Monday, July 30, 2012

What? -- Mon., July 30

Delta, Colorado to Vernal, Utah:

Today’s plan: Drive from Delta, Colorado to Dutch John, Utah.

Bob grocery shopped and filled the truck with diesel, and came back to Rigamarole while I vacuumed, washed and put away dishes, secured the hatches and closed the slides. When Bob walked in the door, he said, “We have a flat tire.”

“What? Where? How did that happen?” I queried.

Neither of us could figure it out. While Bob was out, not knowing we had a flat, he stopped at Napa Auto Parts and bought an air compressor in case we ever needed one. Is he prescient or what?

He said, “No problem. I bought an air compressor .We can fill the tire with air and drive it over the bridge to Big O Tires.” That’s what we did.

Big O Tires told us we’d have to wait an hour for them to look at our tire. Luckily for us, it only took ½ hour. The verdict: The tire is fine, but the weld on the rim was broken and the air was leaking out at that point. They didn’t have the correct wheel so they directed us to Springworks in Grand Junction. We called to make sure they had the correct rim. (They had two.)

We were headed through Grand Junction anyway. Big O Tires in Delta, Colorado filled the flat with air and said we’d make it to Grand Junction with no problems. They were right. We purchased our new wheel, but Springworks doesn’t install them. They referred us to Big O Tires in Grand Junction.

Off we went to Big O Tires. Bob sure earned his driving chops getting the 5er into Big O Tires in Grand Junction. Bravo, Bob! They were able to install the wheel, but ran into a small problem when one of the eight lug nut bolts broke. They had to send someone out to buy a new one. In all, we were at the Big O Tires in Grand Junction for about 1-1/2 hours.

If someone gives you a lemon, make lemonade. I was able to walk to Petco from Big O to buy some cat food. As soon as I was leaving Petco, the thunderstorm that had been threatening the area decided to let loose with the rain. Got a bit wet walking back.

When I returned to Big O Tires, Bob walked to the Verizon store to have them help him get his cell phone working.

When all was said and done, our wheel cost around $60 at Springworks, and Big O Tires in Grand Junction charged us $17 to install the wheel. Not bad. We lost a few hours, but our tire and rim are safe now.

We debated taking CO 139 over 8,268’ Douglas Pass to Rangely, Colorado. Our other options were almost double the mileage so we decided to go over CO 139, Douglas Pass Road.

Looking up at the pass from below
Looking down at the road.
The paved road was our road up.
At the top looking down the other side.
We had no idea what the grades were or what the road was like. Turns out the road had 7% grades. It was our first time driving on such a steep grade while pulling Rigamarole. Going up, it was second or first gear most of the way. Going down, we tried first gear and immediately the speed went up to 40 mph. Had to use the brakes. Started smelling burning. Uh oh. My daddy taught me if you smell burning, pull over.

Bob pulled over and our left rear wheel on the pick up was smoking. Must let it cool. We stayed at the turnout for close to an hour while the brakes cooled. Thankfully, we had passed the worst of it and the rest of the way down was much more gradual. To tell you the truth, I was a nervous wreck.

The drive from Dinosaur to Vernal was uneventful. We debated continuing on to Dutch John that evening. Our drive continued through the town of Vernal and out the other side on US 40. I told Bob it didn’t feel “right,” that I thought we were supposed to turn north on US 191 out of the town of Vernal. We were way out of town to the west in the middle of nowhere. A passing lane came up with a wide shoulder. After all the traffic went by, we did a U-turn and headed 14 miles back to Vernal, Utah.

We fueled up the truck and went in search of US 191 north to Rock Springs, Wyoming. It was getting late. I really wanted to stop for the night. US 191 went north from the middle of downtown. Somehow we had driven past it the first time through. Come to find out US 191 in the downtown core was closed for two blocks. The detour was a couple of blocks away. We did not make it to Dutch John, Utah. Instead we stayed at the Dinoland KOA in Vernal, Utah.

Long day, tired people. Glad we stopped.

Travel Bug out.