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This new article is dedicated to Scenic Roads & Exploration Travel. Main area of focus: S. Central Colorado & N. Central New Mexico.
Well, what do we have here? Something new and interesting? If you like to pack a lunch or an overnight bag for a day or two and then jump in your favorite set of wheels and hit the road, the answer will be "Yes".
Please, let me introduce myself. My name is Rodney White and I live in Beulah, Colorado. Originally from Oregon, I moved to Colorado in 1974. You've heard of people that marry into money? I married into Southern Colorado! That has been worth more than millions of dollars to me and my family in our quality of life. One of my loves has been discovering backroad surprises that just didn't seem that obvious, or interesting.
Lets take "Verde Road", for instance. You've seen the exit sign right on I-25 whenever you drive between Colorado City and Pueblo. Here's a suggestion: Sometime when you have an extra 15 or 20 minutes, take the Verde Rd. exit on your way south heading for Colorado City. It's a well surfaced gravel road that winds through beautiful country and loops you back onto I-25 further south down the highway towards Colorado City. This is a great little road to revisit as the seasons change - a prairie perspective.
Take your time to slow down so you can look off to the left and the right while you drive. Something about our lifestyle tends to keep our eyes fixed to the road ahead. I used to exceed the speed limit as a matter of course. I had to stare ahead! Now my perspective has changed and my average speed on the highway is around 60 mph. Benefits: Better gas milage - less stress on vehicle - less stress on me - drive and relax - Now - check out all that scenery on both your left and right! Plus, I don't get to my destination that much later than everyone else flying down the highway.
As we go-down-the-road together, I'd also like to suggest the purchase of a few maps. Barnes & Noble is a good source.
#1. AAA Indian Country - starts at Colorado City and goes West into Utah, Arizona, New Mexico - shows backroads other maps don't. This was the favorite map of the late and great author, Tony Hillerman, who wrote many novels about the Navajo people and their culture. My family and I lived 6 years on the Navajo reservation in Monument Valley on the Utah/Arizona border. We'll get down that way too in our travels together.
#2. San Isabel National Forest Map - pick it up at S.I .Forest Service office. Talk about back roads insight!
#3. Colorado: Titled - Topographical Recreational Map of Colorado. These are excellent resource maps for the area. As a matter of fact, one of my best road trip goals, which my jeep and I finally made it to this summer, was found on google maps. It's an easy computer program to use. Ask for help. You not only can see the little dirt roads on your screen, you can see what they look like from overhead via satillite. By checking out some jeep roads this way, I've been able to get an idea of what I was getting myself into, and as a result, have changed my plans, at times. Good tool for any High Country Road Warrior.
Another item coming to the table will be some suggestions of where to stop for a decent breakfast, lunch, or dinner while you're on your road-trip. Depending on the opportunities, I'll also be making some suggestions for entertainment, hikes or strolls that you may enjoy while off into the hinterlands.
By the way - have any of you taken that little dirt road hidden behind the barn right at McKenzie Junction? (Hiways 96 & 165) It takes you up a backway to Rosita and the giant view of the Sange's. Beautiful in the early morning.
Happy Traveling - Be Safe