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A funny thing happened on the way to Colorado

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  • Trail Discussion: A funny thing happened on the way to Colorado



    I have been in Arizona and I am headed to a conference in Keystone, CO. The shortest route would be through Flagstaff, Tuba City, Kayenta, Moab and then via I-70, but I decided to go through Durango, Silverton, Ouray, and get on I-70 at Grand Junction, CO. It would be about 90 miles longer, but it would give me chance to travel through parts of Colorado that I've only seen from an airplane. I also decided to pass through the Navajo Reservation and visit the Four Corners Monument. So I used Google Maps and my Garmin GPS to plan the route. The Garmin route took me across a 15 mile long dirt segment on the Navajo Reservation

    Click this link to see where I got stuck:
    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UT...,0.079565&z=14

    There were heavy thundershowers the night before, but when I got to the dirt segment, a Toyota Camry came out of the route, so I figured it was OK for my Jeep. There were a few muddy spots in the road, but I was able to get through them in 4WD, until I came to a flooded section in the road (see the [color=blue]blue[/color] marker on the map). I got out of my Jeep to look for a bypass (and slipped in ankle deep [COLOR="brown"]MUD[/COLOR]) :-[. Meanwhile, a pickup truck traveling in the other direction arrived at the other side of the flooded area. The pickup driver found a bypass to the north of the road that required crossing two ditches. I attempted to retrace his route, and as you can see, I did not make it across the second ditch. I unloaded my Jeep, aired down my tires and was shoveling dirt (and [COLOR="brown"]MUD[/COLOR]) to try to level my Jeep when the rancher came by in his pickup and pulled me out. I continued to the Four Corners Monument and made it to Durango, CO for the night.

    Four Corners Monument:




    Shiprock, NM:
    If you don't like the way I drive, stay out of the bushes!
    KI6MLU

  • #2
    lol. i dont think you should list this "trail" as easy
    Ford Raptor 6.2l

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    • #3
      with lockers you would walk right out of that ditch, 2 wheels on the hard pack no problem, that is where open diffs turns the rig into no wheel drive.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Dog Man View Post
        with lockers you would walk right out of that ditch, 2 wheels on the hard pack no problem, that is where open diffs turns the rig into no wheel drive.
        Lockers would've helped, and so would a winch (if I had an anchor to attach the cable to because there were no trees in the area). Best of all would have been another Jeep traveling with me to pull me out. The rancher showed up about 45 minutes after I got stuck. There was about one vehicle per hour on the dirt road, and the paved road that runs parallel to the dirt road is about a mile north of the spot, so I don't think I would have been stuck too long.
        If you don't like the way I drive, stay out of the bushes!
        KI6MLU

        Comment


        • #5
          And now…the rest of the story

          After getting unstuck from the ditch on the Navajo reservation and visiting the Four Corners Monument, I proceeded to Durango, CO for the night. I didn’t have any room reservations because I wasn’t sure how far I would get that day, and I didn’t think I’d have any problems getting a room on a weeknight. WRONG. There were “No Vacancy” signs on every hotel/motel in Durango; it’s the height of the tourist season. I finally found a room at the Comfort Inn for $140 because there was a cancellation. While I was registering, another traveler came in, but the clerk told him that I got the last room.

          The next morning, I headed north from Durango (elevation 6,600 feet) on U.S. Highway 550, the “Million Dollar Highway” through Coal Bank Pass (elevation 10,640 feet), Molas Pass (elevation 10, 910 feet), Silverton, CO (elevation 9,500 feet), Red Mountain Pass (elevation 11,018 feet), to Ouray, CO (elevation 7,800 feet). This area of Colorado left me breathless because of the beautiful scenery and partly because of the high altitude.

          Snowden Peak from Coal Bank Pass

          [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3016.jpg[/SIZED]

          View toward NW from Molas Pass:

          [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3020.jpg[/SIZED]

          Molas Lake:

          [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3019.jpg[/SIZED]

          Silverton, CO:

          [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3024.jpg[/SIZED]
          Last edited by Russ Chung; 07-30-08, 01:36 PM. Reason: Changed the size of the pictures
          If you don't like the way I drive, stay out of the bushes!
          KI6MLU

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: And now...the rest of the story

            After the end of the conference in Keystone, CO (elevation 9,300 feet), I was beginning to get used to the altitude, and I wanted to do some sightseeing. I crossed the Continental Divide at Loveland Pass (elevation 11,990 feet) about 10 miles from Keystone:

            [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3035.jpg[/SIZED]

            The north side of the pass drains to the Gulf of Mexico (Atlantic watershed):

            [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3036.jpg[/SIZED]

            The south side of the pass drains to the Sea of Cortez (Pacific watershed):

            [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3038.jpg[/SIZED]

            I also drove my Jeep up the nation’s highest paved road, the Mount Evans Road (elevation 14,130 feet). The Mt. Evans Summit House Restaurant burned in 1979 but the foundation and remaining walls serve as an observation platform:

            [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3052.jpg[/SIZED]

            Denver, CO from the summit of Mt. Evans:

            [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3058.jpg[/SIZED]

            Echo Lake on the Mt. Evans Road:

            [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3039.jpg[/SIZED]

            Summit Lake on the Mt. Evans Road:

            [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3042.jpg[/SIZED]

            Wildlife:

            [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3046.jpg[/SIZED]

            [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3061.jpg[/SIZED]
            Last edited by Russ Chung; 07-30-08, 01:35 PM. Reason: Changed the size of the pictures
            If you don't like the way I drive, stay out of the bushes!
            KI6MLU

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: And now...for the rest of the story

              I had never been wheeling in Colorado, so I asked Mark DeNittis, author of Jeep Grille Adventures (http://jeepgrilleadventures.com/default.aspx) who lives in Aurora, CO, if he could show me some trails. He suggested that we run the Bill Moore Lake Trail (easy) followed by Empire Loop (moderate) and Red Elephant Hill (difficult) on Saturday, July 26.

              Here’s a link to a description of these trails:
              http://www.traildamage.com/trails/index.php?id=12
              These trails are also described in Charles Wells “Guide to Northern Colorado Backroads and 4-Wheel Drive Trails”.
              http://www.funtreks.com/index.php?page=book_2

              Mark, Al (Mark’s friend) and I met in Empire, CO (elevation 8,764 feet). We ate breakfast at Jenny’s Café in Empire and then started up the Bill Moore Lake trail. This is Mark on the Bill Moore Lake Trail. He recently installed a set of used 35” MTRs, and this is his first run on the 35s:

              [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3064.jpg[/SIZED]

              Al’s TJ on Bill Moore Lake Trail:

              [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3076.jpg[/SIZED]

              Some pictures of the Bill Moore Lake Trail: Conqueror Mine (elevation 9,900 feet):

              [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3068.jpg[/SIZED]

              Georgetown, CO from the trail (taken from 10,900 feet):

              [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3091.jpg[/SIZED]

              Snowbank (elevation 11,400 feet):

              [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3101.jpg[/SIZED]

              Bill Moore Lake (elevation 11,300 feet):

              [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3113.jpg[/SIZED]
              Last edited by Russ Chung; 07-30-08, 01:35 PM. Reason: Changed size of pictures
              If you don't like the way I drive, stay out of the bushes!
              KI6MLU

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: And now...the rest of the story

                Mark encountered a number of problems on the trail:
                1. Rapid acceleration.
                2. Engine roughness and misfiring. We pulled and cleaned the plugs and distributor cap (he has a carbureted 4-cyl engine) but the engine still ran rough. We connected an OBDII reader and found a Throttle Position Sensor error (this might explain the rapid acceleration problem), so Mark cleaned the connector and we cleared the code. The engine still ran rough, but we continued on the trail. A short time later, Mark found a chunk of the catalytic converter grid coming out of the tailpipe. He punched some holes in the cat in attempt to relieve the backpressure, but the engine continued to run rough and sputter. We continued on the trail but now we could hear Mark’s Jeep coughing and sputtering from a greater distance.
                3. Check gauges problem. The oil pressure read zero. We determined that he had oil pressure, and that the oil pressure sender had failed.
                4. Power steering fluid leak due to the return hose chafing against the steering linkage. The leak was near the end of the hose, so Mark was able to cut off the end of the hose and reattach the hose to the reservoir. We cleaned up the spilled fluid.

                Mark’s power steering return hose:

                [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3124.jpg[/SIZED]

                We cleaned up the spill:

                [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3125.jpg[/SIZED]

                Although I had some extra power steering fluid in my trail kit, it was not enough. We decided to return to Empire to get some more fluid. Al stayed with Mark’s Jeep while Mark and I went for more power steering fluid. Upon our return from town, we met Mark Jones, who was driving a 73 CJ-5. He remarked that it was originally his father’s Jeep and that the Jeep is three years older than he is. We invited him to join us for the rest of the run.

                We started the Empire Loop trail at about 4:30 pm. This is Mark J’s CJ-5 crossing Mill Creek on the Empire Loop trail:

                [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3138.jpg[/SIZED]

                Mill Creek (this reminds me of a Coors beer commercial:

                [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3148.jpg[/SIZED]

                We arrived at the Empire Hilton Cabin at about 5:45 pm and chatted with Wolf Lady for about half an hour:

                [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3166.jpg[/SIZED]

                [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3170.jpg[/SIZED]

                [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3161.jpg[/SIZED]

                [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3164.jpg[/SIZED]
                If you don't like the way I drive, stay out of the bushes!
                KI6MLU

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: And now...the rest of the story

                  After completing the Empire Loop shortly after 7 pm, we continued down Red Elephant Hill. But Mark encountered some more problems:

                  5. Bent front trackbar. The Jeep was still drivable, but the front axle was off center and Mark could not turn to the right. He adjusted the trackbar and continued on the trail.
                  6. Flat tire due to cut in sidewall. The flat occurred on a steep part of the Red Elephant Hill trail; Mark continued on the flat tire until he could get to a level spot where he could change the tire. But before he could change the tire, he became stuck in an off-camber section of the trail. We had to winch him to a more level area so we could change the tire, but even then we had a great deal of difficulty because of the slope. We attached a strap to anchor his Jeep with my Jeep, but the wheel came off (he had removed all of the lug nuts) and that resulted in
                  7. Brake leak.
                  8. Sheared wheel stud, bent wheel stud.

                  [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3193.jpg[/SIZED]

                  [SIZED]http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b53/UF92134/Colorado%202008/IMGP3194.jpg[/SIZED]

                  It took us 2 ½ hours to get him going again, so we didn’t get off the trail until 10:45 pm.

                  My trip home the next two days was uneventful. I stopped in Glenwood Springs, CO to soak in the hot springs, spent the night in Green River, UT and then made the final 680 miles home in one long, 13 hour drive.
                  If you don't like the way I drive, stay out of the bushes!
                  KI6MLU

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    looks awesome russ man i havent been to echo lake in years it is so gorgeous up there
                    [COLOR="YellowGreen"]"You cant fit 2 fingers in my tailpipe"[/COLOR]

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                    • #11
                      Great report Russ, I enjoyed reading it! ....Your adventures are never lacking in excitement!
                      "I got your Jeep Thing....Now it burns when I pee!" :fire:

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                      • #12
                        Awesome trip Russ! Great story too. I was good to see the pictures associated with the story you were telling out on the trail. Thanks for the link. Breathtaking country out there.
                        [COLOR="darkred"]"Death Smiles at Everyone... Marines Smile Back."
                        Adopt-a-Trail Member.[/COLOR]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thats some awesome country out there. Thanks for the photo tour.
                          "They look Friendly" G. Custer

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                          • #14
                            Good reading Russ, kinda funny though... all these vehicles made it through but the Jeep. That never happens!
                            Of course, the big question is... were you in 4 states at once?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dezertdog View Post
                              Good reading Russ, kinda funny though... all these vehicles made it through but the Jeep. That never happens!
                              Of course, the big question is... were you in 4 states at once?
                              A lot of the tourists would straddle the marker with one hand or foot in each state and have their picture taken, but I was alone, didn't have anyone to take my picture and there was a line of people waiting to have their picture taken, so I passed on the opportunity.
                              If you don't like the way I drive, stay out of the bushes!
                              KI6MLU

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