“It was an Elan. A delightful little thing famously made of Kleenex and unicorn farts.” ~ Sam Smith
DAY ONE – As I noted in the post “Time to GO!” I had altered the route for day one and that even got twisted. Let me explain. After a sendoff planned by Ann where our neighbors presented me with Coke, Easy Cheese and Frito’s, plus a read of the nice article in the Gazette about my trip, I departed at 8:35 which was very close to my planned 8:30 departure. As I had also planned, I started down I-25 to Pueblo and it was smooth sailing. The car was happy, the traffic light and the temperature comfortable. Turning east on US 50 I rolled through Rocky Ford, La Junta, Fowler and finally Lamar. It was almost lunch time so I was looking for a place to eat and not only did I not find one, I missed the key turn east to US 50. Instead I continued straight south on US 287/385, so relieved that the wind was at my back rather than howling in my ear off the corner of the window, that I didn’t even comprehend what I had done. After about 20 miles, I saw the 287 sign but no 50 sign and realized my mistake. I pulled into a rest stop and got out the Atlas. Oops. Now what?
I continued south to CO 116 and followed it all the way to US 160 and then to US 400 southeast of Dodge City. At that point I was back on my original route all the way to Pratt where I arrived about a half hour later than planned with about 26 miles added for my error. All in all, not a bad recovery.
So what were my impressions of the first day?
- We are very blessed to live in Colorado Springs. The further east I went from I-25, the sadder things look. It is too dry, too small, too poor and too late to change things. The folks who live out on the plains must be tough because each day is a challenge just to provide the necessities. Luxuries are somewhere else.
- The wind is relentless. While the day was very nice, and warmed as I went down in altitude (Almost 5,000 feet from my home to Pratt) the wind nearly ruined the day. The side glass forms a venturi to focus the blast directly on my left ear. Window down was worse. I used ear plugs, my leather flying helmet and a hat to finally get some respite. In the afternoon the leather lid made me too warm, but without it the wind ripped my hat right off my head. Luckily, it landed on the shoulder so I quickly stopped and backed up to fetch it. Since the sun was at my back, I just let the wind massage my hair and turn it to straw.
- So, in sum, it was a pretty smooth first day. The car ran great, I was pretty comfortable and while I got some sun, it looks like I’m not too burned. I used 8.425 gallons of gas from home to Ulysses KS which is 271 miles for just over 32 MPG. Pretty good!
Now to get ready for 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!
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