The Situation for Traveling Slowly

When I was 30, I owned a sporty Volkswagen Golf, and that I loved to rip around inside like I had been Michael Schumacher. On road trips, I would turn on the radar detector, peg the engine beyond 90 miles per hour, and extend the petrol in my tank to fumes to decrease stoppages. I chased my gasoline station breaks like Indy pit stops.  

Traveling with Artemis, the Airstream, has set an end to this nonsense. Like it or not long, fast days would be the antithesis of pulling a travel trailer.

For one, the Chevy Colorado, although perfectly adequate to the job, is to the small side of this truck spectrum. With some 6,000 lbs of trailer supporting us totally loaded, we’d win no races. And Artemis can find a bit wobbly more than 65 miles per hour, particularly in the wind, a near-constant in the West. In addition, we burn through gasoline after hauling, averaging no more than 13 miles per gallon.   Frequent gas stops are mandatory.  

At first, I was offended by the rate that was dawdling. I wanted to hurry up, go farther, see everything. An early discontinue felt like a failure since it might mean missing out on a park or wilderness or mountain in the future. I had been clinging to the impatience of my childhood.  

Yet I’ve discovered that among the   joys of living in the road is that you can make it up as you proceed. If we drive to a new place and do not like it, then we can proceed the following day. If we’re fond of a location, we can stay a week or a month. There’s no set agenda, no itinerary, no no endpoint.

Assessing the in-between pitstops may lead to the best adventures. (JJAG Media)

It is not just about pacing, either. It’s about seeing what is around you rather than looking in the future. Jen and I discovered this again a couple of weeks ago in southern Colorado. Following work at 4UR Ranch, our strategy was to beeline to Summit County. Google Maps said the drive would take four weeks, which seemed reasonable, if aggressive, following a few days of dawn-to-dusk shooting. But after from the truck, we’re both exhausted and dozy. We just made it to Del Norte, 40 minutes later on.

The previous time we ceased from Del Norte was perhaps 12 decades ago. What was a poky little place has increased up. In the past, the only reason to come back here was on climbing excursions to Penitente in case you dropped a piece of equipment, which may be replaced at a dark small hardware store that doubled as a climbing shop. Now, there is a hip brewery, Three Barrels, a newly renovated historic hotel with a quaint pub, the Windsor, along with a bustling outdoor shop named Kristi’s that’s brimming with equipment for biking, climbing, fishing, swimming, trekking, and nearly anything else you might want to do.

The guy behind the counter at Kristi’s raved about new mountain bike trails in the region and provided me loose, photocopied maps. It reminds me of Fruita two years ago. Despite my exhaustion, I couldn’t resist the lure of new trails, so that I persuaded Jen to wait then pedaled up Spruce Street toward Lookout Mountain and the newly constructed Pronghorn System. I didn’t expect much, but the trails turned out to be more excellent. From the time I returned it was late afternoon. We did not want to drive in the night, and we had yet another map of new trails, only 20 minutes up the road. So we chose to hole up at Penitente Canyon Campground and have a ride and run in the afternoon before continuing north. Such as the Pronghorn platform, the trails at Penitente were unexpectedly great: reminiscent of Buffalo Creek, with no crowds.  

We had been so smitten with this particular piece of Colorado that we’d have spent another few times there if it hadn’t been for an appointment at Summit County. Rather, we begrudgingly packed up and rolled out. As we gradually rambled north, it occurred to me that we’d have not seen Del Norte though it were not for Artemis. For decades, we’ve sped beyond it en route from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Denver, and we’d have continued to do so. It’s not a destination which ranked on our listing. And yet we’ve already pledged to come back in autumn–perhaps sooner.

Jen and I’ve recommitted to travel shorter distances and pulling over in areas we do not intend to prevent. From a pub stuffed with fine bourbons to hills brimming with new trails, you can’t know what you might discover. Anyway, even though my 30-year-old self could roll his eyes in scorn if he heard me say it, I’ve come to favor cruising to racing.