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Gateway (CO) Car Museum


twobjshelbys

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For the weekend of 10-Oct my wife and I decided to do a final fall get away. We'd done a local leaf-peeping tour and the maps said that the southern portion of Colorado should be ripe that weekend. We missed it by a week (as did all of the areas we went). In the end the stated goal of seeing leaves took second place to a staying a couple of nights away from home (although, not without the computer.)

 

The drive took us from Lyons, CO, over the Continental Divide on I70 to Durango, southwest to Gateway (for the first night), the museum on Saturday morning, then continuing on to Durango (for Saturday night) and finally over Wolf Creek Pass, through "South Park" and back home. It's a drive that we've done in pieces (except for Gateway) so it wasn't foreign driving.

 

Following are posts of pictures of the trip.

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Part 1 - on the way. Some of these I might have posted elsewhere - sorry for the duplicates, but I want to keep all of these in the one "story line".

 

The weather report for the weekend had predicted snow in southern Colorado for the weekend, so even though it was gorgeous Friday afternoon, we decided to drive my truck (Dodge 1500). I thought about taking the .05 Shelby with us:

 

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On the way through Vail there were still some trees with color, but the beetle kill has decimated the pine forest in this region. It seems that cranes grow better than trees

 

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We got to Grand Junction about 6:00 and filled up with gas. We called the hotel. The conversation went something like this:

 

Me: what time does your restaurant close?

Them: 10:00

Me: Well, we're in Grand Junction so if we get there late we'll just stop somewhere else. Is there a Pizza Hut or something like that?

Them: (Laughing out loud) - Nope, we're the only game in town.

 

They were right. We were driving in the dark by then so we couldn't see what we were going through (and still have not). I could see with the moonlight a vertical canyon to the left of the road, a drop into the dark abyss on the side I was driving on, then a canyon wall about 1/4 mile to the right. I figured there must be a creek or something down there. [There is but I couldn't see it.] It was dark and we had the road to ourselves.

 

We get into Gateway and the museum is easy to find, but the lobby isn't. We get directions to the lobby from some people driving around in golf carts (by the gas station, convenience store). As we pull around the corner I spotted the Ford GT and his stable mates.

 

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We registered and came back out and chatted with a couple of fellows at the table who told us that we could join a club for $20K and drive any or all of the cars once a year. He also said that they would be going out at about 9:00 the next morning. We went to our room, which I regrettably didn't get any pictures of because we'd already unpacked so was kind of mussed up. The Gateway is a "resort class hotel". We thought it was at least as good as the Four Seasons on Maui at about 1/3 the price. [You do enter your room from the outside though.]

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The next morning I was awake at the b*tt crack of dawn to take some pictures of wherever we were. This is what I woke up to.

 

First, I had to go down to inventory the fast cars. Final census is two each of: Ford GT, Ferrari (model?), Aston Martin DB9, and Corvette Z06.

 

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Scenery is wonderful and the weather and light were very cooperative.

 

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The hotel is on the Delores River. This is an overexposed view of the hotel, but it was the only one I had that had the whole setting in it.

 

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I suppose after a while if you live there it's just rocks and water (like the Grand Canyon) but it sure is cool. I have lots more good pictures, but this isn't what we're here for (this time).

 

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Before going to breakfast and the museum I hung around (and took alot more pictures of the rocks and water) but finally they started to collect around the cars.

 

Another of the corral. I don't know who let someone park the Jeep. I think it was one of the service vehicles. When they went the jeep and a Hummer followed along at the back of the pack.

 

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The Ford GT is one of my favorite "street legal" supercars. Any car with the supercharger right behind your head is OK by my books. If it does a good job, reach behind and pat it on the head.

 

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The GT lines on the front are classic.

 

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Inside the engine compartment of the Ferrari. A fellow that I was taking pictures with that morning was driving one of the Farraris. It was an automatic with paddle shifters. He said he preferred the auto since he'd not driven cars with this much power before and in the turns he just felt better with the auto to help him. He said that if he had one all the time the manual transmission would be it.

 

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Ferraris look good from behind.

 

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Aston Martin.

 

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Ford GT and Ferrari leaving for the day

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I asked the guy driving the Ferrari how they were able to do civilized driving with such power. He said "they didn't" and related the story as they were driving from Gateway to Telluride the day before. They were going 135MPH, he said, as they rounded a hill a sheriff's deputy came up from the other side. As 6 supercars zoomed by him, he flipped around in the road and just stopped. At the next village/crossroads there were two sheriff's cars parked at an angle facing them. They stopped and the lead guy (from Gateway resort) showed the sheriffs a card. The guy driving the Ferrari said the lead guy got a verbal warning for going 60 in a 40. It's all about who you know.

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What follows next are the museum shots. Before we go in we need to introduce it.

 

All of the cars here are owned by John Hendricks. He is the founder of the Discovery channel, and owns a ranch nearby. This place houses his personal collection. Unlike Ron Pratte, Hendricks' cars are out for everyone to see.

 

The museum is organized in chronological order - oldest to newest. The earliest are from the 1910s with the latest being the muscle cars of the 70's. Not much after that.

 

Before you go in you watch and listen to a video narrated by Walter Chronkite.

 

I'm going try to post the pictures in order, although some of them blur into the area so the boundaries aren't very well defined.

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This is the beginning. A few words about taking photos in here.

 

The lights are spotlights, so the lighting is somewhat uneven. Also, it's not very bright - this was my first weekend with my D700, and I made alot of use of settings of ISO1600-6400. Flash doesn't help much - the ceilings are high and dark, and flash on the vehicles gives hot spots. I have not color corrected any of these. I had over 1000 shots for the weekend so all I did here was take the best and cull out duplicates and brackets. The use of bracket is very important here. If you have a SLR class camera use an external flash with a bounce and softening filter. It helps, but I found the high ISO natural light did best most of the time.

 

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Note the fellow in the t-shirt with the rag. He's a volunteer that someone near us asked a question and within 5 minutes he was giving a group of about 10 a full guided tour and telling the history of the acquisitions. Many of the cars here are unrestored original condition vehicles. If you go to the museum call in advance and maybe they can have a volunteer available for a tour. Large groups can make arrangements in advance (I'm hoping if CSBC goes we can get this guy again!)

 

This guy was instrumental in keeping my wife interested. She's not a car nut, but she got into the stories and started looking inside some of these classics. Their interiors of the cars through the 50's are nicer than most new houses.

 

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Here are the cars from the 20s and 30s. I'm keeping each post to 10 "attachments", so there were some cars that I've dropped completely out of these sequences. Most of them were underexposed due to lighting - especially some black vehicles - that simply won't photograph well without a bounce umbrella. Maybe next time

 

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This is a V16 Caddy. The displacement was small but I don't remember. Their logic was that cylinders could "go out of service" and the car would continue to run.

 

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There are alot of Auburns here. My recollection was that Auburn was one of the manufacturers (sharing lines) with alot of the other brands of autos here.

 

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All of the cars in the museum are American made. This Duesenberg, a 1930 "Model J Duesenberg LWB, Hibbard & Darrin Transformable Cabriolet" is my second favorite car in the place. There were two made. This one was owned by the King of Spain and the other by William Randolph Hearst. My wife stared at every detail for about 15 minutes while the guy was telling the story.

 

Notice the dash in the 2nd and 4th photos. This detail is not part of the metal. Carbon fiber it is not! Stamped into aluminum? No. It is hand painted!

 

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These are some of the cars from the 40's. Like I said, there were some that I couldn't get very well, especially in here. There was a really cool 40-ish Lincoln Continental that looked right out of the Godfather movies.

 

Hendricks started collecting road maps when he was young. He displays them here. I remember alot of these - Texaco, Sinclair, anywhere you went you could get a highway map for free. Longmont, CO is on the map in the center but Lyons is not (although Hwy36 and 66 do cross).

 

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This 1947 Town & Country convertible was really cool. I went back to get some more shots of it with better light (higher ISO).

 

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These are from the 50's.

 

My grandpa had a blue 1952 Buick sedan. The tour guy said that they filled in the holes in either 51 or 52 because kids in schoolyards were putting stuff in them and fouling the engine compartment.

 

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In contradiction to the Tucker sign in the following, there are no Tuckers present. Hendricks is constantly adding to his collection - maybe he'll get one.

 

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This car, the 1954 Olds F88 proto is the centerpiece of the museum so I've split it out as a special part of the 50's. This was a Olds built on a Corvette body. 'Vettes weren't selling well so this was never brought to market. If you look at it carefully you can see that it is unrestored. The lighting is quite complimentary to it in its current condition. Hendricks bought it at the Barrett Jackson auction in 2005 for $3.24M.

 

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We ate a late breakfast so skipped lunch. While we were in the museum the weather turned really crappy. High winds were coming up the river canyon and the sky was filled with dust. We started driving to Cortez and Durango.

 

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Water is king on Colorado. Some enterprising individuals built a suspended canal and suspended a portion of it from the canyon side of the Delores River.

 

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The trees are still changing and while drove through some minor storms the wind and rain left mud on the truck. It was at this point I was glad I didn't drive the shelby.

 

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We stayed at the Strater Hotel, an old-west hotel in downtown Durango. The room was nice, but the ceiling was really low and the bath had only a shower. When the place was built the baths on each floor were shared so I guess we shouldn't complain too much.

 

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This is the lobby

 

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The outside of the hotel (nice shot with ISO6400)

 

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The "bar".

 

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The bar had a piano player that night.

 

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And everywhere was old antique furniture (I'm guessing this is a recreation)

 

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When we got up in the morning there had been more snow. As we got close to the climb up Wolf Creek it was obvious there was going to be some cold weather. The brilliant leaves were mostly gone due to wind and rain/snow. It was still good but the weekend before would have been better.

 

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At one of the scenic overlooks - chipmunks running everywhere.

 

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Mountains? You guys in the east don't got mountains. These are the Sangre De Cristos. A range that just "pops" out of the ground on the east side of the San Luis Valley

 

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As we got closer to the Denver area we drove up into the weather that was there. The Broncos were playing in rain. We went through some fog as we got closer. The final portion of our trip was on the same roads we drove back from on the Colorado Springs Breakfast Club.

 

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  • 2 years later...

This topic is in the wrong place. Could a mod please move it to Mountain?

 

 

Tony,

 

I'm glad I saw this before it is/was moved. What a great cruise with beautiful Colorado scenery (and some nice wheels at the resort)!

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