BACKGROUND: I own a 1963 404.113 hardtop Mercedes Unimog named Mogbert. I came into possession of this truck in March 1997 and have worked on it more or less continously just making it reliable and functional. It was in pretty good shape when I got it but I like for things to be *right*. The box has been stripped out to bare metal and ribbing, wire-brushed primed and then painted. I have two cots that fold up against the walls and carpet scraps on the floor. It's a sort-of camper and usable as a pickup truck when the cots are folded against the walls.
This year my father (Ron C. Miller, I'm Ron G.) and I set out for 10 nights in the truck in Colorado. Plan was to see some great territory, catch some fish, find an airplane wreck site or two, and generally have a good time in the backcountry. I'd signed Dad up to be the guest speaker at the Estes Park Aviation Internationale club immediately after our trip. He would present slides of his career as a Naval Aviator. The trip made a perfect way to spend time reviewing old stories and situations in order to select the best ones for the presentation. (I also learned a great deal about the deliberate insanity that landing jets aboard a carrier really is.)
Note that Standard Operating Procedure on trips like this is a daily, religious ritual known as 'the checking of the fluids.' Done after the engine has cooled, usually after dinner and *always* includes the transmission dipstick (thanks to Ron DePugh).
DAY 1: Tuesday morning. Raining. We finish packing the truck in the rain and head north and west from Ft. Collins, CO. to Co 14 following the Cache La Poudre river west. The truck is running fine, traffic is fairly light, the weather clears out and things are good.
After lunch of PB&J on Cameron Pass at 10,500' we head down and into the woods.
My intent was to go to the same nice camping spot I'd stayed at last year on a good fishing creek. Unfortunately I couldn't remember just which creek it was so we wandered in the woods on 4x4 trails for longer than I'd intended. The good part was we passed thru Teller City ghost town and over Calamity Pass and saw some of the local landmarks on the way to camp.
Once in camp (Roosevelt National Forest; FR 740) we went fishing in Silver Creek, caught some fish and had a nice evening mosey which included checking out some beaver ponds and irritating some beavers before going to bed.
The cots slept very nicely and it wasn't really cold during the night.
DAY 2: Wednesday. Up about 0700, breakfasted and packed we trundle out of the woods and onto CO 125 headed for Granby. This is a delicious road. Smooth pavement, wide shoulders and sweeping turns make it a favorite motorycycleroad and a very fine mog road once we reach the downhill portion past Willow Creek Pass.
We gas up in Granby and continue south. Lunch at Arby's in Fraser then we go up Berthoud Pass. Slowly. This is a 4th gear kind of climb (30kph). Fortunately there is construction on the road which separates us from traffic and we pass thru pretty much at our own speed without holding anybody up for long.
Over the hill and down to Idaho Springs where we pick up a frontage road along I-70 and head for Georgetown. We move thru old town and start crawling up the switchbacks headed for Guanella Pass. This is 3rd gear and 90C coolant territory. The views back over Georgetown are great.
We crawl on up the hill and find the road pretty much continously climbs to 12,000' or so. The coolant temperature stays high, the RPM stays high and the road speed low. But we pass last year's vaporlock spot and keep on climbing. Then it's mosey downhill and start thinking about a spot to camp. There are campgrounds shown on the map but when we check them out it appears that the fishing would be sparse to non-existent in the tiny creeks. So we continue the descent and pop out onto US 285 at Grant. Westward we run on the highway toward Kenosha Pass. When the road tends downward we thunder along at 80 kmh. When we climb, we are into 4th gear and running about 30 kph. Such is mog travel near 10,000 feet above sea level.
After Kenosha Pass we turn off at Jefferson and run north to campgrounds where the user fees are $3 to enter the area at all, and another $9 to camp.
Fortunately there is an interesting creek to fish. In this case we rig up not only with fly rods but with the Motorola Talkabout Plus radios. Dad goes downstream, I go upstream and we can keep in contact about how it's going. There are fish in the creek but we don't do very well.
DAY 3: Thursday. After a good night's sleep and cold overnight temps (22F!) we pack up and head out. The run toward Buena Vista (US 285/24) is pretty though the anomoly along the road is the dense RV park with lots for sale. Hard to understand what would attract folks to buy a trailer spot lot jammed in with others here to look at the spacious empty view across the valley......
We start down the hill to BV and hear on the CB that there is a load spilled in the road down a ways. I hold the speed down knowing that there's a problem ahead and am aggressively passed by a chump in a Grand Cherokee just as we come onto the mess. Oh well. We stop at the overlook and take pictures and sort out the 14,000' peaks.
After a grocery stop in BV we head northwest of town to find N. Cottonwood Creek and follow the road as far as it goes to the trailhead. (San Isabel NF; FR 365) Trailhead is for those who want to climb Mt. Harvard and Mt Columbia (both 14'ers) as well as those who want to go to Kroenke Lake and is an alternate approach to Mt. Yale (14+).
My interest here is to locate the wreck site of a C-47 cargo plane that the Civil Air Patrol has coordinates for. I'd been here last year but was daunted by the liklihood of having to climb 3,000' up to the ridge where (given past history of CAP coords) there was no wreck.
We set up a level spot in the parking lot and rig up to fish the creek. While it is great trout habitat, it's difficult fishing because access to the creek is tough. We fool with that then go back to the truck and then take a slow hike up the trail to see what tommorrow will bring. We encounter a guy who turns out to be a hunter who'd hunted Mt. Yale and gave me directions to find the wreck quite easily in the morning. (YAY!)
Before dinner we try fishing the creek again. Dad found a good sized trout under a bridge not far from the parking area.
After dinner we go for an evening mosey and find a parallel road across the creek (over the bridge above) from the trail and follow it until it's too dark.
DAY 4: Friday. (The day before Labor Day Weekend ) After a good night's sleep we saddle up and go up the trail. I'm carrying my usual airplane wreck site pack (GPS, camera, and stuff to hike all day with) while Dad carries fishing stuff. We both have the Talkabouts attached and each are carrying a survival signal mirror - the kind with an aiming hole.
0900 we part at the bridge crossing N. Cottonwood creek about 1 mile from trailhead. I head south and uphill into the woods headed for the next avalanche chute west. Dad continues on up the trail to the north side of the creek.
0915 I find the 1st airplane part at around 10,000'. Man, that hunter sure made this chase easy! I report in by radio and start following the debris up the hill looking at parts and taking pictures of the identifiable stuff.
As I proceed upwards, occasionally Dad and I exchange mirror flashes across the valley. He even records some of these on video tape. Of course he's comfortably parked in the shade on some grass down there while I am exerting myself climbing this very steep (and getting steeper!) chute.
I go on upward, zig zagging across the chute checking out the parts. Dad can see me thru binoculars and I tell him what I find. (engine, propellor blade, cylinder, crankcase half, tailwheel strut, etc etc etc.
1100 I am at 12,000' and have found the impact zone. It's a north facing tundra slope that is above an area where a slide area necks down thru a creekbed. It appears that snowslides over the years have carried airplane parts down 2,000'. Then again, the Army is known to have dismantled airplane wrecks using dynamite to scatter the parts and probably did so here as well. Anyway, at the impact site is a mass of burned aluminum, wires, tubing and small pieces. Nothing lies above this.
1200 I've dug thru the pile just looking and have decided that the weather is so fabulous I should climb the rest of the mountain. So I do.
1300 I'm on the ridgeline. Dad goes down to the creek and starts fishing. He does pretty well. These are big fat dumb cutthroat fish. We go to hourly radio check-in routine and I trudge on up the hill.
1400 Pretty close to the summit ridge.
1430 On top of Mt. Yale resting, eating and drinking and enjoying the
awesome view. What a fine day! No thunderstorms, almost no wind. Perfect.
1500 I check in with Dad. Though I don't have a direct line of sight, the radios still work. Then I head down.
1610 I'm back at the ridgeline ready to descend down to the wreck again. Dad can see me skylined from the bottom of the valley. (This takes pretty good eyesight since it hardly shows up on the video, even in fully magnification.)
Boy! This "mountaintop experience" stuff isn't all that it's cracked up to be. (This is my 9th 14,000' mountain) The weather has turned awfully tired now.
I ease my way down to the wreck, exchange flashes with Dad though the sun angle is just about at the limit and descend in a different path than I'd taken going up in order to hopefully see new parts.
1800 I am down by the stream and reach the bridge and we meet up again. The mile back to the Mog takes a long time. But it's worth it. Another wreck site located (#16 total and #5 for this year) and a 14'er climbed in the package. This sure beats working!
Dad cooked me a dinner of beef stew while I remained collapsed in a chair then we both hit the sack. During the night the 'peak-baggers' started arriving for the 1st day of a 3 day weekend. Thru the night the parking area filled up.
DAY 5 Saturday: We get up to the sound of more and more vehicles arriving and we finally vacate. We head on back down the road to Buena Vista, top off on gas and find a backroad (County Rd 162) to mosey southwards to Nathrop, Chalk Creek and the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs.
At the springs we buy $2 showers and get nice and clean.
Then, since it's lunchtime, we try the restaurant. Good idea! Great big burgers for reasonable price. (Mount Princeton Hot Springs - remember that!)
Then we saddle up and go west up Chalk Creek (FR 292)to the Mt. Antero/Lake Baldwin turnoff. The Chalk Creek road has some steep spots which slow us down enough for Dad to stand up and ride hanging out the roof hatch. What a beautiful place.
Then we find the turnoff. (San Isabel NF; FR 277)
The entrance to this road used to have a sign that read "experienced 4WD drivers only". The road up Mt. Antero is legendary as a narrow shelf road for small vehicles. We are going to take the fork to Lake Baldwin where I'd camped once and tried to camp another time but bailed out to avoid being snowed in. The road is a relentless climb on hard, large stones. It's a 1st gear kind of road due to the roughness.
We grind along for awhile as the coolant temp comes up and then about 1.5 hrs up the trail (maybe 2 miles?) it vaporlocks. What? Even running the electric pump doesn't cure it. Dad suggests I undo the filler cap. When I do, we hear a gurgle. Restarting works fine. But another 15 minutes up the trail it does it again. We are scratching our heads over the issue. Gurgle? Vaporlock even with the electric pump? Is the vent somehow plugged? What's going on?
This isn't very fun now. The cab is quite hot since there's no wind at all and the coolant temp has been 90C for awhile, the ride is very rough due to the stones, and the anxiety about where it will stall next is growing. It is not possible to just perch the filler cap on the neck. If it's turned at all the dogs engage and the cap seals. And we still aren't too sure that this is the problem.
But as we proceed up the hill with the co-driver (me!) jumping out every 15 min or so to remove the cap, we pretty much prove that the problem has to do with tank venting.
Just after the Mt. Antero/ Lake Baldwin fork in the road (FR 273)we encounter a group of ATVers where one ATV is being towed by another. (you'll see this material later).
We continue to grind upwards toward the Lake and at about 11,800' or so we are looking for a place to park it. The truck still needs frequent venting and it's been 3 long hours to go 4.5 miles. We find a spot at 1600 hrs and level up the box and shut down. Whew!
Turned out that we found the last campable spot before timberline and are only a very short walk from the lake.
Before dinner we slowly walk up to the lake and ease around to the west side and cast a few flies with no takes.
In the evening after dinner Dad hooks up the radiant propane heater to the 5 lb. bulk bottle (modern campfire) and we sit around watching the sun fade and the moonlight come up from a full moon. The moonlight is so bright that it's like watching a sunrise as the moonlight creeps down the ridges and illuminates the trees. Unfortunately it washes out the stars but it's still pretty neat.
DAY 6. Sunday- Up at a leisurely time we have breakfast and gear up to walk up to Lake Baldwin. The basin roads are humming with ATVs and 4 wheelers on this 2nd day of a 3 day weekend. Still, few people get very near the lake and we fish continously until about 1230. Between us we get 2 takes and each lose our flies. Typical high-country fishing.
While hanging out above the lake I notice a notch in the ridge to the west that looks suspiciously like a road or trail cut with a hint of a shelf road in the rocks on the ridge. Hmmm. I wonder where it goes....
After lunch at the truck, I gear up for a hike to the end of the road (the lake is not at the end of the road) where there is a mine at the top of the basin and I want to see if the hint of a road connects somehow to the mine area.
I carry the Talkabout while Dad rests in camp awhile longer. I tromp uphill to the mine and see lots of vehicles coming and going but get to the mine area and have it to myself. Dad is following me up the road much more slowly. I scan the ridges around the direction of the road trace and detect a very well hidden trail of sorts thru the rocky scree up the ridge toward the notch. As I follow the hint of a trail it turns into a really-no-kidding prepared trail that is about an ATV's width but goes up some pitches so steeply it could only be for mules. Somebody went to a lot of trouble to prepare this path to another mineshaft/hole up on the ridge. As I top out on the crest of a connecting ridge, Dad is in clear radio range though I can't see him. I go on up the ridge headed for the notch but find that the prepared trail has fizzled out and between myself and the notch/road hint is about 1/2 mi of loose and broken scree rock. I can see that there really isn't a road or trail there. Perhaps it was built up the back side but not finished on this side of the basin. Or time has obscured it. Nevertheless, I decide that I don't want to risk the 1/2 mi of potential for turned ankle or broken leg. Instead, I drop down about 200' and exlore another old excavation where a tent platform, iron stove parts and a tunnel are.
Then I climb the ridge to return and hoof it back to the mine.
Dad is at the mine when I get there and we head back to the truck and have dinner. We talk about the rough ride up the hill and I decide to let some air out of the tires to soften things up. I'd been running 45 psi for road speed so dropped it to 25 psi. It takes a LONG time to let 20 psi out!
Just before sunset Dad spots some white shapes on the far high hillside. Mountain goats! They are far, far above us but it's nice to know they are there.
Another evening of watching stars, satellites, and moonlight then bed.
DAY 7. Monday- We have an unhurried breakfast and pack up then head down the trail. We are hoping that all the traffic on the roads will be going our direction. The lower pressure tires are a great improvement in ride comfort. It feels like we can drive 1 gear higher and not get too beat up.
The descent goes easily (of course) and we have pretty good luck with traffic in having few meets and handy turnouts when being passed. However, on the final shelf road about 1 mile from the county road, we meet a pickup coming up. The road is narrow and I have to back to a corner for the pass. Thank goodness for the 2nd person to spot the reversing maneuver!
As we reach the county road, Dad says, " I bet you never take mog up there again." Probably right.
Back at the Chalk Creek road we continue uphill into the hills and go to the ghost town site of Hancock. The valley used to have a railroad in it to something called the Alpine Tunnel. After having sandwiches for lunch we take a stroll along the old RR grade toward the tunnel portal. On this side it is about a 5 mile walk so we only saunter about 3/4 of a mile to a nice view and then return to the truck.
Then we start up Hancock Pass. Hancock seems to have a number of 'water bars' graded across it where the truck can get its nose down to let the gas tank vent breathe. But near the very summit, we again have the vent/vaporlock problem and pull off the road by coasting backwards into a small turnout.
After opening the tank and resting a moment we climb to the summit and down the other side a few hundred feet to a great viewpoint of Tomichi Pass across the valley. Tomichi is a breath-taking shelf road. On such a severely clear day it's an awesome view.
We continue down the hill easily and, after passing thru some narrow stretches of trees where we were obliged to fold mirrors, we reach the graded county road. We turn right and head uphill to the western portal of the Alpine Tunnel. (FR 839)
The tunnel portal is under the care of the National Forest and has been refurbished recently with a solar powered outhouse, rebuilt RR buildings begun and even some sample iron rails reinstalled. The NFS employee there is a friendly guy who mans the place 4 days a week from June thru Oct and lives in Fla. the rest of the year.
We marvel at the beauty of the place and the stupidity of the tunnel siting. The RR ran for about 5 years around 1910 but several years they couldn't open the tunnel because of the snow/ice accumulation and the shade that kept it from melting. And all that after lining the entire length of tunnel with redwood in order to keep the glacial debris of the ridge from caving in. Both portals to the tunnel have caved in so there's no way to see the tunnel interior.
We went back to the truck and descended the road, crossing the original stonework known as 'The Palisades' where the RR grade was perched on the edge of a cliff. Dad stood up thru the hatch and videotaped the ride. Trusting soul, isn't he?
We drove on to the junction with the road over Cumberland Pass (FR 765) and turned north and found the NFS Aspen campground for the night.
As we drove in, several guys came out of the large motorhome parked in the most visible location and greeted us. 'twas funny because they were acting just like the host at a campground might except they weren't the hosts- they were the party of ATV'ers who'd seen us up at Lake Baldwin. (the guys who were towing an ATV on a towstrap)
We found a campsite, got situated, had dinner and then divided a can of beer between us into our mugs and went down to hang out with the guys at their fire. They were mostly unrelated guys from Missouri who came out to camp and ATV and generally have a good time. Ironically, the ATV in tow was because the vehicle had a gas tank vent valve that the rider didn't know about. They were having gas tank venting problems too! We hung out for awhile then went back to the mog , went for a stroll as the light completely faded and then went to bed.
DAY 8: Tuesday. Up and going in the clear morning we head up to Cumberland Pass for some pictures and fooling around. Cumberland is one of my favorites because the views are so extensive and there are so many little sideroads and mine diggings that there is a lot to see.
The summit of the pass has a very large flat area good for parking but this day we got ambitious and decided to take a sideroad to the east which headed much further upwards. It was a great idea. The sideroad was in good shape (though pretty much a 1 lane shelf road ) and we took it to a great little knoll that needed moggy footprints on it for pictures.
Dad walked back down the road to get video as I drove off the knoll and regained the road.
After picking Dad up again we descended further back to the county road. Then an evil idea occurred. Why not take a picture from this side of the pass of Mogbert climbing the really steep saddle further to the west?
I passed him the portable CB and he hopped out to wait with video camera while I drove down and across the summit and over to the really steep saddle.
The idea was great. But the execution shouldn't be done. When I got there, the road was as steep as Kelly Flats meaning that it would need 1st gear and lockers but with the vaporlock/vent problems, I didn't want to risk stalling. So I crawled up it about 2 truck lengths then backed down and turned around. It still looks good on the video.
After collecting Dad we proceeded north into Taylor Basin and headed for Tincup. The views from the road are great with long views over the valley and lots of mine diggings to marvel at.
At Tincup we stopped briefly to stretch and mail postcards (my nieces MUST have postcards from Grandpa). Funny place, Tincup. There is a very large, deep ditch puddle under one building which is stocked with fish and even has a beached rowboat there. Signs say it's a kid's fishing pond but after summer anybody can catch the fish since they'll likely freeze solid in the winter if they are still there.
Then we rumbled on north to the intersection with the Cottonwood Pass road and got gas at the trading post.
Dad asked if he could recharge the video camera batteries there and they kindly agreed to let him plug in the charger for a few hours. Meantime, we took the paved road (FR 742)back downstream along the Taylor River past the dam and on down to the site of a B-24 wreck (near Lodgepole campground). After lunch, we rigged up. I rigged for a hike and he rigged for fishing and we went our separate ways but still available via radio. I climbed the hill to the wreck site hoping that there might be other airplane parts I'd missed the previous visit. No such luck. I climbed well above the wreck and around it and found nothing more than I'd seen the previous year. (basically landing gear and melted aluminum)
After about 2 hrs I returned to the road. Dad hadn't caught anything but we were done and got back into the truck and drove back uphill to the trading post to collect the camera battery.
From the trading post we went further north looking for a place to camp for the night as well as a good place to fish. We thought about an NFS campground but left there and went upstream further. After some casting about, we settled on a spot in a wide bend in the river over 100 feet from water and setup.
Dad rigged up to fish while I started to work on how to plumb some hose to the gas tank vent. The idea being to be able to blow into the tank vent to clear vaporlock with positive pressure. I could just wedge my hand between the rear of the cab and the box but couldn't seem to get the right leverage to put the end of the clear plastic tube over the vent outlet. After fussing with this for awhile I gave up.
I rigged up to fish for awhile and had no luck.
After dinner Dad looked at the pipe problem and came up with an alternative attack to putting the hose on. He split a thin willow stick, wedged the hose into it then used a twisted piece of wire to hold the split end closed. After using heat and a blunt object to open the end of the PVC hose wide, and holding mouths just right, and reaching in thru the trans check hole, the hose went onto the pipe. Shazam! It even would hold pressure! I suspended a loop of it from some parachute cord from the coathook on the passenger side thru the rear sliding window to take any weight off the slip-on connection to the metal hoop.
After a bit more unsuccessful fishing we went to bed.
Around 3 AM we were awakened by the sound of a shower on the metal roof that stopped about half an hour later. (THIS WAS THE ONLY RAIN OF THE ENTIRE TRIP AFTER THE 1ST DAY!!!!)
DAY 9 Wednesday - Up around 0715 to a 50% cloudy day. The rain must have been a passing shower. These clouds are low and wispy so they'll dissipate.
We head back downstream to the Cottonwood Pass road and climb the hill. In the cool of the morning there is no vaporlock problem. It is noticeable that the end of the tubing spews fumes so it winds up being hung outside the cab. No need for the co-driver to pressurize the pipe.
We stop on top for spectacular views and then descend to Buena Vista.
At BV we get more groceries, air up the tires, call home and buy more fuel line so as to extend the vent hose trick to a more convenient length.
South again to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs for another shower and another exquisite burger.
Then on to the Rampart Range. This is a road run.
We climb up the hill out of Buena Vista midday and need the electric pump. The co-driver can maintain fuel flow by pressurizing the tank by mouth when running on the mechanical pump. But it's annoying to have gas fumes. We even note a flow of gas fumes from the hose when 'vaporlock' occurs. Hmmmm. That says it's not a venting problem anyway.
We go slowly up the hill trying not to hold up traffic then turn north awhile then go east awhile toward Woodland Park. It's a warm day but very clear. Across the flat we make fair speed and there is little traffic. Once near Woodland Park we climb (and slow down) then go into town and stop for gas.
From there we start up the Rampart Range Rd.(Pike NF; FR 393 to FR 300) which follows the crest of a ridge north toward Denver. The list of airplane crashes indicates 3 B-17 wrecks at coordinates along this road. So, we climb out of Woodland Park (and are passed by a large water truck loaded to deliver water to some residence) and gain the crest road.
It is a graded dirt road that generally follows the crest of the ridge including twists and turns and rises and descents. Perhaps 6 miles along the ridge we turn off near the coords of a B-17 site and park.
We took a GPS-aided hike of about 300 yds to the coordinates and around there. No joy. All we found was a big buck deer lying in the tall grass of a swale.
Back into the truck and heading north we twist and turn and wind around. We pass another set of coordinates that seem to be about 1.5 miles off the road and note the location. It's late and we are heading for the Jackson Creek campground for the night.
The road to the cg is pretty rough and the campground is down a dark shadowy glen. We have the place to ourselves but still pay the usurious $9 fee. Too tired to go somewhere else. When the sun sets, it gets really, really dark down in that valley. We have dinner by flashlight, the latest, darkest meal of the trip.
DAY 10 Thursday - Up around 0800 we climb back up the hill toward the second B-17 coordinates. On the way I note an excellent rock outcrop that would be a great viewpoint.
We found a parking spot just off the road and began hiking thru the woods following elevation contours toward the coordinates. Turned out that this was the long way. There were a lot of wiggly little gullies along the way so we were basically bushwhacking on the side of hills for quite a long ways.
Finally we closed on the coordinates and spread out to see what we could see. As happens in so many 1st trips, we saw no airplane parts nor any reason for an airplane to have stopped here. Chances are that the airplane is a mile or more from here. But it was an interesting hike amongst the pine trees and the large protruding boulders.
After a rest we follow a game trail along the top of the ridge spur in the direction of the road. This was a much better way to travel. The top of the ridge finger is fairly level and the trail might have been used by firefighters at some time and so the travel is trouble-free.
At the road Dad flops down in the shade to wait for me to go get the truck. (lucky him!). I set out on the road at a brisk pace. After 17 min I reach the truck and return to park where he is in the shade where we have lunch. Funny thing, it took 17 minutes to get back too!
Then we head up the graded road north . On the way we stop at the rock outcrop mentioned. Dad gets the video camera out and films while I crawl the mog up on top of this tremendous outcrop.
After the picture break we continue to the Devil's Head area where there is another outcrop photo op. We can see Denver from there and admire
the rock outcrops all over the area.
There don't seem to be anymore campgrounds of interest to the north and I have a directive from home to stay away one more day (while the wife picks up from the projects she was doing while we were gone) so we determine to head for the S. Platte river for the night. The S. Platte is a world famous fly fishing river and since Dad is a world famous fly fisherman it seemed like the right thing to do.
So, off we went. At the north end of the Rampart Range Rd we rejoined some very small paved county roads (County Rd 67)that meandered over hill and dale. Fortunately traffic was light because some of the hills were really steep (3rd gear!). One of them was actually 17% grade and was a 2nd gear descent. We held up traffic on the narrow road doing that but it was the only safe way to do it.
This steep little gem led down to the road which followed the S. Platte. The signage in the area warns that camping is only allowed in designated campgrounds. And the designated "campgrounds" are just large gravel parking lots with 2 ragged trees and 3 porta-potties about 100' from the road. Fine. It's getting late in the afternoon and there's no one around and the river is there so this is good enough. Again, we pay the usurious fee and "setup camp" - meaning that we level the truck over near the thin shade of a scraggly tree.
We have the place to ourselves for both fishing and camping. After dinner and sunset we sit up and watch the stars. Moonrise is later so we get the full backcountry stars treatment.
DAY 11 Friday- Up about 0800 we have breakfast and head downhill. The fast route out takes us off pavement again on a graded road that follows the river canyon. Since there's little traffic it's a nice drive. (Foxton Rd)
Once we reach Hwy 285 we are holding up traffic occasionally though only for awhile.
Once down out of the hills we find our way onto Colo. 93 and head north at the base of the foothills. At Red Rocks Theatre we stop for a potty break and then go on north to Boulder.
We drove past Ron DePugh's place for a look at the infamous tranny swap site and rigging then went to Wendy's for lunch in Boulder.
On the run from Boulder to Longmont the truck started 'vaporlocking' again and would only run continuously on the electric pump. Hey........ this didn't used to happen. Yeah, it's a hot day but it's not high altitude.
We stopped at my cousin's house in Longmont and showed off the truck then threaded thru the backroads home.
Safe and sound.
725 miles covered.
(1) Bad mechanical fuel pump. Cast valve seat dished. Need new pump. Rebuild kit would not fix.
(2) Gas tank vent. Very, very full gas tank doesn't vent properly when nose uphill for extended
period of time. Might have some interaction with tank cross connect via the drains. Cross
connect removed when parts obtained.
(3) Cab sure gets warm. Need one or more of those 24V truck cab fans.
(4) Cots worked great inside the truck.
(5) Box floorboard seams leaked road dust. Need to cover next trip.
(6) Mog travel is slow but you do see the country that way.