I always love crossing state borders. Somehow, the invisible lines on the map become real with the “welcome” signs and give a satisfying sense of accomplishment. Today, we crossed from KS into CO. Frankly, the welcome sign is about the only way you know that you’ve actually crossed over into Colorado. (It still looks just like Kansas for about a half a day’s drive into Colorado.)
Still, it was a sign of progress and that we were nearing this particular journey’s end. Although, there were mixed emotions, particularly as that stretch of road always makes me nervous. For whatever reason, Limon CO seems to have a propensity to attract automotive troubles. (Have you ever noticed that sometimes, for an unexplainable reason, there are certain stretches of road that always have broken down cars on them?) I can’t begin to imagine why that would be. Probably best not to even think about it!
Limon is one of those places: I can personally vouch for it, having had several automotive encounters with it of my own. Every time we get past that area, I breath a huge sigh of relief.
Shortly after that, we decided to hop off the freeway (namely because we wanted to skip Denver’s traffic congestion). So, we took a country-road detour. It really didn’t add much mileage and was well worth it. The scenery was gorgeous, and even saw antelope grazing along the way as we made our way westward, and up into the mountains.
As a side note if you’ve never seen Colorado’s antelope (also called Pronghorn), watch for their white backsides as you’re passing wide open grazing land. They’re such curious animals – I’m always delighted when I spot some and feel like I’ve won the jackpot for the day. Borrowing a picture of one, for your enjoyment here:
Yup. That’s really what they look like. You can learn more about them by clicking on the photo.
Mountain Driving Tips
Also, an important driving tip for anyone that’s new to driving through mountain passes. Keep an eye on your car’s gauges and don’t let them cross over into the “red” zone. It’s probably no surprise, but most folks drive just like they do in the city (even when traversing mountain ranges). Aside from clearly identifying yourself as a city person to everyone else on the road, this puts an incredible strain on your vehicle’s motor. We’re not talking about driving over a little hill here either – mountain passes are a whole ‘nuther story.
The truth is that it’s very common for city drivers to blow a motor beyond the point of reasonable repair. Better to put your pride aside, get in the right lane, and just take it easy on the way up the mountain.
Also, when going down steep grades, put the car in lower gear. The car will slow down and you won’t have to use up all your brakes getting down the mountain side. (Save your brakes for when you really need them!)
Anyhow, it wasn’t long before we were up over the continental divide, down the other side, and searching for our camping spot for the evening.