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10/20/2007: Day 11: Alamosa to Hays
Map From Alamosa over the La Veta pass, through COlorado Springs, and on to Hays, Kansas
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Map of our route from Flagstaff to Hays, Kansas, with stays labeled.
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There wasn't an interesting sunrise, but I caught a picture of birds on the (barbed) wire with mountains behind. During road construction, Alamosa is not too picturesque. We got on the road before 10.
Birds on the wire in Alamosa, CO. Temporary fence to keep motel guests off of the main drag during construction.
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Dan stares at the bald, snowless mountaintops, and considers the drought that is affecting this region.
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Harvest Festival in Blanca, CO
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Live music on a hay wagon in Blanca, a stop on the road up to the la Veta pass.
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Downtown Blanca, CO
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Today was supposed to be just fast driving, but we stopped for a small Harvest Festival in Blanca, CO on the way across the La Veta pass (9,413 ft).
Many abandoned houses on nice plots of land make us sad.
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Colorful autumnal scrub in the la Veta pass (9,382')
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Coming down from the mountains, Karen spotted an interesting 1920's factory ruin, and I suggested going in for a closer look. So we did. It was an old coal-fired power plant, with a silo for the coal, and 4 pads for generators. This abandoned building has been salvaged for a long time, with people almost randomly torching out chunks of metal for recycling.
We headed into Walsenburg, and Karen says, "Look at those windows". I say, "Lets!"Karen took this picture, and I decided that it was better than many of mine to get an overall feel for the place.
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Most of a old powerhouse in Walsenburg, CO. Note the lack of a bottom flight of stairs i nthis formerly mid-building stairway.
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I'm a sucker for silhouettes. Note the missing handrails.
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Watch that top step.
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Did we mention that Dan gets (way) up on rickety things to take pictures?
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The floor down below isn't so great, either.
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Normally, this doesn't bother me. But up at this height, with a half-deconstructed stairway swaying slightly as the strong wind whistles through the building, it is a bit dizzying.
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Downhill from the harvest festival, Karen harvested a load of little gourds...
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...from a truck! Well, actually, these things are everywhere around this abandoned power station.
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Dan meets Bob. Bob Wahr. I think I have a current tetanus shot.
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Then we stopped to explore a decrepit power plant in Walsenburg for a while. I apparently get dizzy climbing rickety steel stairs at 6,200 feet, only a couple of days after having a fever. But Karen picked produce, and we had a good time with only one minor injury.
Then we just drove across Colorado and into Kansas.
"Colorful Colorado" they call this. Which side of the road are we supposed to drive on?Actually, Karen was driving, passing, and I'm on the passenger side.
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Karen snapped many shots coming out of Colorado Springs. Here's one of Pikes Peak. Still no snow!
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Colorado continues with straight lines east of the mountains.
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Patchy sun makes for dramatic lighting. I don't think there is a law against snapshots while driving.
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Long shadows and glowing bridge. Almost to Kansas.
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Sunset over Colorado, from the Kansas border
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I was quite taken with the Kansas Welcome Center. Other states could take a cue from this design.
Welcome to Kansas
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Well, maybe not THAT welcome.
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This seal don't bark.
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We ended up in Hays, Kansas. We'd forgotten that we had stayed in this same town twice last year, at a nice motel. This time, we stayed at a Best Western that was our worst Best Western, yet. It was up to their standards, I guess. But it was mostly still the old Vagabond Inn that it had absorbed. (pix on the next entry).
Next: Day 12: Hays to Home

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