Monday, August 13, 2012

US Hwy 30 -- Detour: Fort Collins, Colorado

I got settled in Fort Collins on Saturday afternoon, then met my young friend Samantha for dinner. It was fun to catch up on current events -- since it's only been six weeks since we spent time together on the Pony Express -- and to find out that her horse Charlie is thriving in his new environs!

It was a beautiful day yesterday, so Sam suggested we go on a mini road trip into the mountains. We headed westerly from Fort Collins across ranch lands and rolling hills, then through the gorges and into Estes Park where we stopped for lunch.

I have to admit I didn't particularly care for Estes Park, mostly because it's very touristy and was extremely crowded. Sam suggested we continue further west then south to Grand Lake, via the summit road through Rocky Mountain National Park. As you can see on the right in this photo, the road climbs steeply and consistently up the mountains, giving Darth a good "off day" workout!

Many miles into the park we reached the highpoint. The road may look like it is on a saddle, but that's only because it is so high above the tree line and windswept. We are as high as anything around, a new personal best for Darth at 12,200 feet!

We worked our way down to Grand Lake, a quiet and very lovely place that I would happily visit again to spend some time. Rather than backtrack to Fort Collins, we decided to continue south quite a ways, then did a short stint east to clear the mountains and finished up with a northerly drive along the eastern slopes back to our starting point. It was a fantastic drive and we had a lot of fun along the way.

I'm taking care of some chores today, then hope to visit Charlie in his new abode. I'll be heading north again tomorrow, to rejoin US Hwy 30 and continue my westward expedition... Stay tuned!

Click here to see exactly where I am posting this from on Google Maps.

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