Beat had a business trip in Boulder this week, and since next week is Thanksgiving, we decided I'd drive out to Colorado and then head directly to Utah from there. Between work deadlines and the weekend I figured I could take three days to make the 1,300-mile journey. It's still a lot of driving, but there'd be plenty of time in there for adventuring in 72 hours.
I descended into McDonald Creek Canyon because I remembered hearing about Fremont rock art in this canyon, but hadn't done any research and failed to find it on my own. Still, I had fun exploring this area, running when I could but mostly scrambling around rock ledges, inadvertently wandering up side canyons, plodding in the wet, sandy wash, and slashing through tamarisk. I was determined to see the Colorado River before calling it a day.
When they finally let traffic creep through, a full blizzard was raging and the road was a mess — at least six inches of unplowed powder was stirred up in every direction, and dozens of smaller vehicles were stopped on the shoulder or stuck in the middle of the road. I was driving a Subaru Outback that admittedly has nearly-bald tires — I was ready to put on chains as soon as I could find a safe spot to do so — but it didn't really have any trouble navigating those conditions. I've driven in considerably worse weather in Alaska and Montana, but it looked like a winter apocalypse on I-70. No wonder this road has such a bad reputation. It was about to get worse.
At Silverthorne, police were directing cars off a closed section of the freeway. So instead of inching along on the interstate, traffic piled up on the unplowed streets of Silverthorne. I managed to weave through stuck vehicles to a City Market, where I drank two cups of Starbucks and refreshed the CDOT Twitter page. Three hours passed before I rejoined the traffic creep to the tunnel and down the luge toward Denver. I drove past Vail at 2 p.m., and didn't arrive in Boulder until 10:30 — eight and a half stressful hours to travel 100 miles. I may never complain about traffic in the Bay Area again (I probably still will.)
Still, it's always an adventure. And yes, still worth it.