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As I See It

Fall 2002

The following are some thoughts of a very special trip that I made, with some old and some new friends, around Colorado, at a time of change and great reflection.
 

THE COLORADO GRAND

One year ago, it all started out like any other perfect late summer day in Colorado…the skies were so blue and the sun was shining through clean, clear, pristine air… It was our first day on the Colorado Grand… an epic road tour on the most beautiful highways and byways Colorado has to offer… but this day was different…a day that would change all of our lives.

My friend Peter Read has an Aston Martin sports car. He asked me if I’d like to spend a week with him as a navigator and co-pilot in his 1954 DB2 Mach 4 racing car. It was a trip that would change my life and my thinking for years to come.

We started off in Beaver Creek, near Vail Colorado, arriving a day early. The car was transported by Peter’s pal David Friedland who also rode a motor bike chasing us around the mountains on our great adventure. With great anticipation we awoke to join our fellow touring partners for breakfast. That’s when the world changed.

With this unbelievable journey in front of us, we were told that our country was under attack in New York City and there wasn’t anything anyone could do about it. It was September 11, 2001. With no way home, all planes grounded, and the fact that we were all there anyway, the Colorado Grand took off for Estes Park and the historic Stanley Hotel.

It was unreal… here we were in one of God’s most beautiful places, a perfect day in the Rocky Mountains and at every tiny gas station and grocery store we stopped at… the feelings of immense sorrow and disbelief.
We made it through that painful day in a surreal atmosphere of golden aspens and majestic mountains… I am grateful I was with Peter that day. His thoughtful insight has changed my life and my thinking too. But that’s enough of the tragedy for now… let’s get back to the story of the Colorado Grand.

The Grand was started by Bob Sutherland in 1988, for the reason of enjoying vintage cars on wonderful roads and also to raise awareness and funds for the Colorado based charities. The Colorado State Patrol are the guardian angels that follow the participants on motorbikes hence their nickname, The Motors.

Leaving Estes Park with 187 of your newest friends in classic cars ranging from Ferraris to Maseratti’s is an exhilarating experience. We headed up Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s about this time that the comic relief hit us and the ukelele came out. I asked Peter a lot of questions about different sports cars… he knows a lot about them.

Steamboat Springs and the Sheraton Hotel were fun as well as the ride to Grand Junction through places like Rangely. About day three, folks who knew us or we wanted to get to know better, asked us if we’d like to ride and even drive their cars for awhile. Wow…to get to drive Jack Thomas’ Ferrari was a once in a lifetime experience… and on this long stretch outside of Rangely… oh well… never mind! Jack and my friend Dave Oetting from St. Louis made the trip more familiar… even when we crammed four very expensive sports cars under a little awning as a hailstorm came through. We made it to Grand Junction and the Adam’s Mark Hotel in the late afternoon, in time to catch up with our loved ones back home, then dinner with all involved and an early evening. Driving a sports car long distances works your mind mentally… especially if the wheel is on the wrong side of the road and you’re thinking to yourself… I bet this car costs more than my house!

The roads less traveled always offered unique stops for lunch like Walden, the Town of Dillon in Summit County and I think Peter and my favorite, Paonia. These small towns opened their hearts and kitchens to serve us lunches that had to have come right out of their own gardens. It was at every stop and at these lunches that we were reminded how great these loving folks in these charming towns reflect our nation. And I’m sure, just like me, they loved the cars!!

We ended our tour in Beaver Creek with an emotional dinner and closing farewell… all of us realizing how incredible the week we had just experienced has become. As a group of car enthusiasts from all over the country, with one collective, patriotic soul.

The Colorado Grand Song
As the aspen leaves begin to turn the nights are cool the days are warm
Lets take a little road trip dear through Rocky Mountains clean and clear
We’ll get the Runna Mucka out for one last little tour
And much to our amazement what appeared in the rear view mirror

There were Ferraris and Austin healeys, they’re going a hundred miles an hour
There’s Maseratis and Jaguars and the Motors wave them all right by
The Aston Martins and Cobras startin… of course they’re shaken but not stirred
A wild Bugatti, a Porche Hotty from inside a voice I heard

Chorus
Lets go driving along the roads… of Colorful Colorado
The air is clear, it’s autumn dear - lets go for a ride in a vintage car
With all of my friends - the Colorado Grand- and marvelous automobiles
Lets go for a spin and then lets do it again with the Colorado Grand

A cool Mercedes, a gull wing lady, that MG sure looks fine
A State Patrolman says you can go man
But please remember… after passing keep her right
I’ve never seen so…many dreams go… flying round the bend
Lets sell the RV, I’ll quit my job see
I’ll buy a car and join the Colorado Grand

Chorus
Lets go driving along the roads of Colorful Colorado
The air is clear, it’s autumn dear- lets go for a ride in a vintage car
With all of my friends - the Colorado Grand - and marvelous automobiles
Lets go for a spin and then lets do it again with the Colorado Grand
I’m here to tell ya…
It’s the most fun… I’ve ever known son…the Colorado Grand

G it’s grand it’s really grand…song
G It’s grand it’s really grand
R We’re ready for R beer
A I’m awfully glad I’m here
N I never had a care
D I don’t know where I’m going
C I “C” the Motor knows
I’m glad the Motor knows cuz they lead us back to Gee I’m flying…
(repeat the whole thing)

Porches/ Mercedes
Porches/ Mercedes like beautiful ladies, I’d like to ride in a Porche or Mercedes
Really Sweet old ones and new ones KERR-CHING-
These are a few of my favorite things
I need an ATM- Stuttgart is calling - I like Bavarian motors not stalling
A silver or red one with Gull Wings that spring- These are a few of my favorite things

When your clutch breaks, when your tail snakes, when you’re feeling sad
You simply should purchase a Porche or Mercedes and then you won’t feel so bad

What Would You Do?
What would you do if my gaskets just blew
Would you thumbs up and drive right on by
Lend me some oil and I’ll tell you my tales, if you promise you’ll help me next time
Ooooh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Ooooh, I make time with a little help from my friends
Ooooh, I can fly with a little help from my friends

Did you see the Austin Healeys? The Jags were lovely as well
The MG’s were flying- and the Aston Martins were swell
Ooooh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Ooooh, I make time with a little help from my friends
Ooooh, I can fly with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends

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