[Floodgap Roadgap presents the Summer of 6]

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5 July 2006: A Rocky Mountain High -- Palisade, CO to Denver, CO
 
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7 July 2006: McCook, NE to Omaha, NE
 

6 July 2006: Denver, CO to McCook, NE

What a contrast -- yesterday we were touching the sky and now we're down on the ground. Rather than the aggressive splendour of the Rockies, today we'll look at a more subtle form of beauty.

And thank you all for the E-mail I've been getting! For those who want the E-mail address again, it's ckaiser@floodgap.com.

Today's starting odometer was 95217, with (I think I counted this right) 177 photographs taken today.

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I haven't yet finished whining about Denver. Let me continue. Did I mention I don't like the Interstates in Denver? Or any of the freeways for that matter, which are congested and have no shoulders in many sections?

I was optimistically going to do the original alignment of US 6 from 6th Avenue through Denver, but that went down the tubes when I got jammed on I-25 coming back from my sister's. So we'll just do the modern Interstate alignment.

This is the football stadium, btw. It was one of the few pictures taken on the run that actually came out, since I couldn't stop to take any properly.

A little bit about Denver parenthetically -- it is named for Kansas Territorial Governor James Denver, who never actually stepped foot in the city, when the future state of Colorado was still part of the Kansas Territory. This was a fairly obvious bootlicking scheme by General William Larimer to ensure the new Denver City would be the county seat. Its elevation is contrived but well-known -- 5,280', or one mile. Consuming the entire Denver county (like Carson City, for example), it has 557,917 residents [2005 est.].

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The first signage for US 6 directly with parity on I-70. US 6 after the 6th Avenue freeway ends has an "implied routing" (tip of the hat to Dale) along I-25 north to I-70 (again) east, along with US 85 which has been hitchhiking silently with I-25.

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US 6 and US 85 then leave north from I-70 along an undistinguished routing through Commerce City. It then merges into I-76 for US 6's last hitchhike on an Interstate in Colorado. Although signed here, once US 85 separates, I-76 will be signed alone.

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Outside of Denver, the jagged mountains transform into gently rolling hills. An unsigned portion of US 6 runs through the whimsically-named Wiggins out in this farmland region.

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Its last alignment partially carries a Interstate Business Loop designation for its trek in the agricultural region in the state's northeast corner. There are several old little creek and small canyon crossings, including this one dated 1942 at the Logan county line.

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Sterling, CO, the county seat of Logan county and the largest city in this region at 11,360 [2000]. It was originally named for a city in Illinois. First settled in the 1870s, it relocated closer to the railroad when it came through and was incorporated in its present location in 1884. Today it is a major farming and railway operations hub in the region, along with a junior college and a prison (some would call that redundant ;).

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US 6 towards Nebraska.

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Typical of the small towns in this region is this one, Fleming, with the grain elevators towering over all else. Its present population is only 426. Most of them are around this size.

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Nebraska state line.

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If I build it, they will come ...

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After several stretches of plain and farmland, US 6 then turns into gently rolling hills around Enders.

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I lost *another* hour of photography!

You'll notice I'm not doing much with the individual counties. That's because we're passing through a lot of them, some of them at an oblique angle touching the corner and thus only briefly.

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US 6 rides shotgun in this region with Frenchman Creek, a beautiful little meandering stream that starts in Colorado and then winds along with the road. Where the name comes from is not immediately clear, but was named before the 1942 novel Frenchman's Creek, of course.

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Another little town along the way is Palisade, with the main business district on a small old piece of US 6 (labeled Old Highway 6 on NAVTEQ) shown here. The arrow is there to make sure you don't miss it. Its population is 386 [2000].

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Very out of place among the two-lane roads is this quasi-interchange along with a full gantry as if it were a freeway. We pick up US 34 here, a mid-level route that actually had a terminus on US 6/I-76 way back in Colorado. It runs from there to Illinois for a grand total of 1122 miles.

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Entering McCook, county seat of Red Willow County and the largest city in this region at 7,994 [2000] (consider that Red Willow only has 11,448 residents total). Established originally as a railroad junction in 1882, it is named for Union Brig. Gen. Alexander McCook. We'll look more at it tomorrow; I'm going to go crash in the Holiday Inn up US 83 if you'll excuse me.

Next: McCook to Omaha, NE! We'll try to do a little looking around in Lincoln along the way if we have time.

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7 July 2006: McCook, NE to Omaha, NE
 


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