Saturday, October 28, 2006

Westward Ho: Day 8

No stops were planned for today -- our objective was simply to drive from Provo UT to Durango CO and take in the countryside.

After restocking our provisions and taking on gas, we headed east from Provo on US6, which follows the pass also taken by the railroad. I took a wrong turn at the US191 intersection, and we ended up enjoying a side trip to Duchesne UT over a very scenic route through the Ashley National Forest. It has always been interesting to us how the colors change as you move about this part of the country. As soon as we got on the east side of the Wasatch mountains, the colors turned from the browns of the Salt Lake Valley to the reds of much of Utah. But once we got into this high country, things became gray and green.

After backtracking back to US191 south, we came to the town of Helper. Railroad enthusiasts know that 'helpers' are one or more locomotives added to the end of a train to help push the train up a mountain. The helpers usually stay at the base of the mountain, hooking up to the train before it begins the climb. Once the train reaches the top, the helpers disconnect and return to the bottom to assist the next train. I wonder if Helper UT got its name because it was the place the helpers stood by while waiting for trains.

After a short blast eastbound on I-70, we jumped back onto US191 to south. The intersection of I-70 and US-191 is a high point with a rest stop where we took most of the pictures attached. I found myself humming 'I can see for miles and miles, I can see for miles and miles' by The Who.

We retraced (in the opposite direction) the route of a trip we took with the kids about fifteen years ago, passing Arches National Park, Monticello UT and Mesa Verde in Colorado. We settled into the Hampton Inn at Durango CO and had a great meal in a little place almost across the street.

Mileage today was 444 in 8 hours of drive time. Tomorrow we're off to Taos and Santa Fe New Mexico.

By the way, we have now officially started the return leg of our trip...

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