Monday, January 01, 2007

Homeward the Hard Way

Storm 4, the second of our consecutive Thursday-December storms, arrived while we were driving home from the west slope on December 28th. [Storm 3, if you're counting, was December 21st, and is documented in This Morning's Visitors!] The first 5 hours of our 6-7 hour trip went smoothly, dry roads, clear sailing! The last "hour" of travel, on Interstate 70, lasted from 4 p.m. to after midnight. At about 4:19 p.m., I began to document our progress...

Vail Pass was a snap-- we left Vail at 4, and by 4:20 were already on the downhill side approaching Frisco (milepoint 200)... still sailing, albeit more slowly. Not so for Eisenhower Tunnel (mp 212), where it was bumper-to-bumper at a crawl up, but once through, with "only" 50 miles to go, we were sure the worst was behind us. It was 5:30 p.m.

We were wrong! Here's where we sat... for about 2 hours. Apparently they had closed the interstate without bothering to tell anyone. This spot is just east of Idaho Springs (mp 241), and it's now 9:30 p.m. (I forgot to get the camera out for a while there.) As you can see, people have been walking up and down the lanes, perhaps bored or in search of information, many looking for "rest areas" off in the trees along the service road. Ah, the joys of winter holiday travel. And by now, we'd picked up most of the ski/snowboard traffic as well.

We got moving again after 11, but didn't get to stay on I-70 long! Floyd Hill (about mp 250) was immediately loaded with stuck semis, and our search for Exit 259 ended just 9 miles short. We traveled down Clear Creek Canyon (highway 6) to Golden, much nicer (snowpack and steady 20-25 mph), through this Currier & Ives wonderland.

Nor could we go directly home from Golden-- but were diverted again, finally back on I-70 (westbound this time) at midnight. The final "leg" of our trip was a trudge up the unplowed hill (enjoying this moonlit view to the south) to arrive home at 1 a.m., find the dogs, lock up the chickens, and fall into bed!

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