January 19, 2011: The Road to Boulder, CO

The morning of January 19th we woke up at the Hamilton's relaxed, regrouped, and rested.  A home-cooked meal and a couple nights of good sleep made a huge difference!!   It was our 6th day on the road and our destination was Boulder, CO.  The drive between Idaho and Colorado was exciting because it would take us out of the harsh winter weather and it would also be our last “long drive” (~1,060 miles) in a single day.  We rolled out of Couer d’Alene, ID sometime before 8am. The roads were in good condition which allowed us to enjoy the Idaho sunrise, wooded mountains and clear blue lakes as we drove towards the Montana border.

Sometime around noon, we arrived in Big Sky country.  This stretch of the road is very scenic and remote with large mountains and high plains.  Our drive south toward Colorado took us through many of the large towns in Montana (Missoula, Butte, Bozeman, Bllings) which were strung out like pearls along I-90.  We stopped in Bozeman, MT to stretch our legs and Shatomi mailed his stack of post cards. From Montana, we continued on I-90 south into Wyoming where we would eventually take I-25 all the way to Colorado.   

Wyoming is the second least densely populated state in the US next to Alaska.  Just prior to entering Wyoming in the later afternoon, we passed the Battle of the Little Bighorn.  The Battle of Little Bighorn was the last armed Native American effort in 1876 where the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho people fought to preserve their way of life and ultimately defeated General George A. Custer and the US Cavalry.  

We had talked about stopping to visit however it was dark when we passed the park and a light snow had begun to cover the roads.  We elected to push on through Wyoming and attempt to arrive in Boulder before midnight.

 The road conditions through Wyoming got more challenging as we slowly climb toward the mile-high mark.  More "champagne power" and heavy winds.  The traffic and semi-white-out conditions slowed us down to 20-30 mph through several stretches of road and reminded us of traveling through parts of Canada.  The drive became exhausting and we were both tired.  Dom patiently piloted the Jeep safely through the Wyoming mountains and we made Boulder, CO around 1:30am January 20, 2011.  

The temperature in Boulder was around 20F, the roads were plowed and city was blanketed with 4-6 inches of fresh snow.  Our host for this portion of the trip was Henry Clemmons, Dom’s longtime friend from University of Vermont who was eagerly waiting our arrival.  At this point we had driven 3500 miles.  Exhausted, we climbed out of the Jeep and hauled only our essential gear into the home of Henry’s neighbor Sam, who had generously allowed us to crash at his place for a couple days while he was out.  This was our first introduction to the laid-back, generous, and live-and-let-live spirit that makes Boulder a unique community and a high-quality place to live.  Shatomi found a bed and went straight to sleep, while Dom –re-invigorated by reuniting with his close friend—stayed up late chatting with Henry. 

1 comment:

  1. Glad you are updating. Don't want to see you stuck in Boulder forever!