Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Long Day on the Road, and Home

Tuesday was a long day on the road. After breakfast at the hotel (part of the room rate), I gassed up the car and headed Rio Grange Gorge Bridge. The bridge is about 8 miles out side of Taos on US 64. As you approach the gorge, you don't even notice the deep cut in the earth. Yet, the bridge's 600 ft span crosses the Rio Grande River 565 feel below.

There is construction at the bridge. Viewing parking lots on the East end of the bridge are closed. There is a small (about 4-5 cars) spot on the West end of the bridge. Just West of the end is a rest area, which also affords good views of the bridge. The photo to the right has taken from that rest area.

Soon after crossing the bridge, I saw some unusual looking buildings to the right (North side of the highway). There was a sign at the drive welcoming folks to the Earthship Visitor's Center. The web site proclaims that constructs "Radically sustainable buildings made with recycled materials". Stopped along the highway to take a couple photos.

A long, boring drive up US 285 to Alamosa, I stopped at the Colorado Welcome Center there. Picked up directions and information about Great Sand Dunes National Park. 35 miles from Alamosa - take Colorado 17 North to Mosca, turning right onto LN 5. Several miles later, at the stop sign turn Left on route 150. The Visitor's Center is about 4 miles ahead.

After stopping in at the Visitor's Center, go the the Creek and picnic area (not the campground). This is the closest place to the sand and dunes. Since my visit was in May, there is still Spring run-off from the mountains. To get to the dunes, you have to walk about 100 ft to the creek. Take shoes and socks off, walk through the wet, soft sand of the creek, Then, finally get to the dunes. I was not up to walking up onto the dunes.

The lower photo with this posting gives a perspective on the height of the dunes.

From the Dunes, was debating to take the mountain roads to Denver or cut over to I-25. I decided on US 285 (2-lane) to Denver. Another boring drive on the plateau. Nothing to see except the road until I neared Poncha Springs and the junction of US 50.

As I neared Denver, I decided I wanted to get past Denver before I stopped for the night. Was feeling pretty good driving. when I got to Fr. Morgan, there was a DQ (there was a Blizzard with my name on it!) when I got off I-76. Asked to fill my water cup while buying the large Blizzard. Never had this happed before - she wanted to charge me (I think it was $050) for the ice in top of my Blizzard (almost $5). She settled on charging me $0.10 for the ice. My recommendation, PASS on the Dairy Queen in Ft. Morgan, Colo.

Logged into my laptop to check out places to stay. Ft. Morgan is expensive - headed on down the road. I saw an sign for Quality Inn and Denny's in Ogalalla, NE. Figured I could make it that far.

Had to settle for a second floor room, but by making the reservation at the hotel computer (via Choice Hotel web site) I cut my rate be over $10.

I was looking forward with breakfast this morning. My usual at Denny's is the Senior Cheesy Scramble. Food was good, but the service was the pits. Only got 3 cups of coffee and 2 small glasses of water with breakfast. Other guests were also complaining about the service. I made sure I complained to the hotel desk clerk - as there is a voucher toward breakfast included with the room rate. While I was please with the room, with the poor sercave at Denny's. in the future, I will pass on staying at the Quality Inn, Ogalalla, NE.

Was getting tired driving today. Stopped at Hy-Vee in CB to pick up salad (today was greens day). Post office in Treynor for re-starting mail delivery. Unloaded most of the car. Will finish in the morning.

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