“It was an Elan. A delightful little thing famously made of Kleenex and unicorn farts.” ~ Sam Smith
DAY ONE –
First let me address the title of this post. I debated whether to continue with the numbering system from the eastern loop and the more I thought about it the more cumbersome it seemed, so I decided to follow the logic of the major sports leagues and start the clock fresh for the second half, Then, it occurred to me that someone, somewhere, just may want to find a specific post. So, to avoid the confusion of duplicate numbers, the word West will precede all the western loop posts. Whew! Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about today.
I was on familiar roads today so I never even consulted the Atlas, nor did I make notes from Google maps as I have done before. Nope, today was smooth sailing all the way to Cortez. I am going to try a new thing and add a map clipping of where I went today. If it is helpful I will see if I can keep doing it each day.
I got a sweet sendoff from Ann and as I drove to the end of the cul de sac our neighbor Rick was waving so Ann asked him to take a photo of us together before I turned to go. Here it is.
Starting at a few minutes prior to 8 am, it was still cold so I had my warm jacket on and gloves and it was just right…my face tingling but the rest of me nice and warm. Because it was a bit chilly, I decided to go south to Canon City and then west along the Arkansas River on US 50 rather than go up US 24 over Wilkerson Pass since 50 is much lower and slower which means more comfortable in the brisk morning air. They meet at Poncha Springs anyway where one must go south over Poncha Pass, so it is just a simple choice. The vista from Wilkerson over South Park to the Continental Divide is stunning so there was a bit of sacrifice. It was a comfort over view decision.
The car was just purring since the new (old) muffler is much quieter than the raspy stainless one and the car seemed really happy. I can now hear the Weber induction noise, which is cool, whereas before all I could hear was exhaust. I had enough boulevard running to get the car fully warmed before I got to the 65MPH section of CO 115 and by the time I got there, the Elan was ready to rumble. We danced along the winding route, me with a satisfied grin pasted on my face, and the Elan eager to run.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: We are very blessed to live in Colorado Springs. The warm sun shining down on snow-capped peaks, the multiple greens of the vegetation in the red sandstone against an overarching cobalt blue sky was simply stunning. And there is a different combination over each hill and around each turn. The roads rise and fall, twist and turn and the Elan just purrs along. Nirvana!
While the day was very nice, and warmed as I went, the roads just got better and better. One of my favorite passes in the state is 10,857 ft. Wolf Creek Pass and today it was prime. Wolf Creek Pass became nationally known in 1975, when famous country musician CW McCall released a song “Wolf Creek Pass” in which he tells the tale of summiting the Great Divide through “37 miles of Hell,” in his 18 wheeler with waning brakes. There really are several truck escape roads on the pass. But today there was little traffic and where I encountered it there was always a passing lane, smooth pavement and the warm sunny day. I stopped at the overlook on the west side of the pass to capture some small percentage of what my eyes took in, but it is just not the same, trust me. If you ever get the chance to drive this route, take it!
So, in sum, it was a pretty smooth first day after my break. The car ran great, I was pretty comfortable and while I got some sun, it looks like I’m not too burned. I used 10. 5 gallons of gas from Canon City to Cortez. That is 301 miles for just over 28 ½ MPG over several passes with my foot well in the throttle. Pretty good!
Now to get ready for 2nd Half Day Two.
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!
Subscribe to My Blog
Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.