Thursday, Sept, 30th: Lincoln, NB to Steamboat Springs, CO.
Today was a great day. The weather was great, the route was fantastic, and the Jag ran (top down!) very well with only one minor problem.
We left Lincoln slightly behind the main group, but seemed to pass quite a few folks early. The route followed US Highway 6, 34, and 40. It was classic "blue highway" driving. We were again treated to a wonderful jaguar shadow show on the corn during sunrise. As we traveled farther west the country opened up and the sky got bigger and the horizon farther and farther away... we had arrived in The West. I was back on familiar ground.
We encountered a few interesting sights in this big country: Very early we saw a Nebraska Highway Patrolman with a few of our group pulled over.
Left: Martin Swig tries to sweet-talk out of another one.
Later at a road work area, the 20-year-old or so woman holding the "stop/slow" stick breaks out in an ear to ear grin as we pull up. She never says a word to us, but just jumps up and down yelling "COOL!" as we roll by. I guess we made her day.
Left: Caddy in Cornfields.
Above: Going over the Colorado Rockies,. Left: Going up the Big Thompson Canyon. Right: Ourpassport through the park.
We were car number 5 to arrive at Steamboat. Estes park was even more wonderful than I remember... I want to climb on Lumpy Ridge again! The drive over Trail Ridge Road was spectacular... clouded by only a single problem: It is obvious that we have some air in out clutch hydraulics. As we gained in altitude (we topped out above 12,000 feet today!) our little bubble grew to a giant balloon! The clutch would not work at all, so we had to speed shift all the way from west of Loveland, over the Divide and most of the way into Steamboat. We plan on bleeding it after it warms up tomorrow. I also notice an odd low-frequency vibration now and then. Hmmmm....
Above: Trail Ridge Road. A trip over the Continental Divide at 12,000 feet. Longs Peak is above dad's hat on the left.
Left: Hairpin turn at 11,000 feet. Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park.
We did have a close call with a complete moron in a blue pickup illegally passing on highway 40 as we went up Rabbit Ears Pass. If it weren't for some fast reflexes and the excellent brakes of the jag, we'd be on the buzzard breakfast buffet.
Today on the Buzzard's Buffet: 9 Raccoons, 4 Gophers, 6 Skunks, 2 Opossum, 2 Jackrabbits (I know were are heading west now!), 1 Jaguar clutch, and 11 indistinguishable piles of flesh guts and fur/feathers.
On to the next page: Steamboat to Eureka.