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Thursday, June 18, 2009


While the training portion of my Ironman CDA experience began 10 months ago and culminates this coming Sunday with the actual event (hooray!), the road trip there began Monday around 9am as I chose to drive, splitting the 1000+ mile journey over two days to avoid my normal, little I, "ironman" driving routine in which I drive for 12-15 hours before stopping for the night (but not gas or potty breaks).

Traffic was somewhat heaving heading North on I-25 towards and beyond Ft. Collins. At some point, however, and I don't recall exactly where, the traffic just disappeared and it was just me and the open road (and the very hard/uncomfortable seat in our Jeep Liberty). Sometimes the miles flew by and I eerily "came to" wondering how many close calls I had while zoning out. I'm sure I'm not the only person who's had this happen to them, but it is kind of freaky how we can just drive on autopilot and actually stay on the road while our mind wanders off into La La Land. And sometimes the miles dragged on. One thing is for sure, after I passed I-80, I was on roads that I've never driven on before - or even been on as far as I know. So, the scenery, and there was a lot of it, was all new. Wyoming on I-25 all the way north to Montana is very rolly and very beautiful. With all the rain the front range has had this year, everything is just green....which means bugs....lots of them....impaling their little bodies against my windshield. Some white, some clear with baby eggs that will never hatch, and some, quite grossly, red.

All through Wyoming and Montana, I kept seeing huge flatbed semis passing in the opposite direction each carrying two wind turbine blades. Last Thanksgiving, we drove back to CO from Dallas via US-287 which passes through Excel Energy's wind farm in the Southeast corner of CO. Those things were huge and when we passed by a maintenance shed where several of the blades were on the ground, they were still huge and I (very wrongly) estimated that they were like 40 feet long. The length of the flatbed semi trailer is 120 feet. These turbine blades were hanging off the trailer on both ends. They were absolutely enormous. 40 feet? Are you kidding me?

Billings, MT is about halfway between CDA and Boulder being just short of the mark. After having a rather long time to think about how long it was going to take to get into Coeur d'Alene on Tuesday and the fact that I still wanted to do a ride on Tuesday, I came very close to hitting the low end of my little I, ironman driving hour range as I pulled in to Bozeman, MT a full 150mi beyond halfway and slightly before 8pm ensuring that I would not have a ridiculously long driving day on Tuesday. That said, I rolled into CDA around 1pm having gained an hour due to driving so fast I went back in time. Actually, Northern Idaho is in the Pacific Time Zone. The highlight of day 2 was having to schlep everything but the food from the Jeep to the hotel room and back again in the morning where someone found it fit to park in the middle of the roundabout leading into where the front desk was and also my loading door. The car, a red Nissan Sentra sedan effectively blocked any traffic from getting through the roundabout so I had to back in in order to load effectively. The car was parked there the entire time it took me to repack and load the Jeep and as I was finishing up, this old couple came out to claim their car. I almost said something but decided it wasn't worth it. Besides, she was using a walker.


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