This year’s Driving for Kids event was very successful thanks to the generosity of the twelve participating driver teams and their contributing members. The event raised $95,820 for chronically ill children and their families to experience a week of camping at Roundup River Ranch
in Gypsum, Colorado. During the eight years of the Driving for Kids event, which is organized by Ross and Ann Robbins, teams have raised over $500,000 allowing 166 kids with serious illnesses to attend camp.
The Shindig Rover team, as the lead fundraiser for the eighth year, raised $40,159. This represents 42% of the donations. Cathy Ethington, Vice President of Philanthropy, personally reached out by phone to a number of the Shindig Rover team members to thank them for their very generous contributions. Cathy extended a special thanks to Emma and me for inspiring so many people to support Roundup River’s mission to make Driving for Kids the most amazing fundraising event her organization has ever had. For our eight years of fundraising leadership, Emma and I were honored as the king and queen of the Driving for Kids event. On the second day of the event, we held a hands-on car show for the kids and their families to enjoy at the ranch. The kids sit behind the steering wheels and dream of places they would like to go and things they would like to do. When asked, they all have a story about what they are thinking.
The weather for the event was perfect. It was sunny, crisp in the morning with temperatures in the upper 30s to low 40s and highs in the upper 60s and low 70s during the day. There was hardly a cloud in the sky. For the teams driving convertibles, sun screen was a must. Several people looked like raccoons by the end of the fourth day. The twisty, curvy mountain roads to and from the Continental Divide passes were fun and invigorating tests for the vintage cars and their vintage drivers and navigators. During the four days, we traversed over the back country roads of western Colorado and New Mexico for more than 1,000 miles. We drove through towns that were throwbacks to the old west and towns so small that if you blinked you would miss them and wonder how they survive in the middle of nowhere. The only problem with the drive was there was very little fall color. The aspen trees were starting to turn, but the weather had been too warm. The height of the fall colors and the golden glow of the mountains under the blanket of aspen trees was two weeks late this year. We did begin to see more color with each passing day of the drive.
The drive took us over Independence Pass (which is closed during the winter) to Aspen, Glenwood Canyon, McClure Pass, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Dead Man’s Gluch, Wolf Creek Pass, Creede, Weminuche Wilderness (roughly 500,000 acres of wilderness area), and Bishop’s Castle on CO 165, which we had never seen. One man built the castle after acquiring the land for $450 when he was 15 years old. Look up Bishop’s Castle on the internet. It is an interesting story.
During a four-day drive through the mountains in vintage cars, you can expect adventure and mishaps. Emma and I began the drive on Thursday evening. After installing the special delivery brake light switch, we headed to Colorado Springs for the evening to meet up with the other drivers at 8:00 am on Friday at the Garden of the Gods Trading Post, run by Tim Haas (driver of Breakdown Kid). After a brief driver’s meeting, we left the Trading Post at 9:00 am. The Austin Healey was running great, but not for long.
We headed west to Buena Vista for lunch, and then to Twin Lakes before climbing Independence Pass, which is a very narrow, winding road crossing the Continental Divide to Aspen. Vehicles over 35 feet long are prohibited on the pass, so our mechanic, sweep vehicle, and trailer had to depart to meet up with us in Glennwood Springs for the evening. Going up Independence Pass there was a small rock slide in the middle the road. A string of cars was descending the pass so I couldn’t swing out into the other lane, and there was no shoulder. I tried to straddle the biggest rock, which I thought I had done successfully. When we stopped at the top of the pass, one of the drivers noticed I had a major oil leak. I almost made it, but the rock caught the drain plug on the oil pan, which is the lowest point on the Healey with only 3.5 inches of clearance.
We proceeded to Aspen, I added a quart of oil, and we headed to Glenwood Springs, dripping oil all the way. In Glenwood, I loaded the Healey on the sweep trailer and headed back to Denver. The Healey only survived one day and 277 miles of the trip. Emma stayed with the group. After unloading the Healey at home and transferring everything over to my 1997 BMW Z3, I headed back up the mountain to meet the group at Roundup River Ranch at 10:00 am for the car show for the kids. The rest of the trip was uneventful for Emma and me. The only other mishap happened while I was gone switching cars. Ross didn’t close his door on his Lotus Elan. When he backed up, the door opened, hit something and fell off the car. He was doorless until a makeshift repair held it in place for the rest of the trip.
to watch an inspiring video of a camper that has been with Roundup River Ranch since he was seven years old. The password for the video is smile.
Thank you for all your support for Emma and me and the seriously ill kids to whom we have been able to give a week of camping, sunshine and joy.
Chuck & Emma Shinn