My Great Western Auto Tour

Sunday, April 21: Sterling, Colorado, to Heber City, Utah.

Page last updated May 19, 2002.

I woke up around 6 AM feeling eager to get on the road. The wheels were rolling by 7:07. I decided to follow 14 and 40 through the Colorado Rockies. En route, I heard that I-80 was closed to nonessential traffic between Cheyenne and Laramie. Fortunately, the big storm stayed north of where I was. I only had a few scattered snow flurries when I was up at the top of the passes.

I started off in fog. I drove out of it into blue skies and bright sunshine. These are the "high plains," I guess.

After a couple of hours, I spotted a diner with an overflowing parking lot and stopped for breakfast.

As I was leaving town, I caught my first glimpse of the Rockies.

I don't understand the sign. I climbed way uphill after passing the sign. But I suppose the great divide was somehwere in the neighborhood.

Route 14 was thrilling. I drove along the Cache la Poudre river. Many fisherman were making their way into the freezing waters as I passed them. The road twisted, climbed and dipped as it followed the stream bed. "This is why I'm taking this road," I thought as I wrestled with the wheel and tried to find a reasonable speed. Then I hit a rock and ruined a brand-new tire. "This is why people take I-80," I thought as I wrestled the miniature spare tire out of the trunk and knelt in the snow to fit it in place. I drove more than 120 miles on the donut at 50 mph until I was able to get a used replacement in Steamboat Springs. I'm trying to be philosophical about it. The whole incident slowed me down and forced me to relax and have a long lunch while the tires were being swapped. I was still able to get pretty close to Salt Lake City before sunset.

I had route 40 almost all to myself all day long. This next photo is a shot looking backwards down the road late in the afternoon.

I'm learning the limitations of my camera and my eye as I go along. My admiration for Ansel Adams has grown tremendously. What the eye and the mind perceive is very different from what the camera captures. I keep trying to capture the beauty and grandeur of the "far distant hills," but the camera compresses everything into a flat and nearly featureless smudge.