Heading back home.
The alarm goes off at 4:15AM so I can get showered and to the Holiday Inn (25 mins away) to catch a shuttle van for 5:50 to Denver International airport. It was a chilly morning with a bit of frost and the full moon shining bright. I waited for the bus and watched the news that Queens was now on fire from superstorm Sandy! Was I really going to not have any delays into Hartford? The van arrived and I got on hoping that I wouldn’t end up in Denver just to find out that my flight was delayed or cancelled.
So I just gazed out the window at the beautiful Colorado scene as the dawn started to break.
At one point we passed through the mountain:
Then I fell asleep for a little while and woke up as we came into Denver. I arrived at the airport for 9:10 and my flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until 3:30. I walked around the airport for awhile, had breakfast, and then headed down to the TSA lines that fortunately didn’t look too long:
and then hopped on a train to get to my Delta departure gate:
At the departure gate I had to wait a couple more hours, so again I walked around the airport checking out the Colorado scenery:
I found a mexican bar in one of food courts where I sat for a while to enjoy some chips & salsa and 2 tasty margaritas while working on some on the earlier posts on this site The bar was right next to my gate so I could look out the window and see my plane arrive:
Now it’s time for the other part of this adventure I have been looking forward to: cruising in the sky at 10,000 feet!
To me, there is nothing like being above the earth viewing it’s beauty:
And to be sandwiched between layers of clouds is blissful:
And as I flew into my next transfer flight in Minneapolis, I watched the sun set:
With my limited time in Steamboat Springs, I never did get a picture of my clients receiving their Subaru Forester that I traveled 2000+ miles to deliver to them. Fortunately, they were kind enough to take the time to grab a shot for me :
phone pic from client
They were certainly generous, kind, and thoughtful clients to work for. They were always a pleasure to take care of when they were Dressel’s customers, and now that they are 2000 miles away, we definitely miss them. I am super grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them again and to be able to see the country on a wonderful road trip from Massachusetts to Colorado!
I have my feelers out to see what other adventures await me. I love being able to help people by locating a reliable vehicle at a great price for them. And now it has become clear that I love traveling too! So, perhaps you are someone that desires a Porsche 911 and need it delivered to, say, California?? I’m pretty sure I can work something out for you. ;)
Into the Rockies
I woke up in Fort Collins and assessed my route to Steamboat Springs:
So I decided on route option 2: through Estes Park. A series of switchback through the mountains sounds like a gorgeous ride, which will probably take longer than 4 hours because of all the stops I’ll make to snap pics
On the way I passed through Loveland and grabbed a shot of the approaching mountains reflecting on this lake that was half drained from droughts the area has gone through.
Continued up winding roads for 30 miles and got to the entrance for Estes Park.
The park ranger at the entrance says “I’m charging $20 to access the park today” and I reply “so that’s the fee to drive through?” and she explains “oh no, the road is closed for the season 8 miles in”
Darn. Ok let’s re-assess this:
Looks like I’m back-tracking a bit and then heading north to get to Steamboat. Oh well, I’m sure there is not an ugly route to take in this situation so I just turn around and head back the way I came in. Called my clients and informed them that I’m going to NOW be like 4-5 hours before I get there. I was so thankful that they were so flexible & accommodating
Headed north on N. CO Rd 27. And of course… a beautiful ride.
and I only came across a few cars in the 20 or so mile stretch — the road was all mine
Came up to an area that was altered by a forest fire:
Then I witnessed an awesome cloud formation over the mountain range:
And then continued on the empty road:
Mountains in front of me and mountains behind me:
And this is where I took these images from:
One more pass to go up an over:
Looking over the valley of Steamboat Springs:
And the view from the back yard of my client’s house where they gave me a delicious meal and a cozy bed to stay.
To catch the shuttle from Steamboat to Denver the next day I set the alarm for 4:30 am. Yikes!–I’ve gone to bed at that time before–but never got up at that early
Heading home — up next…
Leaving Lincoln / Driving to Colorado
So, after finishing the previous day’s blog I hit the road. Not quite sure exactly where I was going to end up — just headed in the general direction of Steamboat Springs, CO and figured it would work out somehow.
Driving today, I had a lot of time to think. And I realized that, although I am traveling to Colorado to deliver a vehicle for Merrill Auto, the images I am capturing along the way are actually the work of Joy Squared Photography. Sure, these images were taken to log the trip with the Forester I found for my Merrill Auto client…but perhaps it makes a lot more sense to use a different watermark to credit the photography business! …and on that note: I also realized I when I talk(blog) about the businesses I am involved in, I act as if everyone that reads my blog already knows everything about me. But people might find this site from many different avenues so It might be confusing to just “name drop” and expect it to make sense?
So, Joy Squared Photography is a business which is actually in transition from Lisa Joy Merrill Photography. My wife Lisa started the business a few years ago and recently it became clear that we are both passionate and skilled about photography so perhaps we should change the name. We really loved the “Joy” we both bring to photography. We are a tight team–soul mates actually! So, it didn’t feel like it was just Joy+1…It’s squared! (plus, I also felt it was important to still pay tribute to the person responsible for creating this path: Lisa Joy Merrill!)
Ok. Now that we got that bit down….here are some images from day 4 of my trip:
On I80 I crossed under the Great Platte River Road Archway and got this “drive-by” shot
Continued on down the vast highway and then found espresso?? In Nebraska??
So I had to stop at the Lasso Cafe!
Cozy inside–I got a cafe latte and sat down to look at my map and figure out which way I wanted to head to get to Steamboat Springs.
of course I always seem to keep taking pictures of the Forester that got me here.
And into the great wide open I go …
Pit stop for a “Check Engine” light on. Traveling 2000 miles through different environments & elevations is a pretty good test on a car’s performance and figured I better bring my scan tool to know what’s up if the light came on. So I plugged it in…
So Evaporative Emission is not a code that affects drivability. It is related to the gas vapors and like I tell many Dressel’s clients, (Dressel’s Service Station is my family’s auto repair business I manage) there are a dozen areas from your gas cap to your engine that can trip the code. But as long as I know there is not a drivability issue, I just reset the code and see if it come back on before I get to Steamboat Springs.
While I’m sitting here –I notice some reflections:
Hook up Radio Paradise with my iPhone app. Great tunes! (commercial free – listener supported)
The land & sky is so vast — and a camera can’t do it justice
Found a road of the main interstate that was calling my name
Of course I have to snap a pic of the car
Oh! This is where I am:
and drive into the sun
Found another dirt road and headed down to wait for the sunset
An almost full moon in the east at the same time
Guess I’ll see if I can make it to Fort Collins, CO and stay there for the night.
Pulled out the phone and checked Yelp to see where I might stay.
Stay tuned for day 5… heading into the Rockies
Day 3 started out in Des Moines. The past few days I managed to just snack on the fruit & nuts & green drinks I brought–but today I needed something substantial! So I heading into the downtown area and used the Yelp app on the phone which positioned via GPS on the map and showed nearby “breakfast & brunch” places. Each place has a link to their website and sometimes includes pictures & menus. There happened to be one 500ft away, and I got a delicious omelet with roasted red peppers, spinach, and goat cheese accompanied with home fries. mmmmmm good start!
Ok so back on I80 through Iowa!
After hours of driving came to a rest stop in the middle of a windmill farm area.
Went inside to check out the architecture:
And then decided to get off the highway and check out the landscape a little.
So back on I80 and after a short distance got off again to get gas and found a sculpture:
Ok, back on the highway again…and as I was getting near my next destination on Lincoln NE, I got off an exit to check out a park.
…and found that there was a Space Museum there.
And then continued to the Eugene Mahoney State Park and found an observation tower.
The bridge you can see in this next image is I80 I came off of:
And then I landed in Lincoln to visit some friends, Eric & Liz, that I haven’t seen in over 4 years who just moved to Lincoln, NE 2 months ago (who were previously living in Tucson, AZ …quite the change)
iPhone of Lincoln, NE
We proceeded downtown where there was a big Husker’s game going on. Huge stadium!
and then found a quite little place to get some drinks & appetizers call the Bread & Cup.
They were kind enough to give me a place to crash for the night and in the morning pulled out the Yelp app again and located a breakfast place to eat and finish this blog:
Lincoln in the AM:
Now back on to the highway for a 10 hour trip to Steamboat Springs…my final destination. I might make a pitstop somewhere near Denver?
Stay tuned for day 4…
So on down the highway I go on route to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. RT80 will be a sign I see for quite a while At least today is sunny!
I was inspired by some images Lisa & I saw in an Elle Decor Magazine so I set the focus off and “clicked”. Can you tell what it is?:
Then I saw this run-down restaurant that was no longer in business:
Still some foliage around here — thought I’d grab some more Subaru shots:
Continued driving and then stopped again to enjoy the sunset at this location:
Continued on I80 & then stopped here to use the bathroom at a …Kum & Go?
And then was drawn to the unique KINZE Sign & the large estate they have (hard to capture the size of the grounds at night)
Time to find another Motel 6. This one in Des Moines area:
My bags match the room
I then took an assessment of my travel food for the next 2 days:
Time to get some shut eye. It’s 1:00am …which isn’t all that uncommon for me, but it’s actually 2:02 in the timezone I woke up in! stay tuned for more….. zzzzzzzz
So here it is…about 2 months since I received a Facebook message ” heard you might have some car opportunities and might even be interested in driving it out to Colorado. If this sounds reasonable, I’ll be glad to let you know what I’m looking for..” What we ended up with is a 1 owner 2007 Subaru Forester X 5spd w/91,000 right within the budget. Tires were great, brakes fairly new, and in general a clean, great condition vehicle. All it really needed was an oil change, battery, that Dressel’s Service Station took care of, and a new stereo …which I installed:
I left South Hadley, MA Thursday 10/25/12 at 12:12pm:
As I was traveling along 84E in CT, I was noticing how I really like manual shift vehicles (which this 07 Forester is). I enjoy being more connected to the drivetrain. Selecting which gear to stay in at different speeds. Then I had the thought “It would be nice if one of my next trips was to deliver something that is sportier & quicker…and I suppose it doesn’t need to be “stick” but perhaps “paddle shifters” on the steering wheel. Barely completed this thought when….
…one of my dream vehicles passes me. A beautiful 911 Carrera 4s. I take it this as a sign the universe is listening. NOTE: I already had the camera by my side in full auto so it was just a matter of holding it up & “click” – nothing dangerous here. After all, I have become quite familiar with this camera because of my other profession with my wife Lisa: Joy Squared Photography
I didn’t head out to Steamboat Springs on the most direct route. I wanted to do something a little different so I decided to cross over the Hudson near Bear Mountain State Park on Rt6.
Along the way I drove by this:
– about 3 hours into my trip I arrived at the Hudson crossing:
And I took this next pic facing the way indicated in the above map:
Then I went back to the phone and activated the “Slow Shutter Cam” app, set the timer & exposer & sensitivity, click the shutter and then took off down the road:
Slow Shutter Cam app on iPhone using timer & 2 second shutter.
Continued on down the road and picked up I80 and proceeded another 300 miles or more to Huron, OH
Found a Motel 6 that was near the lake and under $40!
Now, let’s see if I can wake up early enough to see the sunrise on the lake. Good night.
Woke up to a cloudy day so no sunrise on Lake Erie. So I drove around anyway and snapped some pics of the area called Cedar Point:
Ok, so now it’s time to head further west!
I’ll update you on my travels tomorrow….
Black on Black
I found this 1 owner at auction with only 14,000 miles. I replaced the tires and had it detailed to make it shine & drive like new.
Also located on my INVENTORY page:
2009 Nissan Cube S w/14k
2009 Nissan Cube S w/14k
Also viewable on my Facebook page.
Day 2 | Fun in the Sun!
THIS is what we were hoping for And today we can see the road winding up the side of the mountain. The scale plays tricks with you. You see the mountain top and think “that’s pretty close” Then looking more closely you notice a tiny dot/reflection from a truck going up the Auto Road! Wow.
It didn’t really take too long though–about 30 minutes. (See link below of video of record time)
Of couse I love the scenery…but I couldn’t get over how awesome this blue MINI looked with all this sky and mountains in the distance!
Ok Ok I better look around to what else is here beside this car…
Snapped an image of people getting ready to take The Cog down:
We stayed for a while taking in the breathtaking scenery and pondering how beautiful life is all while eating the same generic nachos & cheese you would get going to watch an action packed Hollywood movie. Yea, I could have gotten a Nature’s Valley granola bar but where’s the irony in that! Plus we have plenty of those in the car
We proceeded back down when we pulled over to enjoy the view again and I could hear the growl of a sporty engine coming up the mountain. I knew it was’t going to be a Hyundai or a Buick, so I pulled out the camera and waited…
The owner, who’s name I forgot, was PSYCHED that I captured an image of his pride and joy–a Subaru STI. For those of you not familiar with the Subaru performance–it should be noted that the record time ascending Mt washington was done in Subaru in 6 Minutes! So, I took a couple more — gave him my business card — and said “email me and I’ll send you a copy”
Never did hear from him. So if you recognize him…
…let him know I got something for him!
Drive Results = Joy!
This car is an amazing drive. Very quick and responsive. Not the greatest on bumpy dirt roads because of the stiff, sporty suspension — but once on smooth curvy roads of the White Mountains — it feels great! During the whole trip from Western Mass to the top of Mt Washington and back, we averaged 25MPG. Not bad considering the amount of elevations change we drove …and the fact that I wasn’t exactly driving conservatively.
There was just the right amount of space for me & my wife , our clothes, food, & camera gear. Having a large/double sunroof overhead was a huge plus too!
iPhone pic of MINI interior
So if you ever get the urge to get a MINI, you have my approval!
And, if you want me to give it the Mt Washington test –I won’t so no. Or perhaps for your’s we should make sure it performs well around the salty air of the ocean?
Rain has no affect on THIS parade!
When my wife Lisa & I arrived at the Mt Washington Auto Road on Saturday 6/23/12, it was cloudy & rainy with some breaks in the clouds to get a peek of the top once in a while. Beautiful no matter what.
So let’s head up!
Part way up, we pulled over to admire the unique landscape.
Then the pavement ended..
iphone pic of the dirt section of Mt Washington Auto Road
…And into the clouds we went:
Ok, You might have heard that Mt Washington has one of the world’s most amazing views when the weather is good (which changes every minute!) but let’s be honest why I drove all this way…
iPhone pic of Mt Washington souvenir
Souvenir snow globe!
Actually, I’m not really a fan (Seriously! I didn’t actually buy this!) I knew that if I started collecting snow globes that it could be a “slippery slope” and before you know it, I might have a hutch FULL of these from all sorts unique places. And every time I have guests over I bore them to death by pulling each one out and rambling on about the trip I went on to get it … and what the weather was like that day … and what I had to eat … and where I was planning on going next to add to my amazing collection. And before you know it, I’m on the next season of Horder’s: whining and crying that “if they make me get rid of my globes, I’ll loose all meaning of my existence and everything I’ve accomplished in life!” So I resisted the urge and instead took pics with my iphone while we were passing the time waiting for a fleet if MINIs to arrive… Oh yea! Let me explain: We just happen to be on MT. Washington the same day they hold the annual “MINIs on top” event. So we waited on top for hundreds of MINIs to come up.
After waiting for 30 minutes and getting a little hungry, we assessed the current state of visibility up there..
…and decided we would feel better going back down while there was still SOME visibility. Plus, it’s actually easier to make out the road in that thick fog when other cars are coming up with their lights on . So, as we headed down…up they came:
iPhone pic of MINIs coming up the Mt Washington Auto Road
We pulled over at one point just to watch a train of them come up:
iPhone pic of MINIs coming up Mt Washington Auto Road
When we got to the base, there were plenty more still heading up:
We ventured off for some food …and then this magical moment:
Wow! What an end to a beautiful day! Looking at the forecast, we decide that we better stay another night. Might be a clear day on top tomorrow.
Stay tuned for the final post…
Two days before my 41st Birthday, I spotted a beautiful blue 2005 MINI Cooper S at the auction. A 6 speed, 168hp little buggy with fewer than 58,000 miles on it. I calculated what a good price would be for that well maintained vehicle, texted my investor, got the green light to go for it and fortunately enough, didn’t get out-bidded!
iPhone pic from the auction
As the weekend approached, I decided that I would like to get away for my birthday and what a gift it would be to give this MINI a test run. After all, I do like to make sure there are no shakes, shimmies, noises, or performance issues before I show it to a potential buyer — so two birds/one stone kind of situation. Right?
So my wife Lisa and I head off on a birthday adventure.
iPhone pic of interior
And near White River Junction, we found some beautiful waterfalls, Old City Falls that we had all to ourselves
iPhone pic of Old City Falls
We continued on toward the White Mountains and made it as far as Littleton, NH where we stopped and spent the night. Cute little town. Here is a view from the porch of the historic Theyer’s Inn we stayed at:
iphone pic of Littleton, NH from Thayer’s Inn
The GPS was a great feature to have on this trip.
We decided to continue up into the White Mountains! …because, let’s be honest: If I REALLY want to make sure this MINI can perform well and that it is thoroughly tested before I sell it to the next lucky buyer - I better test it at higher elevations! Right?
…this should be fun
Stay tuned! 2 more posts to follow!