Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Colorado Plateau Week One

Day 1: end at 726.8 mi. on the trip odometer, ending in IN (the first 0.1 of which, I noticed, was getting out of the Irene parking garage)
Day 2: end at 1,165.1 mi. ending in KS
Day 3: end at 1,795.3 mi. ending in drab Dillon, CO
Day 4: finally off the interstate at 2,033.6 mi. in UT ← hip hip hooray!!!
All is well here in Moab. I am busy getting reacquainted with all the spectacular scenery and coffee shops. Love it here!

Trip Notes

Q: Was that really the carcass of a bear in the median of the Slot Car Track section of I-70 west of Denver through the gut of the mountains? Couldn’t have been! But there were indeed three different herds of big horn sheep grazing along the shoulders of the highway. They looked pretty ratty, ragged winter coats partly shedded and partly hanging on in tufts. To think that in most places you need a telescope to see big horn sheep where they (literally) hang out on remote mountain cliffs. In CO you just pass them on the left.

Coldest Moment: Vail Pass, where it was 28 degrees.

Wind Farms: I’m sorry but I find these "farms" beautiful. Passed one in west-central KS that is called the Smoky Hills Wind Project. Its two phases will encompass 26,000 acres and hundreds of wind turbines. I passed sections of the shiny smooth, bright white poles (pylons? towers?) being hauled on semis on the highway the day before and wondered just what they were. They were so pristine and perfect. I couldn’t imagine. And when I saw the wind farm, I realized what I had seen. The blades are most graceful in shape as well. The full spread of the three blades is about 270 feet. Spectacular to see hundreds of these things across a low ridge with no other landforms in note anywhere in site. They were visible from about 30 miles away. Lovely! Works of art! I rarely thank engineers for anything, but I make an exception with this grouping of objects.

Microbrew at Elevation: Note to self→ at 9,100 feet above sea level beer must be consumed very slowly.

Home made pigment: I have decided to collect various kinds of red rock soil around here and see if I can make watercolor pigment out of it. I have studied my geology and am ready! (But dang, I forgot my mortar and pestle!)

The image above I took yesterday afternoon of a big bend in the Colorado River, seen from the overlook at Dead Horse Point State Park. I shared the overlook area with an entire busload of French people. (Hey, aren't French people supposed to be the best dressed people on the planet? I guess not so much when they are on vacation. Je suis désolé, mal habillés dame, mais il ya une file d'attente ici.)


shakinthatassforcash said...

None of this sounds very special to me, Jan. It's finals here at ye ole university, and I am surrounded by animals that could be described as looking "pretty ratty, ragged winter coats partly shedded and partly hanging on in tufts." What else ya got?!

jeanpierre said...

Chere amie, cette image du fleuve Colorado est tout a fait incroyable. Magnifique!

Miss E said...

I love - LOVE - wind farms. I find them totally mesmerizing.

I'm also excited about your updates!

Samter Petuel said...

Hey Janet,
I wish we were there with you. Take lots of pictures and draw everyday. Got any pastels? Hope you have many endless blue blue skies...