October 24th, 1999 - Alice to Central City, Colorado
(in alphabetical order)
Ron DePugh & Cassidy
404.1 Unimog VLF
Per & Peter Eliasen
Alan & Karl Fasick
1978 IHC Scout II
Fort Collins, CO
Steve & Jan Hale
Jordan, Jessica & Walter
1962 404.1 Unimog Radio Truck
Michael & Tracey Kessel
Aspen Park, CO
Rob Pickering & friends
404.1 Unimog Crewcab Turbo 300D
La Junta, CO
Bob Ragain & Kerry Manning
404.1 Unimog Radio Truck
Dawn & Kitty Ragain
404.1 Unimog "MogLite"
Fred Reim & Judy Gardner
404.1 Unimog Radio Truck
Mike & Donna Roark
1989 Toyota 4-Runner
404.1 Unimog Radio Truck
Castle Rock, CO
This gathering started in the town of Alice, Colorado, near the foot of the St. Mary's Glacier below St.James peak. As you can see by the attendees list, it was a large group. We had 7 Unimogs, 9 Pinzgauers, 2 Toyotas, a Samurai and a Scout.
It was a beautiful warm sunny day. We all did some visiting all around, and met the newest members of the group.
We also had a visitor from the University of Denver Observatory, Dr. Bob Stencel, driving the Ford Explorer. He was in search of a means to get to the observatory on Mt. Evans at over 14,000 foot altitude. See the trip report on the
Rob brought his 300TD Turbo Diesel Unimog. He has fabricated a roll cage for it, and a new soft top.
After we managed to gather everyone together, we headed up the road. There was a brief wrong turn...
...and then we headed up FS175.3.
I was the late arrival, as usual, and my VLF didn't have a chance to cool down from the hard push up the Fall River Road. On the first steep hill on the way out of Alice, it had some toubles with vapor locking. I cooled off the carburetor with a water mister, and it started again, but I still had troubles all the way up that long hill to the top. It's too bad that there isn't much scenery to see up there...
Rob reaches the top, in spite of my VLF holding him back. In this photo, you can see the air conditioner mounted on the roll cage. As you can see by the cargo, Rob always comes well prepared.
The group stopped at the top of the 1st hill, both to wait for my VLF, and to give Duane a chance to work on his Radio truck.
Duane's generator started making some bearing noise, so they stopped and took the generator belt off, figuring that they could just run on the batteries. A little further up the hill, as the Mog started heating up alarmingly, we discovered that the water pump and fan don't run unless the generator belt is in place. There is another belt that passes around the crankshaft pully, water pump and idler pully, but the crankshaft pulley has a bearing in it, and it freewheels. While they worked on putting the generator belt back on, some of the group tackled a very steep hill climb.
The Radio Box Unimog, besides being an excellent base of operations for ham radio, can be quite useful to photographers, as well.
The Mogs and Pinzies made short work of the hill climb. Once we gathered at the bottom of the hill again, we decided to have lunch.
Duane got his truck put back together...
...and we headed on up the trail.
The trail winds along through a wide open area, the result of clear-cut logging many years ago for mining. You can still see the hundreds of old tree stumps. However, the view of the surrounding mountains is spectacular.
Dawn in Moglite.
A little later, the trail dives back into the trees, and the Mogs had to fold in mirrors to clear the trees. In the deep shadows in the woods, there were some pretty exciting spots, where the snow had been packed down into a hard icy surface. I hit the first one of those while driving along in 2nd gear, with both diffs locked, and suddenly the Mog was going faster and faster, while the speedo still registered the same! I figured hitting the brakes wouldn't make any difference, so we just tobogganed on down the hill. There were no mishaps, since the ruts of the road kept us straight and on the road, and I had left plenty of room ahead of me just in case.
Rob tackles the rocks...
After a few of those slippery spots, we came to a twisty rock obstacle. The more nimble Pinzgauers made it around them without trouble, although a couple of Pinzies did get some rear wheel air time. A couple of Unimog radio trucks bypassed the rocks, but of course Rob chose the most difficult path through them.
...and he makes it over.
Rob didn't have any trouble. The VLF also had a clean run through the rocks. We ran through some large mud holes, but the locking diffs on the Mogs and Pinzies make them easy.
We waited in a clearing for everyone to catch up.
We head on down the trail.
One of the more exciting obstacles was where the road we were on drops down onto a larger road that heads into Central City.
The smaller road joins at an angle, and the last 20 feet of it is very steep. It was well covered in hard-packed snow, and had erosion ruts that cut off down to the other road.
This Pinzgauer had a bit of fun with it. It made for a pretty tippy place for a Unimog with a radio or VLF box. I made it through by tromping on the gas, and depending on momentum to carry me through the ruts before they could send me sliding sideways onto the larger road.
We all gathered once more above Central City by the old mill and cemetary...
...pumped up the tires...
...said our goodbyes, and headed on home.
-Thanks to Judy Gardner, Robert Matsuo, and Alan Fasick for the excellent photos!