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|Audi Alaska Adventure - Page 7|
|Written by Rich Truesdell|
|Friday, 31 January 1997 18:00|
Page 7 of 7
WEEK 5 - Coeur d'Alene to Denver
The southbound trip through Idaho afforded a last opportunity to take advantage of unique accommodations along the route. In Coeur d'Alene, courtesy of a listing in the AAA Tourbook, we located The Roosevelt Inn B&B, a converted turn of the century schoolhouse.
Innkeeper John Marias described how the two-story, four-room school house ended up as a three-story, twenty-room B&B. John, an engineer by trade, first gutted the interior, replacing the 14-foot ceilings to add the third floor. In its first incarnation, the building served as an office complex. This was not a financial success and led to the decision to renovate a second time into a B&B. Located, on a quiet, tree lined residential street, just a short walk from the downtown plaza, and the 20 richly furnished rooms include a sumptuous bridal suite. It is very popular with both honeymooners and those celebrating a special anniversary. Call to reserve early as it is booked between 30 and 40 weekends a year.
Butte was next and for once, clear weather offered a golden opportunity to explore Montana's reasonable and prudent speed limits. After passing over the Continental Divide yet another time, long flat sections of I-90 were utilized to explore the A6's top speed capabilities. At 6,000 feet, it was unreasonable to expect the A6 to pull all the way up to the 128 MPH specified by Audi, but it got close.
Above 110, the laws of physics conspired to keep the A6 from reaching terminal velocity. Finally, on a long, straight stretch, the speedo punched through 120. Given that there were two people on board with several hundred pounds of gear, there was no doubt that with a lighter load, closer to sea level, the A6 would easily run out against its rev limiter.
Soon afterwards, red and amber flashing lights were spotted along the right shoulder about two miles ahead. The natural reaction was to immediately slow down. Leveling out at 95, the trooper quickly became a speck in the rear view mirror. There was the expectation that he would take off in pursuit or possibly call ahead to have someone else haul us over but it never happened. What a great feeling!
The last week's travel brought us through Jackson, Wyoming and three days in Steamboat Springs , where it was easy to take advantage of Colorado's early snowfall. Packing the car one last time, there was a measured feeling of emptiness. On the last day, the route would cover a southeast run on US 40 and Colorado 9 before intersecting with Interstate 70. The trip east to Denver included the final two traverses of the Continental Divide.
Arriving in Denver, thoughts ran to what would make a great photographic bookend, something both noteworthy and unique? It was an easy choice, Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. With its stately, classic architecture, deep hued red brick facade, it was the perfect backdrop, contrasting with the equally classic lines of the silver A6 wagon.
For 8,531 miles, from Seattle, to Prudoe Bay, to Denver, this adventure ran a wild and woolly course. The real attraction went far beyond the magnificent scenery; it was meeting the all wonderfully unique individualists along the way. It is unfortunate that so many could not be documented here. (For detailed profiles, look at the on-line journal of the Alaska Adventure.
In retrospect, no amount of planning can fully prepare one for a trip to Alaska. The land and distance are so vast that it dwarfs any vision that one's imagination might create. It did provide an opportunity for self-evaluation, a solution to a mid-life crisis compacted into five glorious weeks. To paraphrase a recent television commercial, "Life's a Journey, I know I enjoyed the ride."