Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Travel Log: Continental Divide

We spent the day today driving from Durango to Colorado Springs through the San Juan Mountains.

Along the way, we stopped to do a short hike to the Treasure Falls. Legend has it that a group of Frenchmen buried a treasure chest full of gold there back in the late 1700's.

It was a short hike (only 1/4 mile), but between the 200 feet of elevation gain on the trail and the high altitude, I was breathing pretty hard when we got to the top. It was well worth it though.

LW and the boys on the trail to Treasure Falls

Vertical Panorama of Treasure Falls

Yes, of course, there's a geocache there. Why else do you think we stopped there?

Family Photo at an overlook about halfway up the trail to the falls.

Next, we headed on up and over the continental divide.

The scenery as we drove over the San Juan Mountains was beautiful, and I wish I had more photos to share with you, but the battery in my camera died. :-(

How does the saying go? Those to fail to plan, plan to fail? I failed miserably in my planning today. When I browsed the route ahead last night, I just saw that there were a string of "towns" along Highway 160, so I didn't invest any time in researching restaurants for lunch. BIG mistake. Those weren't so much "towns" as... well... a collection of shacks in the middle of nowhere. We were starving and I kept thinking, "just one more town" but we kept coming up empty handed. We finally settled for a dilapidated cafe in the middle of nowhere with so-so food and service, but at least it stopped the pangs of hunger coming from my gut.

The boys were at each others' throats in the car today. Most of the time, they play really well together. Today, they were both antagonizing each other and there was a lot of whining and wailing from the back seat as one and then the other would withold some toy or game from the other. At one point, they even got into the "No! You aren't allowed to look out of MY window!" argument and I thought I my head was going to explode.

We stopped to stretch our legs and grab another geocache in Alamosa, Colorado, and there was a nice park with REAL, soft, green GRASS. My wife couldn't help herself and had to lie down and enjoy the grass. (Grass in Hawaii is coarse and harsh - not the kind you want to just lie down in). We've been trying to do silly little things like having races around the rest stops to stretch our legs and get the blood flowing. For the exercise of this stop, my wife got the boys to roll down the small hill with her. Much giggling and laughter ensued.

LW and the boys roll down the hill.
(The video is better, but YouTube is down right now.)

Nothing much more terribly exciting to report today. We made it to Peterson AFB thirty minutes before the BX closed, gassed up the car on base, and checked into our hotel.

Thanks to those of you who shared thoughts and theories on the gas mileage question. When I gassed up tonight, it came out a little over 23 mpg, which was again higher than I expected. I wasn't drafting off trucks, and I was either driving 70 mph (on the straight sections) or I was driving the curving roads through the mountains.

We're getting into a pretty good morning routine. We get up and shower and head down to the free breakfast in each hotel by around 8:30 since the breakfasts always end at 9 a.m. Then after we pack everything up and hit the road, it's been just about 9:45 on the nose each morning.

We have a long day's drive ahead of us tomorrow though, so we've already packed the car tonight to make a more expeditious departure in the morning.

As for now, I need to do a little better job planning tomorrow's drive than I did planning today's drive.

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