From Fruita, I made my way to Golden, Colorado which is about a half hour west of Denver. This was where I planned to stay while Mike was visiting. The drive along I-70 was breathtaking. I followed the Colorado River for about 115 miles, and then navigated through the tight twisty turns of the White River National Forest, made all-the-more challenging by the one available narrow lane lined with orange traffic cones due to the construction currently in progress.
I made my way through the Rocky Mountains by crawling up several passes which were upwards of 11,000 – 12,000 feet – this being the most terrifying part of the drive. There would be only two, sometimes three, lanes with cars zooming by at 65-70mph in the left lane and semis (and me) creeping at maybe 40mph in the right lane. The tricky part of all this is when you come up on a semi that’s going slower than you. You don’t want to lose your momentum, even though you’re only going two miles an hour faster. But it would take you what would feel like an eternity to pass the sucker. And you don’t want to pull into the left lane, because you’ll stop all traffic in your efforts to not get stuck behind a slow poke. And that’s exactly what happened how it went. There would be a semi not going much more than 15mph, so the other semis going 30-40mph would pass the slower one, effectively halting traffic, resulting in a chaotic mess of cars trying to go faster but nowhere to go. Am I painting a picture well enough to express how stressful this was?
Needless to say, I was relieved to be out of the Rocky Mountains. Almost immediately coming out of them, I could see the sprawl of Denver. Apparently, I had a misconception of what Denver would look like. I pictured it “nestled” with the Rocky Mountains towering above, so close you could feel their presence. This is not so. I suppose it’s much like Seattle and its surrounding cities with the Cascade Mountains in the distance, minus the hills and the water.
I arrived at the RV Park early in the afternoon and was expecting Mike late that evening. So, I decided to ride the four to five miles into the town of Golden to check it out. It had a cute little downtown area like many of the places I’ve visited. By now I was starving, so I walked both sides of the street in search of something that looked good and reasonably priced. I chose a pretty generic looking bar & grill. Stupidly, I ordered the fish and chips, expecting them to be like the fish and chips you’d get in Seattle. That was a mistake. They were the worst fish fillets I’ve had outside of the stuff that comes in frozen boxes at the grocery stores. Note to self: Don’t order seafood if you’re nowhere near the ocean.
Mike finally arrived at the RV Park slightly after 1am. We had already decided we didn’t want to spend a ton of money doing touristy activities, so we mainly drove around in his rental car and did some sightseeing. One day we explored Boulder, and another day we checked out Denver, the highlight being Rocky Mountain National Park. I was sad to see him go five days later but was so grateful he was able to come out. It was just another reminder of how much I missed home.
The day before Mike left, we did a check over Betty to make sure she was properly hydrated of all necessary fluids. After he left, I stayed another day in Golden to prepare for the next leg of the journey. The following day was when I set out for South Dakota. I didn’t get 10 miles before ‘Ol Betty failed me.