Drove from Springs to Buena Vista today. I loved the progression from red-rock to rocky scrub over Ute Pass, and then to high arid grasslands after crossing over the next pass. I probably liked the "South Park" area around Hartsel the best--it has endless expanse of grasslands in a 60 mile-wide huge bowl rimed with snowcovered mountains. It reminded me of the MacKensie country in NZ.
Buena Vista itself exceeded my expectations, at least as far as sweeping good views is concerned. Coming from the east, a long valley opens before one, with a string of Fourteeners stretching north to south as far as the eye can follow. We tried to drive up to Cottenwood Pass, but it was closed a few miles before the actual pass.
July 9, 1984 was a long time ago now, but I passed Fairplay about 17 miles to the south today, and very nearly turned north to try to see Windy Ridge. I'm glad I didn't, though; Samuel said that the actual road was not all that passable without a 4x4. Given the time of year (late April), I'm sure I would have gotten nowhere near the timberline.