Day 17-18-19The Big Finale.
The thunderstorms cleared out over night, so since we were headed N E to get to I-70 we figured it wouldn’t hurt to get a few ‘Last Photos’ in Arches N P on our way out of Moab. The bright morning sun gave us some nice perspectives of the same arches we shared with you the day before.
Then it was EastBound and Down on I-70. I don’t know how you all react to this part of a vacation trip when you do a roadtrip, but we kinda get antsey to make tracks for home. We had been on the road for 17 days (and nights) and as much as we had thought about lollygagging around the Mountains in Colorado, we didn’t
!! I had hoped to get home without maint. On the truck, but some of the back roads caused tire cuts and bad wearon the inner edges, So we had to get a pair of tires mounted (in Golden, CO) and that capped the “let’s Go
” attitude for both of us.
I-70 is an interstate with real class in my opinion. Just east of Glenwood Springs the Colorado River, The Denver and Rio Grande Western RR and the Highway share a narrow canyon that is an engineering marvel to drive thru and to study.
We overnighted (after the tire incident and a late breakfast/supper at the Tomahawk Truck Stop) in Limon, CO. Nothing to report there but a chance to watch a little Prairie Dog scramble from tunnel to tunnel, while the dogs never even got close in their sniffing-pursuit! Day 18- Limon CO to Junction City (Fort Riley) Kansas
. This time of year Kansas is pretty much green and flat. It will dry out a lot by the time we head west again in September. We stopped in Wilson, Kansas
(Exit 206) the self-proclaimed Czech Capital of Kansas
to see how things had progressed since our last visit 7 or 8 years ago. It seemed to be the same town in “suspended animation” that we visited with my Mom in the 90’s! It looked like it was going to be a sellout crowd at the Opera House this weekend !!
We bought some fresh (refrigerated since that morning) Kolaches to nibble on as we headed east again. The Kolache is a great pastry, and these were prime examples. The bread-like dough was sweet to taste, and the fruit was a bit tart and full-flavored, not sugary jam like filling. We put them on the dashboard to warm a bit in the afternoon sun and they were OUTSTANDING!
Then came a shopping stop at the Russell Stover Candy Store in Abilene, Kansas. Now mind you, we had stopped at the R.S. in Montrose CO about 2 weeks ago, but somehow my sweet-toothed wife had managed to snack her way thru the materials (except my Salt Water Taffy) so we had to stock up for ‘trip presents’ for some neighbors and grandkids. The Abilene candy store is huge (compared to several others we have visited over the years). We did our shopping, then Janet headed over to the Ice Cream Counter where BLUE BELL
is featured. Since lleechef
is such a Blue Bell fan, we got an extra scoop of Butter Pecan and dedicated it to her before scarfing it down to prevent spillage !!
After a riding tour of the town of Abilene we head a bit further east to Junction City, KS for the night. Here again we found that the wireless internet service was not functioning, so we had to put off any reports again. Day 19- Junction City KS to Lanesville Indiana (605 miles),
We back-doored our way into Kansas City yesterday morning for two reasons…1.
I was bored with the eastern Kansas version of I-70 and 2.
we wanted to stop at Arthur Bryants when it opened at 10 am (Thanks to Bushie and Pov Pete for providing Net access to the hours of operation when I couldn’t get to the Net) We were 160 miles from KC when we started that day, and used U S 24 and U S 40 to get to the front door of Arthur Bryants just as the gentleman with the keys was unlocking the front door. Perfect timing. One gentleman came in right behind us to pick up a take-out order for his flight to New Orleans later that morning. We got a take-out order of a couple of pounds of brisket, a couple of pounds of Burnt ends, a slab of ribs, and 4 quarts of the Beans…I love Arthur Bryants BBQ Beans!!. So $80 lighter, but with a cooler full of good things we were off on the way to Hoosierland.
We had enjoyed wonderful weather almost the entire trip and what rain we did endure was a series of small desert thunderstorms that really didn’t do more than wet the roads a bit. HOWEVER, The Gods decided to welcome us back Home to Indiana with a real show last night. When we entered the state from Illinois the sky turned black and the lightning was all over the place. We gassed up in Evansville and just as Jan and I returned to the truck from the fuel stop, the storm hit. Buckets of rain, winds howling and a real interesting time on the road. Many underpasses were full of cars seeking shelter. We marched along with flashers going and holding at about 35 MPH for 50 miles or so, then it seemed to lighten up a bit….but not for long. Round Two hit as we neared our exit on I-64. Luckily I got the truck into our garage and we left things in place while we retired for the night.
No photos of the storming or events related, as we were too busy and too tired to care about recording this part of a great trip for historical purposes.
OK- A few Stats.. We drove 5600 miles over 19 Days. Lowest gas prices were in Western Missouri (both on I-44 and on I-70) at $2.54. Highest gas we saw was in remote Utah--$3.29 a gallon. We didn’t shop there. We did get some for $2.86 in Cedar City- the low for Utah)
Motel costs were comparable to what we experienced in 2004. Prices had not gone up on the average. We traveled before the Memorial Day “Start of the Season” rate increases. By shopping on-line and using the Net AND the AAA Tour-Books in advance we had no difficulty find pet-friendly motels at what we consider a reasonable rate.
Food was an interesting subject. I could make a case for the difficulty of finding ‘good’ roadfood eating places after driving all day in scenic areas. I had several pages of printouts of notes that helped a lot, but there were times when it was too much bother to go hunting for a place in another town. Moab is a good example. When we had a good cheap dinner there the first night we were in town, the decision as to should we try another place, or test another menu item at the Diner was made!? Our choice was the Diner. We liked the place and those Sweetwater Potatoes were addictive for sure. The dinners were all under $10 and the food was solid and good. Frankly if we stayed in town for a week we probably would have been there every day. The menu was varied and we liked everything we tried.
OK I will upload this final report entry then try to get the last photos on from my laptop. I am back on the dial-up service here at home, so photos take awhile compared to the the motel internet service. I do hope my records will assist some of you in your travel plans. This vacation was a wonderful experience for us. Stopping to “smell the roses” whenever we wanted to, and pulling over in turnouts to let the BMW’s whip by was a new experience for me, and I liked it. We saw wildlife, met a lot of nice people, and saw things that we had hoped to see all over the West.
It is good to be home, but the memories are worth all the planning and efforts. I urge anyone thinking of poking around this country of ours, to do just that. What a great ride !