|Date:||Jul 22nd, 2011|
|Trip Leader:||Mike Borum|
|Members Present:||Jim Johnson, Dave Peaslee, Bob Novak|
|Guests Present:||Allison, Donnie, Jackie, Cody,|
|Picture Link:||Dave's Pics Mike's Pics|
First things first. Everything you've heard is a lie. I did not get drunk and streak around the campfire, nor did I punch out anyone in Leadville. If you heard that stuff, it's just not true, and it's despicable that anyone would spread those kinds of vicious rumors.
I called the ranger district in Minturn around 10:30am and confirmed that there were no fire restrictions, then I called Bob and found out he and Dave were somewhere between Delta and Grand Junction, on their way to save us a prime camping spot on Homestake Rd. Jim, Allison, and the brats--umm, I mean boys--were planning to meet me and Donnie at the usual place around 12:30pm, and I knew that my friend Jackie and her son Cody were leaving Denver around noon. I figured it would be ironic if we all converged on the camping spot at the same time. HA!
Right at the Cave of the Winds turn-off on Hwy 24, Jim pulls over and squawks over the CB that the truck is acting "strange". He popped the hood and discovered a leaking radiator plug and what looked like 2 qts low on oil. Of course it started to rain, hard. Donnie stayed with Mrs. Johnson--she's a teacher; you always have to address her as "Mrs. Johnson", and Asher and Brandt. Jim unloaded his Jeep and we headed back down to 21st St. and the (Advance) auto parts store. Did I mention that it was raining? Did I mention no taillights? How about no windshield wipers? Expired tags from Idaho? State Patrol everywhere?
We got back with the goodies (it took an entire gallon of oil), and woohoo, we're back on the road...for about 5 miles. This time, the upper radiator hose on Jim's truck is collapsed and the coolant bottle is filling with boiling water. So they decided to turn around, with the intention of packing up the Volvo with a tent and camping gear and meeting us later. I called Jackie and she said not to worry, she's stuck in traffic going over Vail Pass. I called Bob and found out they were now in Glenwood Springs. This is getting better by the minute!
We finally meet Jackie at the turn off for Homestake and the 6 mile trek to the campsite. Miraculously, Bob and Dave have found us a lovely spot near the road on the opposite side of the road from the river, with plenty of free parking and valet service. We unload, have dinner, stoke the fire, and shake off our troubles. Bob flags down a Forest Service vehicle to ask if there are any fire restrictions. He said to Bob, " What, you don't trust Mike? What gives, Bob?" I swear that's what that guy said to him. Around dark-thirty, the Volvo shows up with the Johnsons. All is good, except no rig for them to ride in tomorrow.
The next morning is glorious, the conversation was scintillating, the breakfast foods were...filling? I packed Donnie and Cody in the back seat, and Jackie riding shotgun. Jim leaves his family to fend for themselves and catches a ride with Bob and Dave. Off on our Holy Cross adventure we go.
Totally uneventful. Boring, ho-hum, nothing to see here, kind of trail ride. Okay, the scenery was nice, the air was comfortable, the sounds of the forest soothing, the rushing waters of Frenchman Creek just totally pissed me off! I pounded my rig on the opposite shore over and over again, just determined to pummel my front axle into submission. It was a herculean effort, but finally I managed to create the sound we all want to hear the most--POP--the front right axle gives it up.
The guys convinced me to back off and turn around. Big Mistake! Next thing I hear is "STOP, STOP!" And I see a lot of pointing and snickering and guffaws. I get out, and to my utter amazement, the right front tire was tired. I mean it was so tired, that it decided to just lay down right there in the creek. Poor thing, it must've been exhausted. And it was only noon!
Bob hauls Jackie, Cody, Donnie, and myself down the trail and back to camp while Jim and Dave decided to play around in the creek. Don't ask: we really don't want to know what they were doing all alone in the forest...for 6 hours. Bob and I finally finished our tour of Leadville (Carquest) and Buena Vista (NAPA) parts stores--you know, all those parts store were beginning to look alike to me by now--and by the time we got back up to where Dave and Jim and my Jeep were frollicking in the creek, it was about 6pm. Two ball joints, a broken axle shaft, a damaged bottle jack, a chain, a ratchet strap, two rolls of shop towels, ice-cold frozen toes, shoes, and socks, a stubborn big ass tire, a lousy Hi-Lift jack, and we were rolling down the hill in an hour, and back to the campsite by 8pm.
The evening was spent trying to dry our shoes in the campfire without actually igniting them, reminiscing about Jim and Dave's exciting day...alone in the woods for 6 hours. Yeah I know I already said that, but it's fun to repeat it. We also tried to cook up a plan to get Marilyn to agree to me putting a Dana 60 under the rig, so that THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN!
The next morning we packed up our gear and got the hell out of Holy Cross. Good times!