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mountains

By Kathy Harris, Examiner.com 

The leaves are turning, snow season is on the horizon and more people are heading into the mountains for weekend trips. But before you travel Colorado’s mountain roads, there are a few things you should know.

  • Most mountain roads in Colorado lack guardrails, even on dangerous, inches-from-the-edge-of-mountain curves. So, order up some nerves of steel if you’re not used to that kind of driving, and don’t look down.
  • Don’t feel rushed if cars begin to back up behind you because you are actually going the speed limit. But DO use pullouts to let others pass. Those of us who live along mountain roads know them like the back of our hand and tend to drive faster because of it. Or better yet, park in a safe place and admire the scenery on foot.
  • If you come to a narrow part of a road, remember that the uphill driver always has the right of way.
  • Signs that say “slow around this curve,” or something like that, are there for a reason. Going too fast around a mountain curve can send you spiraling thousands of feet below—or dangling from a pine tree, if you’re lucky.
  • When you’re going downhill on a steep grade, consider using a lower gear to save your brakes.
  • And when you are going uphill on a steep grade, you might also use your lower gear to get better performance from your engine, especially if you only have a V6 or lower.
  • Bring a few gallons of water just in case your engine overheats. Mountain driving can be hard on an engine, but don’t add water until your engine has cooled.
  • Keep a full gallon of windshield wiper fluid in your car. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than driving 65 mph on I-70, getting hit by a trucker’s mud backsplash and not being able to clear the windshield quickly.
  • Watch for wildlife on the road. Deer and elk are on the move this time of year, and they don’t seem to worry about darting out in front of you, especially in the morning or evening.
  • Make sure your gas tank is full—gas stations can be few and far between in mountain areas.
  • And probably the most important tip: Pay attention to the weather forecast before you head out. Weather can change on a dime in the mountains. Snow can fall any day this time of the year above 9,000 ft., even if it’s sunny and warm in Denver.

Enjoy your fall drives into the mountains this season. The leaves and peaks combine for an experience you’ll want to hold on to for quite a while.

RANDOM POSTS

The Steamboat Springs High School boys' tennis team made easy work of Durango on Thursday in Grand Junction, cruising to a 6-1 win.

“I think it was a little hard for the guys to get out of the car. They definitely were off to a little sluggish start,” SSHS coach Jack Burger said. “Other than that, after the first couple of games, they started to move their feet and got the work done. It was fun to watch.”

The Sailors went 4-0 in doubles matches, led by the No. 1 doubles team of Matt White and Joe Borgerding, who won 6-1, 6-0. The No. 2 team of Max Lynch and Ethan Paulus won 6-0, 6-2; the No. 3 team of Nolan Comell and River Fox-Welch, 6-4, 6-4; and the No. 4 team of Peter Wharton and Jack Bender, 6-0, 6-0.

The No. 2 and No. 3 singles players, Charlie Smith and Chase Adams, also rolled, winning 6-0, 6-0, and 6-2, 6-1, respectively. The only SSHS loss came in the No. 1 singles match, where Durango's Fred Edwards, a state qualifier last year, defeated Sailor freshman Teague Burger, 6-1, 6-2.

“It's just good for him to see that kind of competition,” Jack Burger said of Teague, his younger brother. “I definitely think he is as good as these guys, but he just needs to get his confidence up. Once he believes … I think he can make it happen.”

Burger said Thursday's match was a good warm up for the next tournament, set for Friday and Saturday and also held in Grand Junction. The Sailors will have two matches on Friday, beginning at 8 a.m.

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