Home > Uncategorized > Taking out a little insurance

Taking out a little insurance

July 29. I begin the day by traversing Trail Ridge Pass towing my 14,000 lb. trailer without incident and before I know it we’re coasting into Steamboat Springs.

Wow! Talk about a place where the “beautiful people” hang out. The setting is fabulous—a huge, green, open valley, miles across in every direction, surrounded by mountains. Dotted throughout the valley are the vestiges of old homesteads, which appeal to me immensely, but more prominent are the log “cabins” hanging off the sides of the mountains. A log cabin isn’t something over 6,000 square feet is it? Well, these were palatial. For good measure, on the main street I spot my first Lamborghini of the trip. And very likely my last.

Everything in town is spic-and-span, an animatronics village overstuffed with flower boxes, boutiques and hot women in halter tops, mostly riding bicycles. There must be some kind of commercial sign ordinance, because the tallest sign I see is the Golden Arches, and it’s top is only about 15 feet off the ground, not even as tall as the restaurant. Can you imagine not seeing McDonald’s from miles away? Anyway, the place is ostentatiously stunning this time of year, in a boob-job kind of way; but I bet it can be pretty dismal in winter if you’re not a snow-eater.

Soon after leaving Steamboat Springs, the countryside becomes more arid. It reminds me a lot of West Texas; those of you who’ve driven to El Paso have a pretty good picture of it, virtually treeless and covered in sage. For the record, I cross and re-cross both the continental divide and the old Oregon Trail several times. The thought of walking through this featureless landscape for weeks on end, harassed along the way by Cheyenne and Arapaho, freezing in the winter, broiling in the summer—well, let’s just say as a people we just don’t seem to possess that kind of gumption anymore. However, I must interject, we can stand in a welfare line for hours, and the pioneers never had to do that, thank you very much.

Soda Lake Wildlife Management Area

Overall, today is brutal. Not for me, but for Big Red, though she performs flawlessly (knock on wood): 460 miles from Estes Park, CO to Pinedale, WY pulling the big trailer across some pretty forbidding topography. Toward the end I start feeling sorry for her and throttle it back a bit on the long, steady inclines where her computer-controlled cooling fan kicks in and starts screaming like a jet engine.

Finally comes the end of the day. I need a place to camp. Outside Pinedale, down a dirt road about 13 miles, sits a small wildlife management area

called Soda Lake, so I take my chances and head that way, great plumes of dust trailing in clouds behind me. The lake appears to be about 100 acres and the part I see close up has sandy beach-like shores. It sits in a desolate bowl surrounded by low sage-covered hills. Through a gap in the hills I see the Wind River Mountain Range in the distance, sawing the sky with its jagged peaks.

Wind River Range

At the water’s edge I spy in the distance three or four other campers, evenly spaced around the perimeter of the lake. At the exact spot I happen to set camp, I notice after a while the top plate of an elk skull, bits of flesh and hair still clinging to it, antlers sawed off. Soon I spot a few not-quite-dry bones scattered around.

Okay…we have a situation. This place is the very definition of isolation; 911 is not an option. So for the first time on my trip I slip a clip into my Glock and keep it handy. I will have a bed-mate tonight. Deliverance.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Olivia
    August 1, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    You be careful Brian. 🙂

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