Let’s drive through the Wild West. Once the suggestion is made, images linger in the subconscious mind; majestic sunsets over the desert, the rock towers of Monument Valley, cowboy romanticism. But the West of the USA is so much more: more impenetrable, more bewildering, more diverse. It cannot be reduced to images often seen in cigarette advertisements.
It starts in Salt Lake City or Denver and even these two cities are different to what you might expect: larger, more dynamic, more global. Especially Denver, the Mile High City at the foot of the Rocky Mountains with its international flair. It’s the ideal starting point for those preferring a slightly easier introduction to the West. We recommend driving a few miles east of the airport, into the vast prairie landscape of the Great Plains. Best on a small, dusty road and then, when everything around you is endless grasslands, turn back. From this point on a movie runs in your mind: you’re a settler heading West. You’ve only ever heard about it and you have weeks or even months of plains behind you. The rolling waves of an ocean of grass – because plains are not flat, only terribly exhausting. A seemingly never-ending story, every morning a rerun of the day before, an endless loop. Then, at last, you see the mountains, at first a hazy blue mirage, then more and more real. And you start to believe that “The West” actually exists. Its gold and silver, the fur and riches on the other side – the Promised Land. With this image in mind, you get wind in your sails and you take off into the mountains. As if in a dream.
But in our version of the story, this is precisely what we didn’t do. We took the unexpected start in the northwest, in Salt Lake City, from virtually behind the mountains, tipping our hats to the Rockies. For us, it was about exploring this mighty mountain range in all directions: from north to south, from east to west. We never regretted this decision, because the greatest surprise of the Rocky Mountains is their multifacetedness and diversity. There are the wide valleys, not unlike the plains in the east. Then the mighty mountains, rising vertically, and stunning in their savagery. There’s the lush vegetation and turbulent animal world; we saw moose, deer and coyotes on the road, we were surrounded by birds, reptiles and insects that blew our minds. Nordic ruggedness in one val-ley, an almost Mediterranean charm in the next. Filled to the brim with beauty, we were then ready for the seemingly lifeless parts of Utah and Nevada, the red loops of the San Juan River with their hidden oases. The moonscapes of the desert regions. Just us, alone, in a silver Porsche 911 Carrera 4S under a scorching sun, surrounded by nothing but space. This impressed us: how emotional yet relaxed this iconic German sports car of the latest generation endured the multilayered stages of the long journey to the West. A star in the corners and an incredibly grounded cruiser on the long straights. Always on, always unfiltered, despite its captivating technical perfection. Once again, we can give thanks for the chance to travel with this character actor. Thanks to Porsche. You’re a dream team. Having your support is a privilege that we do not take for granted. A dusty, dry and pine-scented thank you to all the families and friends that support and follow CURVES. This time we were on the road for a long time, in a parallel universe beyond Mars. You encouraged us to do this. Thanks to the crew, without whom not one photo would have been taken, not a second of footage shot, not a meter driven and not a word written.
On this occasion we also like to thank our readers. You have accompanied CURVES from the beginning, traveled with us to the moon and back, so to speak, and we feel your joy in “soulful driving” over every kilometer and afterwards in every letter, every email, every thumbs up. But this time we also want to say “hi” to all the read-ers who are onboard for the first time with CURVES Wild West. You are the reason we made this CURVES. For those who dream of epic journeys. We’d like to acknowledge that this edition of CURVES is perhaps not so appealing to our muscly-thighed two-wheeled followers. Someday, maybe soon, we’ll be back with a CURVES full of blood, sweat and tears and it’ll be great. Just to throw an idea at you: We encountered a cycle tourist on the Extraterrestrial Highway, coming from who knows where, going to who knows where, but really, does it matter? You can get as far as Area 51 by bike... Forrest Gump-style. We take no responsibility for anything past this point. Last but not least, we’d like to thank the people we met along the way. Strangers and acquaintances. Honky Tonk Sally, Raunchy Laugh Lucy, Piano Man and all the others. In particular, thank you to Jeff Zwart with his 356, the kayak and the many great stories for a Roadtrip Deluxe around Aspen, Colorado. Many thanks to Canepa in Scotts Valley. We’re still dreaming of the scenic flight in a silver Cessna over the Rockies and we’re now wondering if it really happened at all. Just like that.
If there is one thing that truly made this journey memorable, then it was the people. And we hadn’t counted on this over the many hundreds of miles in the Wild West, yet somehow it’s always the same surprise: that in CURVES it’s not just about the journey, it’s also about arriving. Among people.
(c) Stefan Bogner & Ben Winter