A winter road trip?

Monday January 2, 2006 – Longtime readers will know that for the past several years I’ve been attending the Consumer Electronics Show held every January in Las Vegas. This year is no exception. A few changes are in store. For the first time I’ve been able to talk someone else into coming along with me so Matt, a friend and owner of the St. Paul based Fast Computer Service Company, will be accompanying me on the journey. Observant readers will also note that instead of the usual quick fly in, fly out we’ve decided to make a road trip out of it. I’ve also tacked on a few days at the Grand Canyon on the way home which should be a fantastic experience. Of course I’ve had the room in Las Vegas booked since September and the room at the Grand Canyon booked since October, other than that we’ll be playing it by ear. When I got up this morning at 7:00 I saw that we had freezing rain in the Twin Cities which is not a great way to start a January road trip. Not to be deterred I headed over to St. Paul to pick up Matt and get some breakfast before leaving town. Thanks in part to it being a legal holiday traffic was very manageable even on the slippery roads. By about 9:15 we finished breakfast and headed south on Interstate 35. Once we got out of the metro area the roads actually got much better and Matt drifted off to sleep as I entered Iowa. With little fanfare we passed through Des Moines and turned West on Interstate 80. As both Matt and myself are licensed amateur radio operators we tried to find locals to talk to or someone who could direct us to an Echolink repeater from which we could connect back to a system in St. Paul and talk to people there. Unfortunately we were unable to find anyone in Iowa but were able to make contact with a local and connect back to St. Paul from Lincoln, NE. I continued driving until we got to Fort Kearny, NE where we stopped for dinner. I had a great Nebraska ribeye steak at the Whisky Creek Steak Restaurant. After dinner Matt took over the driving and being well rested from his mid-morning nap we continued farther west than I had originally planned all the way to Fort Morgan, CO. We soon found a hotel room at the Days Inn that included both a continental breakfast and an internet connection. The breakfast turned out to be a bit disappointing but the internet worked just fine and allowed me to tie up a few things that I hadn’t been able to before leaving town. Final mileage for the day was 851 miles, not a bad drive at all.

Tuesday January 3, 2006 – Matt seemed to have a little trouble getting the time change right this morning and ended up setting his alarm for two hours earlier than he needed to which I found a bit amusing. After a small breakfast at the hotel I drove us west along Interstate 76 and into Denver, CO where we continued along Interstate 70. While in Denver we were able to contact a fantastic local amateur radio operator who directed us towards an Echolink repeater and allowed us to connect back to St. Paul and talk with another friend back there. As far as Denver it had been very dry and our local contact explained to us that they had even been told to water their lawns and trees to prevent them from drying out and dying before spring. We were told to take a look at the snow in the mountains though where they had received 200% of normal snowfall. Matt enjoyed going through the tunnels and aside from some mildly slippery roads and low visibility we had no real problems. Once we got through the Colorado Rockies things dried up as we descended towards the Utah border. With the decrease in snow cover and the increase in sun the beautiful copper colored mountains began to show and I did stop at two scenic view turnoffs in eastern Utah to snap a few photos. Continuing through Utah I rediscovered just how far apart things are out here as I got a bit lower on gas than I’m comfortable with when traveling in remote areas. Eventually we stopped for dinner in Richfield, UT and Matt again did the evening shift bringing us even closer to Las Vegas than I had planned. Right now we’re settling in to the Coronada Suites in St. George, UT where we again got a decent room at a good rate with a continental breakfast and internet access included. Tomorrow we should be just a few hours from Las Vegas which will conclude the road trip section of the trip until Monday when we continue on to the Grand Canyon. The plan right now is to pickup our badge holders once we hit Vegas then check into the hotel and scope out the crowds until Bill Gates’ keynote at 6:30pm. Stay tuned for photos as internet connections allow.


  1. Hey what happened after Day 1. I wanna know…