A Dinosaur Day

The kitties have done so well on this trip. There have been no escape attempts, and they have been very relaxed despite everything that has happened. When we left Vernal yesterday, they were snug in their cubby. Smitty was in the middle, and they're now sharing this space with no squabbling.

We needed to take care of some business in town since the next week will see us in some remote areas. When we got back in the truck to head on down the road, I found a lucky penny. Right then and there, I knew our troubles were over.

We didn't realize it, but we were just south of Dinosaur National Monument, and the town of Vernal was capitalizing on this. I wish we'd known about the national monument. We might have gone, but we are detouring from our original route, and so it wasn't figured into our itinerary for this trip. As we passed through town on our way, we passed by several dinosaurs. Also, everything in the town seems to have some kind of dinosaur or fossil in its name.

This one below even has a name. Say hi to Dinah the Dinosaur.

We were traveling the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway.

It wasn't long before we crossed the state line into Colorado.

There, we learned we were traveling the Stegosaurus Freeway.

Oh look! There's the stegosaurus now!

We passed through some spectacular scenery yesterday. Off in the distance in the image below, you can see what our map identified as Mamm Peak at some 10k feet of elevation. And we were going to cross over some very high territory in Colorado.

We also passed by quite a few barns.

Just before reaching I-70, our map identified three state parks just off the road, and we decided to head there for lunch rather than waiting to get to the interstate rest area. We pulled off to the side of the road here:

It was lovely there...and quiet.

Here's a pano of the area.

We had our lunch and our espresso, and then Mike took a short nap. After about 45 minutes, we were back on the road and headed to I-70. As we traveled the interstate, we were shadowing the Colorado River most of the way. We saw some rafters there.

And wow! What a beautiful and spectacular engineering marvel this interstate highway is. We were deep in the canyon carved by the Colorado River.

The width of the canyon cannot accommodate all four lanes of traffic, and so the oncoming lanes were elevated most of the way.

We passed through a series of tunnels.

Eventually, we turned south and headed toward our final destination. We passed through the little ski towns of Frisco, pictured below, and Breckenridge. Both appeared to be right out of Switzerland. I wish I could have gotten a more representative picture, but the one below will have to suffice.

As we got closer to Vail and Breckenridge, we began to see the groomed ski slopes.

In Breckenridge, we could see snow on the mountains. We visited Breckenridge on our last visit to Colorado. If you'd like to see more pictures and learn a little about the town, you can read this old blog post right here.

After passing through Breckenridge (or maybe it was before), we crossed Vail Summit at an elevation of over 10k feet. After Breckenridge (for sure), we crossed Hoosier Summit at an elevation of over 11k feet. The temperature dropped more than 30 degrees when a cold front moved in. We got into some rain as we approached our final destination of Canon City (prounounced "Canyon).

Since we got in well after the office at the KOA closed, I don't have much more to tell you about the local area. Our reason for stopping here is to see the Royal Gorge Bridge. I haven't been outside this morning, but I think we'll be able to see it from our site here at the RV park. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it:

The bridge crosses the gorge 955 feet (291 m) above the Arkansas River and held the record of highest bridge in the world from 1929 until 2001 when it was surpassed by the Liuguanghe Bridge in China.

China!!! (Shakes fist.) So there's some business to take care of this morning; namely, checking in at the office for any information about seeing the bridge. I believe there is a train or a shuttle or something, but I don't know much as I'm writing this. We have a much-needed day of rest from driving today. I'm going to do some laundry, and we'll do some sight-seeing. Also, I'm going to catch up on my email. So many of you have left friendly and supportive comments, and I've had little time to get back to you. Today I'll catch up. Breakfast awaits. Time to get going.


Becky said...

Do take the train ride along the Gorge. We did a breakfast train and rode inside with those huge windows. There are also open air cars. Have a fun time.

Katie said...

Your photos of your adventures have me itching to do the same. Growing up, we travelled and camped (in a tent), but my hubby is more of a homebody, so our travels are limited to places we can get in less than a day. Our state has much to offer, but our country has so much more. Perhaps as we get older and the demands of his promotion settle down, I can convince him? But in the meantime, I may steal your folder idea! I hope your travels continue to be safe and the lucky penny is the trick you needed.

Anonymous said...

Love following along on your travels... Seeing all the fabulous scenery throuh your camera lens is great...thanks for taking us along!!!
Sandra B

Lyndsey said...

This is my sort of travelling, great scenery, interesting facts and all enjoyed from my armchair whilst drinking a cup of tea. I'm looking forward to seeing the bridge.

Julierose said...

Great photos --that little Swiss-style Village looks amazing...
hugs, Julierose

Susan C said...

I was in Canon City last fall as part of a bus tour. We took the train through the gorge and, even though it was a dreary day, the scenery was spectacular. The history of the rails through the gorge was very interesting too, I highly recommend it. There was a quilt shop right near the train station too but, alas, we were on a schedule so had to get back on the bus for our next destination.

Gail said...

Love seeing your adventures. DH and I have a fifth wheel trailer. We have seen much of this country shore to shore and top to bottom. I love traveling. It's great to see the country. But, there is so much that we haven't seen!!!

gpc said...

I would have been sorely tempted by the dinosaur monument, ever since my (ex) grandmother in law told me stories about using dinosaur bones for kindling in the northern territories and how well they burned. A paleontologist later confirmed to me that there used to be big bones lying around the ground in her area when she would have been a girl. This was all during my then-little boy's dinosaur phase, which I apparently never outgrew. (I am still excited to see trains and construction vehicles, too.) But I digress. Thank goodness the lucky penny finally surfaced! Fear not, all is well.

Margaret said...

I’m loving the travelogue you’re providing. Your photos are so beautiful and are making me miss the west. I’ve never been in the northern section of Colorado that you just drove through - my family always came from the midwest - but Frisco, Breckenridge, and the Gorge bring back wonderful memories to me. I hope you have a great vacation, and I hope all your troubles are behind you. Margaret. mammich at comcast dot net

Pamela said...

Have fun visiting the Gorge! I have a family connection - my Grandpa helped make the steel for the cables on the bridge. I grew up in Pueblo, and my dad also worked in the steel mill. We have visited the Royal Gorge many times and I have great memories of visits there, including the time my other Grandpa rescued me from an aggressive deer!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

You are traveling in such a beautiful area. Thanks for sharing your trip and such great pictures too. Happy that you found that PENNY!
xx, Carol

piecefulwendy said...

Those drives are so beautiful in Colorado, it makes me want to go visit again. We have family in Colorado, so we do get there now and again. Glad you found the penny; it's time for your trip to go smoothly. Enjoy the Gorge; I haven't been there, but would love to see it someday. I'll look forward to pictures!

SJSM said...

It appears you had a lovely day. What a nice change. Those split highways are a stunner. The fact they are made to look nice is an added bonus. I do think of the engineering then the construction challenges of some roadways, such as "how did they get that first line across that gorge?" When it comes to bridges. Just heard on NPR that the bridge at the American Falls (near Niagara Falls) had a kids kite flying contest to get a string across the waterway. It worked! From there they pulled larger and larger cables across. If the distance wasn’t to large they would shoot arrows. Today they have so many more options. The back stories may not be as interesting.

Enjoy your Colorado time.

quiltzyx said...

Lucky penny for the WIN!! Huzzah!!

What fun to see all the dinosaur themed stuff. You picked a nice place for lunch indeed. When I was at the Perrine bridge near Twin Falls, ID, I didn't see anyone on the water, but I did get to watch some base jumpers jumping off the bridge. :)

With our close to 100f temps here in SoCal, it's hard to imagine you were seeing SNOW!!!!

QuiltShopGal said...

Good to hear the kitties are getting along on this adventure. Beautiful scenery and excellent photos. Have fun.

QuiltGranma said...

I remember that road, from over 20 years ago when we drove from Walla Walla to Breckenridge for hubby to attend a continuing medical education seminar... he had become a Physician's Assistant. I enjoyed perusing the shops while he took classes... but the altitude was a bit much for it, from about 860 feet at home to such a high elevation I nearly needed O2!