Sunday, September 11, 2011

Last Stop? Not so fast.

US 550, the highway from Durango to Ouray is about as mountain highway as highways get.  The destination was Salida, CO.  Made it, but not without some care.  The mountains north of Durango are something to behold, and they just get better as you approach Ouray.  The mountains were in the clouds and the road often misty.  

After quite a bit of climbing and crossing the Molnas pass, we arrive in Silverton.  The town was a mining town and staging area for equipment and supplies for the surrounding mines, mostly silver.  Great breakfast to be had, by the way, at the Brown Bear Cafe.  Then, back on the road.

The final pass above Ouray is called Red Mountain Pass after the iron laden mountain next to the pass.  Approaching the pass, I shot this one.  Is there any wonder I love Colorado?

In any event, the decent from the pass to Ouray is an 8% grade, with lots of twists and turns at 10mph, meaning, lots of chances to use the brakes.  By the time I hit Ouray, the brakes were so soft, that I decided to have the car taken down the mountain to Montrose on a flatbed.  I felt testing the brakes on the downhill was not a smart move.  Montrose, however, is billiard table flat.  After having reached Montrose the brakes had cooled and were functioning normally.  I did quite a lot of driving in town to see how things went.  After consulting with Aaron, I determined to proceed to Salida.. Made it fine, no further brake problems.

It was about dark on arrival, so I was not able to get good pictures.  I'll include some in tomorrow's blog.

So far, the 40-year-old Dieter has offered a fuel pump failure - thanks to Aaron I had a spare on board.  Then, there was the strange loss of oil pressure, which, sadly seems to just happen from time to time.  Shut it off, wait a couple of minutes and restart.  Pressure good, back on the road.  Has probably happened 7-8 times.  We are stumped.  The radiator boiled over climbing out of the Mojave desert in 107 degree heat, and now the brake thing.

It has been an adventure.  Tomorrow, off to Estes Park, where I will enjoy the food and people at Ed's Cantina.

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