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| Debbie Miller | Trip Reports

2022 Trip Report - Cabin Fever

I had a severe case of cabin fever.

By Joe de Kehoe

Although the winters in Colorado are beautiful and unique, by early May I was suffering a severe case of cabin fever, waiting for the snow to melt and aching to get back out exploring some dirt roads.  The passes to the Jeep trails in the mountains were still blocked by snow, so offroad options in the Jeep were limited. Instead, on a whim really, I decided to visit the four geographic corners of Colorado.

I drove my truck instead of the Jeep because there would be a lot of highway driving and the truck provides a lot of comforts that the Jeep just doesn’t have.

I headed first to the Northeast corner of Colorado and Nebraska, the one closest to my home. That was only about 3 ½ hours from my house and a fairly easy drive on pavement except for the last 20 miles or so that was on dusty farm roads. The corner marker was distinctive because several years ago it was vandalized – someone had chipped the brass benchmark out of the concrete, so Colorado built a more permanent marker in its place bordered by a small iron fence.

I arrived there about noon, took a few photos, and then headed straight south, paralleling the Nebraska / Colorado / Kansas state line, intending to spend the night in Elkhart, Kansas which was about 9 miles from the Southeast Corner Marker that I was going to search for the next morning. Not knowing a thing about farming, my drive south was amazing – passing huge tracts of wheat fields and some of the largest stockyards I have ever seen. At one point the traffic was stopped to allow several farm “tractors” to cross the road. The tires on these tractors were easily 6 feet high and the “business end” of the tractor was wider than the 2-lane road I was on. I can only guess what something like those costs. Elkhart, Kansas is... well... let’s say “small.” However, I found a place to stay, and I “dined” at an imitation Dairy Queen – the only place open on Monday night other than Pizza Hut.

The next morning, I drove straight west out of Elkhart and found the Southeast Corner Marker that I was looking for. All the roads in this part of the country are either straight north-south or straight east-west. No curves so the marker was not difficult to locate. I took a few photos – to the east was Kansas, the west was Colorado, and the south was Oklahoma.

I spent the remainder of the day driving west, essentially paralleling the southern border of Colorado, but also dipping into Oklahoma and New Mexico in the process.

Of course, the southwest corner of Colorado is the famous Four Corners Monument, so that was a no-brainer to find. I arrived at the entrance at about 7:45 in the morning and waited for the 8:00 a.m. opening. I wanted to get in quickly, take some photos and get out because the monument is popular and can get crowded later in the day.

By about 8:45 I was back on the road heading north through Utah most of the day. After spending the night in Vernal, Utah I drove north through the Flaming Gorge area on the way to the Northwest corner marker – a misty morning with clouds and rain threatening.

Working my way up to the Northwest corner of the state proved to be a challenge. I ended up on a muddy “road” in a pasture, gently bumping cows out of the way in sprinkling rain and still about 3 miles from the Northwest corner. I don’t have recovery gear in my truck, so I thought it would be prudent to walk the rest of the way rather than risk getting stuck, which I did. I left my camera in the truck because it was raining so I was not able to photograph the marker. On the way home I looked more closely at my maps and discovered a road to the north, through Wyoming, that may have allowed me to drive right up to the marker, but I missed seeing that earlier. Maybe next trip.

Ok. This cured my cabin fever and although it was a lot of driving, I enjoyed (almost) the trip (remember Elkhart?). I think I dipped into six or seven states in the process and drove about 1,800 miles. The drive through the mountains in Colorado was spectacular, but I also loved seeing through those huge green fields of corn and wheat in eastern Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas. ~ Joe

 

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