Most of my fondest memories from my childhood in Colorado are based on the ski hill. Countless powder days, class trips and hanging out with my family on the slopes remind me of some lovely times. However, most of these memories were followed by sitting in traffic on I-70 for hours, with my parents frantically calling 511 for traffic updates.
Now, a decade later, people traveling on I-70 are better informed about the state’s wildest highway.
Alejandro Brown, a 26-year-old University of Colorado Boulder graduate, is the creator of the Instagram account and business I-70 Things. The Instagram account posts submission-based content consisting of traffic updates, breaking developments and funny things seen on the road. Brown says he receives up to 100 submissions per day.
“I first made the account and posted the same day in December of 2019,” Brown said. “And then by the time of March 2020 — when no one knew what was going on and work was really slow for me — that’s when I decided to put my skills to the test and see if I could make something happen.”
Though Brown studied international affairs and French in college, he currently works part-time in digital marketing, which has helped him with I-70 Things.
Brown said he did not have a vision when he made the account, other than to just share things with his friends. However, the account now has 215k followers and has grown into a small business – including an online merchandise store.
“It’s something that continues to evolve and that speaks to the community’s needs. I like to see it as a balance between entertainment and a resource for people heading to the mountains. I like to think of the brand as an outdoor brand,” he said.
Brown said that working alongside members of the Colorado outdoor community has inspired him to reach new goals with the account – saying that the Colorado community is so special and down to earth. The account has set up community events protecting the outdoors with their annual I-70 cleanup in Georgetown. This year marks the second annual event and will feature Mayor Parker the Snow Dog – the honorary Mayor of Georgetown. Keeping the outdoors clean, bringing the community together AND a dog that is a mayor — what else can you ask for?
“I-70 cuts through the Rocky Mountains. When people think of a highway, they think of something flat on both sides. We have something very special here and we’re fortunate to take advantage of the mountains. But how can we do our best to get from point A to point B?” Brown said.
The annual monthly total traffic count for the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70 reached 12,699,830 in 2021, showcasing how many people occupy the highway, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation
Most Coloradans – including myself – make liking the mountains a personality trait, though for a good reason. The mountains are a place where the community can come together and enjoy the wonderful outdoor activities that the Rocky Mountains offer.
“It would be really nice to be seen as more than an Instagram account and more of a resource for the outdoor adventurer. That’s where the brand is going today so, hopefully, we can help everyone just enjoy Colorado and drive safely on I-70,” Brown said.
Keep up with Brown by following @i70things on Instagram.