Crossing The Colorado Rockies On I-70 With C.W. McCall

Kansas is flat. It’s so flat that [insert “flat” joke here]. So traveling westbound through Kansas on Interstate 70 is easy. But once you reach the Colorado border, you’re on a slow climb to Denver, the “Mile High City”, and beyond that, the Rocky Mountains. Flatland driving doesn’t apply here, because after Denver you’ve got about 90 miles of up, down and around until you reach the Vail Pass and begin your descent out of the high altitudes.

And if you’re eastbound, the trip is just as trying, once you’ve left the Eagle River valley and driven through Vail to begin the climb into the Rockies.

A lot of truck accidents happen in the Colorado Rockies, and four-wheelers also have problems. In 1989, the Colorado Motor Carriers Association released a cassette tape to aid truckers in crossing the Rockies on I-70, Crossing The Colorado Rockies On I-70 With C.W. McCall. The narrator, of course, was C.W. McCall.

These tapes could be found at truck stops east of Denver and west of Vail, for drivers to borrow and use while they crossed the Rockies. If the driver would be using this section of I-70 again, he could keep the tape for the future; if not, he was encouraged to drop off the tape at a stop on the other side of the Great Divide, so that other drivers could borrow that copy for their trip.

Crossing the Rockies cassette, side A

This tape — which is two-sided: one side for westbound truckers, and the other for eastbound — contains descriptions of the scenery, road configurations and conditions, and helpful safety tips.

Thanks to Patti Olsgard, Director of Safety, Training & Research for the Colorado Motor Carriers Association for a copy of the tape from which these MP3s were made.

Update: October 2005 Crossing The Colorado Rockies has been updated, and it’s now available on audio CD. Check the CMCA website for further information. But if you’re carpal tunnel is aching, here’s the news from their front page:

“Crossing the Rockies” Audio Recording Completed

CMCA is proud to announce that the updated and revised version of “Crossing the Rockies” is complete. CDs are free of charge and will be distributed through the CMCA offices and the ports of entry on the I-70 corridor.

This recording will help drivers cross the I-70 corridor more safely, by “talking” the drivers through the grades, curves and traffic from Denver to Vail and back again. The CD also includes a bit of Colorado history, as well as general safety and courtesy tips regarding seatbelts, noise reduction, brake checks and chain-up areas. Mr. Bill Fries, aka C.W. McCall graciously recorded this for us, and also provided music by Mannheim Steamroller for this new version.

To order your free copies today, please call Patti Olsgard at 303-433-3375, ext. 304 or email her at

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4040 Elati Street
Denver, Colorado 89216-4814
Telephone: 303.433.3375