We pulled into the driveway of our gem of a rental home at approximately 12:25a.m., 21 1/2 hours after we left our own driveway. We stumbled into the house, quickly located our beds and hit the sack with visions of a sound sleep and a leisurely breakfast complete with steaming cups of coffee dancing in our heads.
We had officially made it through the first leg of our trip. And, if judging by the events of the first 24 hours, it was going to be one heck of an experience.
Considering the first leg of our trip warranted three individual posts, it stands to reason that I feel compelled to quickly assure you that the second leg of our trip was virtually painless. We were safely ensconced in Utah, nestled within these extremely picturesque canyon walls, staying in a beautiful rental home, where the kids were enjoying the neighborhood pool and I was enjoying the frizz-free aspect of the dry Utah air and the slumber-supporting aspect of the prescription drug Xanax. Life was good.
We also played “crazy tourists” and drove through Arches National Park, an amazing sight to be seen. Truly.
We lazed about in Utah for two fun-filled days and then hit the road, taking a very scenic Highway 128 which travels alongside the Colorado River. Which meant “picture opportunity.” Which meant Jer risked life and liberty to hang his head out the window, camera perched at precarious angles while I sat beside, wishing my Xanax hadn’t been packed away in my overnight bag.
After I realized that I would live through the experience, I began to enjoy the beauty around me. There is some serious nature out there folks. Just when you think you’ve seen something amazing, the next corner brings you pure majesty. And I’m not really a “scenic tour” kind of gal. I’m more of a “take me to the next air-conditioned building” kind of gal and even I was able to appreciate the splendor of this particular countryside.
Our next stop on the trip was Silverthorne, Colorado, a gorgeous mountain town perched at 8700 feet elevation and a virtual hot-bed of outdoor activities. Okay. Again. Not so much of an “outdoor activities” kind of gal and I recently discovered I really value oxygen-enriched air. Silverthorne is lacking in that department a bit and being the little researcher I am I learned that it’s not uncommon for people to suffer “altitude sickness” at such high elevations. So, of course, I was fully expecting to get out of the car, take one highly unsatisfying huge gulp of thin air and pass out on the spot. In all actuality, the whole scenario was pretty underwhelming. My breathing was fine, I stayed upright and all was well, although I did notice some extra ‘huffing and puffing’ climbing up hills and stairs and in light of all my time spent lately practicing my mad water aerobics skills, I didn’t appreciate the feeling.
We spent a very entertaining afternoon in Silverthorne and after eating a satisfying meal of burritos, rice and the like supplied by some very hospitable friends of ours, we got back into our cars and headed back down the mountain toward Denver.
Ah, if only it had been that simple. You see, in order to get to Denver we were required to complete a very unnatural task. A task with potentially hazardous results. A task which gives the “middle-finger” to safety and sanity. A task I had been dreading since the inception of this road trip.
A task which would require us to drive through this: One freaking long tunnel through the bottom of a freaking huge mountain.
Have I mentioned that I HATE tunnels? If you need a reminder of things that make my skin crawl, go here…although somehow tunnels never made it on the list. My best guess is that tunnels are so terrifying I managed to block it out from my memory. I also hate water dams, oil derricks and windmills. Weird. I know.
Upon my first glimpse of this monstrosity in the mountain I said, “Uh, Jer. There is no freaking way in hell that I am going through that tunnel.”
Jer responded, “Actually, you are. Because we are about to get to the mouth of it.”
“See? The freaking thing has a mouth…that’s not natural. It’s not natural to blow up holes in huge mountains and then drive through them. For a mile-and-a-half. At 11,000 feet elevation. We’re asking for it,” I warned.
“Asking for what?”
“Asking for that mountain to come crashing down on top of us.”
“Mindy, do you know how long that tunnel has been there?”
“No, and I really don’t see how that’s relevant.”
“It is relevant because it’s been there since the late seventies and hasn’t crashed in yet. We should be fine.”
And with that little bit of reassurance we drove into the Eisenhower tunnel, where I came very close to a nervous breakdown.
And then we were out. Alive. Not a crushed body part in sight. Lungs still in tact.
We pulled into Firestone, Colorado (just outside of Denver) at around 10 o’clock that night after a full day of successful travel.
Leg two of this Colorado Road Trip was complete.
Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points says
I like the part about some “serious nature.” As if all other nature is frivolous and flaky. Like your typical bottle blond heiress or something.
And I’m glad you were able to stave off tunnel-induced-psychosis.
I’m okay with tunnels. Tall bridges though, those are affront to nature everywhere – serious or otherwise.
Oh…you pegged me just right Lori! Typical bottle blond heiress…except for the heiress part, which is really very unfortunate.
And I actually also agree with you about bridges. I’m pretty sure they were constructed as some sort of grand plan to ruin my life…
hmmmmm – no mention of the outlet malls in Silverthorne. You didn’t skip those did you? Because that’s my idea of mountain activity.
I too, hate the Eisenhower tunnel and so, on occasion we have gone The Pass route instead. That scenario involves very skinny roads which drop off 2 inches after the pavement ends into sheer nothingness.
You really have to pick your poison there.
Um, yeah…I’m still recovering from the shock that NO ONE would let us stop at those outlet malls. When you’re traveling partners are 8 kids under 12 and 3 men whose beards were growing exponentially…your chances of extra-curricular shopping go from nil to none. *Sigh*. They looked beautiful from the window. 🙂
Just got back from my trip and came over to catch up on yours….so glad the puking stopped. Great pics, the scenery is amazing!
Thanks SuziCate!! The scenery truly was breathtaking! 🙂
That picture of your daughter at the Arches is absolutely spot-on gorgeous.
I don’t love tunnels either – but I would rather do that than bridges for some reason.
Thanks Angela! I thought my girl looked pretty gorgeous, too! And bridges are *almost* worse than tunnels. 🙂
Stephanie Faris says
How sweet! You guys look like a very happy family. And this is a trip they’ll remember the rest of their lives.
I certainly hope so! And if not, I’ll set them down in front of the blog to remind them. I’m kind of obsessive like that. 🙂
Angelia Sims says
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I love the pic of Avery in Utah. The lighting is beautiful!
Thank God you made it through the tunnel! Holy smackrels that was close.
What’s really funny is the oil rig by my duplex. It’s goes up and down, but every time it’s up (and it is a bit creepy), I think of you.
This part of the trip seems much, much better than the 1st (except for the scary tunnel).
Ewwww…you have an oil rig BY YOUR HOUSE??? I’m not sure I’d survive that. In fact, I had to go breathe into a paper bag after even reading that.
And, yes…this part of the trip was a little redeeming. Thank God. I was about ready to find the nearest airport and fly home with my tail between my legs…
What happened to part 5? Did I miss it?
Ooops…I was so excited to get past the first part of the trip I mis-labeled my posts. Fixed it. This should be “Part 4.” 🙂
The pics are just gorgeous and glad to see you did get some enjoyment out of all that nature.
I remember that tunnel very well and the first time I went in it, I was throughly scared but it got better the more times we had to go there. My cat hated it!!!
Me and your cat are soul mates, I think. 🙂
Those are great pics. I’m glad you finally made it past the trip and to the destination. Umm, should I tell you about the bridge here in KC that collapsed? Nah, sometimes ignorance is bliss…
I need to go back to Colorado. I miss it. I’ll take the tunnel before the pass any day. I don’t like heights. 😛 Gorgeous pics, btw. Maybe I can go to Utah too!
I used to live in Denver when I was little, in fact my sister was born there. We’ve traveled through the tunnel before and it never crashed down on us. Not once. Not ever. Lol.
PS- you’re photos are beautiful! I miss the mountains like crazy.