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P.B.A.
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Well we made it there and back without any real issues. I'll post a trip report sometime next week if I can get unburied from work for a bit.

Overall the truck did well, and the kids handled the trip out there an back much better than expected :) I've got a couple of issues to hammer out before the next off road trip in October, but nothing too serious.
Inquiring minds want to know.....what about the miss?
 

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Discussion Starter #182
Inquiring minds want to know.....what about the miss?
Still seems to be gone at this point! The tune appears to have done the trick as it only had a couple of hiccups on the small hill leading out of Denver where I kept dropping gears and at one point I would drop it in third and nail it to keep up, only I would wind up with a dead throttle pedal. It did that three times on the way up the first time, and never did it again after that. So I'll write that off as a fluke from the thing not liking the altitude of I70 around the Eisenhower :laughing:

I am kind of surprised that it did as well as it did. Running up I70 on the Silverthrone side feels steeper than the Denver side. 3rd gear pull for a long time and it never got hotter than this, and i also managed not to scatter itself across the interstate which was a bit surprising to me :homer::



yeah.. burned a wee bit of fuel doing that, but man it sounded good....
 

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Discussion Starter #183
Colorado 2017 - Friday/Saturday

I had a little bit of time so I started the trip write up. I hope to have it wrapped up over the course of next week. We'll see how it goes...

It has been a long while since we had made any treks out west. Roughly 4.5 years, but that’s what happens when you throw kids into the mix.

Part of the whole reason for building The Mighty Merc was to make family trips out west more comfortable. I can safely say that it was a comfortable trip, but there are still improvements to be made to enhance the comfort and turn this into a better adventure rig.

Life has been a bit nutty this year, but we decided that we were going to make a trip out to Colorado one way or another, we just didn’t know when or where. We were literally on the fence on whether or not to go one week out from our scheduled departure date due to the misfire I couldn’t track down (fixed with a tune to the PCM). With the miss under control, we booked the hotel rooms and started packing.


And I mean really packing..


I felt like I was driving a hoarder’s car by the time we were done stuffing things into the poor Mercury. Needless to say, we drove there a little nose up, and I need to come up with a better storage solution (and more suspension capacity) before we head out west in 2018:


I got home from work on Friday, took a brief nap while the wife fed and bathed the kids. Once they were in their jammies, we stuffed them into the Merc and hit the road. This is where our plan hit a bit of a snag. You see, we’d planed piling on the miles at night while the kids were sleeping, but we ran into the Mercury’s poor fuel range (180 miles/tank) issue. Running a small block ford at 2,800 rpms nets you about 11-12 mpg at best. Since this is the smaller sport tank I have in here due to the doubler (17 useable gallons) meant that we were stopping for fuel frequently. Roughly the same time that the kids fell asleep, I had to pull over for fuel.

But the kids handled it better than I would have thought they would. After stopping for breakfast in Limon CO, the sun came out and showed us Kansas continued:


We pushed on towards Golden CO to the Coloraod Railroal Musuem for our first stop. We figured the kids would need a break after being stuck in the car for 16 hours or so:


Still pretty clean after slaughtering a few bugs across KS:


While the place is a lot smaller than the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, it was still a pretty neat place to kill a few hours. One of the neater attractions is that they have a functioning galloping goose that you can ride around the for a few bucks. It was interesting to hear this thing take off and row through the gears:


More info on the Goose:
 

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Discussion Starter #184
...continued...

The kids enjoyed the rest of the museum running from train to train:




And yes, that is my daughter with her head stuck in the snow blower….


After the museum, we goofed around the Denver area for a bit trying to let my wife’s migraine pass and kill some time as we were too early to check into the hotel we were staying at. I worked on wearing the kids out at a local playground for a bit, then we loaded up to start climbing the hill up to the Eisenhower tunnel. The Merc did surprisingly well as it was able to hold 50-55 mph (and better at times) all the way up the hill. I will admit at times it was in 3rd and hammered to the floor.

The first climb wat the only time the motor gave me any issues. I didn’t have a miss, but three times when I dropped from 4th to 3rd and nailed it, I got a dead throttle pedal. Thankfully it fixed itself as I just let off and got back into it to continue on my way. It only did that trick on the first day and never repeated itself during the rest of the trip, so I’ll just chalk it up as a fluke.

Almost there:


Busy tunnel was Busy:



We made it to our hotel in Silverthorne CO and promptly crashed for the night. Other than wandering around for a bit to wear the kids out a bit more (endless energy from them!) this was all of the more of the mountains we would see today:
 

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Discussion Starter #185
Sunday:

Sunday morning we started our usual vacation routine of waking up early to catch the sunrise. With the time zone change, the kids were up and running well before daylight so they were happy little troopers willing to help Mom out where they could:


And I couldn’t pass up this perfect photo op:


She is pretty good at catching good photos:




From there we ran down to Tiger Road:


To the trail head of the North Fork Swan River trail, which we wound to the St. Johns Trail:


The trail though rated as being moderate really wasn’t bad at all. We later came to find out that often “moderate” just meant that the trail mostly consisted of the trail being laid with softball sized rocks.

Lots of dispersed camping in the lower elevations in the tree line which were making me jealous of the camping opportunities we have in the Midwest.


Just past a water crossing:




..the trail got steep in a hurry:
 

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Discussion Starter #186
Continued...
This little V notch ahead made me appreciate the Full Widths and the crawl box. However, the crawl box did pop out of gear on me halfway up the climb which dumped me into the middle of the notch. Whoops:


Once we got above of the tree line tree line the views stared getting a tad vaster:




We stopped at one of the FS cabins at the top of the mountain where there were remains from an old mining claim around.


These two guys kind of set the tone of the folks we met while banging around on the mountains. That being, the guys in the Yota’s and other off brand vehicles tended to be pretty cool to shoot the breeze with, the guys in the main stream new brand, not so much:


Of course the kids had fun running around the top of the mountain as well:




Turning around away from the cabin, we dropped then climbed a bit following the trail along the ridge:
 

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Discussion Starter #187
Stopping to grab a photo here and there:














We eventually got to the fork in the trail and turned towards Webster Pass to work our way down in elevation:


We found a nice little place for lunch where the kids quickly made some bird friends:


 

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Discussion Starter #188
Stopping to grab a photo here and there:














We eventually got to the fork in the trail and turned towards Webster Pass to work our way down in elevation:


We found a nice little place for lunch where the kids quickly made some bird friends:


 

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Discussion Starter #189
I’m always amazed at how much mining stuff is left laying around out here:


After lunch, we ran up the Santa Fe Peak trail. Lots of Aspens were changing colors as we went through the tree line:


Eventually we broke through the trees and started seeing the peaks:


Then something awesome happened, it snowed! We got to watch the snow blow in for a little bit (just enough to briefly dust everything). It was pretty cool seeing the snow bands move around. Sadly, it didn’t photograph as well as we’d wished:








At the dead end, we turned around and wandered back down through the snow. Full widths, and a narrow ledge? No problem:


We wound our way back to Chihuahua Gultch to run a little bit of it before we ran out of daylight. Again, the Aspens looked pretty neat:


 

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Discussion Starter #190 (Edited)


We stopped just past the second water crossing as that was the real spot that the wife wanted to photograph:


And the kids wanted to throw rocks for a bit:


We loaded up and rolled back to town for dinner and some rest:


We did try to catch the sunset, but this is the best we could do:
 

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What a great adventure, exploring the country with your family, and doing some wheeling along the way. What could be better? Love the pictures too.
 

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great trip report. Man, I love seeing these beautiful pictures with bitchin fords in them. these are the goals of my ranger, getting out there and seeing the sites of our gorgeous country
 

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Discussion Starter #193
Thanks guys! Here's another installment...

Monday

After being cooped up in the truck for some time at this point, we figured that a break in the schedule was needed. To we had planned on today being a hiking day with covering a bit of the Blue Lakes Trail, and the McCullough Gultch trail:


But before we even got to the trail head, we had to stop at the Dillon Reservoir again for some sunrise photos:




After seeing another beautiful sunrise, we set our sets on the Blue Lakes Trail hike, but I’m not entirely sure we actually hiked any of the trail. We were in the right area, but I think we just wound up wandering a FS road. Which worked out as there was a pretty waterfall at the end. Wandering up the grade:




We did end up at the Quandry Peak for a bit:


After wandering back down the lower lake and the supposed trail head:


We crossed a good and sketch bridge to the trail:


Not much to see along the trail, but the falls were nice. Though I spent most of the time at the falls keeping the kids from falling off the edge:
 

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Discussion Starter #194
continued...

And of course, there was some rock relocation action as well:




After goofing around a bit too long we found ourselves close to Lunch time, so we wandered down to Breckenridge where there was a pretty awesome playground, and grabbed some lunch:


With our bellies filled after lunch, we decided to head back up the hill to hike McCullough Gulch. This is where our hiking adventure turned a bit sour, but at least it happened at the end of the trail. This trail starts out at 11k feet, and climbs up to 12k feet. It is supposed to be about a 1.5 mile trail total. Well... not quite. Turns out it is closer to a 2.5 mile trail one way. And way more rugged than either one of us expected. Rugged enough that we each fell twice, which is something neither of us have done (even with kids on our backs).

But all of that was ahead of us, and we ignorantly started out with gusto! The drive up to the trail head gave us vistas of more Aspens changing colors:


There was a ton of people in the parking area. Enough that we figured the trail would be packed, but it turned out that we saw very few hikers the whole time we were on the move. Which suited us fine:




We did find an older couple that grabbed a photo of the family. She’s carrying about 30 lbs of wiggles, and I’ve got about 45lbs of wiggles on my back:


And we kept marching on:


The trail varied quite a bit (though it was always steep!) from wide areas, to forested areas, to boulder fields:


 

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Discussion Starter #195
Continued:

The views kept getting better as we went up in elevation:








We did take a little side detour to see some falls:


We kept on gaining elevation, and we were feeling it pretty good by now:




Eventually we made it to our destination, the lake below the summit:


We let the kids run around for a while as we caught our breath for a minute. Eventually we headed back down the mountain at a quicker rate than we ascended. About ¾ of a mile from the truck, the wife started feeling ill, which meant I got to carry the kids the rest of the way to the truck. Needless to say, I was pretty well done by the time we got everyone loaded up.

Heading back into Silverthorne, we had an unpleasant sight:


I should mention that this area (and the areas we’ve been exploring) are extremely dry right now. In the end, this little forest fire was controlled pretty quickly, and only consumed about 21 acres.

That wraps up today fun, tomorrow we’re back in the truck for more exploring.
 

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Discussion Starter #196
Tuesday

We were so beat from our hiking adventure the day before (not to mention the sore backs and blisters on the feet) that it seemed prudent to do a bit more mechanical exploring rather than loading the kids up on our backs again. So we slept in and headed off towards Webster Pass:




It still strikes us as funny to come across these signs out in the middle of nowhere:


But they were actively working out there. I’m sure it was more for erosion control of the road, but the guy on the track hoe was essentially just making large speed humps in the trail. We continued working our way up the pass:






Obligatory shot at the top of the pass:


From there we continued down Hand Cart Gultch which was the narrowest shelf road we had been on yet in the Merc. But continuing on the assumption that this thing really isn’t much wider than a JK with larger tires, we figured that we would be fine:




This was probably the most narrow spot of the trail, and I still had a good 12” of room to wiggle by this rock face. No worries!
 

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Discussion Starter #197
Of course, when we got to the bottom of the trail, there was a sign noting that full width vehicles should not attempt this climb. Oops!

The low land marsh area was pretty as well and passed by a few old mines:




The kids were happy to get out and stretch their legs next to the waterfall:


As we descended in elevation again, the Aspens really started to pop:






Once we popped out of the woods, we headed off to Boreas Pass to wander back towards Breckenridge for lunch. On the way there, we happened across this tiny snow plow:


Pressing on, we continued down the gravel road (with everyone else in the world it seemed) to see the sights:


 

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Discussion Starter #198
After grabbing something to eat in town, we decided to hit the Peak 10 trail before heading towards Silverthorne. This trail was kind of interesting as is starts out cutting through the parking lot of a ski lodge and following the lift up a good portion of the trail:


But the trail climbs quickly and turns pretty rocky once you get to the end of the lift:


It also gives you a nice view of Breckenridge as you climb:






At the top (about 13k feet) there is an old weather station with a decent view:






 

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Discussion Starter #199


We pointed the nose downhill:




And wandered our way back to Dillon for the sunset:
 
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