David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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Liberals & Conservatives


Anybody who drives here from Longmont, Boulder or Denver, as I often do, is faced with a classic liberal/conservative decision in Lyons: to turn left or right.

If you take the more liberal route, you face fewer cars, and perhaps a shorter distance, though in my case it's a difference of only a mile or two. On the other hand, there are no passing lanes and you miss Longs Peak.

I never waver, good Democrat that I am. I turn left, and watch with glee as the behemoth campers, trailers, vans, trucks and mobile homes turn right to duel with the gravel trucks and the interminable 20 mile slog to Estes Park.

As I wend my way up the lovely Canyon of the South St. Vrain, I often consider what those unfortunate right-wingers are missing. They have only a fleeting glimpse of the river, and for most of it they have to keep a sharp watch for the gravel trucks.

I, on the other hand, have the opportunity to check the level of the river for quite a stretch; an unfailing barometer of the water health of Tahosa Valley. I also check the deciduous trees, which provide clues about the progress of the season, and the amount of rock on the road, a clue to the freezes and thaws since I last drove it.

In the summer, of course, my progress is slowed by those seeing the splendor of the narrows for the first time, but that only gives me an excuse to rediscover those selfsame splendors.

There's a certain pleasure in seeing whether the Steinke's and Tedfords are home, and in checking which chimneys are smoking at Riverside as I climb the hill to be tossed about by the winds at Glacier View. Perhaps I can manage to pass some slow poke just as I top the final grade at the Hilltop Guild and see Mt. Meeker and Chief's Head in all their glory (if the clouds aren't down.)

Then I can see if Margaret Walter's at home, stop by Ferncliff for something I forgot, and perhaps have a chat with our faithful postmaster before I head for Big Owl Road.

This isn't the fast way, I grant you. But you have to feel sorry for those poor conservatives who turned right at Lyons when they could have done the smart thing and turned left. They went 20 miles up an uninspiring road, didn't see anybody or anything worth talking about. And where did they end up? Estes Park! In order to get anywhere interesting they're going to have to drive another 10 or 15 miles!




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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