White line fever on the way to Boulder
The trip is 81 miles one way from my house in Breckenridge to the nursing home in Boulder. It normally takes me almost two hours to make the drive.
Two hours because I always stop for gas in my secret place in Golden where gas is 15 to 20 cents cheaper than anywhere else. If you are nice to me, I will tell you where it is located.
Two hours because I stop at the car wash in Golden where you can get a full four minutes for $2. In case you have not noticed, it costs more than $2.50 and in one case $3.50 in Summit County for the same four minutes.
Two hours because I stop at the Loaf “n’ Jug to get a Snickers bar as a very poor substitute for Sunday morning breakfast.
I have been doing this almost every Sunday for more than two years. It can be drudgery at times, but is a short vacation at other times.
I kick back and listen to National Public Radio out of Greeley on 107.1, until you get to the tunnel. On the east side, I have to change it to 95.1 and listen directly from the transmitters in Greeley.
I listen to Daniel Shore remind us about the Nixon administration and the terrible things that happened in Vietnam. Poor Dan never made it past his heyday. He reached his apex as a reporter in the late 1960s and early 1970s. No one has had the courage to tell him the war is over and Nixon died. He would much rather compare George W. Bush to Richard Nixon and leave it at that.
Will Shortz comes on about halfway down the mountain and I get to play at solving his puzzles with Lou Ann. Great fun most of the time. Very challenging and it gives me a headache the rest of the time.
Getting off the left side of the Interstate in Hidden Valley and mystifying the rest of the drivers is always interesting. There aren’t many places where the off-ramp is on the left side of the road.
Need to slow down past Kermit’s. The speed limit goes down to 45 mph and then 40 for the rest of the trip. Put it back in cruise control at 40 miles per hour, and then feel the road rage start to build in the cars behind.
Hey, some of you remember that stretch is where I got my one and only ticket two years ago. I am not going to make that mistake again. I never drive those 12 miles without seeing at least one trooper.
Twenty-four miles from Golden to Black Hawk. Twenty-four miles from Golden to Idaho Springs. Think about it.
Six tunnels with one blocked off. Six tunnels with lights so you don’t have to turn on yours the way we did in the 1970s. Six tunnels so you will know where you are as you make your way down the hill to Golden.
Lots of motorcycles came up from Denver early Sunday morning, all headed to Black Hawk and Central City. Weekenders. Harley riders with low-mileage, very clean bikes, sporting lots of leather and metal. The lady on the back looks the same. Weekenders. Yuppies on two wheels. Having more fun than they have ever had sitting down.
Turn left at the end of the canyon on Highway 93 that becomes Broadway in Boulder. That is after the stop at the secret gas station, the cheap car wash and the Snickers for breakfast.
Sunday morning in the canyon. Doesn’t get much better than this.
Gary Lindstrom writes every Thursday for this space. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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