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 > Trip Report: a 26-day scenic drive in SW Colorado

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Tiger4x4RV

Inland Empire, Southern California

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Posted: 07/20/12 03:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Inspired by Clattertruck's classic San Juan trip reports (part I and Part II), lured on by the promise of meeting fellow Tigerfolk at the annual Colorado rally, and hampered (no hiking) by a twisted knee requiring frequent ice, I set out in mid-June for a four-week scenic drive in southwestern Colorado. 26 days, 4077 miles, and 1200+ photos later, having gotten closer than I wanted to a couple of wildfires, two bears, and some desert flash floods, I arrived back home in San Diego County, California.

Second night out: This site at Abiquiu Lake is a repeat from another trip. Great lake view. $5 with my senior pass. There was no fee for the fearsome thunderstorm.
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In the hills above Tarryall Road, east of Jefferson, there are many great dispersed campsites off Forest Road 39, a road in very good condition when I was there. Continuing over the hill, I had this view down into the Lost Creek area; that road, unfortunately, had horrible washboarding.
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There is a very informative and scenic USFS visitor center at the top of Wilkerson Pass, with a view down into South Park. The center has a well-stocked bookstore and some easy interpretive trails.
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After scrambling to relocate because of wildfires, 33 Tigers met up in a field near Salida for 3 days of swapping stories and ideas. It was impossible to photograph more than a few at one time.
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It was great fun to attend the Fourth of July parade in Buena Vista. Nearly everybody in town seemed to be in the parade.
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My dream of driving Kebler Pass Road finally came true. What a great road! Good surface, so any vehicle could make it. Scenery at every turn. Here's Lake Irwin, two miles off the Kebler Pass Road. Colorful little lake, lots of folks having fun, and a nice primitive campground.
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A pond near the campground.
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Several more photos of Kebler Pass scenery:

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On to the next scenic road, the Buzzard-Muddy Divide Road:

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Vegetation changes on the other side of the divide:

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Moving on to the Uncompahgre NF, Cimmaron area and Owl Creek Pass:

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Courthouse Mountain, one of the few places that the forest opened up enough for vistas on Owl Creek Pass Road:

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Going down toward Ridgway:

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On to Last Dollar Road:

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Then came a fork, where County Road 58P went on and LDR, looking like someone's narrow muddy driveway, split off. I took 58P.

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Whoa! The road zig-zags down a cliff into the hamlet of Sawpit. And I thought this was the easy way!

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Near Ridgway:

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Mountains between Ouray and Silverton.

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This incredible toyhauler and its Jeep must have been sprayed with dirt repellent. Most other vehicles here in the free dispersed camp area near Mineral Creek, outside Silverton, were liberally coated with dust and mud.

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Molas Lake, near Silverton. The campground here is right by the highway and so I didn't stay, but I did enjoy the view for a while.

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Little Molas Lake, across the road and a mile or so from the highway. There's a trailhead for the Colorado Trail here, also a small campground and a lot of bloodthirsty bugs.

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The Galloping Goose, a vehicle which carried passengers on the train track when there weren't enough of them to make a trainload.

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Illium Valley, near Telluride. I visited the Nature Conservancy's San Miguel River Preserve here.

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Off into the wilds again. About sixty miles of mostly dirt from Norwood to Dolores.

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Took a side trip to a dispersed camping area along the way, camped near where FR 631 crossed West Beaver Creek. Here's the view out the window at camp.

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An hour after I took this photo, a very large bear walked across the road at the curve.

And here's another bear, viewed out the camper window at the same spot.

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Well, that's a synopsis of over 1200 photos. I hope you enjoyed them. As for me, I cannot wait to get back there again.


2006 Tiger CX 4x4, 8.1 L gas V-8, Allison 6-speed


Crazy Creek

Florida

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Posted: 07/20/12 03:13pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Beautiful!

I hope one day to spend some time seeing Colorado. Your trip report will definitely help.

Thanks

the tc life

colbert wa.

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Posted: 07/20/12 03:17pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

i love the road sign!

thanks for sharing your trip with us.


2010 adventurer 810ws
1999 c3500 dually 12' flatbed

THE TC LIFE


FishPOET

La Habra, CA

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Posted: 07/20/12 03:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the pictures and report. It is an incredible area. I'll be visiting in August.

cewillis

Tucson, az, usa

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Posted: 07/20/12 04:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

'Turn back. You cannot get through'
Sounds like a challenge to me.

You definitely succeeded in finding scenic county.


Cal


ReneeG

Meridian, Idaho

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Posted: 07/20/12 05:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you for the great narration and pictures. Really enjoyed it. In my next life I'm going to have an RV for every possible kind of adventure/trip!


2011 Bighorn 3055RL
2011 F350 DRW 6.7L 4x4 Diesel Lariat and Hensley BD3
1992 Jeep ZJ and 1978 Coleman Concord Pop-Up for remote camping
Dave & Renee plus (Champ, Molly, Paris, Missy, and Maggie in spirit), Mica and Mabel, both Rat Terriers!


nycsteve

NY

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Posted: 07/20/12 05:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Beautiful photos, thank you.





Bigfootchevy

Bancroft, Ontario, Canada

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Posted: 07/20/12 05:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Excellent story and pics. Thanks for sharing? Bears add excitement to any trip.

Paul

profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 07/20/12 05:46pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As always, well done, Tiger!!


2012 Fun Finder X-139 "Boondock Style" (axle-flipped and extra insulation)
2013 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road (semi-beefy tires and components)
Our trips -- pix and text
About our trailer
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single list."


brirene

midwest

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Posted: 07/20/12 08:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very nice report! Thanks for posting!


Jayco Designer 30 RKS Medallion pkg, Trail Air pin
'05 F350 6.0 PSD CC 4x4 DRW LB B&W Companion, Edge Insight

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." Miriam Beard


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