Road Trip : Five days in the middle west

In Lifestyle by Antoine

Take your key. Start your car. Drive.
Is not it what a gentlemen driver do when he has time? For this first road trip, let me drive you in Colorado, with a tour from Denver to Salt Lake City. Personally, I did it with a Cobra 289 with a 375 bhp-engine, but the car’s choice is yours.  My aim here is not to find the perfect road or THE way, I prefer that you considerer it like a guide line of how to travel in Colorado.

From Denver, go out of the city thanks to the US-85 to Colorado Springs and take Pikes Peak’s direction. The famous hill climb road is now completely asphalted so having a sport car is a big plus to have fun and to go to the top of the +14 000 ft mount.  The climb will cost you $12 per person but you will have access to one of the most mythic roads in the world. Enjoy the climb because the descent will require a very smooth drive to preserve brakes. Moreover, a temperature control is applied in the middle of the descent and a high brake’s temperature will require a stop to cool them.

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After that, you will have a choice to do.
On one hand, you can drive to the small city of Westcliffe taking the US-85 again to Pueblo, before joining the Highway 50 to Canyon City, Texas Creek and the Road 69 to Westcliffe. The part between Canyon City and Texas Creek is absolutely fantastic! The road follows the Arkansas River and endlessly offers you a new point of view, following the twists and turns of the river with big and red rocks all around you. The end of the road to Westcliffe stayed interesting, but you will arrive faster than the following way.

So, on the other hand, you can drive on the US-85 to Colorado-City. At the junction with the road 165, you will find a road which looks like an alpine road and it will lead you to the lake Isabel with a lot of small corners. However, the road is always large enough to drift on power in corners. This forest road will offer you a one-hour session behind the wheel before a comeback to the reality with a straight road to Westcliffe. Please note that, this straight offers you a wonderful view on the mountains!
A little stop at the Sangrita Restaurant and a night in one of the hotels and B&B will revitalize you for the second day.

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If it is possible, wake up early in the morning. You will have a great view on the red Sangre De Cristo Mountains. The trip will continue by taking the road 69 to Texas Creek, before turning left to Salida. This is the rest of the Highway 50 following the Arkansas River and this is still an amazing road. At Salida, continue to the north on the Highway 291 to Bueno Vista and the highway 24.
When you arrive close to Leadville, turn left throught the Independence Pass to Aspen. The road will open onto one of the best driving session in the area. This is a large and fast road climbing to a very green mount which could remember you the Alps. Do not hesitate to do the Independence Pass several times harder and harder. Here, a great car will make the difference with a good car. Once on the top, the road continue to Aspen, the next step of our trip.

Aspen is a small but very cute town. If Aspen is famous for its ski tracks, the summer will offer you a completely relaxing atmosphere. Spend your time into the city and do not hesitate to enter in one or an other restaurant. Aspen overflows with great charming hotels and apartments where you could stay for the night. The town looks like Gstaad. It is really pretty and relaxing.

After Aspen, I can only recommend you to take the direction of Delta, Colorado. The road goes through the Aspen’s Mountains with a very nice view and authorizes some really gorgeous moments of driving. The road will lead you to Arches National Park. When you are in the park, you can not remain impassive so much the beauty of the landscape is amazing and improbable. A complete afternoon minimum should be, for me, spent in this park. The small town of Moab will be a good place to stay for the night but we are far away from the calm and beautiful Aspen.

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Fourth day starts with an other pretty road following a Canyon, the road 191. It will bring you to Salt Lake City. The Mormon City is full of great building where you could spend hours easily. The Genealogy Library will reveal you the link between you, Marilyn and Mr President. You believe it or not, but caution, the building closes so early when you are here searching the little cousin of your seventh degrees uncle…

Fifth and last day of the trip will lead you to Bonneville. Petrolhead like you and me know this name. This is like LeMans, Sebring or Spa-Francorchamps, it is synonymous of speed. The Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway is located 120 miles west to Salt Lake City. It is the longest straight road I have ever seen, but the destination has something magical. Arrived on the speedway, you will find yourself scratch some salt to come back home with. I personally have an old film’s tube full of Salt at home.
The trip will finish with a high speed run on a immense white surface, with, as only horizon, mountains, far away…

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