Day 16 - We decided to get away to an early start today so that we could get across Kansas to Denver in Colorado and up into the Rockies
Our plan was to get right through to Grand Junction as a full day driving, about 6 hours, but the plan got changed as we saw what we were driving into.
Heading off from Russell took us through the high prairies of Kansas. Continuing west the countryside became a mass of green with crops being grown which were obviously the food bowl of the US. One crop we did not recognise that was abundant was Sorghum, which is a grass when ground up has no gluten, but abundant in iron, and glucose, which makes it a great gluten free alternative for wheat based flours.
Sorghum flour will be something we will look for when we get back home as being gluten free will be a better alternative for breads and baking etc. than normal flour.
As we continued on toward Denver we appeared to be travelling on flat ground but the drive over about 3 hours took us up about 4,500 feet in elevation. If I ever did this run again I think I'd do it in the other direction for a much better fuel economy. Now don't get me started on fuel economy, when we researched these RV's it was advertised that the 6.8L V10 had between 10-12 mpg depending on how you drive it. Well, that could not be further from the truth as we have been averaging around 6.5mpg, considerably less than anticipated. Now that means in dollar terms that our fuel bill is considerably higher than what we budgeted for. Oh well, we just need to get back to the end of our trip now in LA which is now only about 5 days away.
Arriving in Denver it took us 2 hours just to get from one side through to the other before our climb up the ranges into the Rockies. And boy was it a climb, 3 lane highway all the way as some of the big rigs were down to walking pace. The climb is long and steep and seems to go forever, we managed to only drop down to about 40mph (75k) as the big V10 had plenty of clout and had no problem dealing with the climb at all.
The Rockies are absolutely amazing and the feat of building that I-70 highway back in the 50's must have taken some amazing engineering. At one point there is a massive tunnel through the mountain at almost 12,000 feet.
The I-70 was instigated by Dwight D Eisenhower as a means of connecting the East coast to the West coast in one continuous highway. It starts in Washington DC and terminates in San Francisco after connecting to the I-15 from Salt Lake City through Las Vegas. A pretty good damn highway most of the way.
As we reached the ski resorts of Breckinridge, Copper Mountain, and Vail, we chose a park at Breckinridge called the Tiger Run RV park, it was just incredible with more massive Motorhome RV's than we had seen the entire trip. These things were huge, up to 50ft bogey drive coaches with trailer hookups, vehicle towing hitches, Harley Davidson racks and more, they were just mind blowing. Our little 38 footer looks like a baby against them.
I think there is a massive amount of retirees in the US that sell up and buy these huge RV's towing Jeeps and Harley Davidson's to spend the rest of their days travelling and experiencing what the US has to offer travellers.
One word of warning when checking in was to not leave anything outside the RV after dark as the bears are still out and about, and get into anything during the night as they move through the park. Now I figured that was just a sales pitch to create a little drama until I had to take some garbage down to the dumpsters at the back end of the park.
In the dark and dropping trash into the dumpsters I was suddenly confronted by this cracking noise of something big moving through the trees behind the dumpsters. Needless to say I retreated rather rapidly back to the safety of the RV, interesting.
Some pretty serious thunderstorms were moving through the mountains now and there was rumour that there may be some snowfalls during the night due to the drop in temperatures.
We got rugged up for a cool night ahead and our continued trip through Colorado tomorrow.