Hello from Monticello, UT — population 1,958, elevation 7,050′, and the thunderstorm capital of Utah!
Well, I don’t know if it’s really the thunderstorm capital, but tonight it was definitely in the running. We got hit with a whopper! There was frequent lightning, gusty winds, brief heavy downpours, and even some swirling, suspicious-looking clouds overhead:
They didn’t turn into anything tornadic, but they were a bit nerve-wracking… and exciting. :) Here’s what the storm looked like about an hour earlier, from the car while we were en route to Monticello. Check out the visible downpours of rain:
So yeah, that was really cool. Of course, watching a bitchin’ thunderstorm was not the only cool thing we did today: we also took a ski lift to a mountain peak on the Continental Divide, drove on some gorgeous roads in western Colorado, and visited the breathtaking Arches National Park in Utah. But I am frankly way too tired and lazy to post more pictures or details about any of that right row. Sorry. I’ll try to get some of that stuff online once we’re in Phoenix.
I will, however, give you our mileage: 448 today, bringing our trip total to 2,280 and counting. (I haven’t calculated today’s driving time yet.) And here’s the skinny on our upcoming plans: we’re going to take some meandering scenic routes through southeastern and south-central Utah and northeastern Arizona tomorrow, probably finding our way eventually to the Flagstaff area before heading down to Phoenix tomorrow afternoon. I expect cell-phone coverage to remain largely non-existant until we reach Flagstaff and then, of course, Phoenix (where I’ll be until the weekend).
Oh, and our state license-plate count is now up to 47, thanks to Becky’s eagle eyes, which spotted a Wyoming car around midday today while I was driving. We had both been looking very hard for them all day long, but they were amazingly scarce, considering Wyoming borders both of the states we were in today (Colorado and Utah). We saw probably 20 times as many Texas cars as we did Wyoming cars! I don’t know if we’ll get the last three we need to finish the 50 states — New Hampshire, Delaware, and Hawaii — but even if we don’t, I think 47 out of 50 is quite an accomplishment.
All right, that’s all you’re getting from me for now, I’m going to bed.
I forgot to update our state license-plate count in the post below. We now have 46 states — most recently, I spotted a South Dakota car at Royal Gorge and triumphantly cried out, “South Dakota!! Yes!!!!” — so now all we need is Wyoming, Hawaii, Delaware, and New Hampshire.
We’ve had a great couple of days on the road. I’ll get to the statistics and other info in a moment, but first, check out these photos of some of the highlights:
Also at Prairie Dog Town: pigs!!! (Click here for a video!!!)
Yesterday (Saturday), we drove from Terre Haute, Indiana to Oakley, Kansas — 759 miles in 10 hours and 39 minutes of driving time, an average speed of 71.3 mph. If you include the mileage from later that evening, when we did a round-trip drive from our motel to Prairie Dog Town to the Monument Rocks and back, our total comes to 827 miles in exactly 12 hours, for a 68.9 mph average.
Today (Sunday), instead of driving on I-70 through Denver and Grand Junction and into Utah, as originally planned, we decided to take the scenic, slower Route 50. As a result, our speed was considerably less than previous days: an average of 56.5 mph. We also didn’t get very far (359 miles), nor did we drive for very long (6 hours, 21 minutes of driving time), partly because of our route and partly because, in mid-afternoon, we encountered this:
It was a big thunderstorm, dead ahead, and we decided to stop in CaÃ±on City, CO — slightly less than halfway across the state — instead of trying to make it to Montrose through the rain and lightning. But before stopping, we went to the Royal Gorge in CaÃ±on City, where we walked across a giant, 1,000-foot-plus-high suspension bridge, while lightning flashed a few miles away. Ah, yes, now that was an adventure… as was trying to keep the cameras dry. But at the same time, it was so cool. :) Here’s a sound clip of the thunder (which sounded awesome, echoing off the nearby mountains).
Lest you be misled into believing that we were standing out, all by ourselves, on a giant metal bridge in the middle of a huge thunderstorm, you should know that this Royal Gorge place is actually a big theme park / tourist trap (it charges admission and such), and it wasn’t closed or anything, and there tons of people there, so we figured it must be relatively safe… right? :)
Anyway, yeah, that’s the update. Tomorrow, we’ll keep crawling west toward Utah, possibly making a side trip to Telluride along the way. Again, don’t expect many updates; cell-phone signals are extremely rare out here.
Okay, that’s it for now, time for bed. :)
Becky and I had a $1 bet riding on this weekend’s box-office returns. I predicted Seabiscuit would be #1; she predicted #1 would go to Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Well, guess what? It turns out we were both wrong. Her movie beat mine by $0.3 million… for fourth place! Spy Kids was #1. But check out how close #2 through #5 all are to one another!
We changed our plans for today, and ended up taking scenic Route 50 instead of Interstate 70. As a result, we didn’t even go through Denver, and we haven’t had cell phone reception all day long. Sorry for the lack of updates!
We’re at our motel now, in CaÃ±on City, CO. I intend to post some photos later this evening, using the laptop, so stay tuned!
Hello from Oakley, Kansas — home of beautiful rock formations, and five- and six-legged cows! Sorry for the lack of posts over the last few hours; our cell phones don’t get reception out here.
I was planning to post more than this now, from the hotel room, but our room doesn’t have three-pronged electrical outlets, and my laptop battery is about to die. So, I’ll post some of the cell-phone pics tomorrow when I start getting reception again (quite possibly not until Denver).
We are continuing to traverse the wide open spaces of Kansas. Meanwhile, my cell phone tells me there is an armed coup underway in Manila. Crazy stuff.