We try to plan around holiday weekends. We've had the best experiences, and the worst. One Fourth of July we hiked to Sky Pond in RMNP and caught trout until we realized it was dark. A glance at my watch said 1400. A glance at the sky said "Oh shit!". A moment later the skies opened with thunder, lightning and..snow. Lots of all three. We took our flyrods apart and ran/slid until we could get into the tree line. There was several inches of snow on the ground when it stopped. An hour later, most of it melted off. We got back to town exhilarated, tired and hungry and discovered that nothing in town was open. Nothing. We still talk fondly about that day.
Another Fourth, we were surrounded by a cretinous group of people who kept a huge bonfire going 24/7, shooting guns and fireworks into the trees. During a fire ban. The camp host closed himself into his trailer and would speak with no one. We left, despite the fact that even fairly remote dispersed camping would be full. We got creative in the Arkansas River area, and got in bike riding, fishing, and two different fireworks displays.
This weekend we were going to meet some friends who do a recurring campout in a group camping area, and ride mountain bikes. Although driving to the Front Range is a bit like a root canal, doubly so on a holiday weekend; we thought the company would be worth it. So we packed up Gus and took off, planning to be at camp by lunch time.
On the grade heading up to Eisenhower Tunnel, it was clear something was wrong. The F550 could only manage 50% boost from its two turbos, and we were one of "those people" in the super slow lane. By the time we got to 285, it was clear we had a problem. Making matters worse, calls to dealers indicated we couldn't get the truck looked at for weeks, although the Ford dealer in Montrose could get us in really quickly. So, the goal became getting back over the hill without further issue.
Complicating things, 285 was backed up from 470 to Fairplay. It took us two hours to go 35 miles. We did bump into our friend Laura K., and actually got to talk with her in Gunnison for a bit. I was nervous about getting over Monarch Pass, but I could manage 40mph without a problem, and the ample passing lanes let us get over without pissing off too many people. Gus runs ok, except when pushed, such as climbing a hill, or trying to speed up. While, at 16,000 pounds, the EarthRoamer will never be mistaken for a Shelby Cobra, when healthy, the diesel motor has a lot of torque and power.
While heading to Montrose and home, I remembered a friend telling me about a place to camp that is "never crowded". We thought, we might as well salvage something from the weekend, and pulled off the highway to check it out. Sure enough, we found a nice place to camp, next to a creek and near the Black Canyon. We'll hike some, fish some and get home early. Living on the road teaches one flexibility (a lesson I badly needed). We will make the most of this, and when Gus heals up, get back on the road. There is still a lot to see!
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