Good morning from St. George, Utah. We’ve now driven 2,486 miles. We’re starting to feel the effects of this long journey. Helaine and I got to our hotel room and collapsed.
Lots of folks having been asking about Doppler. She’s still not eating well, but is otherwise fine. She has shown great adaptability, sleeping all day in the car, then sleeping a full night once we’re in the hotel. She ran up-and-down the long hotel corridor last night to let off some steam.
On our way out of Avon, CO we filled up with the most expensive gas of our trip, $4.05. No time for comparison shopping.
We weren’t on I-70 long before we crossed a tunnel and headed into Glenwood Canyon. This stretch of highway was incredibly controversial when built. Glenwood Canyon is beautiful and environmentally minded Coloradans wanted it to stay that way.
“Most of the people in western Colorado see it as having preserved the canyon.” He further stated, “I think pieces of the highway elevate to the standard of public art.” – Denver highway architect (via Wikipedia)
The highway is built with the westbound lane above the eastbound lane to minimize the footprint. Below both is the Colorado River.
How often do you get to drive while looking down at whitewater rafters? On Saturday we did!
This was originally a rail route. Active tracks still run alongside the river.
The topography flattens as the highway heads east toward Utah. This is the portion of the trip I’d been most looking forward to, Glenwood Canyon having been a major surprise.
Between Fremont Junction and the junction of SR-24 near Green River, Interstate 70 crosses a geologic feature called the San Rafael Swell. The construction of the freeway through the swell is listed as one of the engineering marvels of the Interstate Highway System, with one engineer claiming this section as “one of the most significant highway construction feats of its time”. The construction of I-70 through the swell required boring through many solid rock canyons, cliffs, and mountains. The swell is noted for its sheer canyons and rock formations and is home to a large amount of exposed dinosaur remains. This includes the largest known collection of Jurassic era dinosaur remains at the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry at the north end of the swell. – Wikipedia
Wow! I pulled into a few scenic overlooks to get a few shots like this one from Devils Canyon. A family, also stopping and taking pictures, asked it was the Grand Canyon? Sometimes you just hold your tongue.
We’ve had excellent cell service through the entire trip. Central and Western Nebraska had only slow data access (Edge), but we could make calls. As we drove through the Swell we lost everything. This is a lonely, desolate, strikingly beautiful place.
Local TV news this morning had a story about an overnight crash in this region. Four are dead after the driver fell asleep, swerved across the center divider and flipped the car. The speed limit is 75 mph. Signs warn about “Drowsy Driving.” This is an unforgiving area.
I-70, which starts in Maryland, ends in Eastern Utah at I-15. We headed south, joining cars and trucks heading to Las Vegas and Southern California. The landscape flattens somewhat and there’s farming alongside the road, albeit heavily irrigated farming.
As I said, we’re in St. George, Utah. It’s a pretty town known for its stark red rock formations. We’re only a few miles from the Arizona border.
Today, we’ll head into Arizona and through the Virgin River Gorge. This is another twisty, mountainous stretch of Interstate we’ve driven before. The Arizona portion of I-15 is less than 30 miles long, but it’s unforgettable. It’s not a drive for the faint hearted.
We’re leaving early today to beat the storied Las Vegas to Los Angeles Sunday night traffic. Tonight we’ll be in our temporary quarters in Irvine.