Geology… It happens. Part of the entertainment on this 17 hour drive has been watching the changing landscape. The change happens slow and subtle. From flat Illinois, to rolling Iowa to uber flat Nebraska. And then it changes, quick. Due to the smoke haze from fires we did not notice it until we passed Denver. More on that soon. Today was a quick jump from North Platte to Boulder. Roads in Nebraska were just amazing at 7:30am in the morning.
Most truck drivers were still asleep on off ramps etc in their rigs. We could see them! This meant a super easy roll with the cruise control and the amazing eye-sight system on the Subie keeping us flying along at speeds Australians can only dream of (speed limits in the USA are odd. I plead the 5th and refuse to explain it to you).
We crossed into colorful Colorado at 8:30 Central (now 7:30 Mountain) and the landscape changed into rolling hills replete with yellow wildflowers. You could tell we were in the rain shadow of the Rockies. Corn fields from Nebraska onwards were irrigated so we were entertained by talking about the different technologies we saw for bringing the water to the corn.
While it does not rain much in the near-Rockies plains (cut off from moist flow from the Gulf of Mexico) it does rain and snow over the mountains giving rise to dependable (in most years) rivers allowing irrigation. As we got closer to the mountains cropland gave way to pasture and beef and, as aforementioned, just after Denver the ethereal outline of the front range could be made out.
Also, for me, the roads suddenly became more familiar from many work trips to Boulder. The view of the Flatirons did not disappoint, and I was thrilled to introduce River to their first view of Colorado mountains. We made insanely good time, so our hotel room was far from being ready. This was a good thing as we had good coffee at Boxcar and had a short fun walk in the Boulder canyon.
A just amazing lunch and a few tasty beers at Avery and we checked in to a pretty thinly staffed Marriott. We left River to be a teenager for a few hours and walked to Twisted Pine for what ended up being a fun time playing with puppies and dogs. Now I am writing this from Backcountry Pizza in the middle of a pop up hailstorm! Yep, colorful Colorado!