Day 4 Rocky Mountain National Park

 

Rocky Mountain National Park

On Tuesday I went to the Rocky Mountain National Park.  It was absolutely amazing!  The mountains and scenario were stunning.  I took a lot of pictures, but you had to be there to experience it.  The smells, sounds, air, creatures, and winding roads made it an unforgettable experience.

My relative, Jack, made a very good suggestion.  He said, “You should go up on Trail Ridge Road.”  This is the road that leads way up to the top of the mountain in the Park.  On the top there are deep drops and no barriers which makes the drive exhilarating.  I saw many RV's and Motorcycles going up the road.  I was just fine in my Honda Accord which was easily maneuverable on the winding road up the mountain.  The immense power of the mountains did draw power from my engine though.  I definitely felt it going up.

The best part of going to the park is just pulling over at one of the many little parking areas and exploring on foot.  There are lots of amazing places you can walk around in the Rocky Mountain National Park.  See the pictures below!

Coming back down was exciting as well.  You need to pay attention to your driving.  You can not and should not simply coast down the mountain or you could overheat your brakes.  The great thing about Hondas is their automatic drive selection.  Most automatic cars only have “D” or “L” for selecting your gearing.  Hondas have “D4” “D3” “2” “1” which seems unnecessary.  However I found going down Trail Ridge Road it was very useful to have these options.  I mostly stayed in D3 but switched sometimes between D3 and 2 when I was getting to close to cars or going to fast.  Having the option to keep the cars gears below 3 or 2 gears was useful.  Great idea Honda!

Even the drive from Greeley to Estes Park was nice.  The road leading into Estes Park was basically made right through a mountain it seems.  So when you are driving up you are just getting a small taste of what is to come.  The drive was only about 1 hour from Greeley where I was staying.  I listened to “Cover Her Face” on the way up to the Park and somewhat back down.   For some reason listening to the narrator made me very sleepy.   Don't know why that well spoken British narrator was making me tired, but he did.  It was probably the Shakespearean training.

My only wish is that I had more time to look around the Rocky Mountain National Park.   It was $20 and the pass was good for a week.  It was well worth it for the day.  I would recommend planning out more time to explore if you go up there.

I think Colorado is my new favorite state.  I hope to come back soon!

Day 3 Through the Rockies

Colorado

Yesterday I got started off better due to a proper night's sleep in a Comfort Inn in Green River, Utah.  The room though was a little overpriced I thought.  Usually they are better than what I experienced.  A quick look on TripAdvisor confirmed my feelings even more.

I drove along I-70 East through the Rocky Mountains into Colorado.  Forget Utah… this was incredible.  All the mountains were really beautiful.  Driving was a little nerve racking.  Most people don't know how to downshift, since I saw most cars excessively using their brakes.   All you need to do is put your car into a lower gear if it's manual or “L” if it's an automatic.  I could feel the cars power diminishing in Utah when elevation was at 5000 feet but at 9000 feet going alone I-70 the 4-cylinder was truly being tested.  I was pushing down the accelerator pedal, “What is something broken?  Oh yeah my car has lost power from the elevation!”  Cars will lose about 3% of power for every 1000 feet.  For a little Accord, that makes a difference.   I did not mind going slow since I got to see the scenery more.

For music and to keep myself alert I hooked up my iPod and listened to CarTalk, The Rolling Stones, and the comedian Dane Cook.  Rolling Stones is great for a road trip and so is CarTalk.  Yeah I know I said NPR was bad and will make you fall asleep, but CarTalk is great for road trips.  It's so funnty and entertaining to listen to people's relationships with their cars.  CarTalk is the only NPR program I listen to.  What other shows are on NPR?  Who knows?

Driving by yourself is nice because you stop and get on the road quickly again.  I tend to stop for a few minutes giving myself and the car a break.  Cars are working hard too!  I seem to be able to make good time and distance on my own.  Having the cooler helps with nice cold Gatorades too.

When I got into Denver I walked around the 16th Street Pavilion.  It's basically an open mall with all sorts of shops.  Shuttles run up and down the street so you can get to shops easily.  I stopped in at Pinkberry for the first time and got a chocolate Yogurt with a waffle piece.  The Yogurt was really good comparable to YogurtLand.  They had some interesting things in the Pavillion like decorated upright pianos for anyone to play.  You heard music all up and down the street.   I thought, “If they had pianos on the streets in Baltimore they would all have graffitti on them.”  To my surprise I did not see any pianos that had been vandalized in the Pavilion.  Most seemed to be out-of-tune though.

After that I made my way up to Greeley to stay with a relative.   Colorado is a great state.

West to East in the Beast: Day 2 St. George to Green River, Utah

 

Amazing!

Today I got started late… really late.  I did not get on the road until around 2pm.  I stayed up late the night before writing and talking.  Probably should have gone to sleep earlier.  Will get an early start tomorrow driving into Denver.

You would think driving through Utah would be boring… it's not.  I saw some of the most amazing scenery driving on I-70 today.  I hope some of my pictures can capture the essence of how great some of the mountains and scenes are in Utah.  It's truly amazing.  It makes we want to come back and explore.

Some parts of I-70 you will drive and see no other cars, from either direction.  It's nice because it made it easy for me to stop and take pictures and videos.   If you want to fumble around in your car for things, you don't need to worry about hitting another car.  Of course you still might have an accident.  There were some passes today going along where you had to slow down.  If the sign said “45 mph” you better be close to that.  I am sure you probably know why I am suggesting that.

Today I only drove a little over 300 miles from St. George to Green River, Utah.  Tomorrow I will make it into Denver which is about another 300 miles.  I hear driving into Denver is beautiful but harrowing going through the Mountain passes.  I will be excited to explore Denver and see what it has to offer and see what tomorrow brings.

 

West to East in the Beast: Day 1 Irvine, CA to Saint George, UT

New York, New York in Las Vegas

Yesterday I go started off later than I wanted to around 11:30 am. It's hard saying goodbye to your family and making yourself actually leave. I went to the supermarket got some ice, bananas, sandwich bread, and turkey meat. I put ice in the cooler with Gatorade bottles I had gotten from before and put meat in there. Having the cooler came in handy later in the day when I stopped for lunch around 2. Most people would have gone to a fast-food place, but I did not. Well… I did get some fries at In-N-Out for $1.51 when I stopped in to use the bathroom. My lunch expenses though were minimal compared to buying a meal. Having the cooler was also great for keeping myself hydrated. I drank several of the Gatorade bottles from the cooler. If you are taking a roadtrip, buy a cooler! It's a great investment.

I was able to drive just over 400 miles today up I-15. I was quite pleased with myself and my progress. I made only 3 short stops. I saw some beautiful mountains and scenery driving. Especially the sunset coming into Utah. I drove up Las Vegas Blvd. Better known as the “The Strip” in… Las Vegas. It's quite an interesting and strange town. Everything is over the top and gaudy. I would have liked to stop, look around, and try my hand at poker. I did not want to get tempted though and make a stupid decision. For a young single guy in Vegas with no support team, it could happen. That would have been baaaad!

I passed through Vegas and kept driving. Driving on I-15 with barren dessert, makes you think it would have been a good idea to stop in Vegas for some fun. Funny thing is you get really tired and then all of a sudden you perk up. Might have been from my blaring radio. Don't know how anyone could drive so far and long without one. The best music to keep you up is pop, classic rock, and rap. If you want to fall asleep listen to C-SPAN, NPR, or Classical Music. Not to say those don't have there place and value, but to keep you alert while driving it is not the best. Tomorrow I will most likely hookup my iPod and listen to Podcasts.

I stopped in St. George, Utah. I used this great website called Couchsurfing.org. It's a website where people who need a place to stay can find peoples couches who offer them. I sent out a few couch requests for people in Utah, but came up empty. Then a great guy named Lex who works for a regional was nice enough to offer his place to a traveling writer. He was really cool and told me all about the differences in airline industry, which I found very interesting.

Denver is almost 10 hours away from St. George. I don't think I can do that in 1 day. I think tomorrow I will stop in at a motel. I will stop at a Zion National Park since it's close and right off I-15. Check back for some great pictures of that.

West to East in the Beast

Tomorrow I will be embarking on a cross country road trip.  This will be an exciting journey for me.  Taking a car over 3,000 miles from Irvine, CA to Baltimore, MD.  I will go through many states, counties, and cities.  I hope to see some amazing sites and meet interesting people.  This will be an unforgettable experience.

My planned travel route currently is to go up 1-15 through Nevada, into Utah and up to Colorado.  I will take I-70  to Denver to stay with a relative.  Then I will take I-70 all the way back to Baltimore.  Stay updated with my progress through my posts on this blog.  I may not be able to post updates daily since I might not have internet access.  I will try my best though.

Taking this trip reminds me of the latin proverb, “Fortune favors the bold.”