June 26, 2006 - Green River to Denver

Continuing east from Green River, I passed these butte cliffs on the west side of the town of Rock Springs. 
Those butte cliffs are very striking.  Rock Springs probably has the most busiest airport in this entire region of Bridger, Green River, Kemmerer.  The next airport to the east would be Rawlins, 100 miles away!
Yeah, a whole lot of nothing.  It's around 10 AM and the cumulous clouds are already starting to build.  My smooth air of the morning would soon be just a good memory.
This entire area is known as the Great Divide Basin.
 
Still following I-80.  The transcontinental railroad is running parallel to the interstate.
I was looking at the railroad tracks closely, trying to see if I could see evidence of the original transcontinental railroad, built in the 1870s. 
My next stop was at the town of Rawlins, Wyoming.  The airport (KRWL) - elevation 6,813 feet - is straight ahead on the east side of town. 
Over Rawlins Municipal Airport/Harvey Field (KRWL) looking west.
Big twin prop, little Citabria.
The FBO.  Nice sign.  Right away, you know you'll be able to get everything you need.  I borrowed the courtesy car -- a big Suburban SUV -- and drove into town for lunch.  Surprisingly, the local watering hole wasn't much to brag about.   
Elk Mountain, elevation 11,156 feet, off my right wing.
Too bad this image came out blurry; it was kind of an interesting ridge. 
Medicine Bow peak, elevation 12,013,  and the Medicine Bow mountains off to the south. 
See those big cumulous clouds?  There were some serious desert thermals going on.  The Citabria would be climbing 1,000 feet per minute one moment, then descending 1,000 feet per minute the next.  It wasn't violent turbulence, but the Citabria was always rolling 15 degrees left and right. 
The final hurdle -- the Laramie Mountains, of the Rockies.  I'm directly over the town of Laramie.  The Laramie mountains don't look that bad, but I had to climb to 10,500 feet to get over them.  The mountains were about 8,500 feet and I wanted a good 2,000 between me and them, in case I got caught in a heavy downdraft.  
Looking down at Laramie, Wyoming.
Entering the Laramie Mountains.
 
Crossing the Laramies.
And then I was through and out of the entire Rockies!  From here on east, the ground would steadily descend.
I turned south and headed for the Denver area.  Bruce was flying out from Baltimore and we were going to fly the Citabria back together.  The area between Cheyenne and Denver is pretty much high desert.
I landed at Platte Valley airport, just north of Denver, at around 3:30 PM.  I thought I was home free -- out of the mountains and done flying for the day.  I was hot and tired and looking to hitting a motel pool.  I even had reservations at a motel that I had made online through AirNav.com which said the motel was only two miles away.  Instead, things turned into a fiasco. 
The airport had inexpensive fuel and a little terminal office. 
I tied the Citabria down thinking this was where it would stay overnight.  To make a long-story short, the town where the motel was located, Brighton, was a new development and nobody had ever heard of it.  The Super 8 motel had no shuttle service, and, in fact, didn't even have my reservation.  The town of Brighton had no taxi service.  So I literally could not get to the motel from the airport. 

Finally, around 5PM, I untied the Citabria and flew west to another airport called Erie Municipal (28V).  Also, an airport community, it's terminal building was locked up and there was no phone or information.  My cell phone was almost useless for some reason.  So I jumped into the Citabria again and flew a little further west to Boulder Airport (1V5).  Again, the terminal building was locked up and there was absolutely nothing to help a transient pilot.  I was starting to contemplate how sleeping in the tent and sleeping bag would be.  The problem, of course, was that Bruce was flying in tonight, and expecting to meet me at the Super 8 motel in Brighton. 

Then I saw a telephone booth.  It even had a telephone book!  The Boulder airport was close to the town of Boulder so I figured it would be easy to get a shuttle to a local motel.  But when I called a couple of motels, they were all booked!  I couldn't believe it;  shades of Casper.  I figured I better stick with the Super 8 in Brighton.  I called them up and made a reservation.  Then I called the local taxi in Boulder.  The person running the taxi service was obviously interested in making money because when I said I need a ride from the Boulder airport to Brighton, he said "No problem.".  I knew it was going to cost me and it did -- over $60 -- but after three hours of trying to get to a motel that didn't seem too bad!  The driver, Keith, was an interesting guy to talk to.

I checked into the Super 8 and took a nice, cool shower to wash the grime off.  Then I called the taxi dispatcher and arranged for a pickup at 7AM in the morning.  I talked to the same guy, and once again, it was nice dealing with someone who was interested in making a living providing a good service.  A couple of hours later Bruce knocked on the door.  We got a pretty lame burger next door at the SonicBurger, just before it closed. 

Long cross-countries are always an adventure.  Sometimes things go really well, and sometimes they don't.

 
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