**Rather than becoming a portable road block with cars, trucks, campers, bicycles, skateboards and strollers lined up behind us as we climb the 3 passes between Durango and Ouray, Storm and I decide to go 40 miles out of our way on what appears to be a flat straight ribbon of asphalt to Cortez via the Gypsum Basin on CO 141. If you are new to this post or have forgotten how traumatic high mountain pass crossings have been for me in the past, please refer to these past posts: Death Valley, Vail Pass, Vail Pass Return.
As the safety of Montose with its repair shops and wide road shoulders recedes into the distance, problems slam into our tranquil departure. What is up with our suspension? Each tiny divot in the road radiates into body slamming convulsions for us. Once again cab centered chaos ensues as we “discuss” what to do. Storm finally agrees to just pull off and reset the coach to travel mode. That does the trick (proving once again the the KISS option should always be the first problem solving choice) and we are once again smoothly gliding along.
Storm and I have done our best to find a way to Mesa Verde that will be as pleasant and scenic as possible. But road maps and travel apps (no matter what kind and how many I buy) don’t tell the whole story. Because we hate always taking interstates and they are not always an option, maybe I need a trip simulator app that will let me virtually travel a road to be sure it is wide enough, not too steep, scenic, moderately straight and not dirt(!) before we commit to a route.
For instance, on our trip out of Montrose I go to great lengths to select a route not too circuitous and lacking any high passes. What the map failed to impart was that although the highest pass pictured on the map was 6100 ft, there was actually a climb to 7200 ft. before we turned onto US 491. Not a huge elevation change unless you consider that the climb is straight up and when we began climbing we did not know when it would end. The RV revolted immediately and the engine temp skyrocketed in the first mile of what seemed to be an endless series of vertical switchbacks on a narrow shoulderless road with no where to pull over and cool off. I immediately set my cabin heat to furnace blast hot and began searching for spare suction cups in case I needed to don my spider man undies (sans mask) and take a terrifying walk down the side of the coach to open the engine hatch and let more air in. Fortunately it did not come to that, but it was close. Lesson learned – it is not how high the RV climbs, it is how fast AND how high. Plus like me if it has to climb at high altitude, it really needs a rest along the way to cool off and catch its breathe.
What we loved about this road was the unique look of the scenery in the basin and the total lack of traffic. No matter how slow we travelled, we darn sure weren’t holding anyone else up. The road was crater free and although there were some curves even on CO 145 from Ridgeway to CO 141, there was nothing Storm could not easily maneuver. Our RV GPS did squawk the CO 141 was NOT a recreational vehicle approved road (it was a truck route for goodness sake) but we know not to listen to her as compared to her cautiousness, I look like RV Evil Kneivel.
**Before you read this post please note that we are in a remote park with no cell, Internet or TV. I drove to a laundromat to get on wireless to create this post on an IPad. Please excuse errors as I prefer to edit on my giant computer screen (that I can actually see) and may have missed a goof or two)