On Sunday, November 11th, a group of us decided to take Mt. Herman Road up to Rampart Range and check out the snow conditions.
Mark Cerda - Colorado Springs - Pinzgauer 710M 4X4
Christian and Adrienne (??) - Denver - Pinzgauer 710M 4X4
Frank and Frieda Smith - Parker(?) - Pinzgauer 712M 6X6
Bob Ragain (Riding solo) - Littleton - Unimog 404 Radio Truck (HamMog)
Duane Russell and Will Classen - Castle Rock - Unimog 404 Radio Truck
I took my next door neighbor, Will to ride shotgun. He's a neat kid (A high School Senior) who comes over every chance he gets when he sees the MOG out front. So I decided to let him see how we use these machines. He drives a Mustang and a Motorcycle, when he's not going to school. (Straight A's and part time chef at one of the nicest restaurants in Douglas County) Sorry if I ramble on, but I get excited when I see young people who have an interest in things other than drugs, alchohol and raising H....
Back to the trip report..... It was 4F when we left Castle Rock. Will and I met Bob on Hwy 105 at Jackson Creek Road and rumbled on down to Monument where we were shortly joined by the three Pinzgauers.
After a bit of 'Howdy .. How are you"..., we headed out with Bob in the lead, and me in second place... We figured the Elephantine Radio Trucks would break through the snow a little easier than the Pinzgauers.
Before we even got on the trail, I got another driving lesson... We were weaving through a subdivision and I noticed I was skidding a little on the packed snow... (At this point only about 2 - 3 inches.) We had aired down and Bob and I were running at 25 lbs vs normal highway 50 lbs. I radioed Bob and asked if he were noticing any scootching. Negative. I was still in two wheel drive and he was in four. I went into four and no more problems...
We climbed on up Mt. Herman Road only encountering 6 to 8 inches of snow and no problems with sheet ice beneath as we had last time. Later in the year after repeated thaws and snows, thaws and snows, it becomes like a layer cake and you can get meaningful ice beneath the snow.
We made a couple of stops for conversation and other pursuits....
Will really enjoyed the camaraderie and "vehicle talk".. I also got lessons in how the Pinzgauer 6X6 works and I'm still not sure I understand it. I thought it was a 2, 4, or 6 wheel drive, but as near as I can figure, it's a 4 or 6 plus diff locks.
We decided, since the snow wasn't so bad, we would try one of the side roads which would take us down into a little valley and then back up to Rampart Range Road. This was a great trip, and only one vehicle had a problem. Me. There was one spot where the road turned left and sloped down into a ditch and as I tried to get by hugging the high side, my front end slipped into the ditch.
Mark was behind me and backed up to give me room to back out and try it again. I did after locking the diff's. I know there might be those who would say why didn't I have them locked. I'm chicken.. I have fears of taking a corner or some other maneuver and having something go Bang...
I had to try it several times because I discovered my diff locks weren't staying locked. Finally I had Will hold the lever up and we got out and through. I think I need to get underneath the rig and check out the linkage, etc. There have been some very informative postings on the Mog lists about diff Locks.. There is even a site with pictures of the lever system. I need all the pictures I can get...
We had a delightful drive and lunch stop before reaching Rampart Range Road. Our lunch stop was at a beautiful spot where we could get all the vehicles off the road and enjoy a great view of the hills and Pikes Peak.
Moving on up to Rampart Range Road, we decided to turn north and go as far as the southern gate which the Forest service closes in the winter. This time Christian and Adrienne followed by Frank and Frieda were in the lead.
It started snowing shortly before we got to the gate. Upon our arrival we found to our surprise the gate was open. After some discussion, Mark and Christian and Adrienne turned back as they need to get to Colorado Springs, and Monument respectively. Bob, Frank and Frieda, and Will and I headed on north on Rampart Range Road.
The snow was still falling at times heavily and it was just gorgeous.. At this higher elevation, I think there were a few inches more snow, but we had no problems. Except for the first time that day we were encountering oncoming traffic.
I was in the lead and tried to radio the others when meeting traffic... On these narrow, winding, slippery, roads there's no joy in being surprised around a curve by another vehicle. Another reason that when trail riding, it sure helps if all vehicles have radio contact.
We continued on north and enjoyed a great ride in a snow covered wonderland. About half way the snow stopped, the sun came out and we were treated to truly a beautiful sight.
We got to the North end of the trail where we picked up highway 67 and headed 10 miles into Sedalia where we each went our own way. On this drive, I did not stop to air up and I could really hear and feel the vibrations of my tread on the road. I could also envision the rubber wearing off my tire edges. Also what a difference in performance on the highway with 25 lbs vs 50 lbs.
What a wonderful day, a wonderful experience, with a group of wonderful people. I couldn't help but think, as I often do after such trail experiences, I wouldn't have experienced this if I hadn't bought a MOG .
PS: We never did have to chain up... Another wonderful non-event.
Castle Rock, CO
1964 Unimog 404.114 Radio Truck