At this point it was Tuesday, September 21st, and pretty much time to start heading back home. We chose a fairly direct route, hitting I-70 in eastern Utah and following it east through Colorado. The day was damp (as usual, it seemed), and, as we got to the high pass that I-70 takes over the front range of the Rockies, the rain turned to ACK! snow. Enough snow that it actually started accumulating. Here I was with bald 245/40R17 tires on packed snow on a steep mountain highway. Let's just say there was a lot of slow, white-knuckled driving!
We made it safely to Golden, Colorado, where we stayed at a [very] low-budget motel that had curious signs posted about the rooms (badly spelled ones, too).
S2000 out of its natural habitat
You know its low-budget when...
The next day the weather seemed like it wasn't going to do anything too nasty, so we decided to explore a bit of Rocky Mountain National Park, which is a scenic high-altitude spot high up on the eastern front of the Rockies just outside of Denver. The recent snowstorm that we'd just driven through had dusted the peaks very prettily. Trail Ridge Road, one of the premier high-altitude paved roads on the continent, runs through this park. The recent snows had closed the road, however.
nearing Rocky Mountain National Park
From here it was basically a straight-run back to Ottawa. The landscape had changed back to flatness, and the wild scenery and great twisty roads were over. We the interstates back east towards Chicago and Detroit.
My rear tires were now completely devoid of tread. Our route back would take us to the doorstep of the biggest mail-order tire seller on the continent, the Tire Rack, so I decided to physically drop in and get a new set of rear tires.
Tire Rack Global Headquarters
The Main headquarters of the Tire Rack is situated in South Bend, Indiana. The Tire Rack started out as a small local company, but has since grown into a huge behemoth of a company, with many warehouses around the country. The new Tire Rack headquarters in South Bend is a huge modern facility right next to the interstate, and even has a track out front (presumably for testing tires?). I pulled in on a Saturday morning and ordered up two new 245/40R17 Potenza RE-050 tires. An elderly gentleman directed my car into the tire change area and wrote up a floor order for my work. Later, I observe him in the process of mounting and inflating my tires. Cool.
The S2000 at the 'rack
Well, even more cool than I think, as it turns out. Jenn is in the office area reading an article about the Tire Rack, and I notice that the founder and owner of the Tire Rack seems to be none other than the elderly gentleman who is right now installing my new tires! after a double-take, I verify that it is indeed him, Peter Veldman, creator of this vast empire, at work with his hands all greasy on a Saturday morning working on my car. I can't help but take a picture and go up and shake his hands, thanking him for all of the good tire deals I've gotten over the years from the Tire Rack (he made me shake his forearm because his hands were too dirty).
Tire Rack in-house change area
Working on my new Potenza RE-050s
I mean... REALLY worn out
After my tires are installed, it is 10 more hours drive back to Ottawa. The 401 passes by uneventfully, and late in the day we are back in Ottawa. Total elapsed distance: over 13,500 kilometres. And all of it worth it!
Yes, it all fit!
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