We are finally off. After spending the last six months pouring over maps, websites large and small of marinas and towns along the way, zooming in on Google Earth 1000 times, making multi-page To-Do lists and trying to plan every step of the way, May 1st finally came. This was the day we were leaving Salt Lake City and beginning our drive east on the first leg of our six-month adventure that includes the two and a half month trip on our Pursuit 345 boat on the Down East Circle Route from Cape Cod around the eastern USA and Canada for 3,500 miles and back to the Cape again.
April 30 was our car packing day…and night. By 10 pm it was painfully clear that we were not going to get everything we needed to take into our Subaru Forester. Not even close. Now what? Since we had a rear bumper hitch already on the car, I thought of getting a bumper cargo rack. Possibly a good idea…but where to get a hitch at 10 pm? Walmart…of course! I called our local store that is open 24/7 and was told they have several styles of cargo racks in stock – so off I went.
Two hours later I had the steel cargo rack ($59.95) back home and assembled…not too hard of a job…and began loading large plastic stackable storage containers full of our extra stuff onto the rack. We decided to finish packing early the next day.
May 1st came early as we wanted to head out by 8 a.m. That did not happen. It took until noon for us to finish packing. As the picture shows, we were able to finally get everything into the car and onto the rear bumper rack, but it was not a pretty sight and the rack was only about two inches off the ground when fully loaded! I prayed for flat roads.
We headed south on I-15 from Salt Lake City into Utah County, past Provo and to the town of Spanish Fork where we headed ESE up Spanish Fork Canyon on highway 6, heading for Price, Utah. The drive to Price went well and the canyon was beautiful, as usual. From Price we headed south on route 6 to I-70 a major east-west highway, then we turned east past Green River and on to Grand Junction, CO.
As we continued driving we began getting phone calls from family and friends, all telling us the same thing. There was a freak late-spring snowstorm that was pounding the Rockies east of us, and that I-70 was closed at Silverthorne, by Dillon Lake, Colorado with a 9-car pile-up. Our frustration of not having left 4 hours earlier that day quickly changed to pure gratitude. Had we left on time we would have driven far enough to have gotten right into the heart of that snowstorm before the road was closed…with us in the middle of it all. We gratefully spent the 1st night at a Hampton Inn in Glenwood Springs, CO. No snow yet.
We got up at 4:45 a.m. and were on the road heading east by 5:30. What a wild, long day of driving! We started seeing some snow on I-70 before we got to Vail. Once we got through the Eisenhower Pass (a high mountain tunnel), our car thermometer said it was 10 degrees F. in the tunnel and 17 degrees just outside of it…and this was May 2nd! There was about 4-8 inches of snow and/or ice on the road. We drove slowly and finally got out of the snow as we headed down the east side of the Rockies toward Denver. The rest of the drive into Denver was uneventful.
Cari’s niece Christina Riley lives in Denver, so we stopped and visited with her for 45 minutes before she had to get to work. We needed to be on our way east. It was 9:30 a.m.
We headed out on I-70 to Limon and then on through eastern Colorado and into Kansas. It sure got flat fast east of Denver! We drove to Salina, KS and turned south on highway 135 toward Oklahoma City. We arrived at Cari’s sister Pat and brother-in-law Ken Klein’s house at about 8:30 p.m…a 15 hour drive…Martha Novak, another sister visiting from Roswell, NM, and Christian Riley, a grandson living with them were also there. So good to see everyone. The storm had moved through a few hours before we got there. A long but good day.
May 3rd was spent fixing the cargo rack. I found an adapter that raised up the rack by six inches. That, plus some re-packing of stuff did the trick. It also made the tail lights much more visible from behind…a good thing when driving day and night!
We spent a delightful day and ½ with Cari’s family and then a day and a half with my sister Beth and brother-in-law Darian Andersen and their son, Yan in Oklahoma City. We traveled east again on Monday morning, May 6th, heading for our son Christopher’s, with his wife Kris and their two kids in St. Louis, MO.
The trip is happening!