Moab to Denver at 28 mph

Monday, March 8th, was to be the culmination of a wonderful 3-day photography weekend.


My buddy Todd and I were having a great time. We got wonderful images on Saturday but were plagued by clouds and rain showers on Sunday. Monday, weather permitting, would be great.


It didn’t turn out quite the way we hoped.

The Plan:
    • Be in place 1/2 hour before sunrise, to shoot an arch through an arch in Arches NP
  • Leave Utah and head to Colorado National Monument to shoot some formations we missed earlier
  • Lunch in Grand Junction
  • I-70 to Denver, home by dinner time


How the day unfolded:

    • 4:45 a.m. Alarm clock rings. Weather is rainy, decide on 1 hour more sleep and skip Arches NP
  • 6:00 a.m. Head out for CNM in the rain & snow
  • 7:30 a.m. Driving around CNM in the snow, hoping for one of those low cloud kind of “fading into the fog” kind of moody landscape shots. Snow got heavy, visibility got rather bad, nothing to shoot.
  • 7:45 a.m. Road sign says I-70 closed. Rut-roh Shaggy, time for plan B.
  • 8:00 a.m. Breakfast at Village Inn, decide on a route of US 50 to US 285 over Kenosha Pass into Denver. Should add about 1 & 1/2 hour to the journey, but should be scenic.
  • 12:00 p.m. Monarch Pass is really ugly and slick, cars spinning out and getting stuck, carnage everywhere. They closed it right behind us.
  • 2:05 p.m. Poncha Springs. Snacks rang up to $6.66 – an ominous sign, little did we know it signaled another 5+ hours to get home.
  • 2:10 p.m. Check weather reports on iPhone. Kenosha snowed out, decide to take US 24 into Colorado Springs, then up I-25 into Denver.
  • Saw numerous herds of springbucks / antelope along US 24. Used to see them all the time along US 285 in South Park, but haven’t seen them for years. I guess they migrated a bit east.
  • 4:30 p.m. In Colorado Springs. Road signs show I-25 closed. No idea what to do next.
  • 5:00 p.m. Maps on iPhone (with traffic overlay) indicate a route along CO Hwy 83 that will get us around the I-25 hazard. Small roads, heavy traffic, very frustrating but still getting closer to home.
  • 5:45 p.m. Sunset. Can’t believe we’re seeing the sun set when we’ve been in the car since before sunrise. Having a hard time trying not to scream.
  • 7:30 p.m. Arrive home 13.5 hrs after leaving Moab.


Moral of the story: Even in the 21st century, travel requires patience and resourcefulness. And someone to laugh about it with. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Why not make it an adventure?


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