Ford Ranger dashboard driver seat
All photos by Adam Ruggiero


It may sound silly and obvious, but we need every little slice of sanity we can get these days.

其中之一是与GearJunkie编辑的津贴是,有时vwin徳赢网car companies just send you a shiny new vehicle to drive around for a while.

Ordinarily, this is either a great supplement for gear testing —stuffing 12 tents into an SUV, for example — or a chance to review thelatest luxury gear-hauler. But when Ford sent me a fire-engine-red 2020 Ranger Lariat last month, I was at a loss what to do with it.

Frankly, no one is really in the mood to shell out big bucks on a new car — even the beloved andresurrected Ranger pickup. And with shelter-in-place and safer-at-home orders keeping most destinations closed, there weren’t many adventures or destinations to tackle.


No — that’s not entirely true. I decided to go for a drive I’d never done before. So I made a pot of coffee, Googled some of the most scenic drives in Colorado, and stumbled acrossthis spectacular list.

Ford Ranger Lariat

I found two meandering routes that wound through the Front Range — more or less north to south, with loads of twists and turns — and would take at least 6 hours to drive, with stops. There was no other plan, just drive. I grabbed the keys, a raincoat, my wallet, and a mask (the new necessity) and took off.

Don’t Forget Small Town, USA

My daily driver is an old 2001 Mazda pickup based on the old Ranger chassis. So suffice to say I was wildly impressed by all the newfangled tech that’s now commonplace on modern vehicles. (Did you know cars come with computer screens now? Crazy!)

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我惊叹于布鲁里溃疡的大楼,像宇宙飞船的ttons before me, painfully curious what each one did, but also terrified I might just break the whole truck by pressing the wrong one.

Fortunately, the headlights came on by themselves (also commonplace now, I’m told) and all that was left before putting that blaze-crimson stallion in “D” was to find the right driving music.

Ford Ranger Estes Park CO

I stumbled into Sirius XM radio — honestly, no idea how I got there — and praise be! One of the presets was Classic Rewind. The station was in the midst of its “Top 1,000 Classic Rock Countdown,” and I tuned in at No. 395, “Rocket Man.”

I sped out of Denver, here and there surprised by some new automated convenience. Evidently, some invisible sensors determine how fast the wipers should go, particularly helpful in Colorado’s on-again, off-again precipitation patterns.

The route I’d set took me north out of the city to Estes Park. From there, I’d follow the Rockies along the famed Peak to Peak Highway, an undulating two-lane thoroughfare that led me through Rocky Mountain National Park, by way of the too-easy-too-miss town of Allenspark and still-hip hippie haven Nederland.

Allenspark, CO Ford Ranger

I stopped in Allenspark, happy to see a “Yes, We’re Open” sign outside a store loaded with knick-knacks and birthstone jewelry. I bought some artisanal (read: expensive) hand soap, presumably made by someone who could tell your horoscope and probably owns a wind chime or six.


Two months into quarantine, I noticed that latent suspicion of other people and places had become too familiar, too normal. Sure, we both wore masks. But the covered smiles were real and showed through in the eyes that gazed out above them.

My somber, solo drive started to take on a new sensation: eagerness. A few hundred miles lay ahead — who else would I encounter? What other overpriced crap could I once again waste my money on, simply because I was “just looking around”?

See Something New

Ford Ranger anitques

I parked again in Nederland. I hadn’t planned to, but necessity being the mother of something-or-other meant that wherever I found a restroom, there I’d stop. So I ordered a latte at a quaint, clapboard coffee shop.

The doors were locked, a window next to it slid open to receive and dispense orders. Crudely taped off X’s delineated where one could and could not stand — another reminder to remain diligent, suspicious, and distant.


每个人的订单时间太长 - 人太少了,留下来的工作,太多人抢着要回老套路,如咖啡。但它是该死的好有在一个诚实,善良的咖啡馆由乔的热咖啡。

Back in the truck, the lights and wipers turned themselves on. At least I still got the satisfaction of starting the damn car, albeit with a button and not the good old-fashioned key turn I’m used to. Appropriately enough, the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” wailed out of the speaker, No. 381.

Ford Ranger on rainy road

I waved to Ned on the way out and set off for the next big town, Black Hawk. I’d never heard of Black Hawk and don’t know what I expected. But what unfurled before the windshield as I tracked along the winding banks of Clear Creek (don’t be fooled, it’s a river) left me in awe.

如果你还没有听说过黑鹰,科罗拉多州,我不想毁了惊喜。但我只想说我从来没有见过高耸的赌场和酒店的整体城市 - 明亮的霓虹灯反弹历史性的砖房 - 基本上都突出山腰出来。它是在一个字,令人惊艳。

But casinos evidently posed too a high risk to open just yet, and the black windows told the truth behind the flashy signs’ false advertising. I slowed a bit along the highway, a little irked the truck wouldn’t just drive itself, so I could gawk more. As I exited the town, now on song No. 375, The Who’s “I Can See For Miles,” and began the second leg of the journey: the Lariat Loop.

Rediscover the Joy of Driving

Ford Ranger mural Black Hawk CO

I was closing on 200 miles and about 4 hours of the drive. From here, I’d track through more familiar territory, only along roads less traveled.

The Lariat Loop Scenic Byway traverses the foothills, connecting Evergreen, Idledale, and Morrison — everyone’s favorite little stop between Denver and, well, anything west of Denver.

But the 2-hour(ish) drive of just 40 lazy miles offered a new perspective on places I otherwise would have written off. I’ve been to Morrison — a tourist trap.

But behind the wheel, with no destination other than the next mile, the trip became a journey. A long time ago, I’m told, people looked forward to driving. They liked the act just as much as their arrival. It wasn’t the hellish multivitamin of stress, rage, and disrespect it often feels like today.

For that 2 hours, though, the hum of the tires, the wind rushing past a cracked window, and the slow, meditative turns of the steering wheel did more to relieve all those pent up months of anxiety and worry than I could have imagined. I was all too happy to stay to the right, take it nice and slow, and let everyone pass me — and the unbelievable mountain views — by.

Adam Ruggiero

亚当·鲁杰罗是一切体育活动迷- from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.