...It took approximately 16 1/2 driving hours (10 on Wednesday, 6 1/2 on Thursday), but I finally arrived in Denver.
At the height of freakin' rush hour.
Note to self: the next time you have the brilliant idea of driving through lunch to make it to your destination before rush hour hits, make sure you know what time rush hour actually starts in your destination city. Turns out that while Phoenix's PM rush hour starts at (roughly) 4:30, Denver's starts around 3.
I hit downtown Denver at around 4.
Bumper-to-bumper on I-25, speed ranging from 20 mph to a dead stop, for 10 miles or so.
Your normally witty and charming blogger was anything but for a while there...
Note to delegates: When possible, plan on shuttling from your hotels to the convention site. It'll save you a lot of headaches.
Other things that I learned on the drive to Denver -
- The folks that recommended that I not take I-17 to get to I-40, that instead I take Rt. 87 to 260 to 77 north were right about a few things. That route was scenic. There were lots of lush trees and rolling hills and majestic vistas. What they forgot to mention was that the speed limits were much lower than I-17's 75 mph, and there were almost NO FREAKIN' PASSING LANES!
When I reached Holbrook and the junction of I-40, I figured out that I had averaged less than 45 mph for that part of the trip. 25% less than the 60 mph I had figured on when calculating my schedule. Made up some of that shortfall on I-40 to Albuquerque and then I-25 north of Albuquerque to Santa Fe.
- Santa Fe was great, at least for the time I spent there. I ate dinner at a local place called the Blue Corn Cafe and Brewery. The meal was something called New Mexican Shepherd's Pie (From the menu: "Seasoned ground beef and calabacitas topped with mashed potatoes, green chile and cheese then baked in a skillet".)
It was great, with the green chile giving it just the right kick. The service was great, too - once the server found how thirsty I was, she brought me two Sprites, not just the one I had ordered. Which brings me to the next lesson...
- Drives like this can be very dehydrating. Don't just bring water (I had a case of .5 liter bottles in a cooler), *drink* it. That night in the motel, I was dizzy from the drive, and drank 5 bottles of the water, even after the two large Sprites.
- Which brings up another "I should have known this already" point - Bring and use sunblock. My left arm was fried on Wednesday, and I needed to drive with a towel over my arm on Thursday to minimize further damage and pain.
- Based on bumper stickers anyway, Obama has the lead in Colorado and New Mexico. I didn't see even one McCain sticker (or sign for that matter) in either state so far, and could do well in AZ as they were about even there.
...And on an unrelated but truly sad note, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-OH) passed away after suffering a hemorrhage from a brain aneurysm. She was the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress and she was the first black woman to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee.
Deepest condolences go out to her family, friends, constituents, and colleagues...