The wife and I finally took a trip without the kids and set out in her 2008 Jeep Wrangler X for some first time ever trail driving. (we purchased her jeep about 6 months ago from a neighbor).
Day 1 was a 600 mile slog from Dallas to Trinidad, Colorado. This jeep is not meant for highway driving. Iím guessing we averaged about 65 miles per hour and stopped 3 times for gas.
Day 2 the fun starts. We head up to the East side of Medano Pass for our first trail of the trip. Beautiful day to say the least.
Picture of me with the jeep (love the new Ace Engineering bumper I just installed two weeks prior)
Nice little rock hump before the pass that forced us to start using 4 wheel drive.
My co-driver and wife of 25 years. Now we are entering the park where the driving gets a little more fun.
One of the many creek crossings. It was a dry year for Colorado so the crossings were low with slow water movement.
Once you come out of the pass, this is what you see. Great sight for sure.
My first time to air down just as we hit the heavy sand (I did practice before leaving home though). What a HUGE difference this makes. Felt like we had tank tracks instead of tires.
Just after Creede going east, we stopped to see the Clear Creek waterfalls. Itís right off the road and a very, very short walk.
Finished the day at Lake City. Had a good meal at Southern Vittles Catfish and Chicken. Any place that has a big Ďol smoker out back has to be good right? Stayed at the Matterhorn Inn. Clean, small bathroom, nice place.
Day 3 Westward to Ouray. This day was the highlight of the trip. Iíve been through the Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails book for weeks (ok, really months) preparing for this day (along with reading this forum).
Picked up our lunch from the local grocery store in Lake City and headed south out of town. First stop on the Cinnamon Pass trail was beautiful American Basin. I could build me a small hut and just live here forever.
American Basin. Handies Peak (14K+) is just to the left of this picture.
Further up the pass the switchbacks start. We climb and climb. 4-lo and 2nd gear was the ultimate setup to tackle the trails from here on to the end it seemed.
Have to get the sign shot. Surprisingly they were missing several signs at the other passes that we drove over. I guess someone is adding to their collection.
The views in the Colorado mountains are just amazing.
The Town of Amimas Fork. This was our lunch stop.
Following a fellow forum memberís advice, we left the town and headed up Engineer Pass to Oh! Point. This had to be the best view of the day. Unfortunately, I do not know how to capture this well with a camera.
Taken from Oh! Point. You can see forever it seems. I have to go back and see this again.
Headed back down to the town of Animas Fork so that we could take California Pass on to Ouray.
California Pass still had a good bit of snow up on the mountain but the roads were pretty dry.
From the top of California Pass, we saw this frozen Tourqouise lake (Lake Como). Absolutely beautiful.
Sign shot. The wind was blowing so hard I had to remove my hat. It also probably around 45 degrees or so. The heater in the jeep works just great.
Working our way over to Corkscrew Gulch/Hurricane Pass. Tight switchbacks coming down but they were no problem for the Wrangler. The pucker factor is not Zero by any means though. This is not the time to have bad or worn brakes.
Day 4 was a rest/shopping day. We had only travelled around 50 miles the day before on the trails but it took us about 8 hours to do it.
Day 5 we headed to Telluride via Ophir Pass. There is about a 1 mile stretch thatís a bit rocky with a pretty good drop off, other than that, itís just a road. Town of Ophir is kind of interesting that folks live this high up in the mountains.
Day 6/7 we headed to Santa Fe and back on to Dallas. The wind was 40+mph so it was a long, tedious drive in the jeep. There is absolutely nothing aerodynamic about a wrangler.
Stats on our trip:
Total mileage: 1825
Gallons used: 115.96
Avg. miles per gallon: 15.7
$ spent on Gas: $423.30
What did I/we learn:
1) Read the forum. Do your homework. There is great advice from the folks that contribute. Overall I think we were pretty prepared thanks to you folks.
2) Driving a 2-door stock Wrangler X on the highway leaves a lot to be desired. I need better gears.
3) The Jeep Wrangler is one hell of a Billy Goat on the mountains. I had great confidence in its ability to get us up and over the mountains, through the forest, streams and sand. I should have bought one of these a long time ago.
4) I need a lift and bigger tires. Only scraped two times but even a slight lift would have cleared these. Plus, I want to do a little bit harder trails next time to continue building confidence for the big ones in the future.
5) My wife takes great pictures and wishes to remain the camerawoman and navigator leaving the trail driving to me. Iím fine with this.
6) Iím going to be broke with everything that I want to do with the jeep. Who needs to eat anyways.