So there I was, an overheating engine on one hand and an overheating Storm on the other. After successfully running his own shop for years, Storm has no patience for what he perceives as disorganized service. They took that clamp off 2 days ago and are just now telling us they need help finding a replacement?? They are supposed to put it all back together tomorrow!
All sightseeing ceases as we devote ourselves to making sure there are no more hiccups in the reassembly of our cooling system. Our dedication pays off as around 2pm on Friday we test drive the repairs and return to the shop with no embarrassing puddles spreading under the coach. After checking to be sure that we have everything back in ride mode and properly stowed, we merge onto I-70 headed to the other side of Denver.
Did I mention that our drive on I-70 toward Denver takes us across Vail Pass and Loveland pass. Vail is 10,662′ and Loveland is 11,990′. For those keeping score, we almost spontaneously com-busted trying to surmount very low summits in Death Valley. We can’t remember the highest elevation we reached there, but at one point we were below sea level. We temporarily forget our mountain climbing concerns as we enter Glenwood Canyon and find ourselves on the most scenic road we have ever ridden (and this is an interstate!). On one side the raging Colorado River with whitewater thrashing and exploding beside us and on the other side, the eastbound lane of I-70 is a suspended ribbon through the rugged mountains. I almost forgot how terrified I was that we were going to meltdown on the 1o mile 7-8% grade coming up.
We normally don’t like to be on the road after dark, but we chose to leave Grand Junction drive through the night counting on the lower night temps, the repairs to our cooling system and Storm’s expert use of the transmission cooling (high RPM’s equal lower torque and a cooler engine) to get us over that pass. Not sure which helped more (temps were 64 over Vail as opposed to 105 at Death Valley), but like a giant mountain climbing tortoise we made it over both passes AND we made it through the interminably long Eisenhower Tunnel (1.7 miles all uphill).
Traffic through Denver was a breeze at 11pm – we definitely avoided the rush hour although the swerving drunks were a challenge. Storm and I are ready to rest and finding a place to stop is getting critical. “OK Google – find a Wal-mart near me.” Three calls to upcoming Wal-marts and no luck. I politely asked if we may park in their lots and am politely told that if we do the city police will ticket us because towns in Colorado do not allow overnight parking. There goes plan A, now we are down to truck stops or rest stops. Just across the Wyoming line, a gleaming new and roomy rest stop beckons. As soon as Storm nestles us between two big rigs and applies the brakes, we are in the sack… what a week (and a half)!