He was born in the summer of his 27th yearComing home to a place he’d never been beforeHe left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born againYou might say he found a key for every door
If you need to get from Albuquerque to Laramie (not that most people would need to), you’d pull out a map and quickly decide to head up I-25 and cut the corner around Cheyenne. It’s the quickest route, but it’s also pretty utilitarian. You’ll be passing through one of the most beautiful states in the country and you’ll see almost none of it. Or you could look to the left at the mess of smaller roads that take you through mountain valleys and sparsely populated stretches of Northern New Mexico and Colorado. It’s a longer day, but if you’re already going to be spending 9 hours on the road, what’s an extra few hours for a much nicer trip. Sure it’ll be harder but nothing good comes without work and you’ve done parts of the trip before and survived so you figure it’ll be fine. You decide to go for it, even though you’ll be driving a Kia Rio with nothing more than a 1.6 liter engine that will probably struggle to get over even the lowest passes. But what’s the worst that can happen right?
So you program the GPS and head out. Yet the minute you veer off I-25 towards small New Mexico towns like Española and Ojo Caliente, the nice computer lady starts questioning your decision, pointing out that taking I-25 is much quicker and asking at every intersection if you want to go that way. You consider it a few times, but push on and ultimately she just quits asking, right around the time you’re driving through Carson National Forest and you realize it’s pretty empty out there and the last time you went through there you weren’t alone. But you’re committed now. Then you catch the first glimpse of the actual Rockies and she miraculously reappears offering a shorter, easier route, and you nearly take it. Because really a Kia Rio versus that? But no, you keep at it, after all someone came through and paved the road, so it can’t be that difficult.
But those mountain passes are steep and your engine is tiny and you feel like you’re slowing to a crawl and not really going anywhere. Then you get to the summit and see the valley below and realize it wasn’t all that bad, hell the Kia managed to keep at 55 without hitting three and a half revs. You ultimately go through some pretty awesome places and see things you never would’ve seen had you not decided to take the long way. So it all seems good, there’ll be some hurdles along the way but nothing your little car can’t manage. And if people pass you so be it, you’re not in a race, you’re just along to enjoy the ride.
Then you decide to take a detour, because how often are you going to be in Colorado and within driving range of some place like Steamboat Springs? Plus it’s only 43 miles away. Your brain conveniently forgot to remember you’re in Colorado and the Rockies and 43 miles is a pretty decent drove in those parts. Oops. Then you hit a mountain storm as you come down off the mountain and you’re not only regretting the decision and wondering, somewhat, if you’ll actually get out of it in one piece. You do though and you spend an hour and a half driving through empty North Park with the windows down listening to John Denver realizing Rocky Mountain High isn’t as corny as you always thought it was. Then you realize the hotel is practically in sight, you just got to get over that one last pass and you’ve already done much worse and this one will be just like that others, not as bad as you envisioned it. And you’ve got 1,500 left to go but you pull into Laramie and realize you’re pretty damn content with where you are at the moment.