[xj] A little touring to the top of the ( paved ) world ( very loong )

Arthur Blackwell <@Arthur_Blackwell>

Gracie got a chance to really stretch her legs this weekend.....I

was given a birthday present of an overnight stay in Estes Park with my
wonderful girlfriend along with a driving tour of Trail Ridge road. This
road has the distinction of being the highest paved highway in the world
( so the claim goes ) .

It started out with a 80 MPH run north out of Denver on I-25. This

was a nice Italian tune-up that shook out all the little complaints
Gracie has had over the only 60 MPH commute she does every day along
with the Denver stop & go stuff. Left at US 34 & gas up in
Loveland…the speed run used up a 1/4 of the gas…and start up the
mountains through Big Thompson Canyon. This is a winding, twisty bit
that has wonderful scenery and my girlfriend asked to slow down to
35…( flinging Gracie through the corners isn’t her style ). We get to
Estes Park in great style. The less said about the stay at the Holiday
Inn in Estes Park the better. Fortunately the company ( Gracie and My
G/F ) made up for the H/I shortcomings.

The next day came up bright & sunny, a beautiful day in the Rockies,

a perfect day for touring. We spent the morning walking through the
streets of Estes Park which has the small town look & feel of a mining
town from the 19th Century turned a bit touristy. We topped that off
with a tour through the Stanley Hotel.

The Stanley Hotel was built by the Stanley  who built the Stanley

Steamer. That is not its only claim to fame. The Stanley is the Hotel
featured in the movie The Shining with Jack Nicholson. Rumor has it that
Stephen King placed the novel in New England because " No one would
believe that such a place could exist in the Rockies " . Many famous
people have stayed at the Stanley and it is a fabulous place to have a
wedding & reception.The views are breathtaking, and the visitors list is
like a who’s who from entertainers and politicians…The Stanley
Steamer was built because carbureted cars couldn’t readily climb to
8500’ and Stanley needed a Station Wagon ( depot hack ) that would get
the passengers from the Plains Railroad stations up that drive through
the canyon…Now restored, it is an excellent place to visit and if you
can get reservations, a night costs $169.00…

Headed out of town to Rocky Mountain National Park. Pay the fee &

start climbing up Trail Ridge Road. Lots of winding curves and
switchbacks. Speed limit here is 35 MPH. I can still better it
considerably even at 11,000’ thanks to fuel injection. I did several
stops to enjoy the views. One view near the peak was to the east where
you can see over the mountain ranges to the eastern plains past Denver (
about 100 miles I guess ). Note for the not so brave…There are many
areas along the road where the drop off is unguarded and the drop off is
literally 500’ straight down! To the north, the view is clear over to
the next state ( Wyoming ) 35 miles away…If you like dramatic views
of canyons, rivers, snow and trees this is the tour to do. At close to
12000’ the treeline disappears and the only thing left is snow and
Arctic tundra…

Switchbacks down the mountain ( put Gracie in second gear, barely used
the brakes ) and down from the ridgeline into Grand Lake. This chain of
lakes feeds the water needs down in the Denver area and are huge! A stop
off in Grand Lake ( a small town atmosphere with real boardwalks! ) for
dinner and a stroll and we are on our way. We step up the pace and are
running at 70 MPH in the mountain high country ( 8500’ ) effortlessly.
BTW it appears that my mileage at altitude is somewhat better! Slower
speeds may have something to do with it tho…8-).

Drove through Winter Park & the ski areas surrounding it and up
Berthoud Pass. This is another switchback climb which is heavily
populated ( traffic jammed ) throughout the ski season, but was deserted
last night…40 MPH up the pass, 35 MPH down the pass & through the
construction zones ( widening to 4 lanes, now we can have 4 lanes jammed
during ski season! ) and meet up with I-70 and Idaho Springs for the
drive back to Denver. This trip is one that I would recommend to
anyone!–
Art Blackwell
Denver, CO

" Even in the future nothing works " Dark Helmet " Spaceballs "

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“DOUGLAS DWYER” <@Doug_Dwyer>

Art,
Great story…I felt like I was there. Thanks for sharing.

Doug Dwyer
Longview, Washington USA===================================================
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“Garth L. Getgen” <@Garth_L_Getgen>

Note for the not so brave…There are many areas along the road where
the drop off is unguarded and the drop off is literally 500’ straight down!

We have a guy at work that knows something about everything … really, he does!

He told us that the reason there are few if any guard rails in the Colorado
mountains isn’t to save money; rather it’s so people that should be driving
in the mountains (i.e., they’re too stupid to slow down enough for the curves
etc., etc.) only kill themselves and don’t take out innocent bystanders by
bouncing off the guard rails and into the other lane.

(gee … is that really ONE sentence??)

Garth L. Getgen===================================================
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Arthur Blackwell <@Arthur_Blackwell>

One problem…This Darwin solution still has the problem of the car landing on someone
on a lower switchback…8-)…

“Garth L. Getgen” wrote:> “Garth L. Getgen” Garth.Getgen@att.net

Note for the not so brave…There are many areas along the road where
the drop off is unguarded and the drop off is literally 500’ straight down!

We have a guy at work that knows something about everything … really, he does!

He told us that the reason there are few if any guard rails in the Colorado
mountains isn’t to save money; rather it’s so people that should be driving
in the mountains (i.e., they’re too stupid to slow down enough for the curves
etc., etc.) only kill themselves and don’t take out innocent bystanders by
bouncing off the guard rails and into the other lane.

(gee … is that really ONE sentence??)

Garth L. Getgen

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Art Blackwell
Denver, CO

" Even in the future nothing works " Dark Helmet " Spaceballs "

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