They say that all good things must come to an end and this adventure is no exception.
We started the day waking up in our comfortable bed in Rocky Mountain National Park. Our plan was to spend one more day here, then hop down to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison for 3 days of hiking, river rafting and relaxing before we started the long trek back to the East Coast.
Alas.. The work gods had a different idea. It seemed the last couple of days everything started hitting the proverbial fan and I was spending more and more time trying to put out a couple of very large fires. This required more and more running into town for internet and phone service.
After discussing with Kate, we decided to pick up camp and head out a day early and make run for the coast. So... first thing Weds morning (0545 to be exact) we were on the road.
After a quick stop at McDonalds in Estes Park for Coffee & Lard we headed down Big Thompson Canyon. We had to wait a few minutes for McDonalds to open.
Big Thompson is really a pretty canyon. This is the best shot we got... sorry it was early and we forgot about taking pictures.
Rather than dropping down and taking I70 across Kansas & Missouri I decided to go North a bit and take I80 across Nebraska and Iowa. Having taken all those roads many many times in my trucker days I just prefer the trip across Nebraska even though it would add a hour or two onto the trip total.
Crossing Nebraska we saw tomorrows breakfast sausage on the way to market. Look at the little pink nose sticking out. Poor little Piggies!
Getting back in to trucker mode we decided to waste no time.
The trip back was 1,944 miles. Weds we drove from Estes Park, Co to Bloomington, Il. A total of 997 miles. We drove from 0600 to midnight, a total of 16hrs, and went to bed at Camp Walmart.
Getting back up at 0545 we were back on the road at 0600 (0800 east coast time)
Our second leg totaled 994 miles and worked out to 16hrs as well with us arriving home at 0200 local time.
(how was that for splitting the whole trip into 2 halves and maintaining a consistent rate of travel?)
Here you see the normal travel positions of the last 2 months....
Gracie sitting in the back with her feet on the center console - keeping an eye on things.
Lucy hanging out in the back doing her thing.
Thursday saw us traveling across the Ohio River and thru Louisville, Ky
Then on into West Virginia.
This has to be the best welcome sign in the United States
The drive thru W. Va and Virginia is very scenic but very hilly with lots of curves.
Getting back into the east there is so much more traffic which makes it more intense.
Here is a map of the entire trip - start to finish.
Each of the blue points is where we spent the night (or longer)
I have posted this map online.
If you click on the blue link just below the map it will take you to an interactive version of the map where you can click on the blue markers for more info and pictures.
Try it - it's cool!
View 2011 West Trip Final in a larger map
Finally - todays self portrait.
Tomorrow- A Recap