Mountains on the horizon
Trip Start May 11, 2012
22Trip End Jun 08, 2012
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We said good-bye to Amarillo at 8:30 AM, after having a bit of a rough start. With all of the technology we have today, one would think it would be easy to get on the right road in the right direction. But the Trip Tic and the Garmin disagreed, and the desk clerk knew nothing. But eventually, we did get onto the right road and headed north.
I thought we had left the train behind in Amarillo, but it turned up once again and, like an old friend, it followed us all the way to Colorado Springs
The terrain began to change, the flat land began to roll and the plant life turned into sage brush. I thought okay, we are in the foothills of the Rockies, right. Not so fast. Because the topography changed many times before we got to the foothills. Sometimes it was flat with lush fields of hay, sometimes it was hilly and rocky. At one point it was peppered with black rocks, on the flats and on hills…lava rock from a point in time, very long ago.
We saw natural gas fields, being mined by a company called Pioneer Natural Resources. And we saw more oil wells, rhythmically pumping their black gold into rusted holding tanks along the roadway. And again, as the day before, we were into a sea of grain elevators, and small towns with distribution centers. Charming little towns where you can stay at the Rita Blanca Motel, and eat Martha’s Home Cooking, or eat at the Rabbit Ear Café, or at Maxine’s Café, and buy any kind of pickup truck that your heart desires
Further up the road cattle turned to antelope and back to cattle, sometimes mules, and with occasional sheep. And finally the earth gave birth to rocky plateaus and ledges, where trees grow out of rocks and jagged cliffs are the crowning touch. And then, what I had been waiting for…in the far off distance, purple mountains with snow covered ridges and trails of snow sliding down the sides. And what a sight they were, framed by the clear blue skies over Colorado.
The road snaked over and around the knotty hills, going up, then down, then up again. And on hillsides, nestled in the trees, were occasional houses, with vistas I can only imagine. The signs warned us of falling rocks, and the rocks at the roadside were evidence that the warning needed to be taken seriously. The signs also told us that we were on the Santa Fe Trail also called the Trail of Heroes. And my mind went to the pioneers of this country, and how they blazed this trail and what they must have thought when they came over the horizon and saw the Rocky Mountains standing before them.
We arrived in Colorado Springs around 3 PM…we had a time change today…and we set out to plan our drive up the mountain. Time for a glass of wine.