Range Road & Mt. Herman Road
been awhile since some of us played in the dirt and we wanted an
easy shakedown cruise to start the season, so we set up an easy
run down Mt. Herman Road and Rampart Range road on Sunday, May 2.
Ethan, Scott, Lee and Debbie, Bill and his boy, Mark and his boy,
and I met up at the "Golden Arches" in Monument kicked
the tires and jawed per normal. Surprisingly, I was on time even
without Amy to keep an eye on me. But being late is a tradition
so Ethan stepped into the honored role.
breakfast, fueling, and a little more jawing, we headed out for
the trail and besides an early setback in the form of a roadblock
and convoluted detour, we were rolling in the dust in no time. The
trail winds up switchbacks into the hills pretty quickly and you
get a panoramic view of the plains to the east which lie just north
of Colorado Springs. Pretty soon you're in amongst the gorgeous
pine trees and hoping some nutjob in a minivan doesn't pummel you
as he careens down a blind, narrow dirt curve. Actually the other
drivers were fine. But you have to be careful around here.
the FSJ bug had to bite and once we got Ethan's upper radiator hose
replaced (I carry a spare, call me a Boy Scout) and the system filled
with whatever water we could scrounge up, we were rolling down the
trail again. What would we do if we didn't have to fix anything?
That's kind of a spooky thought.
trail makes for a good day's drive. A couple of us had planes to
catch later that evening so we didn't have much time to play. Still
we were able to fit in a healthy dose of washboard roads, puddles,
super Colorado scenery, and copious bouncing around. With no new
drivers, the group decided to detour on a forest road to heighten
the challenge just a bit, quickly running across a rather large
log drop-off obstacle that claimed a tailpipe, bumper, and some
other goodies from the group's rides. Ow.
at a majestic rock outcropping, it was all we could do to avoid
the temptation of a foot deep muddy water hole that some guy in
a Ford Ranger essentially double dog dared us to try. Well, Bill
would have no sitting around so after sandwiches and whatnot (did
I mention one of the kids, Bill's I think, managed to eat a sandwich
about the size of his leg?), he took a stab at the water. Running
more than hub deep, with a steep muddy incline on the first route
he tried, he came to a quick standstill, quickly slammed into reverse,
and recovered before I had to use my winch for the first time in
history. The second try through the slightly easier exit worked
to say I had to give it a try and did ok on the harder exit but
hey, the locker and 33" MT/R's probably didn't hurt, you know?
Bill's run made for a better show and a demonstration of much better
driving skill and quick reactions.
we took another look around and fired up the FSJs and stormed out
for Rampart Range Road (RRR), the 'shortcut' home. Uh yeah. Next
time, somebody remind me to actually look at a map. It felt like
about an hour later (actually maybe it was) we were still on RRR
wondering when, if ever, this accursed (but quite scenic) serpentine
swath of dirt would ever attach itself to CO 67 so we could break
20mph and get the heck back to Sedalia, US 85, and home.
kind of like getting the first 3 numbers of the lottery every week
for a year. So close, and yet, so far. Well, after another couple
billion years we finally hit 67, after a bit, Sedalia, and no time
I was home throwing luggage in the car and roaring off to the airport
with time to spare. Whew.
I'd taken the time out Sunday, I thought about the Colorado mountains
quite a bit that stressful week away from home. That's the thing,
no matter where you're at, you can always go wheeling in your head
until you get to go for real. That makes almost anything better.