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  1. #1

    Default Park City, UT to Baltimore, MD, late July

    Good afternoon gents and ladies,

    I've got the great good fortune of being able to take most of July off for another Montana/Idaho/Utah RoadTrip. This time I'm even hooking across the northeast corner of Nevada, representing the first time I've had the pleasure of visiting any part of NV other than Hoover Dam-Vegas-I-15 south.

    The trip out from my North Carolina home the traveling while out there is all pretty well sorted out. On the return trip, however, I'll be joined by a good friend who hasn't RoadTripped cross-country since he was a teenager in the 1960s when such jaunts were an annual Summer tradition for his family. We'll be RoadTripping from his Park City vacation home back to his main home in Baltimore, MD, after which I'll make the 6 hour run back to Raleigh.

    Since I've never driven from UT into CO along the northern tier of CO counties, and since I have a hankering for a hot spring stop, I'm thinking of leaving Park City on US 40 and keeping that all the way into CO, past Steamboat Springs, to Hot Sulphur Springs, between Steamboat and Granby. It'll be a Saturday afternoon in late July when we enter northern CO from UT, so I am inclined to avoid Strawberry Park Hot Spring near Steamboat, fearing crowds.

    From Granby, it'll be up and over the Divide on Trail Ridge Road, down the eastern side to Estes Park, thence to Loveland. I have a distinct and perhaps pathological bias against cities, so dropping down to I-70 at Denver is not going to happen. I am pondering just slanting slightly up to I-80 and cutting through the Sandhills of Nebraska for a "tanking" drift down the Dismal River or just some backroad cruising among the dunes. I could also run more or less parallel to the NE-KS border for a ways and just trip through the high prairie towns, grabbing I-70 towards the middle to eastern part of KS. I wonder if anybody has a favorite local rodeo, racetrack, small-town ball park, or just an "old man bar" somewhere in western KS or NE to suggest we stop at.

    We're looking in to stopping by Lake of the Ozarks as we pass through MO since we have a semi-retired friend who has a condo there. If we don't connect with him, I'm pondering what to do/where to stop for an overnight somewhere in MO. Branson isn't our style (not that there's anything wrong with Branson), and we've already learned that neither the Royals nor the Cardinals will be home as we pass through.

    A ferryboat crossing of the Mississippi from MO to IL might be a hoot. I'm generally aware of there being some, but haven't a clue which one(s) to consider.

    The St Louis to Baltimore leg is mostly new to me (and as noted, we may end up higher up along I-80 and dropping down towards Indy to I-70), so any suggestions for a minor-league ballpark, midweek festival, or racetrack in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana or Ohio along the I-80/74/70 corridor would be of interest.

    I am assuming we'll end up on I-70/79/68/70 to link to the Balto Beltway. The geologist in me wants to see the anticline-exposing roadcut in western MD, and I am open to suggestions of stops on that homeward leg, too.

    We're looking at 4.5-5 days to do the trip.

    Thanks for any suggestions!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Back in the mid-80's I went to a rodeo in Harrison NE - that's on US-20 just across the WY line. It was definitely small town - the arena was up a dirt road on the outskirts of town and we sat in aluminum bleachers. After the rodeo, we went to some cool little bar in town, I don't have a clue what the name of it was.

    From Loveland, you *could* just take US-34 all the way across eastern CO and through NE and see what you find.

    I'm familiar with all the Midwest League Class A ballparks - along your route there's Cedar Rapids, Quad Cities (Davenport), Clinton, Peoria, and Dayton. Dayton is a tough ticket, they are permanently sold out.

  3. #3

    Default Wandering across KS/NE

    Yep, just "point her more or less east at Loveland and see what happens" is a perfectly viable game plan since we're in no hurry.

    Thanks for the tips on Class A ball towns. I can look up some schedules and see who we might have a shot at seeing. A client of mine took a year off of work (before marriage and kids) and traveled the whole country to watch minor league and American Legion baseball. We thoroughly enjoy our nearby Durham Bulls AAA club and we have a chance to see some Major Leaguers sent down for rehab from time to time. Love me some summertime baseball.

    At least a couple of outfitters run "tanking" float trips in central NE. It involves putting 6-8 people and a cooler full of beer in a giant galvanized stock tank and floating down a lazy river. The shuttle services picks you up at the take-out and delivers you safely back to your motel in beautiful downtown Mullen, NE. Sounds like a fun afternoon to me.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I forgot AAA ball - the Iowa Cubbies are in Des Moines.

    When I lived in the Chicago area, I was 5 minutes from the Kane County Cougars - also Midwest League Class A. I had season tickets. Now, other than our local college wood bat summer league, I have to go 75 miles to get a baseball fix (AA) or go to KC or STL and pay the big bucks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Rivers

    Like you, I avoid cities whenever possible, but I'm also something of a history buff. Oddly enough, I have often found that both predilections can be served by following rivers and trusting to serendipity and a good eye. A few suggestions, with that in mind, for your trip then.

    First, it may not mean much to an Easterner such as yourself, but the Colorado River is the lifeblood of all of the states in the Southwest. It arises in the mountains in the western part of Rocky Mountain National Park and there is a short hike in the western section of the park along the headwaters where you can literally jump across the river that carved the Grand Canyon without too great an effort.

    Out on the High Plains, remember that pioneer settlement patterns, and thus history and old quirky bars, followed the rivers and railroads. The best example, of course, is the old Oregon Trail which followed the Platte River through Nebraska. Later, the Union Pacific portion of the first transcontinental railroad followed the same path. That route is currently followed by I-80 and US-30 and has old forts, pony express stations and innumerable state parks and wildlife refuges. If you want to stay a bit farther south, then US-6/US-136 along the Republican River offers a similar, less traveled, route.

    If you drop into southern or even central Missouri, then the place I'd head for to cross the Mississippi is Ste. Genevieve. This is one of the French towns from the days of the Voyageurs and still has a number of the original buildings standing, as well as a real honest-to-goodness old ice cream parlor and a great ferry across the Mississippi. It also puts you in the heart of the New Madrid fault zone and sets you up for a final leg that would basically follow the Ohio River and the old National Road.

    Such a final leg would put you within striking distance of the Cincinnati Reds, the Louisville Bats, the Indianapolis Indians, and the Columbus Clippers. At least one of them ought to be in town as you pass through. It also takes you by the Falls of the Ohio State Park where the fossiliferous Devonian Jeffersonville Limestone has been exposed by the river. And near the Sidling Hill Cut there's Fort Frederick from the French and Indian Wars and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

    Whether you can do all of that in only 5 days is problematical, but those are a few options worth considering.


  6. #6

    Default I like your thinking, too, AZBuck

    And few love a river more than me. I haven't been below Hite, UT on the Colorado, er, ahem, the Grand River, for which the Grand Canyon was named, but I've enjoyed its headwater area on the west side of RMNP, some stretches down by Kremmling, on down to Glenwood Springs, the open and beautiful orchard and farm country west of Grand Junction at the base of Colorado, NM, Westwater Canyon above Moab, UT, and most significantly, the long segment between Potash, UT and Hite, within the headwaters of Lake Powell. At least Hite was within the area flooded by Lake Powell when I did a 5-day float in 1994--perhaps not so much today, as I think Powell is down by 80-100' since then.

    But I digress. My friend hasn't been through RMNP so we'll go over the divide there and will see about the presumably short side trip to the "jump-over" point therein.

    I like the St. Gen idea. I'd been plotting a crossing at Cape Girardeau for some time but hadn't taken the time to make it happen. As it turns out, the Bats and Clippers are regular victims of our Durham Bulls, but going to Cincy and seeing the Reds is intriguing. I spent more than a few summer evenings listening to Reds games on my AM transistor radio in the 1960s, when boosted broadcast wattage and atmospheric skip brought them to North Carolina. I cored many a hole through the Jeffersonville limestone in the 1980s as it is stratigraphically above our targeted oil shale exploration horizon, a Devonian black shale known as the New Albany. It's one of the many shale gas exploration targets nowadays. Both the New Albany and the carbonate beneath it literally oozed oil from core samples from place to place.

    Thanks the the input, glc and AZ Buck!


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