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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
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