I cut through north eastern New Mexico before driving to Colorado.
After I left Great Sand Dunes National Park I drove north, keeping the mountains on my left. There are many cattle ranches and people wave to each other on the road. They pivot their palm on the steering wheel and raise two or three fingers. Its more of an acknowledging gesture than a “hey, good morning friend!”
I stayed with a friend of my dads in Colorado Springs.
Peter and his wife, Darleen, were awesome. Before I left, Darleen prepared a care package for me with oranges and candy, and as I rolled away I heard Peter firing up his chainsaw, presumably to engage in sporting combat with the surrounding wilderness in the way old friends tend to do.
Saturday (6/6/15) was a hill climb day. I drove up Pikes Peak early to avoid the harsh weather predicted for the afternoon. The Pikes Peak Hill Climb (wiki) is the premier proving ground for race car drivers and manufacturers. I wanted to see what kind of elapsed time my Element could do the course in, and I may have gotten a little carried away when I honked an indecisive old lady off the road. The last mile of the 18 mile course was closed due to high winds.
Inspired by my cars performance at Pikes Peak, I decided to test my own stamina on The Incline (wiki). The “trail” is essentially a staircase of railroad ties nearly a mile long covering 2,000 feet of elevation gain. People thought it was funny that I brought a Colorado flag all the way up there. “Huh.. I didn’t know we could bring a prop.” I offered it up to a few groups to take pictures with.
I spent two nights visiting a friend in Boulder.
It’s a cool city with plenty of polite, physically active and attractive, smiling people around town. But be aware – there is a serious culture of New Age thinking to cope with. It’s a bit much for me take in. In general, I treat it like any other form of mysticism. The ends are sound (happiness and goodwill), but the means are bologna (“This sapphire amulet will protect me from negative energy”).
Ah well, different strokes I suppose.
Since I stopped at Anheuser Busch Brewery in St. Louis, I figured it was only fair to visit the MillerCoors Brewery in Golden. Both of the tours were unimpressive. But what can you expect? They know that the real money is in cranking out a consistent, palatable product – not leading a pack of tourists through their facility.
At least they gave us two free pints each.
Stay tuned for Colorado: Part II, which will be coming up this September.
I still have to drive through the western side of the rockies to visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP and Mesa Verde NP.