Press "Enter" to skip to content

The Way We Really Were

By Virginia McConnell Simmons

Model T’s needed gasoline, frequent repairs and replacement of ruined tires and inner tubes, so in 1911 Salida’s Arkansas Valley Garage Men’s Association undertook promoting tourism. The Rainbow Route soon followed the Arkansas River from near Cañon City to Salida, but a trip to Gunnison required crossing Poncha Pass to Saguache and northwest from there, while the National Old Trails Association was also boosting the Coast to Coast Highway with a segment through central Colorado via Wilkerson Pass and Leadville. By whichever route, tourists could experience scenery, picnicking and camping in five national forests – San Isabel, Rio Grande, Cochetopa, Gunnison and Leadville – and flat tires. (Note mismatched tires in this 1922 photo.) U.S.Forest Service photo