Mérida or Bust — Day Two: Douglas, WY, to Castle Rock, CO

Total Kilometres to Drive: 5,400

Kilometres Driven Today: 400

Total Kilometres Driven: 1,230

Kilometres Left: 4,170

Amount of Trip Completed: 22.78%

I had a super slow morning in Douglas, just enjoying the supremely comfy bed. A fairly meagre breakfast was provided, but there were make-your-own waffles, which I have to confess I rather enjoy! 🙂 I shut down the computer at about 10:00, but that failed because I needed to save a document. That turned out to be a good thing since I caught an email asking me to take a rush job! I had just enough time to do the job and still checkout on time (11:00).

The weather was quite nice as I pointed Moya south towards Wheatland, where I planned to get fuel. I stopped just before at the Dwyer Junction rest area, which was smartly set up to be accessible from either direction of I-25.

After Wheatland, I drove into a storm. Rain turned to slush and my windshield wipers became useless. I considered getting off at the next exit because I could barely see, but I was in the middle of nowhere and there was no traffic. It made more sense to limp into Cheyenne at about 40KPH with the four-way flashers on. This way, if the weather got worse, I’d be in a position to hunker down. But by the time I was done with lunch, the weather was clearing and I was rewarded with bright blue sky when I crossed the Colorado border.

All was going well until Denver, where there was a huge accident. I’m pretty sure I could have crossed the city faster on foot… Like last year, I was really grateful for my GPS. That delayed me enough that I gave up on my idea of going to the Apple store to see if they might be able to fix my keyboard and just drove straight to my destination. I’m staying with one of you lovely readers tonight.

There is more bad weather incoming, so I’m hoping to be on the road to Texas early tomorrow. I’m really liking the forecast in Amarillo!

Walsenburg, CO, to Cheyenne, WY

There really isn’t anything interesting to report about today, I’m afraid. If you were planning to go to bed soon, keep reading as I’m sure you’ll fall asleep halfway through. 😀

I stayed at the Anchor Motel in Walsenburg and it was a great stay. The room was $50 with the tax. The motel is located at the quiet end of Main Street so there was almost no road noise. The room was very dark and the bed nearly as comfortable as the one in John’s RV. I only slept six hours straight through, but they were solid hours, and then I snoozed for another two and a half. 🙂 The room itself was neat, clean, and not worn or shabby even though it hadn’t been updated in my lifetime, I’m sure (except for that mattress!). I like that it had a proper desk and chair and that the shower was hot with good pressure.

The only negative was that they didn’t offer coffee. I did a quick Google search and found a coffee shop a couple of blocks away. I drove because it was pouring rain. The lady working the shop was a complete flake, but the coffee and scone were both excellent.

I didn’t leave till nearly 10:30 since I wasn’t doing too much mileage today. I had to drive through downtown Walsenburg and wished the weather would have been nicer as I would have stayed for a bit to poke through the antique shops, but it was definitely not weather for walking around. The streets were deserted, it was just that nasty and miserable.

I bought fuel before getting on I-25 and then headed north. By 11:30, I was ready for another coffee and getting peckish. So when I passed near Pueblo a sign for a Cracker Barrel, my guilty pleasure, I decided to stop for lunch. Service was unbelievably slow because the restaurant was packed, but my server was attentive, the coffee kept coming, and I had a full charged phone with good service, so I didn’t care.

Next stop was the Walmart in Colorado Springs because the forecast for the weekend is just more and more wet and I needed at the very least some waterproof footwear and hoped to find a fleece hoodie and some sort of waterproof windbreaker. I found a really cute pair of rubber booties for $15, but struck out on outerwear. They only had summer stuff. I didn’t think to check the time and headed to a Target, where I struck out, too. It was only as I was about to head to JC Penney’s that I thought to look at the clock and realised that at the rate I was going, I was going to hit Denver at 3:00, right at the start of rush hour! Moron!

By this point, I was so deep into Colorado Springs and away from I-25 that I had to drive 15KM to get back on it, so I got a chance to see quite a bit of the town. It’s really nothing special. The name Colorado Springs features on two favourite TV shows of mine, Dr. Quinn and Stargate, but of course those Colorado Springs have nothing to do with reality. I’ve been to the Stargate Colorado Springs; it looks suspiciously like the Greater Vancouver Area. 😀

From Target, I hurried back to the truck and drove and drove and drove, not daring to take any time to stop even though I passed a Cabela’s where I could have gotten what I needed.

Heading out of Colorado Springs into Denver.

Heading out of Colorado Springs into Denver.

Traffic through Denver was thick and slow, but fluid, and I made it through in 30 minutes flat. Phew! Only the scenery around the city looked familiar to me after 20 years. There was a bit of clearing and a wisp of blue sky past Denver, but it didn’t last.

Castle Rock.

Castle Rock.

I pushed on from Denver, with the plan being to stop in Cheyenne for the night. That was as far as I was willing to go tonight and it would mean a reasonable day tomorrow to Mount Rushmore.

Something tells me the Wyoming border is approaching.

Something tells me the Wyoming border is approaching.

I was right. :)

I was right. 🙂

It started to sleet heavily as I crossed the Wyoming state line. I pulled into the rest area to do some motel research and found the pickings dire. There is tons of accommodation, but it’s firmly divided between luxury accommodation and roach motels with barely any middle ground. I read recent review after recent review of motels in the $70 range that are the cheapest in the area pricewise and have bedbugs and other major issues. It looked like my two best options were the iffy Motel 6 (middling reviews) and the Super 8 (great reviews, but pricey at over 100USD. Yes, for a Super 8!!!).

I came into town and checked a couple of the better reviewed non-chain motels and they were terrifying! The cheapest one I could find was $75 and I’m not sure I would have used the bathroom! I went to the Motel 6, which was $50 and right on budget, but there were four people ahead of me in line complaining about their rooms. So I headed to the Super 8 and was quoted $83 with the tax, much better than the online rate, and it includes a basic breakfast of toast, fruit, and coffee. I really wasn’t happy dropping 100CAD, but I was done shopping for a bed and the room was nice and about as far from the railroad tracks as I can hope to be.

There were no food options period within walking distance (which I would have done even in the sleet to avoid getting back in my truck), so I resigned myself to either not eating or doing more driving, neither option being particularly appealing. I searched for pizza and found a Little Caesar’s 10 minutes away, so that was perfect. I made it there without incident and they had my favourite $5 pizza (sausage) ready, so I took that as a sign that I’d made the right dinner choice!

I got back to the motel and called Zenni Optical between slices of pizza. My latest order is taking a bit longer than usual to process, so it won’t make it to Mount Rushmore by Friday, as I had hoped. I was able to have the shipping addressed changed to home, so now I don’t have to worry about having the order sent on to me by reader and host Vicki.

I’m so close to home I can almost smell it… I am really glad to be taking in the Black Hills this weekend and still want to make the relatively minor detour there, but wish the weather was looking better so I could enjoy my stay more. I’m getting to Mt. Rushmore later tomorrow afternoon and will be working Thursday and Friday. Vicki, a friend of hers, and I are going to do touristy stuff over the weekend, including Mt. Rushmore and the town of Deadwood. Monday, it’s off to Devils Tower and then an overnight in Scobey. I can’t believe I’ll be home this day next week.