I left Mesa Verde around 3:30, after ascertaining that my family members would be glad to see me whenever I got to Denver. The weather remained fine until I reached the top of Wolf Creek Pass, about 90 miles east of Mesa Verde. There, at the Continental Divide, I knew the rest of the trip would be in precipitation.
Ahead lay the San Juan Range, and the La Garitas. I did not encounter snow right away, though, and was lulled into serenity by the relative lack of traffic on Hwy. 160. Maybe it was that lack of business that led Chief Chavez, of the South Fork P.D., to focus on my car, tooling through his downtown. I was stopped, cited and educated about how scofflaws from out of state can end up losing their driving privileges in their home states, if a citation is ignored. Since I was raised to play by the rules, I thanked him for this bit of advice, and came back to reality. I have no trouble keeping my vehicle at or under 65 mph. It’s staying at 40, or under, that gives cruise control fits, and so it’s all on my mental awareness.
As it was supper time, I looked about for an eatery, but there was none that was conveniently located. I figured South Fork and I had had enough of each other for a while, so I drove on to Del Norte. The San Juan Valley is not tourist-oriented, per se, so the sidewalks roll up early. I did get a sandwich and coffee at Peace of Art Cafe, just as they were closing for the night. It was gratifying to see the Rio Grande a bit healthier than the last time I passed by it.
It was about forty minutes later that I found myself facing snow. From Conchas Springs to Conifer, Hwy 285 was, to varying degrees, slick and slippery. I drove with all manner of caution- in the midst of a second reality check. The angel on my shoulder, and my own long-standing driving habits, got me safely to Northglenn, and a warm house, around 11:30 P.M.
One just never can tell how a day will turn out, but as long as the lessons learned make me stronger, it’s all good.
HIGHLIGHT: Safely getting to Northglenn.