near Armel, Colorado
August 5, 2008
If the wi-fi connection here ever comes back, this will be a first: one of these pages updated live from the road!
It is currently Day 3 of my first-ever cross-country road trip. I spent most of the day in Kansas. My brother Mike warned me about Kansas. He was right. My previous forays into Kansas were quite brief, but this time I was in for the long haul: drive all the way across to Colorado.
I noticed a few things on my map. One was that I-70 doesn't go due west to Denver but rather takes three or four distinct northwesterly deflections. So studying the map I reasoned that I could fit in both the Biggest Ball of Twine and the geographic center of the continental U.S. without going too far out of my way; all that northerly driving would have to be done anyway. Plus I wanted to get off of the Interstate for at least some part of Kansas. (Yes, I know this is the Colorado page.)
So it was settled: US-36 west all the way until it met up with I-70 about fifty miles east of Denver. Kansas on US-36 was pretty much what I had expected: long, flat plains of nothingness. But not completely; it was perfectly flat only here and there, and while there isn't much topography, there still is some.
So as the sun fell in the west I crossed into Colorado. I was planning on refueling in Kansas to take advantage of the lower prices there; I drove by one station and the next ones before the state line were all closed, some for the night, some for good. Oh well, I'll get gas in Colorado. A few towns dot the map on US-36, but don't let them fool you. Some are just three houses and a post office, one on each corner of the intersection. The first gas station I passed was closed. The second one wasn't a gas station at all. The third was a farm co-op. I'm getting close to E, and since this is a rental car I don't know what it considers "empty." It's been over 100 miles and I haven't seen a single gas station. I know I'm off the beaten path and there isn't a Flying J around every turn, but there has to be at least one. Ok, there has to be one in a town called Last Chance. Sorry, no chance. My GPS said there was one in Cabin Creek. I barely make it there to find a building with no lights on and no gas pump. My best chance now is to go south about six miles to I-70, which I do, just barely.
Lost amongst this was what Colorado looked like here. If you understand my meaning, eastern Colorado looks more like Kansas than Kansas does. It's flatter, has fewer trees, fewer towns, fewer vehicles. In the 150 miles I drove westbound on US-36 from the Kansas state line on a Tuesday evening, I did not see one single pair of headlights behind me nor taillights in front of me.
So I've been in Colorado for about six hours now and I still haven't seen the Rocky Mountains. The plan for tomorrow is to make it to and past Santa Fe. What happens between here and there I yet know not.
August 6, 2008
August 6, 2008