A special Overland car

The end of the road, but not the end of my journey, this is my story.

I remember the days when I was young and foolish, when life was easy and less complicated. Nothing could get me down. I was driven on country dirt roads, cavorted on high passes and enjoyed by the company of many guests.

In 1916, a group of us motor cars planned a trip over Wolf Creek Pass that would make us the first caravan of motor cars to cross that dreaded pass.

Oh, it was a day! A picnic lunch of fried chicken and homemade bread and soda pop was packed in a basket and placed carefully in my trunk. We would need a break during that all-day trip and we all talked about the perfect place with the perfect view that I would park and rest my tired brakes, hopefully next to a fresh spring where my radiator was topped off with clean mountain spring water. Exuberance and excitement was felt by everyone. In the clean air so high up, only a whiff or two of mothballs were smelt from my guest’s Sunday go-meetin’ clothes. Big brim hats with bows, feathers and ribbons shaded the ladies white faces from the sun.

The sounds of laughing, chatting and shouting were heard as we drove to the 12,000 feet summit. Even close calls next to the edge added to the thrill of adventure. I didn’t mind the close edges as I felt the newly built solid road under my tires. After all what could go wrong in this beautiful day?

The top of Wolf Creek was breathtaking with all the aspens and pines and the cascades of red rocks were stretching into the heavens, as we crossed the Continental Divide where the water ran two different directions. We descended down the steep incline on the west side of the pass and headed towards the little town of Pagosa Springs. We planned to spend the night there and guests would enjoy one of the bath houses and a good hot meal.

Merrily bouncing along the road, without any warning, the cribbing that supported the road gave way. I found myself along with my passengers dangling precariously over the edge. From laughter to anxiousness and then there were slang words blasting out against the grand mountain and the moment was changed from fun to frantic. We were rescued and photographs were taken to remind us of this day. We continued on with a different expectancy than when we left that morning. Whew! We made it and that seemed to be all that matter.

A lot of different expectancies have come along the bumpy roads of life. I never thought that one day I would be abandoned on a hill top overlooking Snowball Road, but that’s just what happened to me. I knew it was the end of my journey as little by little I began to rust during those many harsh winters when heavy snow covered me. I lived on those memories of days gone by and, once in a while, my picture appeared in the local newspaper boasting of that day on Wolf Creek Pass.

Then my fate changed; I found myself in an auction with a variety of other stuff. A bid of only $25 was made and I was sold. I felt a little humiliated; my life was worth a lot more than that. After all, I had carried some important people to some important places and always delivered them safely.

Now, I found myself being lifted up into the air by a forklift on to a trailer that would cart me to a place somewhere on the Lower Blanco. I strained my ears, listening to plans that the new owner had for me as she excitedly talked to the man on the tractor that pulled me off that trailer with a big yank. Oh, the pain I felt as my bones creaked and my steel frame bent and stretched.

Ninety-two years later I realize my journey has just begun. As visitors come down the driveway of the Blanco Dove Retreat Center, I am the first thing they see. Oh, there is always talk about me. I’ve been able to keep some of my parts that readily identifies me as that brave car that made the first trip over Wolf Creek. Very few have seen an Overland and they curiously look at me with awe. I once again poise proudly as they take pictures and ask questions. My owner always tells my story as if she was there that day in 1916. Visitors even talk of an Overland Club that would pay big money for some of my parts or all of me, but my owner says, “no parting here.”

As my days are once again quiet and carefree in a place where love and peace covers the grounds, I sit in the front yard with flowers planted and vines growing up and around me as guests laughingly and lovingly call me a “flower box.” I don’t mind; I know I am cherished. So, this is my story for those who remember me and those who curiously might wonder where I am today.

Photo courtesy Betty Slade
The remains of an Overland automobile that once travelled the newly-constructed road over Wolf Creek Pass, graces the entry to the driveway at the Blanco Dove Retreat Center near Pagosa Springs.