Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 11

Day 11: Over Imogene Pass from Ouray, Colorado to Telluride, Colorado where we met up with Jesse's cousin, April and Kelvin, for a few days while assessing the vehicle issues and how to remedy them.

We woke early in the cold at 10,400', made breakfast and started up through the Sneffels range hoping we wouldn't have any of the cooling/overheating issues we'd been having.
We started the day off early opting for a creek crossing rather than a rickety looking bridge. I suggested a swim to clean off but it was a bit too early for that.

These signs were common on our road trip: "Recommended: High Clearance Four Wheel Drive." I thought it should read "Congratulations, this road was made for you."

A few rocky sections to start with.
And the views kept getting better and better.

Wait a minute, this has happened before. Road turned streambed. I like it.
I'm probably picking out a line here. you can't tell from the photo but we are one a rock that drops off sharply by about 2 feet. As I remember everything was pretty straightforward. In an unloaded truck I wouldn't have thought twice about most of the obstacles we encountered. Family and the necessity of traveling another 5000 miles afterward makes you take things slower; makes them weightier.

Gorgeous views! (minus the mining slag)
Nice forest...
...then it opens up again.

We start really climbing.
Found snow and let the kids get out and play some. Somewhere in here Bailey made a nice compact snowball/iceball and flung it into Harper's face. I offered to do the same to him to see if he liked it.

Some rocky and off-camber stuff. Again, straightforward but due to the steep pitch and heavy truck, we spent most of the climb in low-range.
Another crossing.
Oh the peace I felt when we had thick forests on both sides of the road! -Steph  Again, she didn't like the exposed sections even as we gained hours of time on them and the roads never disintegrated under our wheels and we never even got light on the wheels (precedence of a roll-over).

Looking ahead and seeing a wall of stone and snow it was fun to try to guess where the road would snake it's way up.
A trained eye will be able to pick out the road in this photo.
The kids were thrilled to see so much snow!

Uh-oh, the drop off is on the passenger side.
You can see where a bulldozer had come through to clear the snow off the road for the few people like us who actually use these roads.

Having seen photos of these walls thirty feet high in July, I couldn't help but think of global warming.
Focusing hard on driving! I would get on to him if he took his eyes off the road even for a second! He is actually incredibly good at four-wheel driving. Believe it or not, it takes some skill!
Wall of snow to my left, angry passenger and thin-air to my right.

Can you imagine a bulldozer making it up here?! (Stephanie)
I can; they have  tracks.

This picture might help put things in perspective for you. You know how big our vehicle is and you can see the extra room on both sides. The road is wider than it looks (in some places). But thinner it looks in other places.

Approaching the top...
the road became narrower...

...and much steeper.

marmot's butt

More snow. The pass had only been open for two, maybe three days.

Above you can see the road that leads sidehill and then down into Telluride. There were a number of tour trucks (Chevy 3/4 tons) up there at 9am. They crowded the summit and most of the blanket-shrouded tourists in designer jeans and sunglasses as best I could tell looked at us, pajama-clad as we were, like we were from another planet. Oh well, at least they took some photos of us at the top.

The final steep push...look up from the road in front of the hood and to the left. That's where it got steep.
and finally the 13,100 foot summit.

When we got to the top someone from one of the expedition company's took this photo of us. I am still amazed that people actually pay money to drive on these passes! Yes it was beautiful, but not worth the terror, in my opinion (Steph).

Poser shots.

Sidehill and then down.

The road into Telluride was smooth and well cared for. Surprise, surprise.

Not far ahead of us the trucks stopped and all the men did this...
Classy. We passed them all heads out starboard windows.

I took the wrong way here and had to a loop in order to find my way back down. As I did so a tourist toter Pinzegauer passed us and we followed them all the way down the mountain.

Looking back at the path we took down the valley.
Looking back and across towards Bridal Veil Falls and the infamous Blackbear Pass. After showing my wife the videos I was told that there was absolutely no way were going down Blackbear. I really wanted to do it but it wasn't open (for another two days it turns out) and I was nervous with the problems at the front end.
Bridalveil Falls outside Telluride, CO. and Blackbear crisscrossing the mountainside.

Yes this was really the road! See what I mean?!? Scary!

Didn't scare her in the least! Just another day on the road for her.

What a cool way to enter Telluride! Seriously, how many people come from Tennessee and then go to Telluride via Imogene. (The truth is you could do it in a Subaru with low-range gear box)

Looking back at the box canyon we'd descended.
Telluride!! Yay! After all the stress (fun-Jesse) from the drive through the mountain pass I was so relieved to see this gorgeous (expensive-need I say) city!

Playing at the City Park while waiting on  April to meet us for lunch.

 Look how these homes are built into the side of the mountain. There is nowhere else to build except up! Reminds me of our home, except ours is falling down, not finished, smaller, more inefficient, etc...

 Leaving the City Park to head over to ride the Gondola.

 The Gondola is free to ride all year long. It is funded by the city of Telluride and is the largest form of free, public transportation in America.

 I, Steph, was pretty much terrified right here. Trying to keep it together so I don't scare the heck out of my kids.

Scare the kids? Not possible. They loved it.
 I'm thinking, "holy cow! please God don't let this thing break while we're on it." Do you see a theme here...I'm terrified of heights!
 Trying to smile and act "normal" for the kids.
 Yep, that's Telluride. Waaayyy down there.

Back in Telluride Stephanie took a picture of anything rooted to the ground.

That evening we headed forty-five minutes west to Norwood, Co. where we stayed at April and Kelvins. We didn't take a photo of the GPS that evening but we really didn't do much mileage. This was a Friday and we planned to spend Saturday at their house fixing our vehicle problems and then be off. Plans rarely go as expected.

1 comment:

Amy H. said...

Wow! Amazing!
Steph- I too am afraid of heights!