Not only did 2013 mark the third annual BMW gathering in the Rocky Mountain Region, but it once again was the largest turnout ever. This “driving destination” features some amazing scenery, awesome driving roads, and most importantly; friendly folks.
The main goal of the event is to celebrate our favorite marque by driving our BMW’s to a weekend destination. The informal nature of the meet allows for anybody interested in this sort of thing to come and participate as much (or little) as they desire. Fly fishing, hiking, an afternoon retreat at the spa; these were only a few of the various activities that people enjoyed besides just the automotive gatherings. Participants came from all over the US and focused on meeting others interested in a weekend getaway that was highlighted with the cars each is passionate about. Quite a few people were more than content eyeing the gorgeous cars that showed up, while others decided to enjoy the weekend by hiking and exploring.
The event officially kicked off with the union of participants for the Denver Caravan. Over 10 cars joined together to begin the driving aspect referenced in the event name. From the initial group, it seemed a bit more like a car show than a gathering with how many people showed up! Sooner than later, the caravan would depart to stay on schedule and meet up with the others.
The group drove south along the highway enjoying the cars and taking photos of the chain of bavarian art in motion. It was early Friday morning and traffic was good with minimal construction along the main Colorado corridor of Interstate-25. .
The caravan cruised south about 50 miles to the first stop along the journey; The World Arena in Colorado Springs. An additional six or so cars joined in on the caravan at this point. With over 15 BMW’s in the parking lot, even a bystanding BMW owner stopped in to see what the gathering was all about. Although he wasn’t convinced to join in, it was nice to see him stop by.
After everybody greeted each other and made bathroom “pit-stops,” the drivers reluctantly pulled away from their conversations to head out on the open road. Getting everybody through the initial stoplights was a worry, but conveniently, the event timing of the stop lights allowed the group to leave as one long BMW caravan.
As the rolling caravan continued towards Canyon City, what a sight it was traveling along Highway 50! Everything from a unique 2000 Touring from the early 70’s to a (relatively) new E92 M3 cruised through the desert.
At one point the group did get separated when traveling through Canon City, Colorado; but after pulling off on the side of the road it was possible to regroup. From here the road started to tighten up a bit and you can see the cars were starting to make it into the canyon that the city was named for.
Although the caravan was mostly older BMW’s, they were a blast when travelling through the canyon. The pace definitely quickened with twisting roads indicated by the yellow warning road signs. Winding along “Texas Creek” is never as much fun as when you are tearing up the corners of a canyon road with mirror full of BMW kidney grille’s. At this point, the the iconic shape was telling you that your pace really wasn’t quick enough.
It was almost a full hour through the canyon, but oh how time flies when you are having fun! I dare say that the enjoyable curvy section of road left the drivers pleasantly surprised what their machines could do when pushed. The road slowly started to straighten out; simply meandering with the river rather than cutting back and forth along it. At this point what can be described as a “driver’s high” had occurred and after the exciting jaunt of that previous section of road, it was reasonable now to simply amble along the remaining section of road and enjoy the natural beauty of this mountainous region of land. A myriad of houses, local businesses, and livestock grazing in the visible pastures only added to the effect.
Another short while up the road the caravan made a stop in Salida, Colorado. This was the main stop along the journey with a good location to fill up with gas and grab a bite to eat, whether it be fast food or packed lunches. A few folks stopped for a longer lunch break and decided to pass on joining the caravan for the entire journey- again, entirely OK.
From here the road opened up and a good 45 minutes of cruising through what used be an ancient lake bed expanse was still interesting to drive through. Now this area is simply a large area of desert with mountains straddling three sides of the epicenter.
As the famous Wolf Creek Pass approached, the caravan encountered some rain. This made for beautiful scenery in an already exciting caravan drive. Of course the rain stopped, and it was possible to enjoy the road that much more with safer conditions. One driver’s car was so happy cruising in these roads, it even decided to drive itself!
Driving up the pass got quicker and quicker once a second lane opened up. Even though the altitude was rising towards 11,000 feet, the BMW’s pressed on just like the feet of each of the drivers. The road was so enjoyable, it was tough to take a break to get photos of the moment!
Once to the top of the pass, it was an abrupt change to 7% grade downhill. The shoulder was littered with signs telling truckers to stay in lower gear to prevent gaining speed. Wolf Creek pass is infamous because of a C.W. McCall song about driving the treacherous pass in his tractor-trailer. The task of slowing down and taking the corners wasn’t so daunting for our group of BMW’s, but it was still necessary to heed the warnings and keep our wits.
Arriving at the Quality Resort of Pagosa Springs was a treat as there were already over dozen BMW’s in the main parking lot. Now was a good time to unload the car and get ready to grab a beer from the restaurant lounge and bar area of the hotel.
Check-in, dinner, drinks, and new friends were a common theme of Friday night. A few local folks traveled in 60 miles for the evening to be apart of the festivities. Many were able to wash their vehicles in the carwash station and clean off the road grime and bugs that typically come with a long drive.
The friendly and laid back atmosphere meant it was no problem for families to participate in the evening. The common theme of all this was that the participants were here to share a passion common among everyone. The new acquaintances were a welcome sight after the day(s) of travel into Pagosa Springs. After all, meeting new people is part of the appeal of the Drive 4 Corners BMW Meet. Of course, a majority of people visited in the parking lot admiring all of the BMW’s in sight.
The Quality Resort had gone through some major renovations since the 2012 meet. Part of this included the additional of an in-house restaurant. The bar area, lounge, and entire kitchen were renovated. This was a great area to relax with a drink and meet some of the other BMW enthusiasts who had already arrived. Although the restaurant was more than overwhelmed with our mass of people Friday night, we give them credit for sticking with it and expect they will be better prepared a year from now. Additionally, the hotel rooms are scheduled to be renovated in September 2013 and this boost will make the Quality Resort infinitely more attractive to those who felt the rooms weren’t quite up to par.
It was a treat to see participants had driven from Maryland, California, Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas to join the event. The cool summer air was refreshing even if it had a slight chill as the sun went down.
The broad variety of cars complemented the evening as there were many new things to learn about the history of BMW- including the rare Z1 where the doors slide down out of view! Klove Photography was able to capture some great images from the parking lot that evening.
Some participants were chatting well into the night about their cars and other various stories. This made for some unique photo opportunities such as this one which was taken with a long exposure and a cell phone walked around the perimeter of the subject.
The 2013 Drive 4 Corners Decal was a hot commodity. This gentleman was quick
to get his placed perfectly on his E34 5 series so it would be ready for the Saturday photoshoot.
A few participants got up early Saturday and were able to complete one of the Scavenger Hunt item: get a photo of their car with a hot air balloon in the background. Quite the amount of local attractions in Pagosa Springs!
After a short drivers meeting to remind all the participants to be safe and have an enjoyable drive up the pass with no issues, small groups of BMW’s departed as fast as the stop light would let them. The faces of some of the locals as so many BMW’s creeped through downtown at 25mph were priceless!
Driving towards Wolf Creek pass is a distinct experience like no other road. The relaxing scenic route disguises what enjoyable curves lie ahead. The destination is not visible from the bottom, and neither is the quality of curves that will be encountered. Slowly the road begins to take an upward slope, but it isn’t until the road opens to a second lane that exciting things began. A single curve at the base of Treasure Falls transforms the route into a winding wonderland of pleasure. A sunny Saturday morning is the perfect condition to open up the cars a bit. Even a large vehicle like this euro 7 series will handle the turns with balance.
One of the photographers decided it would be a good idea to snap some photos from the most famous corners along the route- Dead Man’s Curve. This scenic stop is a breathtaking view that seems like it was just pulled from the pages of a magazine! The natural beauty of the area is encompassed in the photo below.
Additionally, some great action images were taken from this location!
It was quite the sight as over 50 BMW’s waited anxiously in line to view the scenic overlook of Wolf Creek Pass Ski Area. Getting parked perfectly was important so that the images would turn out great!
It sure was a neat view with all of the BMW’s parked at the base lot of the ski area. What a great location for a photo opportunity; overlooking the runs of Wolf Creek Ski Area on one side, and then the rocky mountains on the other. The best part about all of this was that participants were able to enjoy this moment with the machines that brought them all there. It was obvious the amount of passion of this group. Many people were busy taking photos, exploring nooks and crannies of cars, and telling stories with new friends. It was a good time for BMW enthusiasts.
After the run up the pass, other activities were encouraged before heading back to the hotel. Some of the stops made available were the Alberta Reservoir, Lobo Overlook, Dead Man’s Curve (pictured above), and Treasure Falls. All were prime locations to stop for a short while, and all were accessible quite easily by car! Definitely something worthwhile to see. These side excursions were an added bonus on the drive and were right along the route back to town.
There were not as many group caravans down the mountain as up. However, this didn’t mean the pictures were any worse. Here’s a beautiful grey market 745i — an executive saloon from 1984 equipped with headlight washers, a gasoline heater, and a factory turbocharger pumping out almost 250 horsepower.
Back at the hotel was the main event BBQ with food, raffle prizes, and another incredible view. It was the perfect opportunity to take a close look at some of the cars and chat with the owners while getting a bite to eat.
There were plenty of modified BMW’s there, along with some factory stock examples. This 3 series was heavily modified to both look and act the part.
This was a neat giveaway item from the raffle. The featured car was the BMW 6 series with the design placed on the front of the 2013 tshirt, so it is only appropriate there was a miniature glass 635CSi paperweight. Although not all participants were at the BBQ, there are rumors that a revamped time and organizational schedule will improve the BBQ timeline for 2014.
The raffle was a great success. As participants only had to spare a few bucks for raffle tickets, everybody who was present walked away with something! Santa Fe BMW Supplied plenty of ‘swag’ and people were trilled with some of the grand prizes they came away with. Their extraordinary support matched with their collaboration with the event team allowed for the perfect mix of enthusiasm at the event.
The awards ceremony was highlighted by the Over the Hill Award, Fan Favorite, and the Furthest Traveled– a whopping 1800+ miles from Maryland in a new 335d. The other winners included the 1970 2000 Touring from Colorado and the 1977 530i from New Mexico.
Sunday was the main day for travelers to disperse, however those who were able to plan accordingly had a few options. One of the most popular stops was “The Springs.” The event team was able to secure a great discount for participants of Drive 4 Corners. It was a nice place to soak and admire the beauty of the San Juan River which backstops right next to the resort. If you were feeling adventurous, you could hop in the river, although it was quite cold!
Overall, Drive 4 Corners 2013 was a great success. The number of participating cars more than doubled even with 10 room cancellations the week of. Just over 50 cars made it to the group photoshoot; the few that not were able to make it, were able to enjoy their own activity at their leisure. Everybody who attended the raffle was able to walk away with a prize, and everybody who stopped in on the awards ceremony was able to get a free tshirt courtesy of Odometer Gears. A late night feedback session Saturday night gave constructive criticism for how to make next years event even better than the current. Additionally, the Quality Resort is scheduled to begin major renovations in early September and will continue to be the location of the best BMW gathering in the Rocky Mountain Region. With the support of volunteers, more activities will make Drive 4 Corners 2014 an event not to miss! The laid back atmosphere matched with our passion for these cars and the Desire to be Driven fuels us for next year!
If you haven’t already, take a look at our 2013 Gallery for more photos. Here are a couple more of our favorites.
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