Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Castle in the Sky: Colorado Road Trip Part 3

[Previously on the Thinkware Colorado Road Trip: I took a giant detour driving from Colorado Springs to Denver. It should've taken me about 2 and a half hours. I took 12.] 

After 2 days of exploration and (new-found) experience with extreme altitude, I felt considerably more prepared to drive up Mount Evans -- which cradles North America's highest paved road at 14,130 feet. Yes, it is higher than Pikes Peak.

I didn't do so well at Pikes Peak.

Before my trip to Mount Evans, I stocked up supplies in Denver to best prepare me for the drive up. I got snacks, plenty of water, and sunscreen (you are a lot easily sunburnt at 14,000 feet than at sea level, which is also one of the reasons why people get dehydrated easily, which leads to altitude sickness).

Interestingly, the local shops in Denver also offered pressurized oxygen canisters for an instant kick when you need it the most. I didn't think I needed it.

Alas, half way through my drive towards Mount Evans, I realized that I forgot one of my most important gear -- my trusty DSLR. So, most of the images on this blog will be pictures taken on my trusty iPhone 6.

So, off to the highest paved road in North America we go.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Top of the World: Colorado Road Trip Part 2

[Previously on the Thinkware Colorado Road Trip: I flew to Denver, CO so I can drive to Colorado Springs, CO so I can drive up Pikes Peak, CO in a soccer-family-special Ford Explorer. I also got altitude sickness.] 

After recovering from said altitude sickness, I looked at the map and pondered my options. I knew that I wanted to go to the Rockies, because a) it's the Rockies; and I knew that I wanted to spend my last portion of the trip driving up Mount Evans as well. However, the portion between Colorado Springs and the Rockies were very much still up in the air.

As far as I was concerned, I had two options:

1. I could either take the I-25 through Denver to the Rockies, which would be about 2 hours and 40 minutes of driving. We will call this the "boring" way;
2. Or, I could take a "slight" detour through the state highways, taking in the scenery, through Aspen, a world-class ski resort town, and eventually circle back to the Rockies, before stopping in Denver. This would take me about 12 hours. We will call this the "fun" route.

Guess which route I took?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Only Way is Up: Colorado Road Trip Part 1

14,000 feet.

I repeat: 14,000 feet. That is 100 feet higher than your typical skydiving altitude. In fact, if you jump off a cliff at this height, you'll be freefalling for just about a minute. Not that you'd be able to, of course, as the tallest cliff in the world only clocks at a paltry 4,100 feet.

At this height, Oxygen becomes very thin (as I later found out). You will also see the curvature of the earth quite easily in the distance. Here, the boiling point of water is at 185 degrees.

In other words, 14,000 feet is quite high.

It is also the altitude you can find yourself at in Colorado. Colorado just happens to have 53 of those places above that altitude, known locally, as the fourteeners.

My goal is to drive up to two of those mountains -- Pikes Peak, and Mount Evans -- and see what the drive is like.