Subaru Outback, Riding Red Rocks Canyon, a Double Double–A Day in the Springs with Dirt Journal

By Rob Quinn

Tried to Amend my carnivorous habit, Made it nearly 70 days Losing weight without speed, eating sunflower seeds Drinking lots of carrot juice and soaking up rays. -Jimmy Buffet A Cheeseburger in Paradise

Who can forget the ode to the American signature dish, The Cheeseburger. There has been a lot of talk about Cheeseburgers these days in sunny Colorado with the biggest Californian welcome in the past decade. In & Out set up shop and the market’s response has been downright insane. The word was if you wanted a Double Double, be prepared to wait. There were also whisperings that if you ventured to Colorado Springs, the treat could be had with no or little wait.

Did you know there is another Red Rocks in Colorado? The obvious one I’m referring to, the music venue is the tried and true bell ringer. But, There is a trail system / open space called The Red Rocks Canyon in Colorado Springs and this link provides a great summary of the area. https://redrockcanyonopenspace.org 

It is on the way to Manitou Springs with parking right next to the iconic Rudy’s BBQ and Gas station. That is how it came to my attention. Not riding but eating BBQ!  But, I’ve always been curious about the trail system since I’ve seen bike racks.  We’ll get to that ride in a second.

There are several Iconic symbols of Colorado and The West. The Colt 45, the “peace keeper” that Samuel Colt spent a life perfecting was standard issue for anyone headed west. It was documented most of all deaths happened within the first two days of a Wagon train journey from the new gun owners figuring out their firearms. Barbed Wire, not the Pamala Anderson Movie, the fencing, ended the “open range” and all that it represented. The Winchester Rifle needs to be included. A rifle that could be shot repeatedly and changed the course of western history and the cadence of warfare. The miners pick needs to be included, at least in Colorado. What else but the promise of riches could bring so many to such inhospitable conditions. Last-but-not-least, the Subura Outback station wagon. In many cases the game changer when it came to covering a lot of area in poor conditions, a symbol indelibly linked to the West, the Subaru Outback station wagon. 

I know what you are saying. Rob I am confused. What does any of this have to do with each other. Well, a lot.

I am a station wagon man. Always have been, always will be. Looking back at my vehicle history, two brands have dominated my garage space the last 40 years, Subaru Outback’s and Audi Allroad’s. I bought my first Subaru while still in college. It bore little resemblance to it’s modern great great, great grand children. In fact, the original ones were not even 4 wheel drive. When I got mine my leg was in a cast after a succession of knee operations that seemed to define both high school and college. The original Subie was a stick but I had a cast on my leg. No problem, I cut a Kerma ski pole at an angle and that was my clutch engager for a year. The car that replaced that was a 1976 Audi Fox Wagon. Basically, a VW Dasher with Audi upgrades. I remember feeling German Fuel injection for the first time. An intoxicating feeling without the intoxicates is my best description. 

The two were different ladies. The Audi; fast, expensive, and temperamental. Cary Grant would have driven an Audi. 

The Subaru; steady, efficient, and economical. Clark Griswold would have driven a Subaru. The one with a hood scoop!

In early January I decided to kill a few birds with one stone and do it all in Colorado Springs. Buy a Subaru Outback, mountain bike Red Rocks Canyon and grab a post ride In & Out Double Double with Cheese. 

The Red Rocks trails system is a moderate track and a half wide that drops you into the awesome Red Rock Canyon with a network of predictable trails. My 140ML Guerilla Gravity was more than enough bike. I easily could have ridden my low travel XC or even hard tail. I saw several gravel and cross bikes on the trail. 

I then googled In & Out and in no time I was driving through ordering the iconic Double Double with Cheese, grilled onions, fresh fries and a Coke. Hell…upgrade the Coke to a large—I gotta drive. I’m not sure how they do it but the kids that serve me were just a little nicer and cleaner, the food was just a little better and even the Coke was a little sweeter. In & out might not kiss but they sure can cook. The burger disappears in what appears to be a Hyena attack inside the cab of the truck. The meal was consumed in a primal fashion that only a slightly stoned man that just rode 20 miles can appreciate. In Clockwork Orange quick clip fashion, I imagine a lion after feasting on a Gazelle. 

It is funny the things you remember as a kid. When I was around 10 or 12 I heard what I thought was down home HeeHaw type advice about looking for the perfect bride.

The quote said “Good kissin don’t last. Good Cookin do”

Which meant to me, avoid the fleeting flash of a fast women and settle down with a nice girl that can cook. I had been reading my dad’s Playboy’s for a few years so I had an old soul’s heart when it came to marriage and courtship. The quote was originally coined by George Meredith who originally said:

“Kissing don’t last: Cookery do”.

The Audi Allroads were always the “Kissers” and The Subaru Outbacks were always the “Good cooks”. I had the good fortune to find a good kisser who can cook in real life. Why not in my station wagons?

I have a love-hate relationship with Colorado Springs, and it is not Colorado Springs fault. My last grown-up job in media was running a group of Colorado Springs Radio stations for a large concern based in Atlanta. I hated it, they hated me and as they say in pro wrestling “we broke clean”. I did find after 6 months the “relaxing drive” down every day basically sucked every inch of life out of you or you stayed in a cheap hotel 60 miles from your comfy home wondering why you are staying in a hotel. I knew my corporate days were over when my boss from LA said he feared for his safety. Perceptive dude.

First things first, finding a good kisser and cook with 4WD. The problem seemed to answer itself with the new Subaru “Onyx” edition Outback. Basically, they took the 260 HP Turbo-Charged flat four “Boxer” engine they put in those obnoxious Subaru WRX that every rich kid get’s on his 16th birthday in my neighborhood (we moved in before the rich people came, 30 years ago) They dropped that in the updated Outback Chassis and the new Onyx goes 0 to 60 in right around 6 seconds. Plenty of HP to make the crucial pass on 285. More like a jaw dropping sleeper.

It was my hope The Onyx outback could kiss and cook. 

Why Colorado Springs for the Subaru you ask? 

The next time one of those iconic beasts of burden are in front of you at the traffic light check for a dealer tag that has a funny name with a checkered flag. Most likely (even in Denver) that car is from Heuberger Subaru. Simply put: Colorado is the largest Subaru market in the country (world) and Heuberger is the largest volume Subaru dealer in the State (country) (world). They, in laymen terms, sell a shit load of Subaru’s. I’ve done a lot of business in the auto category and here is how it works. The more inventory you sell, the more you get. The more you sell the cheaper you can sell them. The more you sell the more factory support you get. If you thought Darwinism was confined to the natural world, you were wrong. With that said in today’s world of pricing at your fingers, my man at Hueberger, Colter was talking turkey after our first volley and they were thousands cheaper than anybody else. I’d done my research and I put my $1,000 deposit on a card and we headed down on the first warm sunny Saturday in January to pick up a vehicle that is now known as “The Silver Bullet”. Since we needed to take a vehicle down the plan was laid out. Drive down with my kisser/cooker in the stalwart Toyota Tacoma (300,000 miles young) bring the Guerilla Gravity Smash I just got in November, ride and explore Red Rocks Canyon then hit In & Out on the way back up to Denver while my wife takes the new car back after the transaction. 

The Onyx Outback is handsome and aggressive with the larger black wheels and various sporty upgrades. Colten was a great sales guy and we were In & out in 20 minutes. No test drive needed thank you. I have one in the driveway my daughter now calls hers. I gotta ride. Heuberger is a large smooth, professional operation. With good credit and a stout down payment we qualified for zero interest. A nice surprise. There was Achilles heal that the internet exposed. The mighty Rockford Fosgate sound system was weak. Dozens of pissy Onyx owners chimed in on how awesome the car is, but, you would think they would have put some jams in that hot little box. They were right! Situation cured with a $500 Sub-woofer upgrade from Quality Auto Sound.

The predictable drive back from Colorado Springs was once again punctuated by suicidal idiots tempting fate for a car length. I remember being one of those when I commuted. Today I drive in the slow lane and listen for Mile Davis to signal Tony Williams to take the drum solo with a grunt of his horn that you only know about because you read the book. 

I arrive home to a flurry of howls and tail wagging, The pack has grown to 3 with my daughters Corgi. No cooks but all are great kissers. My wife has one statement; “Holy shit is this thing fast”. I grab the keyless device and head for the car (that device would be lost leaving Aspen 2 weeks later, when I left in in the wheel tray of my roof rack upon departing). I immediately head up Deer Creek Canyon. They were not kidding about the stereo. Underwhelming is an understatement. But the acceleration was out-of-this-world. A true wolf in sheep’s clothing. The base savings quickly evaporated in must have accessories:

  • -$500 Sub woofer
  • -$400 Front clear bra and tint front windows
  • -$1000 Thule rack system with tower, two bike treys and large ski rack
  • -$400 Trailer hitch 

The twin turbo provides a neck snapping acceleration that seems more like a Porsche or Audi,but she steers like a Subaru so you need to kind of “aim” it. Don’t worry it has all the radar devices of a F-16 so it tells you when you are not aiming it accurately. The display screen is the largest of any model and you could watch Gone with The Wind on this thing not feel like you missed The Elvis Theater experience. 

The speedometer goes to 160 and I have a hunch it can get here. 

That wagon can kiss and cook. After 5,000 miles chasing powder all winter. It’s the perfect car for us now, it’s a two person show. 

With the Tacoma in the driveway…we are good. 

So… the question needs to be asked.

Should this article be changed to a Heuberger in Paradise? 

I like mine with lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and French fried potatoes, Big Kosher pickle and cold draft beer, Well, good God almighty which way do I steer?

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