Monday, July 10, 2006

July 10, 2006 The Fourth of July

Consider This for July 10, 2006—The Fourth of July

Fourth of July in the high country is and always has been a great holiday, and this year was not any different.

Thousands of people in the mountains and hundreds of things to do. Because it occurred last Tuesday, our friends and property owners from the Front Range had a couple of extra days to come to visit their second homes or to huddle against the cold in a tent in a campground.

The actual permanent population of Summit County is around 25,000. Planners will tell you there is room to sleep over 150,000 on any given night. They refer to it as the number of pillows. Beds. Some place to get horizontal by yourself or with a loved one.

Last Monday all 150,000 people were trying to drive between Frisco and Breckenridge in both directions. The elapsed time from my house six miles north of Breckenridge is normally around ten minutes. Last Monday it was closer to an hour.

I remember a former Colorado Department of Transportation engineer telling me in 1995 that Colorado State Highway 9 had exceeded its capacity ten years earlier. They had a telemetry system that counted all the cars every minute of every day.

That counter is long gone. I guess they thought it would explode with all of the daily data.

“Beware of what you ask for. You are liable to get it.”

For the county, the town, the ski resort, and the businesses, there can never be too much traffic.

I am sure that our neighbors in Kremmling and Grand County would like that kind of traffic. Leadville still has not recovered from the mine closing, and I know that they would like more traffic.

Highway 24 has been improved over the past couple of years, so a trip over Fremont Pass and into Leadville is much more pleasant.

I went to the dedication of the renovations on the Red Cliff bridge two years ago, and it is a work of art. It is worth the drive to Leadville and then south to Minturn. Stop at the overlook and take a long look at the bridge. It is an engineering marvel.

On your way, you could stop at the 10th Mountain Division Memorial at Camp Hale. It is very inspirational.

Recently I had a friend report on the progress at the Tabor Opera House in Leadville. That building is a treasure and is being remodeled and repaired by some wonderful folks from Leadville. I can’t wait for it to be finished. People will come from all over the world to see it.

Lake County Commissioner Ken Olson owns and operates the railroad in Leadville. You can take trips from the city of Leadville to Climax during the summer and fall. I can’t imagine how beautiful that ride would be during the turning of the aspen.

State Representative Rafael Gallegos, State Representative Mark Larson, and State Representative Tom Plant all have railroads in their districts. Rafael has the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad that runs from Antonito to Chama, New Mexico. Mark has the Durango to Silverton Railroad that maintains national prominence. Tom has the Georgetown Loop railroad in Silver Plume and Georgetown.

Hey, I guess I have a railroad too, and you should go check it out.

A friend remarked the other day that the history of Colorado is only 130 years old, and the history of the United States is only 230 years old.

Imagine towns and cities in Europe considering our history when their history has covered hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Preservation Colorado has done a wonderful job of working with the State Historical Society to catalog historical sites and buildings in our wonderful state.

Why not plan to visit the nearby places first? Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon, and Montezuma have very long and interesting histories.

I know that there is something going on every day during our eight-week summer season in Summit County, but also try out Clear Creek, Park, Lake, Eagle, and Grand Counties as a break, and then maybe my drive to Breckenridge will not take so long.

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