Colorado Highway 50 east drops out of the mountains and into the foothills which is farm and ranch country. The mountains are still pretty, but the high country is way behind me at this point.
The hill climb was over by about 3 o'clock Sunday afternoon so I headed on down the mountain and spent yet another night in the Salida Walmart parking lot. I could've driven further but I was in no hurry to get anywhere, the Walmart was very convenient, a nice place to stay, and I was so tired from being up at altitude that long I slept like a baby for about 10 hours.
I did a lot of walking and standing while I was on the mountain and a lot of the walking was either uphill or down, and when you're not used to spending that much time at high altitude it makes you tired just being there.
Monday morning I headed east on Highway 50 with my sights set on getting my truck emissions tested in Colorado Springs. And then maybe spending the night at the Colorado Springs Bass Pro Shop parking lot.
When you leave Salida the mountains start turning into hills with large open valleys at their base and it becomes farm and ranch land. The Arkansas River runs right alongside the highway for a lot of the way till you get near Canyon city where it goes its own way until you get into Canyon city itself where the river runs right through town and there's a very nice park next to it.
I made it into Colorado Springs by early afternoon and drove to the emissions testing place where they informed me that I would have to make a reservation to be tested but they could get me in Tuesday morning at 9:30. That worked out just fine for me since I'd planned on staying at the Bass Pro Shop anyway, so I did a little shopping at Walmart, ate dinner at the Cracker Barrel, and settled into the Bass Pro Shop parking lot about 5 o'clock with 10 other RVs.
After breakfast Tuesday morning I got the truck tested and it passed with flying colors, my 11-year-old diesel is nowhere near polluting anything. I attribute this to a couple of things but mostly to not doing a lot of stop and go driving before I have it tested. Stop and go driving tends to clog up the diesel particulate filter whereas being out on the highways going 60 or 70 miles an hour for a long period of time tends to cleans things out rather nicely.
So now I'm home and mostly unpacked. The Arctic Fox is still sitting here just like I left it, except it's very hot inside and will probably take all night to cool it down sufficiently. I had a great mini-vacation although not without a few challenges. But I've found it's overcoming those challenges that keeps me feeling young and the new experiences that are all around me keep me from getting bored.
The Arkansas River is fed by the watershed on this side of Monarch Pass. Almost all the snow in the high country has melted now but the Arkansas is still running pretty strong
I wonder what these folks are doing, their wearing helmets, they look kind of nervous, one guy even looks like he's praying. I wonder if they're going to climb that rock face behind them.
Oh that's what they're doing! They're going to throw their lives away on the Arkansas River, no wonder the guy was praying.
I'm no water expert but these rapids look like there about 4 feet tall. I hope those folks know how to survive in ice cold mountain water that's trying it's best to rip you apart.