The Legend-News

Monday, 2000 July 17 : Volume 3, Number 25

This Edition of The Legend-News Is Brought To You By...

...TechRen Toys, makers of the C.W. McCall Wolf Creek Pass Action Adventure Set! With this adventure set you can recreate C.W. and Earl's historic journey across the Continental Divide! The set includes:

Watch your temperature gauge hit the red-line on your uphill journey! Stop to admire the view at the top! Gasp as you count the telephone poles on the downhill side!

(Batteries not included. C.W. and Earl action figures sold separately.)

Goin' West, Part 5: Prelude To Terror

[If you're reading this part of the story and hoping to hear about our arrival in Ouray, you'll be disappointed. When I finished last week's installment I thought that the Omaha-to-Durango leg could be quickly dismissed, because nothing really happened. Then I started writing about it, and I realized that stuff had happened. So I'm writing about it.

[The probable schedule: next week, it's Wolf Creek Pass and onto our stop just east of Durango. The week after, we visit the Silverton train, climb Red Mountain Pass past the Riverslide Slide, and get a view of the Switzerland of America. No, I'm not talking about New Glarus, Wisconsin. — Ed.]

Tuesday afternoon, 30 May 2000
We're still in Nebraska. Yeah, still. It wasn't really our fault, though. T A's Metro developed an electrical problem, and we spent about four hours getting it fixed. By the time we finally got back on the road the time was 5 P.M. and we had to fight our way through the "rush hour" traffic back to the Interstate. Eventually we were westbound on I-80 and determined to make up for lost time.

Our progress was mostly limited by T A's Metro. The top speed of the car was about 71 miles per hour, and that was achieved only by removing the drive belt for the air conditioning compressor. Just keeping the A/C off wasn't enough; a total mechanical disconnection from that compressor was necessary for the Metro to reach that speed. T A had been driving this way since Baltimore, with his windows rolled down to catch a breeze. My Saturn hadn't yet experienced any problems, except for an annoying rattle in the catalytic converter (the baffles were rusted). But we hadn't travelled through any really hot days or climbed any really steep mountains yet. In fact, on the way west on I-80 we drove during a fairly cloudy evening, and an occasional drizzle fell on our windshields.

T A took the lead for the most part. Since we weren't in a hurry, I hung out behind him, sometimes getting as far as two miles away before accelerating to 75 mph and catching up with T A. On I-80 there weren't many sites to see, but I did pass a few signs pointing to places that I'd visited before, such as Harold Warp's Pioneer Village in Minden.

Being cheap, we decided to forego rented shelter (a.k.a. "motel") that night, and stopped overnight at a rest area that was about 20 miles east of the northeast corner of Colorado. The night was cool, in the 50s, with occasional rain. I slept in the driver's seat of my car, while T A claimed one of the picnic shelters at the back of the stop.

Wednesday, 31 May 2000
We had decided to start out at 7, but at about 6 A.M. I awakened and took a stroll around the grounds of the rest area. I noticed that T A was no longer in the shelter, but in his car. Later, he told me that the weather was fine until the temperature reached the dew point and he found his sleeping bag covered with condensation and slowly getting wet, whereupon he retired to drier surroundings. I woke T A at 7, and we headed to Denver.

As we entered Colorado, the change in the land was obvious. Though we'd seen hills in Iowa, and Nebraska was fairly flat, Colorado was becoming mountainous. Not too mountainous yet, but the hills were more frequent and quite a bit steeper.

Our next stop was Aurora, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. T A had lived there for a few years and we drove around looking for familiar places. What we found were more houses and more malls, the obvious result of an expanding metropolis. Damn, I hate expanding metropoli. After a short tour of the Aurora mall and lunch at the A&W, we plotted the next leg of the trip then headed south. Our intention was to drive to U.S. 160 at Walsenberg (there's a bunch a' wild women there), then head west to Durango. And we were doing find until we approached Colorado Springs, where we had to stop-and-go through several miles of backed-up traffic on I-25. It seemed that, according to the chatter on the CB, that we had decided to drive through Colorado Springs at the same time that the U.S. Air Force Academy's graduation ceremony was ending. sigh

But after about an hour of creeping along, the traffic started moving steadily and we were southbound. We passed Pueblo, turned right at Walsenburg, climbed the North La Veta Pass (only 9413 feet in altitude) and then made steady progress through a relatively flat area of Colorado. At about 5 o'clock we reached South Fork, where the road turned to the southeast. We were about to begin our first really big climb over the Rockies, through forty-seven miles a' hell called Wolf Creek Pass.

Next: Up And Around And Down And Around And Around And Down, or "Snow?"

Visual Aids

Ye Great Procrastinator (moi) finally got his butt in motion and picked up the prints from the drug store. Starting this week, I'll be adding my Convoy 2000 tale to the section that I reserved for it and illustrations will be provided.

Song A’ Th’ Week

(C.W. McCall, Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album Wilderness

She was born in the brief mountain springtime
Blue in the late mountain snow
And she grew in the sunlight of summer
But she knew when the aspen turned gold
That she had grown old

Blue columbine

Columbine, columbine
Blue in the Rockies
Will I miss you, while you were away?
Will I see you next summer, wild on the mountain?
Will you be there, when I pass your way?

She was there in the brief mountain springtime
Blue in the late mountain snow
And we lived in the sunlight of summer
But I knew when the aspen turned gold
That I had grown old

Columbine, columbine
Blue in the Rockies
Will you miss me, when I've gone away?
Will I see you next summer, wild on the mountain?
Will you be there, when I pass your way?

Columbine, columbine
Blue in the Rockies
Will you miss me, when I've gone away?