2019 Colorado Trip

TerryD Aug 3, 2019

  1. TerryD

    TerryD Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    513
    Location:
    Covington, Va
    Foreword
    Back in February a couple buddies of mine from the off-road club I was active in during college contacted me to invite me to tag along on a trip to Colorado with them this year. They were looking at heading out July 13th and as luck would have it, I was able to move a week's vacation to have time off to tag along with them.

    They had a list of trails they wanted to run and the Colorado Trail books so we worked out a plan of what everyone would like to do and made a map with the trails and some campsites on it to help us along.

    Day 1

    We met up at 9am at the Tamarack in Beckley, WV. Everyone gassed up and hit the restroom then we hit the road.

    1 Meetup in Beckley.jpg

    Everything was going pretty smooth till about 6:30pm central time when Adam, who was towing, came over the radio and said he had a problem then pulled over on the side of the interstate just outside of O'Fallon, Il. It turns out his driver's side rear truck tire had come loose and broken two studs off. The decision was made to tighten the other three back up and head on in to O'Fallon where O'Reilly's said they had the lug nuts and another local store had the studs.

    I was in "work mode" so the picture taking stopped but we got the parts, ate supper at Sugarfire 64 BBQ and got a hotel room in Collinsville, Il for the night. Our original goal had been Columbia, Mo but fixing the truck was the priority. The Super 8 was nice enough to let us make the repairs in the parking lot, which didn't take very long to get all 5 studs and lug nuts replaced and the truck back on the ground. After showers, we all turned in for the night, hoping to get an early start the next day and hopefully make it into Colorado.

    Day 2

    Everyone was up and we were on the road by 8am. The St. Louis Gateway Arch had been our goal that morning, but some closed road and one way cobble stone streets put a damper on everyone's enthusiasm and we opted to get back on the road rather than waste another hour making circles down town. A quick stop off at McDonald's for a biscuit, some coffee and restroom breaks at 9am was in order and Adam topped off his truck with his fuel cans to try to get the longest first pull of the day we could.

    2 Breakfast Day 2.jpg

    We managed to make decent time but a lunch stop that drug out a bit meant we didn't make it into Colorado until sun down. 8:43pm mountain time to be precise.

    3 Made it to Colorado.jpg

    Pushing on, we made it to Flagler Reservoir at 9:55pm and everyone set up camp for the night, had a beer or two and just celebrated our first night camping on the trip. It rained just as we got off the interstate but not enough to make things too damp, just cooled it down nicely for the night. The sky was beautiful and my cell phone doesn't do it justice.

    4 cloudy night after rains.jpg

    Day 3

    The next morning we finally got a good look at our camp site and it was beautiful in the Flagler area. I wish the reservoir was still used but I'm also sure if it was, we couldn't have found a camp site like this anywhere!

    5 Day 3 camp.jpg

    6 Day 3 sunrise at camp Flagler Reservior.jpg

    Everyone fixed breakfast on my little Coleman white gas single burner stove, broke camp and we were on the road by 8:30am headed to REI in Colorado Springs to get Brett a new pair of shoes. He busted through his old ones the night before setting up camp. One of his tent stakes just sliced the sole apart, but luckily it didn't get his foot.

    The plan was to get to the KOA in Cripple Creek, Co where Adam was going to leave his Tundra and trailer for the two weeks they were going to be there and we'd do our laundry and take a shower and decide if we'd stay there for the night or try to make our way somewhere else.

    We made it to REI at 10:30am where Brett got his shoes and then we made a fuel stop and headed up 24 for Cripple Creek. Going up the mountain out of Colorado Springs though, Adam's trailer cut down the driver's side front tire. Luckily a vehicle in the left lane saw what was going on and let him cut across to a pull off where we could get the spare on and be back underway in less than 10 min.

    7 flat on 24.jpg

    From there a stop to stock up at Wal-Mart and get a replacement tire for the trailer took about an hour of our time but we made it to the KOA and decided to stay there for the night to rest up and actually make camp in the daylight.

    We were treated to a double rainbow IN camp that evening, grilled up some supper and talked over out plans for the next day a bit.

    9 Double rainbow in camp evening day 3.jpg

    10 Sunset day 3.jpg
     
  2. IM1RU

    IM1RU First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    209
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    Looking forward to the rest of this trip report. Heading to Ouray for year #4 in a few weeks.
     
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  3. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

    Messages:
    36,528
    Location:
    Denver-ish
    I really wanted to go this year, but I don't have 4wd at the moment. =(
     
  4. IM1RU

    IM1RU First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    209
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    We were considering a different area this year because we have literally done every trail in the area (funtreks book) multiple times, but it's just SO DAMN BEAUTIFUL!
     
  5. TerryD

    TerryD Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    513
    Location:
    Covington, Va
    Day 4

    We packed up camp, signed out of the KOA and were at the start of the Gold Camp Road by 10:30. Everyone aired down since most of the day would be on dirt and we weren't sure about wash board and the like. Everyone opted for slightly higher pressures than what we normally run on the trail in the hopes we would be ok with the dual purpose nature of the trip. I went down to 25 from the 40 I had been running since I was loaded kinda heavy.

    11 Leaving KOA Day 4.jpg

    I don't think any of us realized that Gold Camp Road is a county road and fairly easily traveled but I must say that some of the sights you see on it are well worth the drive regardless of the fact that it's a nicely maintained dirt road.

    12 Gold Camp Road 1 Day 4.jpg

    13 Gold Camp Road 2 Day 4.jpg

    Arriving at Saran Wrap at about 11:30, I decided to bypass it and meet back up with the others on Eagle Rock. They said it was a great trail but were iffy about my odds of making it. We stopped for lunch after we were back in a group and decided to give Eagle Rock a go. We played in the little rock garden at the bottom of the mountain for a minute then headed up the trail.

    14 Brett Eagle Rock Day 4.jpg

    15 Adam Eagle Rock Day 4.jpg

    16 Eagle Rock 1 Day 4.jpg

    We made it about a quarter mile or so past the creek crossing and it started raining on us. Adam, in the truggy, pulled up on an obstacle and said he wasn't sure how he felt about going further up the trail at that point. He said he felt like we could all make it, but wasn't sure if it got worse or started raining harder, what we'd be able to do. When the guy in the truggy says "hey, lets turn around", you'll get no argument from me. So back out to Gold Camp Road we came with the plan to hit Colorado Springs and decide where to go from there.

    Further down the road, I spotted FR379. It looked mild and uninteresting but after checking the map and seeing that it ties into Eagle Rock up on the mountain, we decided to check it out. If nothing else, maybe we could find a place to camp for the night. Well, it turned out to be a great route. Not overly challenging, though there were a couple places my fear of heights and some washing of the road let to some puckering, but the views we saw were stunning. My pictures don't do it justice again. I need to get a real camera sometime...

    17 FR379 Switch back Day 4.jpg

    Another shower rolled through while we were at this switch back that overlooks Colorado Springs and I managed to get a picture of it going over the city before it ran us all back into our rigs. We continued up the mountain to where it ties in with Eagle Rock, logging 11,300' elevation on my APRS GPS which was the highest we were while I was out there with them.

    18 FR379 Switch back rain Day 4.jpg

    There was a camp site we checked out on the way up the mountain and it was decided that it would be our home for the night. It rained one more time just as everyone got into camp so we napped in the trucks and waited out the rain. There was a touch of hail in it too.

    19 FR379 Camp Day 4.jpg

    20 FR279 Camp 2 Day 4.jpg

    After it rolled through and camp was setup, supper was in order and everyone turned in for the night.
     
    CHUG, xdblduty, Brunnie and 2 others like this.
  6. TerryD

    TerryD Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    513
    Location:
    Covington, Va
    Day 5

    Day 5 started pretty early for me. I was up and moving around at 5am and up at 7am. I drug out my gear and started on my breakfast. Bacon and oatmeal with some instant coffee.

    21 FR279 breakfast Day 5.jpg

    Afterward I cleaned up my stuff and just milled around till everyone else was up. I was packed and ready to go before the rest of them had eaten so I checked APRS for messages and just spent some time rearranging my gear to get my axe and shovel a little more accessible than it had been.

    Here's a shot of the mountain in front of where we camped off FR379.

    22 FR379 camp Day 5.jpg

    Once everyone was ready to go, we headed back to Gold Camp Road to make our way down to Colorado Springs to stock up a bit, get ice and visit the Garden of the Gods.

    This was a neat little earthen bridge on the old rail line.

    23 Gold Camp Road Day 5.jpg

    And a very pretty overlook above Colorado Springs.

    28 Gold Camp Rd Overlook Day 5.jpg

    24 Overlook on Gold Camp Road Day 5.jpg

    We made our way to the Garden of the Gods and rode a lap around it and then headed back to the Visitor's Center. Parking was rough but we finally all found spots and went inside. It was super crowded and we decided to run back to Colorado Mountain Brewery for a bite of lunch and a good cold beer. We all had a flight and I had their fish tacos, which are excellent by the way! Brett bought a growler of their porter/stout and we headed to a nearby Safeway for groceries and ice. From there we went back for another lap around Garden of the Gods.

    25 Garden Of The Gods 1 Day 5.jpg

    After that was over, and with everyone about to bake in their rig, we started onto Rampart Range Rd, looking for our campsite for the night. I'm not a fan of heights, so that was a white knuckle trip to the top with a few spots where I thought I was going to have to stop and walk around. Shelf type roads are NOT my happy place.

    26 Rampart Range 1 Day 5.jpg

    27 Rampart Range 2 Day 5.jpg

    We finally found Springdale Campground above Woodland Park and stayed there for the night. We were all hot, tired, hungry and so tired of wash board that we were just happy to find a place with a little shade. How do you get wash board going DOWN hill?!?!?!? I've never seen that before. My god that stuff was rough. I was down to 20psi in the tires and had to run over 35mph to smooth the wash board up. We got camp set up, I fixed some tacos and pico de gallo, Brett broke out the growler and we had a great evening at camp. We mulled the maps over and decided that the next day, we were going to make for China Wall. There wasn't much picture taking going on. Just the same it was a good evening around camp.
     
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  7. CHUG

    CHUG Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    McMinnville, Orygun
    Great trip and write up.. Nice country.. great photo's.
     
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  8. TerryD

    TerryD Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    513
    Location:
    Covington, Va
    Thanks! I need to get a real camera and learn to use it. It was hard to get good shots most of the time because we were trying to cover ground.
     
  9. Brunnie

    Brunnie Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    It is very easy to get washboards going down hill.... they are caused by people going the other way!!! :D

    Gee whiz, Terry.... You'd never make it out here if you thought Rampart Range road is a shelf road. ;) It is more like a super highway to us. We know where the shelf roads are, Like Shelf Road from Cripple Creek to Canon City, or Phantom Canyon from Victor to Canon City.

    OH, and BTW.... I have to deal with those terrific sights and great trails everyday. Don't you feel sorry for me?? ;)
     
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  10. TerryD

    TerryD Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    513
    Location:
    Covington, Va
    Hate it for you man, my condolences!

    I just can't deal with the height dude. I'd walk up it but anxiety gets me driving and it's just a personal demon. There are spots here that are like that but there's enough trees to stop a roll that i'm not as concerned.

    Anyways, glad you're ok with them. I followed a van out the steep part of Gold Camp that was sliding in curves and I was horrified for him.
     
  11. Brunnie

    Brunnie Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    I think I know where you are talking about, and that is actually Old Stage Road, but it can get tricky when the gravel disentigrates and turns into "marbles".
     
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  12. WhitePro4

    WhitePro4 Test Drive

    Messages:
    3
    Great write up and pics! Thnx :)
     
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  13. IM1RU

    IM1RU First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    209
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    @TerryD Next time you are out here driving on our western washboard roads, try airing down a bit more. I know it doesn't seem like much but going to 17 from 20 is huge. If it's going to be even remotely rocky I run 15.

    Nice shots BTW, great trip report.

    And ya, as @Brunnie said, that aint' no shelf road. Black Bear pass?..... Now that's a shelf road.... That can make even the most experienced guys have a brown seat mod.
     
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  14. TerryD

    TerryD Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    513
    Location:
    Covington, Va
    I'll give it a go next time! We had all decided to stick to about 20 since we were doing mixed trail/highway and could always go lower if needed. Luckily that was the worst we encountered wash board wise and we were clear of it soon.

    Y'all can keep those real shelf roads then! I like valleys and gullies!
     
    Brunnie likes this.
  15. Brunnie

    Brunnie Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    Ya know... my GF says the same thing. She trusts my driving but once in a while she doubts my sanity! :eek:

    And next time out here.... let me know. I'll wheel with you on some nice trails.
     
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  16. TerryD

    TerryD Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    513
    Location:
    Covington, Va
    Sure will! I don't know when it'll be yet. We're talking about a family trip sometime.
     
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