Day 7: Monday, June 3rd – Aunt Sara’s River Dance RV Resort, Gypsum, Kansas. Miles Traveled: 343. Elevation: 6,250 feet. Total trip miles: 1,608. Miles to Go: 963.
As we drove west into Colorado, we started see “living snow breaks” – 2 long parallel rows of evergreens (snow fences). They serve to control blowing and drifting snow. Prior to this trip I had only seen them made of wood or metal. John saw the first mountains when we were outside of Aurora – snow-capped Pike’s Peak in the distance. (John also spotted the first tumbleweed, and the first pronghorn antelope but I scored the first prairie dog town and prairie dogs.) Come on y’all, you have to do something in the truck to stay awake!
Well past Denver we started driving on curvy, mountain roads. We had glimpses of snowy mountains around every turn, mines up high on the hillsides, and tall pines and evergreens. This was what I had been waiting for. I love the mountains and big trees and fir trees. Driving along, we started seeing light green aspens among the evergreens. They were just starting to leaf out. We saw a lot of tunnels through the mountains… the largest of these was the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnel. It is a dual-bore tunnel, that carries I-70 under the Continental Divide and through the Rocky Mountains. The tunnel is the longest mountain tunnel and highest point in the interstate highway system.
As we climbed in elevation in the mountains, the temperature started going down. Big Red couldn’t pull the RV any faster than 50 mph in the high elevations. But, he made it to the Summit at Vail – 10,773 feet. This is 3,000 to 4,000 feet higher than where Big Red crossed the mountains last time we drove to Susie’s. We encountered lots of steep highway grades… 7% for seven miles. It was a long day with gorgeous scenery and we were glad to finally find the RV Park (Google came up with the wrong name of the place, and the GPS located it half a mile a way so we passed it the first time and had to find a place to U-Turn the RV. We made it to our campsite and it was a stunningly beautiful setting for a campground. I would have liked to have stayed more than one night and explored the area.