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Traveling rules

Common ground
Bill Kight
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The other night I tried to get a jump on a meeting planned for the next day by leaving home in the early afternoon. I loaded up the winter survival bag with extra food and water, sleeping bag, snow boats, heavy winter coat, mittens and snow shovel.

My family knew my route would take me over passes which can be brutal during a winter storm. As usual, I promised to call along the way and report conditions. I was prepared for winter driving in Colorado, and would take my time getting to my destination.

My first call from Ridgway reported snow had just started falling and I expected it to get worse, but would call later after making it over Lizard Head Pass.



As the snow started coming down heavy over Dallas Divide, the road became snowpacked and slick, so I slowed down and became more cautious.

I turned off Highway 62 onto 145 through Placerville and Sawpit, and a few miles before Telluride turned toward Lizard Head Pass staying on 145.



When no cars were around and going slow, I tested the anti-skid brakes. The roads were very slick as suspected.

The worse part of that whole stretch of 145 is from the sharp curve at Ophir Loop’s to Ames.

Sure enough, as I slowly rounded the curve, I noticed slid marks across my lane and looked over the embankment to the right. There was a car with its rear sticking out of the snow bank, it’s lights still on.

The vehicle was undamaged with other cars nearby, so I continued on my way. The weather grew worse with the snow blowing fiercely across the highway. It had been awhile since the snowplows had made their last run.

Making it over the pass and to Rico, I called home and reported in telling my wife Linn I would call from my motel room in Cortez, which I did.

My two daughters, Amber and Shandra, had both been on the road that same day experiencing winter’s first blizzard. I taught them how to drive on snow, so I wasn’t worried about them. It’s the crazy drivers who endanger us all with their lack of safe-driving skills.

Safe in my motel room, I thanked Creator for my family’s safety. Needing to unwind, I turned on the TV and watched a program about famous aviator Steve Fossett.

My first thoughts were that he broke the number one rule I live by … always tell someone you love where you are going. It’s the golden rule no matter whether you take a road trip, backpack, hike, fly a small plane, whatever.

Before leaving home, plan your trip. Give a detailed itinerary to someone who loves you … a relative or friend. Include where you are going, when you plan to be back.

Check in along the way if possible, and when you reach your final destination or get back to civilization, check in.

Being prepared might keep life’s unexpected surprises from turning deadly.

With over 30 years experience in federal land management agencies, Bill Kight, of Glenwood Springs, shares his stories with readers every other week.


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