9/12/13

Breckenridge, CO

What a day it has been. I posted earlier today about the rain, and it has been all over the news. We were bored, and so we decided to drive into town (Estes Park) just for something to do. As we went, we were alarmed to see the erosion of the roads in the RV park with whole sections of asphalt washed out.


As I was taking this picture, a park employee rode up on a golf cart and Mike asked him about conditions. He told us the entire downtown area of Estes Park was flooded and that he believed all roads in and out were closed as well. That was even more alarming since we had visions of being stranded for days or even weeks.

We continued on into town and got our first view of the river. I'm posting a video, and I'm hopeful that it will play for you. If not, you'll just have to take my word for it that the river was raging, and at this location, it hadn't even started flooding the roads. 

video

Indeed when we got into the main part of town, roads were closed off, structures were half submerged in water, automobiles were stranded, and it was quite a mess. We drove past the police station and decided to go in and ask about roads getting out of town. As it turned out the road through the national park was the only avenue out, and there was no guarantee it would continue. We were advised to check at the ranger station to be sure.

So then we really got serious about getting out of town. We drove up to the park entrance and spoke with the ranger. He advised that it was foggy at the top, but that the road was still open. Fortunately, we had driven it the day before and so Mike felt confident our rig could handle the winding road and the elevation, which it did with flying colors. When we crossed over the summit and began our descent into the valley on the other side of the mountain range, it was like a different world.


We stopped at the last visitor's center on the way out of the national park and found this sign posted on the door.


So, we made it, and we were glad. Things were only going to get worse in Estes Park. The next question was, what do we do now? Obviously a complete change of plans was in order, and we just kind of drove on with no particular direction in mind. We felt that southwest was our best bet, but none of the weather forecasts looked particularly promising. We decided to head toward Moab, Utah, a place we've visited before and always said we'd like to go back. At this point Pike's Peak and Great Sand Dunes National Park are off the agenda.

We were headed toward I-70 and had two ways to get there. The straighter road took us toward this cloud formation:


The winding way took us toward this cloud formation.


Just then a song popped into my head:
Blue skies smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies do I see
Bluebirds singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds all day long

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you're in love, my, how they fly
So I guess you know which way Mike chose. As he put it, "I'm not heading into that mfer."

We weren't quite finished with the rain, and in fact, it's raining as I write this in our new home for the night of Breckenridge, Colorado. We drove along the timberline for quite some time before making a descent.


You may be aware that there are lots and lots and lots of mountains in Colorado. Sometimes you drive over them, and sometimes you drive right through them. We were pretty excited to come upon the Eisenhower Tunnel


This is what Wikipedia has to say about the Eisenhower Tunnel:
With a maximum elevation of 11,158 ft (3,401 m) above sea level, it is one of the highest vehicular tunnels in the world. The tunnel is the longest mountain tunnel and highest point on the Interstate Highway system.
Woot! We do get excited about tunnels!


And that sucker was long.......


And there you have it: the official light at the end of the tunnel!


After that, we drove down a looooooooong steep grade, possibly 8-10% for six miles. One of the signs after a runaway truck ramp advised truckers: "Don't be fooled, Truckers," meaning it was still a significant distance steeply downhill. The valley below looked very promising.


And that is essentially where we ended up for the night. We're now in Breckenridge, Colorado for the night, and tomorrow we will continue on our way to Black Canyon of the Gunnison, weather forecast permitting.

We've had a chance to study the maps, and after Black Canyon of the Gunnison, our plan is to continue on to Moab, Utah, where we can see both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. We've visited both parks before, but we've talked about going back many times. After that, there is some beautiful country leading down to Zion. And with Zion, we'll be back on our original route. I'll tell you more about that as we get on our way.

So phew! A happy ending to a day that could have been disastrous. We are sorry the weather was so poor for our first (and probably only) visit to Rocky Mountain National Park, but we are very happy not to be stranded there in that terrible weather.

33 comments from clever and witty friends:

Pieces to Love said...

I'm glad to hear you are safe! There is an american top gear episode where they take some mighty fast fancy expensive cars and see how fast they can drive through the Eisenhower Tunnel. Lastly, we LOVED Zion National Park, I want to go back so bad.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I am happy to hear you made it out ok, I've been there and I can only imagine downtown and even the roads outside of downtown are right next to streams with cabins at the edge. I feel so badly for those poor people!

Colleen said...

Glad you are safe!

Junebug613 said...

I'm glad you made it safely out of the stormy stuff. I'm even happier that you have a plan "B" that you both can still enjoy. Looking forward to seeing what the rest of your journey brings. Tunnels look neat! I don't think I've ever been through one. Florida is quite flat.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I was thinking of you and your travels in this area - seeing all the flooding and destruction - glad you moved safely out and on.

Kate said...

Whew! I have a friend who's mom owns a B&B in Estes Park, and I was going to recommend, after reading her updates, to get the heck out of there! Glad you were on top of that one. Say hi to the ski slopes for me!

Brown Family said...

I am glad you are out of that ares. I just learned my friend from Estes Park is in Connecticut! I am sure she is worried about her little A Frame house. I saw on our news tonight a travel trailer submerged. It was scary.

Breckenridge is where I first experienced real snow. WE cot snowed in. I70 was closed at the tunnels and all the passes were closed, too. WE went into a Holiday Inn just looking for food. While we standing there, a couple called from Denver to cancel their room. It was already paid for and past the refund time so they gave it to us. The a time share hooked us in for a free stake dinner if we would listen to their pitch. Of course we were poor kids just starting out and did not buy onto the time share. We did get a free hotel and meal, though!

Janarama said...

So glad to hear you, Mike, Smitty and Gracie are safe now. I saw the destruction on the news tonight and immediately thought about you, knowing you were in that area. Thanks for posting that you are all ok.

Crickets Corner said...

Glad to hear you made it out and are safe. From the news it looks like it just got worse. Thanks for the tunnel pics, I love them too. Have a great time at Moab.

treadlemusic said...

So thankful you are on safer trails!!! Blessings......

Karen O said...

I am glad you were able to get out of there, but sad you won't get to see more of wonderful Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park. I have been there 3 times and really love it. It is truly amazing how different it is on the west side of the park. Enjoy your trip!

Carla said...

I can only imagine how bad the roads out of Estese are. They are tricky without flooding. It's pretty neat to see familiar sites from fresh eyes. We travel Colorado quite a bit and take so much of it for granted. We have been jeeping in Moab and loved it. Have a wonderful trip.

Tami C said...

I think you guys picked the right road to go on! I would love to go see the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. We never did make it out there and I hear that it is really beautiful. I sure hope the weather looks better for you tomorrow.

Dasha said...

Your comment about loving tunnels brought to mind a trip we did in a canal boat through the Midlands in England about 12 years ago. The boys (DH and two nephews) took us down a particular canal soecifically because it had a tunnel on it. It was just so unbelievably dark in it, and I was quite please we had a feeble little light on the boat. That tunnel truly did have a "light at the end of the tunnel"

Dana Gaffney said...

I'm so glad you're all safe. While I was reading your post the news was full of flooding in Colorado, dams bursting and basically all hell breaking loose. Utah looks good about now.

Quiltsmiles said...

Glad to hear you made it through that region in good spirits. Horrible word and news of the flash floods in those regions too. Safe travels my friend. Jane

Jeanie said...

I've been watching all of the flooding on the news and didn't think of you being in the area. So thankful for your safety and I hope the rest of your journey is safe, fun, and dry!

Needled Mom said...

I was thinking about you when I heard about the flooding. Glad you are safe.

Teresa in Music City said...

Wow! So glad you made it out okay, and so sorry for those poor folks who live there! What a mess their lives will be for quite some time.

Meg said...

What a trip! All the more things to talk about for years after your trip. Good thing the cats don't know whats going on,

Our daughter and bf went to CO this past summer. Tent camping all the way. She called one evening and asked if my husband had any Holiday Inn points that she could use to get a room for the night So they ended up at the Holiday Inn. Room had a nice mountain view. When I asked her about the room she said it was nice but "smelled like weed." haha Rocky Mountain high I guess!!!

Ray and Jeanne said...

Glad you are safe! Now I know how you got out - same way we did. It was foggy on top of Trail Ridge Road but the road was clear. Wishing you safe travels. ~Jeanne

MooseStash Quilting said...

I bet I passed you on the interstate. We came back from Redstone by Glenwood Springs yesterday. It was gorgeous there, and once home, I find my road closed due to flooding! Gotta love Colorado! LOL

Barb said...

You were fortunate to have a way out of all that. Have a safe journey on the remainder of your travels. You really should have come to the mountains of southern Idaho - don't let the freeway fool you - we have great scenery and recreation in our neck of the woods.

Lyndsey said...

I'm pleased you got out safe and sound. I hope the weather improves and you can really enjoy the rest of your trip.

Dar said...

I'm so glad everything turned out ok for you. I talked to a friend that was in Estes Park Wed. and she said all road in and out were closed. I knew you were headed there, in fact I thought you were there already and told her so. She said if you were not, you probably wouldn't make it. I was anxious to see your post of what happened. It is awful what is happening in town. I know 3 people have died too. Glad you avoided any problems.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Glad you are safe. I think you've had enough 'adventure' for one trip. No Smitty! You can't add to the adventure, either!

quiltzyx said...

Wow, that asphalt just doesn't stand up well to water, does it? The video played just fine for me - WOW! Rushing River waters.
Lovely sky once you made it over the top. Blues skies & clouds...aaaahhhh! That is a cool tunnel, but a heck of a downgrade on the backside. Glad you're seasoned trailer-haulers!

Continued safe travels!

kc said...

Wouldn't be a proper camping trip without a little rain, eh? Hope you can send some of it our way! Just a little, please, we couldn't possibly handle all that you're seeing!

Glad you were smart enough to hightail it outta town when you could...looks like Mike called it right, too. whew! That's enough excitement for a while now...

Safe travels as you move along...

Kate said...

So glad you made it out OK, but sorry you had to make such a big change in plans.

Jacque said...

I love these posts....did you know you are the highlight of my day? Yes, I'm a sad creature. LOL Seriously, I love seeing where you are traveling and so glad that you and the crew are safe. Went through some tunnels myself today, in the Blue Ridge....much shorter ones! Still fun, tho! Take care!

Little Quilt Shop said...

So SEW glad you are safe and on your way! You sound alot like my hub and me as we travel and find issues to deal with! Weigh your options and trust Gods' timing!!... I have a sweet friend that lives in Auroa Co...LOVE Colorado...all of it!!...Rocky Mountain High!!

Little Quilt Shop said...

Oh, my friend was married in Estes Park....yep!! haha

Judy1522 said...

Glad you got out before it got worse.