I went to a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon in Grand Junction, Colorado at Colorado Mesa University where I met “The Pit”. My next scheduled game was Sunday afternoon in Colorado Springs according to my GPS it was about a 5 hour drive so I wanted to get at least half way. I had to go through the mountains and ski areas of Colorado. Driving in the mountains makes me a little nervous and I was hoping that I wouldn’t run into any snow. I didn’t realize how close I was going to be to Breckenridge. I have a friend that lives there and was planning to see him later this summer when I came back to Denver to go to a Rockies game. I decided to get off the Intrastate and see if he was around. If he wasn’t I could just keep on going. I went by Vail and the mountain roads were wet and I was nervous. Breckenridge turn off was soon after, about 10 -15 miles from the Intrastate (Kevin, I am guessing so don’t hold me to the mileages). When I got there it was just getting dark. I texted my friend and it turns out he was in Vail for the night with some friends, so I drove the main street in Breckenridge. The town was impressive with a Christmas feel, even though it is now April. I was bummed I couldn’t catch up with Kevin, but decided to keep going to Colorado Springs. I chose the fastest route on the GPS and headed out of town.
About 5 miles into the trip I started getting worried, the road was zig zagging up a mountain. I was going about 10 MPH and the people behind me were probably getting frustrated that the idiot out-of-towner going so slow. Higher on the mountain the more nervous I became but the view was spectacular in the moonlight. I had to keep going. I got to the summit and stopped at Hoosier Pass to take it all in. Elevation was over 11,500 feet and now it dawned on me, I had to go down this mountain! As I drove down the winding road my sight was drawn to my right – the view, it was beautiful. I finally made it down and my brother was calling. I answered and was explaining what I just did. Well I wasn’t paying attention to my speed as I was coming into a small town. I ended up getting pulled over for speeding, thankfully the officer let me off with a warning. She told me, “The pass can be a little intimidating the first time.” She was very nice, thankfully understanding, and we continued to talk for about 5 minutes about what I was doing. She had a Yankees wristband on, I gave her my card, she gave me hers which is somewhere and I need to find her card so can email her and thank her again for letting me off. I still had about 100 miles to travel before getting to Colorado Springs. I took the “back way” which didn’t have many towns in between and I was the only one on the road most of the way. I don’t recommend you going this way after dark when you are doing this the first time. Any little “hiccup” with the car I would run scenarios thru my head of what could be wrong. I made it with no problems.
I got up the next day to snow warnings. The game I had planned to see was between Colorado Springs and Round Rock, however, the game was postponed until Monday. I texted my friend in Breckenridge and told him about Hoosier Pass. He text me the same thing the cop said about it being intimidating the first time. I had to laugh to myself. He has been out here for years and being used to the mountains, he probably thought “wimp”. My answer is, “Yes, I am.” Anyway, I went over to the stadium, took some pictures and got a two minute tour by one of the front office people of the Sky Sox (that was very nice). I figured I needed to show up to make it count as a game. I thought maybe I could catch a game on the way to Albuquerque. As I was heading out of town I saw a Regis Hair Salon, I needed a haircut, it had been almost 6 weeks since my last one and I usually get one every 3-4 weeks. The stylist that cut my hair was the sister of Oregon State’s pitcher Jace Fry who was a draft pick of the Oakland A’s. She did a nice job and I was back on the road.
I was driving through Pueblo, Colorado. I saw what looked like some little leaguers beginning to play, I found my game! I pulled into the Runyon Sports Complex and sure enough, there was a couple of games going on. Windy and cold, I grabbed some blankets and headed to a game. The kids were warming up and I found a spot next to some bundled up parents. Mike and Kate Spence were at the game to watch their son Danny play for the Pueblo West Cyclones who were taking on Evolution, Kate thought. This was a 10U game, a make up game from the day before when it was in the 80’s. As the kids were warming up, Mike told me about being a St. Louis Cardinal fan, he loved Stan Musial, that is why Danny had #6. Mike was also a sports beat writer and covered the Denver Broncos for 6 years. His first year was the year they beat the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl. Kate was originally from Marshalltown, Iowa, she said she wasn’t much of a baseball fan growing up (no MLB team in Iowa). However, with Denver getting the Rockies a few years ago, she got into more. As we talked and right before the game was to start the snow came. They decided to play anyway. As we watched Mike told me about his 12th birthday when he got Stan Musial’s book. His dad surprised him and took him to a game between the Cardinals and their farm team in Denver. He said it is one of those memories that always stays with you. (It was very common “back in the day” that the major league team would play exhibitions against their farm teams.) The snow started coming a lot harder and they decided to call the game. I really enjoyed talking to Mike and Kate for the little time I did. I jumped on the road to Albuquerque, it was snowing pretty hard for the first hour.
I have to say that Colorado is a very beautiful state with all the mountain ranges. The scenery between Las Vegas, New Mexico and Santa Fe was also gorgeous. As I have travelled around the Southwest, I now understand what a “wide open space” is and when someone says that they can see for miles and miles. That is my post for today, was worried I wouldn’t come up with anything since I was snowed out yesterday…
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