The Last Day in Colorado and I-70 (Part 8 of 8)

May 30, 2008  •  Leave a Comment

Because of my detour into Utah, I could no longer avoid the interstate. Leaving Glenwood Springs, I proceeded onto I-70 East. Nearly fifty miles into the drive and at speeds of at least 75 MPH, it was easy to miss great photographic subjects. Luckily, adjacent to the expressway near the town of Bakerville and protruding from the  river below, was a mill. It was battered by the passing of time. It had broken windows, no useful roof and cracked planking. It was perfect. The structure was on private property and could only be photographed from across the river, but it was worth the stop. The mining operations were deserted for some time, but it had the excellent aged features that make great photographs. After composing a few photos, I once again entered the expressway, satisfied that I was able to get one more great photo during my week in Colorado.

By noon time, I decided to come off the interstate again and stop in Idaho Springs, CO to eat lunch. In that town, I saw what can be described as not a normal city scene. While eating lunch outside a Safeway, a red Ford Pickup parked next to me. It was the usual Pickup, equipped with only one row of seats.

I was looking at the passenger side when the passenger door opened and a chubby ten year old girl came out, followed by an overweight teenage boy. I glanced inside and laying under the dash in a somewhat fetal position was another girl about the same age as him. She was tall enough that she could have touched both ends of the car had she not been in that position.  I pretended not to look, but I continued to see it unfold. The girl wiggled her way out of the pickup, then moved away from the door. Next, a short, heavy woman, who seemed to have misplaced her dentures, came out. I looked in to see if anyone else was going to flow out, but it seemed empty except for a thin, male driver. I would never have known a Pickup can fit that many people and sizes, but apparently it can happen in places other than a circus.

Since Idaho Springs seemed to be interesting, I decided to drive through the town before picking up the interstate again. I would find an old firehouse on Colorado Boulevard to photograph. The firehouse was shuttered and seems to have been one of the first buildings in the town. It was as small as a one car garage with weathered doors and lettering. This town turned out to be a reason why I typically avoid the interstate, but once again I needed to get on it to get to Denver in time.

While speeding along I-70, I suddenly realized that I needed to make one more stop. I did not pick up a vintage state license plate, my usual souvenir when doing my photo drives. I got off the interstate in Wheat Ridge and after trying a few places, I found the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall and bought a 1964 Colorado plate to add to my vintage collection, which includes a 1928 Maine plate as well as a 1938 California World’s Fair license plate. Afterwards, it was back to the expressway to continue my drive east and into Denver. My only stop in Denver was to have dinner before driving the additional 28 miles to the airport. I arrived at 10 p.m. for my 1 a.m. (MDT) flight back to NYC. In New York, it was really 3 a.m. and stormy and the flight was delayed an hour.

While waiting for my flight to board, I recalled my one week adventure driving across Colorado with the unplanned stop in Utah. It was a feast for all of my senses as I saw hundreds of peaks, canyons and ravines. I heard the sounds of rivers, as well as the sound of silence. I felt both ends of the temperature spectrum. I covered the state using steep, winding and sometimes heart-pounding roads. I became stranded. I was astounded, amazed and educated. I was reminded that natural american resources are to be protected. When it was over, I had driven 1744 miles while snapping 1190 photographs of which I will consider only a few as successful. It was a week that will live on in my photos and my memories.


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