Thursday, November 17, 2016

Red Rock & Road Closures

Really... never a dull moment.
Well, except for driving on the interstates - that can be coma-inducing.

But we seem to have unexpected adventure wherever we go - and today is no different!

We woke up to mid 40's and rain in Moab this morning - snow could be seen in the higher elevations.  We headed over to Moab Coffee Roasters for beverage and wifi - I had to be online at 8:00am local time to sign up for the first half of my winter high school game series, else I might not have gotten any work from that contract until after the first of the year.  Once that was done, we chose to head out and run Shafer Trail - one of the easier trails in Moab.  Yeah, yeah... we just had the Jeep fixed... but we needed to get it out to earn the almighty Moab sticker! ;-)  So, Shafer Trail was easily done in a couple of hours - and still as gorgeous as always.  It even had some angry clouds in the distance which were a lovely backdrop for photos.  We dropped back into to town for fuel and lunch before heading out... and chose to head up into Arches National Park and hop on the dirt roads, Arches Salt Wash/Salt Valley Road/Salt Valley Gorge Road, out of the park that ends at I-70. 

The drive on I-70 between eastern Utah and up until about midway through the state were essentially uneventful.  We often saw warnings to commercial motor vehicles that chains were needed before Vail Pass up until that point... but as we got closer, the signs then instructed those commercial vehicles to exit at mile marker 133, which was 40+ miles before the pass... and past that, we found out that due to heavy snow and wind, I-70 at Vail Pass was closed altogether.  The more Aaron looked, he was finding other interstate closures after the Vail Pass.  We kept going, thinking we'd go as far as we were allowed, and then possibly find another route to bypass the closures. The roads were pretty treacherous, unless you went very, very slow (which I'm not ashamed to do out here).  Vail Pass WAS closed when we got there, but we found a bypass and ended up back on I-70... but it was taxing to drive.  Given the weather, and the fact that it was well after dark, we chose to stop in Silverthorne for the evening.  We'll rest, let Mother Nature do her thing, and then continue on in the daylight hours.  After consulting with the weather, I'm seeing that the snow should end sometime around 2:00am... and hopefully the roads will be much, much better by the time we're ready to leave.