Detoured by Storms

Returning to Colorado yesterday, I headed west on Interstate 70, a ribbon of concrete that essentially divides the Northern and Southern Plains of the U.S.  As is typical during the summer months, there was little to attract my interest on the Plains; raptors were limited to a few hawks and vultures while mammals were represented solely by livestock and roadkill, the latter including deer, coyotes, badgers and raccoons.  Migrant shorebirds were observed in some of the shallow pools but were impossible to identify at 75 mph.

Nearing Limon, Colorado, my boredom suddenly gave way to concern as dark clouds stretched across the western horizon; intense lightning flashed from several areas and the radio broadcast was interrupted by warnings of severe thunderstorms with large hail and a few funnel clouds.  Taking refuge at a truck stop, I waited for the storms to pass; high winds, torrential rain and light hail pummeled the city.  Unfortunately, two trucks were flipped over by the winds, closing westbound I-70 north of town.

Once skies began to clear, I thus headed west on U.S. 24, traveling across the southern flank of the Palmer Divide toward Colorado Springs.  The massive storms now loomed to the southeast, adorned with a rainbow, and the scenic grasslands of the Divide captured the glow of a setting sun; upslope moisture still obscured the Front Range.  As I closed in on Colorado Springs, the Pike's Peak massif emerged from the haze, the Rampart Range stretched off to its north and the Wet Mountains and Spanish Peaks appeared to the southwest.  Northbound I-25 to Castle Rock and U.S. 85 to Littleton would complete the detour to our farm.