A most appropriate track for my most recent trip to the DMV area (DC, Maryland, Virginia) and incidentally, Shenandoah National Park. On Skyline drive right around sunset, we stopped the car at one point for a mama bear and her cubs crossing the road! The pictures just don't do justice to the majestic nature of the park.
Saint Louis was a stop along our 1000+ mile road trip from Florida to Nebraska. We arrived at night and I was greeted with negative 20s Fahrenheit temperatures (-29C), a steep change from the 80F (27C) winters of Florida I have grown accustomed to over the years. To boot, there was a snow blizzard all through Tennessee and I was driving through the outskirts of the Appalachian/Blue Ride Mountains.
We spent the night at a hotel using the Hotel Tonight app. This was my first encounter with the app and I was majorly disappointed by the hotel because it was old and the lights went out in the middle of my shower and no one came to fix it. To HT's credit, they apologized and issued me a small credit for a future stay. The next morning we went to explore the Arch! This was my first time in Saint Louis and I was very excited as I had no idea you could climb to the top. In my ignorance, I had always believed it was a fixed sculpture you could only look at. Living all over the world has its perks- but some things that was probably obvious to natives still come as a surprise to me.
The Gateway Arch, as it is called also has a small museum at its base and it is free.
After exploring the Lewis and Clark like exhibits, we bought our tickets and went to the top of the Arch. Some interesting facts if you care for them: The arch is 630 feet tall and 630 feet wide. It is the highest man-made monument in America, the tallest stainless steel monument in the world and world's tallest arch. It was built as a symbol of the westward expansion of the United States in the early 60s and took two years to build. Because of the diagonal shape, standard elevators can't be used. The arch had trams built with egg shaped five seat pods.
The pods are tiny! The doors to the pods are very short. They start about a foot off the ground and at just a little over 5 feet myself, you can see they're probably about 4 feet tall. When you get inside it feels like you are in an old science fiction movie going to outer space.
Overall, if you're within a 3 hour drive or in town on business, its worth checking out the Arch from the top. We're definitely happy we took the time to make a pit stop here.
So Chub Hub wakes up Saturday morning and all his buddies are asking him about where we're all going today. Apparently it is something of a tradition to venture and travel somewhere new and exotic that they have built up being young guys from outside of Nebraska and having a thing for adventure. Of course, I got very excited and started looking up last minute tickets for flights and calculating driving distance to Mount Rushmore. After much debate about destination and method of transport.. alas, we decided on Denver, Colorado!
We drove to Denver, ate and explored a bit of LoDo (Lower Downtown) and yes, we ran into plenty of Dispensaries. And, yes it smelled a lot like pot in a lot of the state. No, neither of us tried it.
The next day we drove to the Rockies and we were on our way to the top of Mount Evans. The road goes from 8,700 feet at Idaho Spring where you turn from I-70 to a road that goes 14,240 feet to the summit. This is the highest paved road in North America. Unfortunately, that road was closed 14 miles from the top due to Snow.
We walked about a half a mile past this sign and didn't think it was wise for us to keep trekking on in our jeans and normal shoes. The path really required some snow pants and snow shoes. Chub Hub fell into about 2 feet of snow at one point.
After this, we stopped at a small Restaurant called The Tributary at 244 and watched the Broncos Patriots game where I was the only one cheering for the Pats. They had Elk and Jalapeno sausages which were delicious. We then drove to Boulder, CO explored it a bit and drove back to our home base in Lincoln.