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Why I drive to the Great American Beer Festival

Snowing on Raton, come morning I’ll be through the hills and gone.
Mother thinks the road is long lonely, little brother thinks the road is straight and fine, will little darlin’ thinks the road is soft and lovely,
I’m thankful that old road is a friend of mine.

– From Snowing on Raton, by Townes Van Zandt

What a rack

I was not snowing yesterday when I drove over Raton Pass, happily because we’ve been on the stretch of Interstate 25 in a snowstorm before and I don’t recommend it.

However, shortly after I reached Colorado this pickup passed me with these really impressive looking antlers in the back. I hauled out my camera and took this picture (just for you) before he sped on his way. The truck had Wyoming plates so the driver apparently had farther to go then Denver (210 miles up the road).

Something I never would have seen had I flown to Denver (less than an hour from wheels up to wheels down from Albuquerque, but nearly five hours by the time you deal with airports – only 90 minutes faster than driving).

When I left the canyon I popped a Kevin Welch CD into the player. His music is perfect for that stretch of the road, foothills and antelope to the left, prairie that stretches to Kansas and beyond to the right.

Oh, I do love living in the West.

8 Responses to Why I drive to the Great American Beer Festival

  1. Lew Bryson October 11, 2007 at 7:45 am #

    I’m seriously thinking about driving to GABF next year, which, I’d point out, is a bit more of a commitment for me. I’m kind of driven by a love of the road, having a car that gets over 40 mpg (got 42 on the trip to Durham), and the thought of all the beer places I could hit along the way, but some of it’s also a desire to emulate my dad. He was stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco during the Korean War, and drove his Studebaker across country three times and back, straight through, in the pre-Interstate days. One time he and my mother, with another couple, did it in three days. I’m not that crazy — or that young — but I’d like to push for that kind of road fever.

    Love that song, Stan. It’s going to run through my head all day…and that’s not a problem. Enjoy the fest. Don’t write about MillerCoors.

  2. Stan Hieronymus October 11, 2007 at 8:50 am #

    Lew – We used to drive to GABF from Illinois in a long day if we were frantic, more like two so we could hit the good beer places.

    Going in the other way, from Illinois east, we could be in Allentown for an early dinner.

    This is a trip you can, and should, do.

  3. Stephen Beaumont October 11, 2007 at 9:10 am #

    You Americans and your “On the Road” mythology. I’ll never understand it…

  4. SteveH October 11, 2007 at 9:59 am #

    “Don’t write about MillerCoors.”

    Okay, but at least write about whether or not A-B cares. 😉

    Wish I’d taken some shots from the backroads to Madison last weekend, Stan — it was that peak of the season and perfect, as Lew says, for dreaming about the first beer at the campfire.

    40 MPG? Really?

  5. Alan October 11, 2007 at 10:29 am #

    Just to be clear, not all Canadians have an aversion to the road trip. I love the 16 hours from eastern Ontario to Halifax and, if I didn’t have kids to drag along, would likely do it a couple of times a year still driven by the prospect of barleywine at Rogues Roost or singing sea shanties at the Lower Deck. Now, more often, I drive to the sea through southern New England to get to Maine with a stopoff at Tully’s in Wells before the delights of the taps of Portland. Next up, heading to Michigan in a few weeks for a visit to Jolly Pumpkin as well as another to Baltimore at Christmas for, apparently, pit beef and beers I have yet to meet. Car travel becomes a series of craft brewing touchstones – happily Grand River Brewing opened up on the way to and from the in-laws.

  6. Lew Bryson October 11, 2007 at 8:15 pm #

    “On The Road”? Urf. I hated that book. I wanted to build a time machine so I could go back and kick the ass of everyone in it. I’m just not hip, I guess, but what a frickin’ pack of assholes.

    But I do love me some driving. And yeah, Steve, 40 MPG, in comfort, at 75 mph, with real acceleration: VW Passat TDI. It’s a 2005, with 70K miles, and the dealer just offered to trade it straight up for a new 2007 Jetta. We thought about it, but turned him down. Probably stupid, but I love this car, and it’s just broken in.

    Stan, you’re right, I really should. I need the proper road partner to trade off driving, though, and Uncle Jack ain’t it.

  7. Eric Trimmer October 12, 2007 at 6:11 am #


    Is is a diesel?

  8. Stonch October 15, 2007 at 2:21 pm #

    I don’t even know how to drive. Different worlds!

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