Miramus grasshopperella

Middlechild found this in the back yard the other day, after a cold snap. It was sluggish, confused, drawing warmth from my hand.


Driving? Miss Denver: the FAQ

Your head is spinning with the pitfalls and possibilities of Fûz's proposed modification to TREX, and how it might affect you if it were adopted. First, this is a proposal, it is not reality. Don’t worry, it’ll never happen, especially if you think it’s good idea. Second, stop the madness and read the FAQ offered here. We also offer maps for both Northbound and Soutbound traffic and how this proposal would Express it.

Let’s say I'm getting on at Arapahoe and getting off at Belleview. Should I pay a toll?

  • You can't even get into the Express HOT lane along the proposed I-25 corridor, except at the Northern or Southern ends.
  • During high traffic periods, why are you trying to get on an Interstate highway to move 2 exits? You are what we call "local traffic." Local traffic should use what we call "local roads."

What if I live inside the 470 beltway but I'm leaving town? Aren’t I really Interstate traffic? How do I get into the HOT lane?
You are local traffic until you’re out of town. Make a beeline on whatever local road serves you to the 470 beltway, or I-70.

Who can use the Express HOT lane?
Anybody. Some pay, some don't.

Who pays a toll to use the Express HOT lane?
During high traffic periods, passenger automobiles with only one person in them, taxis and limos with only one passenger and a driver, and trucks with more than four tires meeting the road, including a trailer. Buses, jitneys, passenger autos with more than one person, taxis and limos with more than two persons, and motorcycles always enter the Express HOT lane for free. Outside of high traffic periods, everybody enters the Express HOT lane for free.
Getting out of the Express HOT lane into a local lane, without driving the whole way through the City of Denver, is tolled during high traffic periods, for all vehicles.

What if I enter the Express HOT lane just before high traffic starts?
You enter for free. If you cross over from Express HOT to local lanes after high traffic begins, you pay.

Who pays a toll to get out of the Express HOT lane into a local lane?
During high traffic periods, every vehicle.

What if I enter the Express HOT lane just before high traffic ends?
You could have waited another few minutes, relieved the rush hour traffic, and saved some money. Listen to the radio or have the traffic authority email the high traffic times to your phone.

What if I don't want to pay the toll, or I can't afford it?
You have several options:
  • Go when you want to, but use the congested local traffic lanes, with new vehicles merging on your right at every exit, and Express HOT drivers merging on your left at every third or fourth exit. It's free but worth every penny you paid.
  • Use E470 or C470 to get to the best local road, or vice versa.
  • Adjust your driving times so you can use the HOT lane when it's free.
  • Take a serious look at (gulp) carpooling.
  • Take a serious look at (gulp) mass transit.

So I'm coming from Albuquerque up I-25. I'm going to Cheyenne. What do I pay, and where?
It depends on when you get here, and how you choose to pass through the Denver area. Assuming it's between 6:30 AM and 8:00 AM on a weekday and you're alone in a passenger car, you have three choices:
  • Go straight up I-25, quickly and without dodging local traffic. You pay one toll at the Lone Tree plaza, just North of Exit 191. Stay in the HOT lane until you pass the Boulder Pike plaza and you pay nothing more.
  • Go straight up I-25, local lanes, and dodge the local traffic. Count on spending 45 minutes more to do so in lieu of paying the toll.
  • Take E470, you pay nothing.

Why only a few chances to get from the Express HOT lanes to the local lanes?
Short answer: Because they’re Express lanes. It's what Express lanes do.
Long answer: Much of the danger and hassle of local rush-hour traffic on an Interstate highway comes from mergers and lane changers. The HOV lane that exists today in the TREX stretch of I-25 actually compounds the danger as cars weave in and out and cops try to police it. This proposal limits the impact of high-occupancy and toll vehicles merging with local traffic, by allowing them to do so at only a few distinctly marked places. It also reduces the law enforcement burden---cops will not have to patrol the HOT lane for violators or maneuver in traffic to do so.

Why charge for both getting into and getting out of the express HOT lanes?
We need to discourage through traffic a little because that traffic tends to consist more heavily of trucks that are better off going around town anyway. We also need to discourage local traffic, driven by people who live here and should be familiar with alternate and side routes.

Isn’t this just a 'Lexus lane' scheme, making a separate road available for the rich?
Sure it is. Take your pleasure in screwing the rich, making them pay to pollute less! Take a Lexus, take a Peterbilt truck, take a motorcycle, it doesn’t matter. When does it pollute more: when it’s idling in traffic, or it’s cruising through the DTC at 55 mph? An Express HOT lane lets more vehicles cruise instead of idle.

Any other pollution impact?
By encouraging more through traffic to circumvent the city, this proposal would relocate much pollution out of the city.

How much is the toll?
Just enough to influence your decision of which road to take and when. You pay 'by the axle' to enter, and a flat toll to exit. We’ll study the amount of traffic in the Express HOT lanes and price them to get the most possible use of them at decent highway speeds. That might mean that tolls will vary somewhat with day of the week, month of the year, weather, and so forth.

If the toll varies, how can I budget for it or adjust my work schedule to take advantage of it?
By making tough choices.

Won’t this proposal force more traffic and higher costs on the side roads?
Yes. But it will also collect money that will be shared with the localities to get those side roads repaired and upgraded. Which would you rather do: keep paying insane Federal income taxes and hope that Congress returns enough of it to Colorado for local highway construction where it’s really needed (this is the current system, y’all), or pay tolls and rebuild it as you go, exactly where you need it, with less of the money subject to political shenanigans?

You refer to some "authority" above that would operate this highway. Who are they, what kind of agency or entity would they be?
A non-profit corporation chartered by the State of Colorado, I suppose. I'd ask the Independence Institute.


Fetal sonograms can now render in three dimensions. It's spooky, guys. This is what the Tadpole looks like now.


My first speedgoat

Pronghorn antelope, taken North of Rock Springs, Wyoming, by me with a Ruger M77 in 7x57mm at about 200 yards.

Update: The pronghorn fell at about 1800L on Saturday. We started dressing him out right away, so any smell I noticed was that of entrails. I found the exit wound---three of his left ribs shattered at their roots---but no entry wound.

We spent most of Sunday cutting him up and wrapping him for the freezer. That's when I found the entry wound, a neat hole through the right shoulder blade, and destroyed meat on either side of the spine.

Lessons learned:
  1. A Kabar knife is too big for taking apart an antelope.
  2. Have a sharpener nearby too.
  3. You're going to smell blood and meat on yourself for a while afterward. Hand sanitizer helps but keep it off the meat.
  4. Range estimation on open prairie like that is tough. This antelope actually gave me time to use a laser rangefinder if I had had one.
  5. A laser rangefinder could be fit into the capital expenditures budget . . .