One more “tunnel” image. This is a short one in Zion NP, looking eastward on route 9. The longer, more famous tunnel on this road (the Zion – Mount Carmel Tunnel), the one that’s over a mile long and is often only one-way, is just west of this one, above Zion Valley. That one was built over 80 years ago and really hasn’t changed much since. It is, however, monitored electronically 24 hours a day because of the softness of the sandstone there. (I’ve never told my wife that.)
There are more interesting tunnels around, of course. One of my favorites is the Eisenhower Tunnel on I – 70 in Colorado. That tunnel is about 1.7 miles long and, at 11,000 feet, is the highest vehicular tunnel in the U. S. It carries this interstate underneath the Continental Divide. After exiting the tunnel (at either end) you find yourself heading down a fairly steep hill. Not a good place to have trouble with your brakes. I also wouldn’t want to do it in a snowstorm. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the damn thing. I don’t think they want you stopping up there. Not to mention the fact that the air’s getting a little thin.
Another great tunnel – or bridge tunnel – is the one that crosses the Chesapeake Bay and connects Virginia’s eastern shore with Virginia Beach. That thing is about 20 miles long. Most of it is bridge, but at a few spots you’d swear that the road just disappears into the water. Then you get closer and realize that there’s a tunnel there that takes you underneath, kind of like being in a submerging submarine. My wife hates those things. I don’t think she likes the idea of being covered by rock and lots and lots of water. It’s at those spots (if you’re really lucky) that you might catch a view of a naval vessel heading in or out. If you let your imagination go, it almost looks like you’re sharing the same “road”. Yep. Up close and personal with an aircraft carrier.
Actually, the only thing that scares me personally about the darn things (tunnels, that is) is the idea of a mechanical breakdown or a flat tire. Talk about gumming up the works for lots of other people.