drivers must gear down, use the engine brake, and use the brakes sparingly. people get into trouble because the grade is so long (it's like the energizer bunny: you keep going and going and going). if you are not in a low enough gear, you can be in trouble.

the federal government, in its infinite wisdom, has taken it upon itself to tell truck drivers that downshifting on a grade is dangerous and should be avoided. the feds rationale is that if you botch the shift, you're in no gear at all, and the engine brake can't help you. the driver gets flustered (because his/her life expectancy is shrinking rapidly), can't find a gear, burns out the brakes, and down the road you go, heading at an increasing rate of speed towards an uncertain future.

this is a valid rationale.

the problem is this: you start down a long grade, and you are in too high a gear. your brakes start to heat up, and you are no where near the bottom of the grade. what do you do?

if you catch the problem soon enough, you can just pull over and stop. if you don't catch it in time, according to the feds, you should call your mother and tell her you love her.

i downshifted on the grade, which would typically put me in 6th as opposed to 7th gear, and let the engine brake do more of the work. i was taught how to do this, and i was assiduous in practicing the technique. in over 7 years and some 500k miles, a lot those miles in the mountains, i did this out of need perhaps a dozen times.

about half of those times i was west bound from the eisenhower tunnel. that road is plenty long enough to catch people out.

25 miles or so later, you go down vail pass. vail is actually a little steeper on the top, but you have several places where the grade flattens out and you can cool things down. some people get in trouble because they just barely got down eisenhower and their brakes are still hot.

east bound is easier in general, because the long steep parts are uphill.

driving a fully loaded class 8 truck in the mountains requires patience. you spend a lot of time in low gears going slowly, with the truck working very hard uphill and down. there is a lot of strain on components, the truck burns a lot of fuel, and you don't get very far for a given amount of hours driven (ie, you don't make as much money but you work harder).

if you don't deliver directly off the i70 corridor, west bound from denver is pretty much salt lake city, las vegas, and maybe los angeles. otherwise, you're going to go up to i80 (about a 100 miles north of denver) or down to i40. that's why you don't see that many trucks on that stretch of road.

AllenS said...

Just returned from my morning walk out back, where I spread sunflower seeds and some unsalted peanuts. Saw a large black bear, that didn't seem very afraid of me. Will carry a pistol from now on.

Bob Ellison said...

The "mountain flowers" picture is fantastic. What a great little collection in a natural condition!

Ann Althouse said...

Wow. Thanks for the vivid description, lewsar.

I had noticed a big difference in the number of trucks on 70 as opposed to 80.

Driving home, in the night, we used 70 east of Denver, and there were very few trucks, unlike 80.

Anyway, I love 70. It's so pretty... and you don't have to constantly reposition yourself in relation to trucks. Much mellower driving for us cars.

Ann Althouse said...

"The "mountain flowers" picture is fantastic. What a great little collection in a natural condition!"

It only looks natural. The photo was taken at the Betty Ford Alpine Garden in Vail. Quite deliberate disarray.

Tank said...

Clouds. One of the amazing things out west is how low the clouds are. I remember riding out on horseback to the top of a (low) mountain in WY and feeling you could just reach out and touch a cloud. They also fly over you so fast that, if you look up, you can feel that you, rather than they, are moving.

Kit said...

Gotta say, I'm not a fan if I80 between WI and CO, either, but I also don't have the time to drop down to 70...

ndspinelli said...

Beautiful!! I drive that route in the Winter/Spring going to and from California. However, it's often treacherous. The weather can be fine in Denver but it's a blizzard up on the passes, particularly the Vail Pass. It's worth the effort for me because I always spend a day @ the hot springs in Glenwood Springs, an oasis in the shadows of I-70.

ndspinelli said...

lewsar, I always enjoy your posts. I'll think of you when I see the "must use chains" lights flashing. That seems like such a pain in the ass to get out in the snow/cold and put chains on your tires.

My personal favorite stretch of 1-70, or any highway for that matter, is further west in Utah. The stretch from Salina to Green River is the most uniquely beautiful area I've ever seen in this country..it looks like another planet.

Robin said...

I didn't know you came out to visit us, hope you enjoyed the trip.