Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fall Road Trip - California to Colorado

On the Road Again Somewhere in Nevada.
Santa Clara, CA - Yep, that's right.... more road trip photos!!  Are you noticing a pattern?  There is so much to see between California and Colorado, that we hate to fly if we can make the time.  This fall trip was originally going to be only 4 days long.  I was going to fly to Colorado, let Keira visit with her grand parents while I worked at replacing the front window at the townhouse in Lafayette.  However, due to my bout with giardia in September, we ended up having to cancel a holiday in Mexico which then freed up a few more vacation days for Suwei (actually the last few weeks of her maternity leave). 

The obvious use for those for those days off?  Road Trip!  With the fall colors going wild, we figured this would be a great time to expand and enhance the trip to Colorado.  This first set comes from our five day "sprint" out to Colorado.  Although Keira has proven to be a great road trip baby, she does have her limits and we figured that more than 8 hours a day in the car would be a bit too much.  We wanted to get to Colorado quickly so that we could get done what we needed to get done and visit who we wanted to visit and still have time for a nice leisurely return to California through the Southwest (photos coming soon!)

Keira checking out the beach, Silver Lake, CA
Learning about pay phones
Jackson, CA
Our first day on the road took us over the Sierras via 88 through Jackson, past Kit Carson, Silver Lake, and Kirkwood.  We entered Nevada near Gardnerville and headed north to Carson City where we caught Hwy 50 east.  We spent our first night camping on the east shore of Lahontan Reservoir, where you can set up camp right on the beach.  Due to some mighty strong winds we decided to pitch camp just behind a sand dune.

Keira's Camping Duds

Camping at Lahontan Reservoir, NV
Sunset at Lahontan Reservoir, NV
On day two we made a stop in Austin, NV to check out an old west cemetery and download another podcast of, "This American Life".  We took a dip in the Spencer Hot Springs.  Spencer continues to be our favorite hot spring in Nevada and probably the country (I'd have to pick my brain to remember one better... it's the view that makes it).  We made a stop in Empire, NV for gas and salt for our hard boiled eggs (one of the few foods that did not cause my healing stomach to belly ache).  We stopped in Ely, NV to buy more eggs and make a second attempt to download a TAL episode.  We camped that night at about 11,000 ft in the Wheeler Peak campground in Great Basin National Park.  Keira bravely slept though most of the night, even though the temps dropped down into the 30's.

Cemetery in Austin, Nevada
Spencer Hot Springs, Nevada

Ely, Nevada
Somewhere in Nevada

Day three we woke up to an amazing display of fall colors just below Wheeler Peak.  After a chilly start we wandered back down the mountain to visit the Lehman Caves near the Great Basin Visitor's Center.  Next we made the long haul across Utah through patches of rain and sun with the goal of finding a motel in Green River before the Subway closed (we learned that day that my stomach could sort of handle a 6" veggie sub).

Breakfast in Great Basin National Park
Fall Colors, Wheeler Peak Campground, Great Basin National Park
Wheeler Peak, Great Basin National Park
Lehman Caves, Great Basin National Park, Nevada

Awkward Family Photo, Lehman Caves, Great Basin National Park, Nevada
Leaving Great Basin National Park
Dry Lake in Western Utah
Viewpoint Somewhere in Utah
Day four we entered colorful Colorado, and well... the state was living up to it's name.  We made it to Vail by lunchtime and popped in to see our friends Jennifer and Brian. Brain had just had surgery on his right shoulder and was convalescing in Lion's Head.  Jennifer looked great and slightly swollen as she was entering her seventh month of pregnancy.  We probably well wore out our welcome by staying through dinner and leaving for our place in Keystone much later than we expected.
Visiting Jennifer & Brain in Vail, CO

Day 5, our last day on the road was a very easy one. Keystone to Broomfield takes about an hour and half if you are lollygagging. We just needed to do a little mattress shopping before heading down the hill. In any case, we had made it to Colorado and needed to start our chores. That was supposed to be the reason for the trip in the first place. It's sometimes easy to get a bit distracted when you're on the road.

Rain/Sun Shelter, Great Basin National Park, NV
There are 55 photos in the Slide Show. Just click the link below.

Fall Road Trip 2011 - California to Colorado

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