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August 24, 2012 / lennonsoehl

From Colorado to the Ocean

Well Sena and I left Colorado Springs at 6AM on Wednesday to make the long haul to the East Coast.  We watched the red sunrise over the plains in Colorado (even though we were stil at about 6-7000 feet elevation), the mountains were already back in the “west”. 

We moved into Kansas where we spent most of Wednesday as we drove through flat fields and windy I-70 corridor. Sean could hardly keep the car on the road and when we stopped for gas we even saw an elderly lady struggling to walk to her car with a cup of coffee! Sean was basically not happy in Kansas and after hours and hours of driving thru it was finally happy to be in Missouri— if just to be out of Kansas. We saw a lot of oil dredgers in Kansas fields and when I googled it found out that basically Kansas is in a oil boom right now. Farmers are charging almost 2000 dollars and acre for oil companies to drill for oil and of course if they have mineral rights on the land they will get more money if they strike oil. 

Apparently workers are coming into the state and will be/are making 100K. All this is also alongside one of the country’s largest wind turbine fields so hopefully renewable energy will win out although with payouts described, I am sure everyone has their fingers crossed for a bunch of oil. 

We saw a large fire on the horizon in Kansas and several more on our drive in Missouri and Illinois–these two were smaller brush fires but in the drought of the midwest anything can turn into a nightmare huge wildfire. The Missouri fire already had fire engines and a helicopter covering it so I suspect it would get contained quickly (it was also literally right on the side of I-70 so much more important to contain it. The Illinois fire looked like it had just started, it was a small brush fire but it was less than a mile away from some railroad tracks and I-70, hopefully it was reported to authorities and they will keep an eye on it. 

On our trip there were a bunch of fires burning between Idaho, Wyoming (in Yellowstone even) and Utah. The drought has made it necessary to put several smoking and fire bans in place. I hope we all remember Smokey Bear’s warning “Only YOU can prevent forest fires”.   We saw firsthand the devastation of the Colorado Springs fires from only  month ago, there were many houses destroyed and much of the forest in that area is closed off as some of the fires are still burning or smoldering and the authorities do not want people hiking through there yet. 

We took the obligatory pictures of the St. Louis Arch and Sean took a few pics of the stadiums in Kansas City. We kept driving as far as we could all the way into Kentucky— Louisville and beyond. Sean finally was getting tired around 1-2am and we pulled into a rest area to sleep. This time we were better prepared mentally (or just too tired) and we quickly took out a blanket and pillows and crashed in our car seats for a couple of hours.

At around 4:45am I woke up and took the wheel. I drove into West Virginia around sunrise and the state just looks beautiful as the mist lays over the mountains. WV is still one of my favorite states as I fondly recall my time at Green Bank and also visiting with Eileen in Parsons and around the ski resorts. We spent most of the morning driving through West Virginia and the sunrise with the mist in the mountains really made the towns and landscape look from another century. 

Sean took over and had to contend with a few mountain passes but none as steep as Teton Pass in Wyoming (10%grades) or Denver (7-8%grades), so I don’t know why he was complaining but it appears he is not fond of windy steep road passes when he hasn’t had much sleep. 

After WV, we spent a smidgeon of time in Virginia and then we were in North Carolina on the west side where we spend the rest of our drive to Hatteras. I passed out when Sean was driving and when we were crossing the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge Sean woke me up. It was quickly reminiscent of the barrier islands and marshlands we are used to on the East Coast whether it be Long Island or South Carolina or Florida. 

We did not see any gators but we did see a Great Egret and soem other birds– an osprey as well. We crossed the refuge and a bridge to roanoke island AND then a bridge to Hatteras National Seashore proper. Who knew that once on the barrier island we still had an hour to drive to Buxton? Yeah, that’s what we thought noone (when we finally arrived and asked everyone who had come before us). 

Well, we have arrived safe and sound in Buxton and had a wonderful shrimp scampi dinner prepared byt eh LaVeccias and even had a bonfire on the beach with Doug, Amanda, Brittany and John, et al. The houses are awesome! Great view of the ocean, short walk to the beach and you can sit on the screened porch or on the upper open deck to listen to the ocean’s crashing waves. It is windy but sunny this morning so it appears Sean adn I brought the early sunshine weather with us. Let’s hope it stays the weekend. Looking forward to a little rest and relaxation near the ocean, my solace from all stress.






Leave a Comment
  1. Maryann / Aug 24 2012 2:56 pm

    Glad you have made it sounds like a wild ride sorry about that but you are both safe and on the beach enjoy rest and get some sun AND ENJOY THE SURF.LOVE MOM

  2. wanderinpat / Aug 24 2012 9:44 pm

    I have to say, Colorado is just a little less fun today than it was Monday and Tuesday! 🙂

    Come back again. I won’t even consider you to be tourists! hahahah

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