Almost did a "Thelma and Louise".

Published: July 26th 2013
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Colorado National Monument to Denver

Thursday July 18 – Rim Rock Drive and back to Denver – I woke up early and although I tried to go back to sleep I was unable to do so and so finally go up. I really hated that as it meant that I would be tired for most of the day. So I drank a coke to get a little caffeine and sugar in my system and then loaded up my truck and headed out to drive the Rim Rock Drive. The Rim Rock Drive was awesome with lots of canyons and rock structures to see. It is fairly long however and with the constant weaving on switchbacks I started falling asleep. I kept on as there really was no place pull over and rest and then started getting really sleepy and so started looking for some where to pull over onto with a sense of greater urgency. The road kept going on and on and suddenly I felt the rocks rough under the truck and bushes scraping the side of the truck. Immediately I pulled left and got back on the road. This had given me quite a shock. I realized I had dozed off. Fortunately I went right towards the bushes and cliff face instead of left and over the cliff. Also if I had done this just a few feet further down I would have scraped up against jagged cliff rocks instead of bushes seriously scratching or denting up the side of my truck. Or if I had gone left I would have done a “Thelma and Louise” off the cliff. So I was lucky once again.

While driving off a 2000ft cliff face would be no doubt a "singular experience" it is one no doubt I can do without.

In any case I turned on my Jerry Jeff Walker Viva Terlingua CD and listened to "Getting By" which always perks me up,to give me some loud music, and continued on along the Rim Rock Drive looking for a place to pull off. I finally came to a turnout that had a trail going down to a canyon overlook and stopped and walked down to the overlook more to wake up a bit than anything else.

So after that I eased down the rest of the Rim Rock Drive and into Grand Junction. Grand Junction really didn’t impress me very much and the entire time I was there I felt like I was in Beaumont, Texas. It’s pretty much a stopping off place on the way somewhere else.

I found a Golden Corral Buffet and ate and then found my way back to I-70 and then went back to the Saddlehorn Campground and took a nap. There was a nice breeze blowing and I was good and comfortable until the sun moved around and started getting it hot in my truck. So about 3:30 I had decided I had enough of Grand Junction and headed to Denver. It was a long tiring drive and at the Twin Tunnels with all the construction and barriers, as it was getting dark a dangerous drive but I soldiered on and after a 7 hour drive made it back to Denver. I had driven 983 miles on this trip and most of them were mountain miles which are quite a bit different than Texas miles.

July 19 – Friday – I got back from Grand Junction last night totally exhausted from the drive. I unloaded what I had to from my truck and left the rest till today. It was roasting hot in Grand Junction but cool enough up on Colorado National Monument at my campground as long as I could get out of direct sunlight (One nice thing about the Meadows campground in Steamboat Springs was that having lots of trees and being 9300ft., it stayed cool up there during the day as long as I could get out of the direct sunlight).

With the hot sun in Grand Junction which is every bit as merciless as the Texas sun I said heck with it yesterday evening and came back to Denver.

The 250 mile drive from Grand Junction to Denver took from 3:30 to about 10:30 figuring my arrival time at the SuperWalmart on Arapahoe drive. Driving in Colorado is not like driving in Texas. You can’t just put on some tunes and relax as you coast along at 70Mph. I constantly had to watch out for curves and slow moving cars as well as keep my speed up to at least 45 MPH while climbing passes, then trying to keep from running someone over while going down the other side. It took me 7 hours of constant attention to what was going on around me and with all the construction going on in and around the tunnels the margin of safety at night is wafer thin. I don’t think I will allow myself to drive at night here anymore. It is just too dangerous. If I can’t make it back before it gets dark I will stop somewhere. - Colorado National Monument Colorado National Monument visitors guide

In any case I am back in Denver with the AC running and a cool fan blowing over me drinking my tea and thinking things over.

Life is good : )

Additional photos below
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Almost did a "Thelma and Louise" off of these cliffsAlmost did a "Thelma and Louise" off of these cliffs
Almost did a "Thelma and Louise" off of these cliffs

I almost did a "Thelma and Louise" over these cliffs.....not good : D

26th July 2013

Glad you are safe
How horrible. Enjoy the travel and get some rest.
26th July 2013

a bit of a shock
It was quite a bit of a shock when my truck started scraping up against those trees and bouncing off the rock on the little drop off on the cliff side of the road. I guess I should have turned on my Viva Terlingua tape a little sooner and listened to "Getting By" sooner. That song always perks me up.
27th July 2013

Thelma and Louise
Sure glad you didn't take a dive off that cliff. Don't think I'll try it with the RV. I chuckled at your comparisons of Colorado and Texas driving. Too true. I also chuckled at the stop at Golden Corral which I love, but no one else in my family does, so I always have to go alone--and your constant stops and McD's for the computer, which I always have to do too. Anyway, glad you are ok.
28th July 2013

I'm a survivor
Thanks. I'm a survivor from way back. If someone travels as much as we do they are bound to have a mishap every now and then : )
2nd August 2013

Scarey and beautiful.
We don't want you driving off a cliff take care and don't drive when tired again. I always keep in mind the phrase "know your limits". Best wishes, Lynne
7th August 2013

close call
I had went to bed early the previous night hoping to get a good nights sleep but kept waking up off and on. I woke up early and tried to go back to sleep but could not, so as soon as it got daylight enough I said heck with it and got moving. I figured a good early morning tour of the scenic drive would be nice. Unfortunately as is usual in cases like this there was a convergence of different circumstances that brought things about. The rhythmic swaying of the truck on endless switchbacks , the unusually warm morning weather and and sound of the wind blowing through the windows. When I realized I was getting sleepy there was no where to pull over on that section of the drive. I just had to keep on moving as there was no where to stop and I sure could not stop in the road. As it was I was lucky or my guardian angel was looking out for me as when I nodded off I went right onto some shrubs and rocks on the right side of the road which jarred me awake again. I immediately turned on one of my CD's very loud and finally got to a turnout where I could stop and walk about a bit which I did. Then I continued on down the Cliffside. I don't want to die anymore than anyone else but if I do I would prefer to do it while doing what I love. I've always lived my life and will continue to do so as long as I live.....hopefully for a long time. : )

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