05/15/2006: Day 2: Hays, KS to Dillon, CO
Another day of mostly driving.
After Belgian Waffles for breakfast, we got on the road at 9:15 CDT (8:15 MDT). Western Kansas is pretty flat; stereotypical Kansas. Out here, where the speed limit is 75, many trucks pull 3 trailers.
A friend told me that we should start seeing the mountains from Kansas. Not today. We crossed into Colorado, and still no mountains. We got to 5,000 feet and still no mountains. We finally saw them, hazy below the clouds, about ½ hour before Denver!
We stopped at the eastern outskirts of Denver to visit Eliana and Liron and their kids. I've known Eliana since the start of the 1980's, when she was my college girlfriends little sister. They are living on a new development built on what used to be an air base. At Denver's altitude ("Mile High City"), I was a little out of breath. My bad cold a week ago combined with my essentially sea-level metabolism make me somewhat susceptible to altitude sickness. Plenty of pseudo-ephedrine helps.
However, at 5:00, Monday Rush hour, we headed west around and beyond Denver and up the hill. The roads are excellent, but it often looked like we were on a slight downgrade as we had our little Mazda floored in 3rd gear to hold 45 em-pee-aitch. Obviously a steep climb.
We went through the Eisenhower tunnel (reduced to one lane for seasonal construction) at 13,900 feet. Then it was down, down, down past Georgetown toward Dillon to stay with Kim and Bill.
Kim is a friend of ours from dance from over a decade ago. They live in a 1960's cabin overlooking lake Dillon on a steep hill. Beautiful. Maybe chalet is a better word for a 3 level building with fancy roofline and deck and windows onto many beautiful scenes. Their dog greeted us with enthusiasm, the 4 cats gradually warmed to us, and the llamas just looked skeptical. I think that's how they always look.
The llamas belong to Bill's parents who own the cabin next door. There is a good story about local political strife brought on by these llamas (see the image description).