David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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Mountain Driving


Mountain driving is some thing most of us had to learn the hard way. But we did learn, and who among us hasn’t been stuck, going up or down one of our canyons, behind some well meaning but petrified flat-lander? You know the kind – he slows to 15 for every curve and hits 55 on every straight-away.  I have walked, bicycled, motorcycled and driven these roads for more than 30 years now, and while I’ve never had an accident or a ticket on them, there are a number of people who believe I drive much too fast.

Unfortunately, the last person who told me that was wearing an Estes Park police uniform.

He was very nice about his warning. Actually, I wasn’t exceeding the speed limit, but it was “a dark and stormy night,” and I guess he figured I didn’t show very good judgment by passing him. If I ever wind up nose-first in a snow bank, he’s going to be one of a fairly large group of people who will purse their lips, nod their heads knowingly and allow as how “it was bound to happen sometime.”

But don’t hold your breath while waiting, friends.

We complain a lot about the roads, but you have to wonder what Rocky Mountain Jim, Isabella Bird or even Enos Mills would say if they could see the ribbons of asphalt that slice through the hills they so laboriously climbed.

We take for granted Trail Ridge and Highway 7, but all you have to do is drive the Fall River Road or look down at the old road as it winds past the Cheley Camp and Baldpate Inn to be reminded of how things have improved. Driving on Highway 36 to Lyons, you can see pieces of the old road here and there and picture the Stanley Steamers puffing their way up the hills. The Big Thompson, once a winding and narrow gorge, has now been so much changed by both man and nature that the pioneers would scarcely recognize it.

I suppose it’s a good idea to straighten out the Aspen Lodge curve. There’s an awful lot of scrap metal around it. The same thing is true for the S curve at Camp St. Malo, although it’s a beautiful view. Still, if you straighten out every curve, you just encourage the folks like me who tend to drive too fast.

On the other hand, the highway past St. Malo is the third road through this part of the valley.

The first was an old stage coach road and on a nice summer day I can still locate little sections of it on my property. When I do, I think about the good people who had the courage to use it. I wonder if people thought, as the driver snapped his whip over the horses’ ears, that he was driving too fast?




© 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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