10 scenic winter drives
Think summer is the only time to go for a scenic spin? Think again. Winter, if you are prepared, can be one of the most beautiful and relaxing times of the year to go for a scenic drive.
Text by Tricia Romano | Photo editing by Mike Hipple
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Try Feather river Canyon, or down Donner Pass. Take a trip into Tahoe on 50 during winter. I did once in a 66 Chevelle convertible with a posi rear. One mile after I was stopped and had to buy chains at the 5,000 ft check point, so I could go on. You will be told an AM channel to stay tuned into for good reason.
About a mile above that check point there was a very interesting announcement on the radio: "This is for the guy in the burgundy Chevelle convertible that just left the 5,000 ft check point. Blizzard conditions are now at 2,000 ft, the pass was closed just after you left the check point. You are the last one to leave, you are now alone on the pass. Do not stop or, try to turn around. We can't get on the mountain now to get you. Do not stop for any reason. We will be waiting for you on the Nevada side of the pass."
Now, I was in a convertible, plowing snow with my front bumper, with snow over one foot deep, an exhilarating drive to say the least. I'm a bit crazy about driving, the harder/more difficult, the better. God bless posi drive, I had 60 series wide ovals on all four corners except the right rear. The left chain was tearing up the wheel well. I had to stop and remove it. I thank GOD for having that posi unit, if not for that, they would have my cold dead body somewhere on that pass when they did get to me.
The Sierra Madres are no place for wimps, nor people without experience driving in bad winter conditions. Not on that mountain anyway. (A lot of big noogies help too.) Better to take in the views in summer. I did that when it was dark, imagine trying to figure out where the road was. You just drive dead center between the guard rails and the side of the mountain, was all I could do. Yes, I WOULD do it again, one of the best drives I've had. Didn't even fill my britches. lol
Western Colorado, Just north of Telluride is a dirt/gravel forest road that runs north, down hill, ( you`ll be going from about 13,000 feet down to 6000) following the path of the Cimmaron River. as it flows down the mountains towards the Gunnison Rive, a tributary of the Colorado late spring is best, you`ll have patches of snow, green aspen leaves blooming, (the San Juan Mountains are the most beautiful of all in N. America) I`ve seen elk roaming the the meadows, eagles and antelope, sometimes an occaisional trout fisherman, and mostly, complete silence as the wonder of nature is all around you, except for the dirt road, it is as it was before white people ever set foot on it, also
Ralph Lauren and his guests horsey back riding on his expansive ranch/private hidaway , are on this road , the view is spectacular, you can see for a hundres miles.! i`ve been in 42 states and I think this is the number 1 drive of them all.
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Which of these extreme outdoor sports would you be brave enough to try?
- BASE jumping
- Ice climbing