and Shelley Smith, with their two boys, and Joe and Erika, with
their son and daughter, arrived at my place about 8:15 to drop off
some things and then we headed to Monument. Once there, we met up
with Michael and Amy, John Clark, and Mark and his wife and two
children. We got under way at about 9:50am.
decided to head up hwy 105 to Dakan Road and up to Rampart Range.
We had just begun to climb when Kevin's rig "Tantor" just cut out
and quit. Thinking it must be an ignition switch, we set about getting
that replaced. Michael had a spare!!! With the new one in, the problem
wasn't fixed. Michael found a fried fusable link near the starter
solenoid, so he and Kevin rigged a wire replacement. They now had
ignition, but the starting ciruit didn't work. This was remedied
by jumping across the appropriate terminals on the starter solenoid
with a wrench. A process that Kevin would repeat many times through
our sojourne that day, how frustrating! We lost about an hour fixing
The Dakan Road
proved to be lots of fun with beautiful forests and LOTS of bumps
which were actually the mounds built to divert water away from the
road. Made for lots of views of undercarriages and some nice flexing
of the axles and springs (articulation). We made a stop for lunch
high up at a very messy camp site. Kevin cleaned up most of the
trash with a little help from the rest of us.
Then we headed
on, and things were great, until we got onto Rampart Range Road.
Because it was so dry, the dust was horrible. Everyone and everything,
inside and outside the Jeeps was covered in reddish dust. Ptooey!
The Gang all Parked
Mark Welle's 87 GW
Amy (with Michael
as the passenger!) did half of the driving including a particularly
horrifying alternate path on the trail full of the most awful moguls
I've ever seen with a big boulder buried in the path as a final
climb for the RF tire. I spotted her through it and we had some
difficulty until we shifted into 4lo, then at one point the RR tire
was hanging in a mogul pit about 1' from any kind of solid earth.
That's where the locker came in handy. Then Backhoe did his "foot
to the floor while twisted up" trick giving Amy quite a thrill as
the big truck launched itself right at the huge boulder ramp. She
handled it all perfectly and made it thru without getting stuck.
Backhoe had pulled the accelerator cable housing loose from the
bracket again, just like in Moab, except that this time the driver
didn't wedge the truck in the rocks and damage the rocker panels.
got to the Monument turnoff (Mt Herman Rd.) and with my brain clogged
with dust I assured Mark in the lead FSJ that this was the way to
go. In reality, it was a good choice after all, as there are lots
of great views along that route, and it was already getting late
in the afternoon.
We made two
or three "photo op" stops and cleared our lungs of dust at the first
Had some fun
climbing on rocks and staring over deep dropoffs. The rigs we drove
were: 3 Grand Wagoneers, two lifted, and 3 Cherokee Wide Tracks,
all lifted. Kevin's non-lifted GW did just fine.
At the end,
Michael and Amy, Mark and his family, and John Clark headed back
home, and the rest headed to my place. Those that went to my place
took some showers to clean off the dust and get back to some sense
We had lots
of food that can't be beat, grilled nicely on the deck by Kevin,
and other items prepared by Shelley. We watched some Disney videos
with the kids. Chatted and visited and played with the kids. Then
Joe and family set up a tent in the back yard, and Kevin and family
took advantage of the living room hideabed and an air mattress.
The next morning,
it was like Christmas for me, waking up with the chatter of little
persons. We all visited for a while and then my guests packed for
home and taking care of Sunday chores.
a great time and are looking forward to another CFSJA adventure!