Last month, Emma and I participated in the fifth annual Driving for Kids charity event as team Shindig Rover.  Driving for Kids is part of America’s British Reliability Run (BRR), a fun, but challenging, driving event for British car enthusiasts. Teams of drivers travel through the Colorado mountains, over several passes with elevations over 10,000 feet, all for a good cause.

The Colorado event supports Roundup River Ranch, a medically supported camp for children ages 7-17 who have been diagnosed with a serious illness. Part of the Paul Newman-founded SeriousFun Network of Camps, Roundup River Ranch is free to campers and their families.
Fifteen teams participated in this year’s event. Emma and I drove 784 miles in our little 1963 right-hand drive, hand-built, wooden chassis British Morgan. We drove through parts of Colorado and explored quaint small towns we had never visited during our 45 years in the state.

Shindig Rover once again excelled as the top fundraising team with donations totaling $22,750. Over the course of five years, Shindig Rover team members have contributed more than $100,000 and sponsored 40 kids and their families for the week-long camping experience at Roundup River Ranch. Thanks to all of our generous donors, we have led the way in donations each year of the event.

This year, the event kicked off in two locations, Denver and Colorado Springs, rendezvousing for lunch at Columbine Park in Buena Vista. The day was sunny with high temperatures in the 80s, so the tops were down for the day. After lunch, we traveled over Cottonwood Pass at an elevation of 11,312 feet. Last year, we were among the first to drive the pass after it was paved for the first time the week before our event.

We drove 340 miles the first day. We traveled through Taylor River Valley to Gunnison, Colorado, over North Cochetopa Pass to Monte Vista. Base camp was at the Best Western Movie Manor, a motel with a drive-in theatre attached where you can watch a movie from your car or your motel room.
The second day was sunny and cool with a strong, cold crosswind for most of the trip, so the tops went up for warmth. After lunch at Legion Park in Gunnison, we headed to Blue Mesa Reservoir and Lake City which is famous for Alfred Packer, “The Colorado Cannibal.” He confessed to forced cannibalism of five members of his party after being lost for two and a half months during severe winter storms and snow drifts in the Lake Fork drainage area.

From Lake City, we headed south on CO-149 to Creede, a fantastic little town and worth a visit if you vacation in Colorado. It was the last silver mining boom town in Colorado, with a population of over 10,000 in 1891. Creede is on the headwaters of the Rio Grande River. 
We cruised back to the motel for our margarita social at a closed restaurant nearby and a special request movie, the original version of “The Italian Job” at the drive-in. We drove 262 miles and crossed the continental divide twice. The little old cars get cranky and the Morgan’s four-cylinder engine gets weak at over 10,000 feet.

The third day was overcast, cold and windy with temperatures around 30 degrees, so the side windscreens were screwed on. With all the stuff packed for the return trip and Emma and I wearing several layers of clothing, we were like two sardines is a can. At least we were warm. I don’t know if Emma could find her legs and feet because they were encased in stuff packed in her leg-well.
We traveled over Poncha Pass to Poncha Springs and headed into Salida for our awards lunch at The Boathouse Cantina overlooking the Arkansas River. Salida is a wonderful small Colorado town worth a visit. After lunch, we split into two groups, one heading to Denver and the other to Colorado Springs. The drive on the third day was 265 miles for us Denver residents and 215 miles for the Colorado Springs folks.

Our timing was perfect this year as the leaves on the aspen trees were in full color. On the second day, strong winds were stripping the leaves off the tops of the trees, but the golden color amongst the evergreens was spectacular. Some of the trees were bare at the top, golden at the middle and still green on the bottom.
Once again, it was a wonderful trip with our fellow British car enthusiasts. No home building business discussed.  One of the couples that joined us was Jim and Debbie Keck from Chicago. Jim was a student of mine in 1976 and 1977 when I taught at DU.  Ross Robbins auctioned a car for the trip on Bring-a-Trailer, and Jim won the auction. It was so nice to rekindle our relationship through an act of serendipity.

All fifteen cars made the trip without any major trauma. There were a couple of overheats, a few hard starts, but no one came home on the trailer. Each year, the cars get older along with the drivers, and we keep challenging the odds.

Emma and I wish to thank all of our Shindig Rover team members for their wonderful support of the Driving for Kids event.