“It was an Elan. A delightful little thing famously made of Kleenex and unicorn farts.” ~ Sam Smith
Well the weather looks good, the car is ready, I’m all packed and it seems as though all signs are positive. So I will be leaving on Sunday April 11, 2021 on the first leg. Despite my “careful” planning, wink wink, I have already altered the first day route. I discovered that US 287 from its junction with CO 94 all the way to Eads carries a huge amount of truck traffic especially cattle haulers. If you have ever followed a truck loaded with live cattle it isn’t fun. The best advice is to stay at least a football field behind and that is just to avoid the detritus coming from the holes in the sides. It is not effective in ameliorating the horrible smell! And besides, CO 94 is a pretty rough road for its entire length even in a big car.
The result is that I am violating one of my key guidelines right away, I will be taking Interstate 25 about 39 miles south to Pueblo and then going east on US 50 through Rocky Ford, La Junta and Lamar into Kansas. And since I will be further south than I was planning to be, it will take me to a new overnight stop as well. The little town of Pratt will be my first night stop after passing through Garden City and Dodge City. There are several motels to choose from so it looks like a perfect first day goal. The road traverses mostly farming and ranching prairie and I expect it to be sort of boring yet peaceful. It will be a pretty lonely first day.
This first day change will, of course, create a change in the second day as well. I will still be aiming for Harrison, AR but the route to there will change to a more southern track. More on this change will come in the next post which will be from the first night on the road.
In the meantime, I have a few thoughts on the trip…sort of a philosophical detour if you will.
- The planning is frequently the easy part. On the scale of Google maps, 350 miles doesn’t seem that far but I am betting that it will be plenty far in daily drives. In the planning there is no heat, nor wind, nor traffic to contend with, not even any grades to consider, so the miles just slip away. In the real world, it won’t be so serene. The other consideration I wrestle with is the tiny size of my Elan. It is only 12 feet long, about 4 feet wide and just 30 inches high at the base of the windshield. In other words it’s about as tall as your bathroom vanity top. It makes me very nervous around big trucks!
- While I am looking forward to the solitude and the chance to observe and appreciate this diverse place called the USA, it makes me just a bit melancholy to think that I am not sharing this amazing variety of experiences with Ann so that when I am done I can say a couple of years from now, “Remember when we….?”
- I know I have forgotten something. I don’t know what it is or I would immediately go fetch it and pack it, of course. My only hope is that whatever it is turns out to be something generally available at a drug, grocery or convenience store. I know there are Walmart stores all along the way in small towns I will be passing through and if it isn’t available in those I probably will be fine without it.
- The duty of keeping the blog up to date and, even more difficult, keeping it interesting enough to make it worth reading, weighs heavily on me. I hope those of you who come for the story will stay with me and make it to the end of the journey while finding some amount of joy in the process. I’ll do my best.
And now, in the autumn of my car life, it is time for My Mega Drive. I hope I see you along the way, and if not, I hope you too will plan at least a trip to stretch out of your comfort zone, perhaps to come my way so I can join you on your grand tour or drive. See you soon!
Hi, I’m Ross and I’m a tripoholic. I love driving especially in my old cars and then writing about the adventure that always follows. I’m old enough to know better but that doesn’t stop me. If you like stories of the road, every word true no matter how far fetched it may seem, then grab a beer or a cup of coffee and join me!
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