Off to the Rockies: Austin to Denver

For Memorial Day Weekend, Victoria and I decided to visit her dad in Denver. Her dad had just recently moved there and it was a state that both of us had never been to. I was definitely up for a road trip there.

We hit the road and it was hot and dry.

We decided to stop at the Schlotzsky's Deli in Lampasas.

Their local team was the Badgers also. I see they kind of "borrowed" Bucky from Wisconsin. I was told the 2 different numbers on Bucky were actually the 2 numbers of the owner's kids in the sports they played.

Schlotzsky's was a good choice, because the service and food was great. I ended up thinking a large was smaller than it was, so I definitely needed to get a to go bag. Also, the hot sauce was very good.

Before you knew it, we were on the road with the sun slowly setting.

We made it to Brownwood. They have some of the weirdest stop and go light posts where you have to strain your neck to see if you're at the stop line.

They do have a cool sign for Underwood's Cafeteria. I always think it's kind of cool when I pass through. Sometime, I think I'll have to stop.

After Brownwood, the sun continued its slow descent.

After the sun set, it was crazy with the amount of bugs. We were in the middle of nowhere, so the headlights were the only source of light. I swear, it sounded like it was raining from the amount of bugs we hit along the way.

By the time we got to the hotel in Lubbock, it had cooled down substantially.

We got some sleep and then had breakfast the following morning. It was supposed to be hot in Lubbock that day. Right before we left, it was already 72.

We went to 7-11 and got some caffeine for the journey. I realized the La Quinta we stayed at was next to the MCM Elegante I stayed at during my switch replacement in Lubbock.

While Lubbock was supposed to be hot, the further we drove towards Denver, the cooler it became.

It also became very flat.

Eventually, we made it to Littlefield, TX, the home of Waylon Jennings. I figured it would be appropriate to play some of his music.

After that, it was more flat nothing...

...and confined cattle feed lots...

...and 2 lane 75mph highways.

Every once and a while, there was a blip of civilization. You knew it was a good idea to get gas when you could.

I also checked the front of the car for bugs from the night before. There were a ton of them splattered all over!

After fueling up, we were back to desolate nothing.

Desolate nothing Texas then turned into desolate nothing New Mexico with a few little towns dotted along the way.

Rest stops were rare, but the one in New Mexico was nice. It was definitely very windy in that area.

The rest stop was a quick stop. It was back to desolate nothing again. At least we were going up in elevation and it became less flat.

We finally made it to Colorado! It was definitely a lot more scenic and mountainous here.

After a while of driving, the clouds threatened rain and eventually it did rain hard.

I know, "Riding the Storm Out," by REO Speedwagon was written about driving through a blizzard in the Rockies, so I had to play it as the weather worsened.

This eventually lead to some traffic jams, but surprisingly nothing close to what Austin would be, especially in the rain. Traffic actually kept moving and we didn't have a complete gridlock.

I think a big part of not having gridlock is Denver appears to have planned for the growth. They have a 10 lane highway and it seems like traffic can cruise along pretty well there. I wish Austin would have something like this. It's kind of crazy that Austin has a much larger population, but doesn't have close to the infrastructure Denver has. I was definitely impressed with Denver!

When we finally got to Victoria's dad's house, it was definitely much colder and definitely a lot colder than we experienced that morning in Lubbock!

The drive itself wasn't horrible overall. Driving in the dark to Lubbock wasn't the most fun, especially with the bugs. Also, West Texas is very flat, which can be boring. I was happy to start seeing a change in scenery when I hit New Mexico and the snow capped mountains of Colorado were beautiful. It does seem like most of the drive is a whole lot of desolate nothing, but I guess that's better than being stuck in traffic.

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