As is normal for us, we were on the road prior to the sunrise. We made a quick stop in Woodland Park to get an Egg McMuffin and coffee for the road. As we left McDonald’s the sun was just starting to peek over the horizon.
Shortly after passing through Lake George we saw a herd of deer near the highway. I estimate there were about 10 does. Our wildlife spotting continued as we drove across South Park toward Hartsel. Leslie pointed out a herd of some 14 or 15 antelope. There was not a male to be seen. A little farther along the highway we did see a male. He was between the highway and the fence. I slowed just in case he decided to run across the highway in front of us.
As we continued on we saw another group of antelope on the opposite side of the highway. The herd was smaller and included at least on youngster. A little past that point we came to another male. This one was on the same side of the fence as the last herd. He was standing still, looking in their direction.
We continued on to Hoosier Pass. Up to the summit the road was completely dry. In several places on the descent there were some treacherous icy spots. We went quite slowly over those.
The towns of Breckenridge and Frisco were both asleep. We went through both towns with zero traffic. We turned west onto I-70 toward Fruita.
As we approached Copper Mountain we passed a sign warning of an accident five miles ahead. We had planned to stop at the rest area on top of Vail Pass. Shortly before the exit was a State truck with a flashing warning sign indicating the left lane was closed ahead. From that point on the Interstate, one can look across the lanes of traffic and see the rest area. It was obvious that due to the amount of snow, the restrooms were closed.
As we continued we began to see some emergency vehicles in the left lane. Then we saw the accident, a light blue Jeep on its left side. It was in the snow in the median facing westbound traffic. It was easy to tell what had happened. Just before the accident scene is an overpass. That is the crossing one would use to get to the rest area mentioned above. On the Interstate below the overpass was a fairly large patch of ice. The Jeep had hit the ice, lost control, rolled at least twice, and came to rest as noted above. We could not see anyone standing around that we would identify as the driver or passengers. We could only assume the driver and any passengers had already been taken to the town of Vail for treatment.
That patch of ice was the only one we saw on the way up Vail Pass. On the way down there were two or three others, but no other accidents.
At Edwards, we got some gas and made a pit stop. It just so happened to be at the same gas station we had stopped at on the 15th, only this time there was not eight inches of snow.
On our way through Glenwood Canyon, Leslie pointed out a Bighorn Ram grazing along the side of the Interstate. As we passed we could see he had the latest in Bighorn fashion, a radio collar.
Several miles east of Rifle we were driving along at 75 mph, the speed limit. I saw a black SUV quickly approaching from the rear. As the vehicle passed, I estimate it was traveling at near 90 mph. I commented to Leslie that the driver had better be careful or the police would like to have a chat. Just after that statement I saw another SUV, brown, approaching. That vehicle was going fast, but not as fast as the first. Behind the brown SUV was a car. Then I noticed the car was a State Patrol car.
Just ahead of us in the right lane was a car. As the brown SUV passed us in the left lane the State Patrol car was right behind him. Finally the Patrol car switched on the overhead lights. I am certain the heart of the brown SUV driver just sunk. The brown SUV pulled into the right lane, one vehicle ahead of me. As soon as that happened, the overhead lights were turned off and the Patrol car sped on after the black SUV.
At this point, the topography was such that we could see the Interstate going downhill in front of us and gently curving to the left. Because of that change in elevation we could still see the black SUV way ahead and the State Patrol car closing ground. Finally we saw the vehicle stop. As we passed by, the State Patrol officer was out of her car and approaching the driver of the black SUV.
We did not have any other wildlife sightings or other excitement for the rest of our trip. Shortly before 11:00 we arrived at our destination.