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05/15/06: Day 2: Hays, KS to Dillon, CO
Another day of mostly driving.
Overview map of drive from Hays, KS to Dillon, CO
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More detail map of drive from Denver to Dillon (over the high pass)
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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.
Kansas snapshot with a typical Kansas Skyscraper (grain silo)
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Picture P1000052 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!
First view of mountains (thin white line just above the horizon, below the cloud line)
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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.
Passing by Denver
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Picture P1000083 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.
Heading west up to the pass on I-70. I love the blue, layered mountains
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Down from the Pass toward Dillon, CO
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Picture P1000093 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.
Carlos, the welcome llama in Kim and Bill's yard. Story: When these yard llamas showed up, a neighbor took issue. This area had been zoned for pets and horses, so the family thought that llamas would be okay. One neighbor thought otherwise, and petitioned the town council to pass an ordinance agains anything but up to 2 dogs and/or up to 2 cats per household (copied from the Boulder ordinance). To avoid annoying all the extant horse and multi-pet owners, they grandfathered everything BUT these 2 llamas. Quickly, the family managed to get that clause ruled as improper. The one neighbor got the town council to keep lawsuits going for a year to try to get these llamas evicted. The only result was that the town didn't have the money necessary to handle the snowfall one year because of the legal fees!
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A view of the front yard of Kim and Bill's place in Dillon with Sambra in the foreground
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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).
Next: Day 3: A Day in Dillon, CO

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