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Sunday, August 1, 2010

CONTINENTAL DIVIDE - WEST

I-80 CONTINENTAL DIVIDE INTO BASIN - Note EAST Basin Ridge in distance - and Rumble Strip cut into Bicycle Lane
I-80 CONTINENTAL DIVIDE-WEST

I-80 LEADING TO CONTINENTAL DIVIDE-WEST ( Basin Ridge)


WYOMING UNDERPASS - Notice brickwork




IKE's INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM



From the I-80 Rest Stop, where I slept in the Van, I walked to the beginning of the 14-mile long Construction Zone and back to the Van. Betty had driven through this Zone yesterday and made notes re "walking" conditions . After discussing her notes, we decided NOT to try walking those 14 miles.



The Rocky Mountains WEST of the Continental Divide - WEST is very flat for 20 miles or so. See Pic. Then rising up about 500 feet is a curved ridge. On top of this ridge is The Continental Divide. The Construction Zone starts 3 miles beyond.



Continental Divide-WEST??



Yes. Looking at a plan view of the center of the Rocky Mountains where I-80 crosses, one can clearly see a large Basin about 50 miles in diameter centered on the Divide. A map shows the Divide riding the riidge completely around the Basin circumference. I-80 passes through the Southern corner of the Basin. As one drives / walks fron the WEST I-80 rises up & over the Basin ridge...Continental Divide-WEST...then drops into the Basin for about 25 miles to the EAST side of the Basin. I-80 again rises up over the Basin ridge.



So, we have a second crossing of the Continental Divide i.e.: Continental Divide-EAST.



Upon returning to the Van, I was nearly exhausted from the early morning heat and the awful noise of I-80 as big trucks roared by. I do not have a decible (db) meter, but anyone cell-phoning me can testify, the noise is LOUD. I would guess it is well above 100 db...Normal hogh db allowable for the human ear is somewhere around 80 db. So, just the noise of big rigs flashing by a couple feet away from me at speeds of 75 miles per hour (the I-80 speed limit) has gotta frazzle the nerves.



What really blows my mind is that many trucks "draft" each other at such high speeds in very crowded conditions. "Drafting" is what NASCAR drivers do in an auto race. A single vehicle travelling alone cannot travel nearly as efficiently as two - or more - vehicles 'DRAFTING' each other.



"DRAFTING" is when the trailing vehicle stays within a few INCHES from the vehicle in front. The front vehicle forms a dead-air space behind itself (a vacuum space). As the trailing vehicle moves closer to the leading vehicle, it enters that dead-air (vacuum) space. Since the trailing vehicle does not have to PUSH the air out of the way, it moves much more efficiently...uses less fuel...as the leading vehicle PULLS IT ALONG.



And, that is not all...the trailing vehicle, being so close, actually gives the leading vehicle a PUSH...therefore, both "DRAFTING" vehicles can travel much faster more efficiently than a single vehicle travelling alone.



On a NASCAR race track...great idea.



On I-80, or any other public roadway,,,BAD idea.



Travelling so close, the trailing vehicle(s) cannot see what is happening up front. If the leading vehicle(s) do something suddenly, the trailing vehicle(s) must take evasive action instantly. The most reasonable reaction is to swerve "RIGHT" onto the parking strip (BERM) (BICYCLE LANE), exactly where Brucie-Baby is walking.



I-80 has a "RUMBLE STRIP" cut-out slots 6 inches into the Bicycle Lane. When tires cross over the Rumble Strip, they make an awful racket. I use that Rumble Strip sound to keep out of the way of vehicles coming into MY Walking Lane Usually, it works. If it doesn"t, you'll read about it in the O'bit Section.



Point is, same applies to ANY road, not just Interstates. So, walking the roadways can be (IS) dangerous, requires constant attention and is stressful from the din of traffic whizzing by inches from my shoulder. Add low-light, rain, fog, or "DRAFTING", and this walking game can take a bit out of the walker.



Just thought you-all might like to know how it really is...not just miles walked, a pretty view, or WOW, what a great pic that would be on my Blog...it really is a bit more.



And, so, upon returning to the Van, I drove EAST over the Continental Divide-WEST, down into the Basin and on to WAMSUTTER. Was going to Park in Wamsutter & walk. But, construction has the town all tore up. Dense dust - no effort to water down the only 2 streets in town - and folks somehow seemed on edge when I stopped at three different places to buy block ice (Wyoming seems to have an aversion to block ice).



So, I drove on, The next stopping place (no Rest Stops) was RAWLINS, some 40 miles EAST.

I was by now, upset. Construction would not allow walking to or near Wamsutter, and no parking for the Van was available until Rawlins. So, I took another $40.00 room (nice actually), and took an hour nap to settle down. When I awoke, I knew walking for the day was finished.

Total walking today: 14 miles out & 14 miles back = 28 miles.

Now I must figure a way to walk those 40 miles leading t0 Rawlins.

Is 5:30 am, August 01, 2010. I am still a bit frazzled this morning. I plan to find a good breakfast, then start walking back to Wamsutter...we shall see how it goes.

One more thing...it is quite difficult to hitch a ride from the remote exits in this part of I-80...simply because few, if any, vehicles use these remote exits...mostle for mining trucks, etc. And, I will never attempt to hitch a ride on main-stream I-80 with 75 mph speeds and so much drafting going on...would be suicide to try...for me AND vehicles trying to stop for me.

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