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Zone Rep Report August 2011

Sean CridlandIn the Zone by Sean Cridland

Last month I described a trip up to Colorado Springs to visit the Alpine Mountain Region and a little side trip I took to Aspen so I could drive my favorite road, Route 82 over Independence Pass to Aspen.  I love Independence for a number of reasons. Of course it has some of the most dramatic scenery of any road anywhere.  It's also a road that I spent a great amount of time on in my youth.

When I was a broke-teenage ski bum, I would ride my prized Cinelli bicycle to the top of the pass every day, all summer long.  So I got to know every curve, every turn, even every bump and crack in the road by heart. I came to know every possible place to pass the cars I would race down every day, knowing exactly which spots would scare the tourists, causing them to slow so I could go flying past them. 

A few years later, when I was a river guide, I would drive loads of tourists over the pass in an old Dodge school-bus, towing a trailer with rafts piled high, over to the Arkansas valley for all day trips down Brown's Canyon's great rapids. After rowing all day, I'd get back in to drive them home too. I rarely let any of the other guides drive; partly because I didn't trust them and partly because I just loved that road so much I wanted to take every chance of driving it I could get. As river guides we didn't get paid by the hour, but by the trip. So I never "wasted" any time dawdling going over the pass...if you get my meaning....  And I always wished that I would eventually have a car to drive over the pass that would be worthy of its status of one of the country's -- and the world's -- great roads. Anyway, I think you understand, I have a great bond with that road.

If there's anything of great satisfaction for a writer, it's knowing that someone is actually reading what you're writing. If they write to offer a response, that's even better. If it's a good response, all the better. That's what happened last month. Roadrunner Region Jim Puckett wrote to make a suggestion. Says Jim, "since you mention that we all have our favorite roads, why not create a list Zone 9 favorites?" Mr. Puckett goes on to say that perhaps it would be possible to list them on the Zone 9 website.  Right around the same time, Stan Straus, a new member of the Rocky Mountain Region wrote to ask about some roads and sights I might suggest for his upcoming trip to Taos. As I thought  about these two e-mails, I thought "Aha! Of course. We have to have a page on the Zone site for these kinds of things!" And so we will and we are. Jim Puckett has been working on the format for what kinds of information it will include. It'll include things like, start location, end location, road features, scenery, favorite stops for food and rest, photo opportunities, etc. I'll be creating a page on the Zone 9 site so we can start listing these.

Given the nature of Zone 9 in size and scope, we encourage that you include your favorites for whatever reason. For me, Independence is not just a favorite for its driving challenge, but also for my emotional ties. I have others that I enjoy for their cultural opportunities or just because they lead to a favorite restaurant. So feel free to start working on putting together your own personal tour-book to share with other Zone 9 members who may be traveling around. It could be your long-time favorite like "my" Independence, or it could be a recent discovery. I don't see any reason why we couldn't allow for comments by several people of the same route. After all, none of us have ownership over these drives and we'll have our own emotional and practical responses.  I'll start by building a tab on the site for Favorite Drives, with guidelines. You can take it from there.

And speaking of favorite drives, at this writing, I'm about to make one of my favorite drives of the year. I'm off to Porsche Parade in Savannah, Georgia. I'm not taking any great, interesting routes, just the long trek on I-40 across the country. But I always look forward to seeing friends and PCA associates from around the country that I only get to see at Parade. This year is a busy one for me, as I'm on a few committees that will meet during Parade and I'll be learning to be a judge for Concours. Not to worry, it won't be all work and no play. Look for my Parade account next month.

I hope to see you at one of the events.


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