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Thanks again to the Utah Cobra Club for putting this together. I know it's an overstatement to say "Thank You" but I know how much work needs to be done to do this. We had a total of 9 Cobra's, a BMW M3, Porshce and Subaru along for the trip. Great time with some hickups, but that's expected. Again, "Thank You" from both of us and we look forward to more adventures. Also a big thanks for NO RAIN on this trip. Our first without precipitation! Just a LOT of HOT weather!
Off on another adventure to meet up with the Utah Cobra Club to visit the southwestern corner of Colorado. At the time of this update (June 23rd), the Cobra is painted! Wow! A few days to spare before we head east. Yippee! We're on our way to Colorado on the 25th. As my body guy would say, "that's hot rodding 101"! I'm trying out some paint protection for the trip. Everyone raves about it and it's water soluble so it won't hurt the paint. It's applied by a small roller and goes on easy. It's suppose to come off easy so I'll know in a few days. You can read about it here: Road Warrior Plus.
This will be another drive through Nevada along Highway 50 "The Loneliest Road in America", also part of the Lincoln Highway, with a planned stop in Eureka, NV for the night. From there it will be on to Grand Junction, Colorado to meet the group the following day. Then it's on to Dolores, Durango and Delta, before we head southwest for a planned stop at the Grand Canyon in Arizona before heading home. Jeanne's never seen the Grand Canyon so as long as we're there, we plan to do the "one day get your feet wet visit".
Welcome to Highway 50, the Loneliest Road in America. This highway crosses Central Nevada through the Great Basin, a unique area because no water leaves the basin. Rivers begin, run, and go underground. They may resurface once in awhile but soon return underground.
The route Highway 50 follows has been a pathway for travel for centuries. The Native Americans followed migrating herds of deer, antelope, and other game across Central Nevada. Early explorers crossing Nevada included John Fremont and Jedediah Smith. The Overland Stage later followed Smith’s route; then the Pony Express took this route, and finally, the transcontinental telegraph came over this area. On July 1, 1913, the Lincoln Highway Association was organized at Detroit, Michigan with the objective: “To procure the establishment of a continuous improved highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, open to lawful traffic of all descriptions without toll charges and to be a lasting memorial to Abraham Lincoln.” (Lincoln Highway Association brochure) The Lincoln Highway was the first coast-to-coast highway, running from New York City to San Francisco. Dwight Eisenhower backed the idea as a young lieutenant colonel in the Army trying to move troops across the country. When he became President of the United States, he promoted the Interstate highway system.
Today, highways take travelers across the country in comfort. Reading journal accounts of pioneers crossing Nevada to get to the west coast, one can really appreciate travel conditions today.
The mountain ranges of Nevada run north to south with valleys between. This is known as Basin and Range formation in the High Desert. This makes Central and Eastern Nevada a one-of-a-kind place. As you travel, take time to enjoy the open spaces, abundant wildlife, unique plants, and friendly communities. A narrated CD of the area has been developed and can be found in the local chamber of commerce or tourism offices.
The towns along Highway 50 each offer points of interest, museums, historical buildings and sites, special events, a variety of services and interesting shops. Visitors can rest assured that all the necessities can be found along the route. However, it is a long way between places. The wise traveler knows it is best to carry extra water and warm clothing because this is mostly high desert; conditions and temperatures can change quickly. Travel with your gas tank filled. Watch for wild life including deer, elk, coyote, rabbits, birds, cows, horses, and other critters. This is open range country so any of these may be on the road ways, especially at night. Enjoy your trip through Nevada and plan enough time to enjoy all the attractions along the way.
I'm allowing two full days to get to Colorado with a stop in Nevada and we'll be checking email so if you'd like to drop a line, do so here: firstname.lastname@example.org or, you can email Jeanne at: email@example.com However, this route can change at the last minute.
Weather will be another unknown, but we've got used to that traveling in an open top car, so we'll just get prepared again. Car cover, umbrella, hats and layers or clothing should help keep us dry. And, as a benefit, I'm taking my friend Reno's "weather window" (although now I'm not sure we're going to need it)!
A few places that the Utah group has planned are: Gateway Auto Museum, Circle K Ranch, Four Corners Monument, Mesa Verde National Park, Durango Train Station and a drive along the Million-Dollar-Highway on our way to Delta before we leave for our drive home the following day.
After spending the last night with the Utah group in Delta, we plan on heading southwest stopping in Moenkopi, AZ for the night before heading to the Grand Canyon for a day, then on to Needles, CA for the night and finally home.
Up early and left the house just before 5am. Stopped in Jackson, CA for breakfast and then over Hwy88, Hwy395 and finally Hwy50 on our way to Colorado. We had good weather and no rain! Temps in the upper 80's and low 90's but tolerable to drive. Cool neck ties and frozen water bottles gave us plenty of liquidity across the Nevada desert. We pulled into Eureka, NV around 3:30pm, checked in the Gold Country Inn and then went up the street to the Owl Club Bar and Steakhouse for a simple dinner. Now just ready to shower and crash for the night. Drove about 525mi. today and tomorrow will be about the same. Long days for sure.
Great weather over Hwy88
Looking ahead on Hwy 50 out of Fallon, NV.
Looking behind on Hwy 50 out of Fallon, NV.
Coming into Austin, NV.
Just outside Eureka, NV
Out front of the Owl Steakhouse, Eureka, NV.
Stopped before heading down into the Great Basin for a cool morning sunrise shot. It was definitely cool in the early hours. We felt the temperature change every time we went over a pass and then back down to the desert floor. Jeanne hasn't used her heated blanket yet.
Not much other than driving and staying cool. We used our neck coolers and drank ice water we packed. We stopped in Salina, UT for breakfast at 9:45am then got on I70 for the push to Grand Junction. Good thing speed limit was 80mph! Once we crossed the state line to Colorado, it dropped to 75mph. I did pass a couple of State Troopers in the median (I'm sure they had their radar active) but was confident in my cruise setting because it matched the Garmin GPS signal. :)
As of this writing, none of the others have shown up at the hotel and it's 97deg outside right now at 4:00pm. Hot in an open top car. Another couple (Tim and Becky) from So. California showed up in their "towed" Cobra. They're doing a loop trip and will be returning here next Friday night along with others from Utah. We'll be off to the Grand Canyon that day.
I also coated the front of the car with some Road Warrior Plus film and it is living up to the reviews so far.
Sunrise over the Great Basin
Sunrise and Cobra
Jeanne staying warm (it was 50deg).
Speed Limit on I70 in Utah (80 mph)
Road Warrior Plus film doing it's job too!
After an early dinner last night, we got a good nights and well deserved rest. Up at 5am MDT and just getting things ready for the day. I think we're doing about 150 total miles today, so this will be a sprint for us. :) Making several stops including the Gateway Auto Museum.
We finally got moving from the hotel around 9:30am and if I'd have known what kind of day it was going to be, we should've left at 7am!
First stop was Colorado National Monument and it was very interesting. Lots of rock formations and the movie that told about the millions of years to create really makes you stop and think about life. I found out the next day that a solo driver drove off the road near the Coke Oven Caves to his death. This "rim road" is nothing to take for granted. A few photo stops later and long slow drive out of the park finally got us on our way toward Gateway and the Gateway Auto Museum.
One would never expect to find this oasis in the middle of "nowhere". Once we arrived we decided to have lunch. Good thing we did...I'll explain. It was already 1:30pm by the time we arrived and then had lunch and did a tour of the Gateway Auto Museum. We started checking time and it was three hours to the Circle K Ranch, which meant a 5:30pm arrival. By the time we got going it was close to 3:00pm, meaning a 6pm arrival with no other stops.
After getting back on the road, we stopped (again) at the overlook to The Hanging Flume along the Dolores and San Miguel River's in Colorado. What an engineering project of it's time and ultimate failure. My question is: "What were they thinking?" Our consensus was, they weren't.
On the way, Doug's car vapor locked a couple of times and we stopped for gas and to make sure he was able to continue in Nurita, CO. He was able to make a 'band aid' fix the next morning. From there it was looking like a 7pm arrival no matter how we looked at it. Combine that with road work and fresh oil and gravel and it slowed it down a bit more. Some of us got stuck at the light change and Jim and us got through and arrived at 7:30pm. Our original plan was to drive into Telluride, but given the time constraints, we opted out. So, Jeanne and I will have to pick another time to make that visit. Dinner was done for the night at the Circle K Ranch, so some chose to drive back to Rico (10 mi) and we just snacked on our stuff we brought. Finally got to be around 9pm. Long day but beautiful country.
"The Culprit", Larry and Shirley (not a culprit)
Colorado National Monument
In the mind of Larry...duh!
Group shot at overlook
Gateway Auto Museum stop
1953 Corvette, resemblance to Olds 88?
Driving along Hwy 141
What's left of "The Hanging Flume"
Driving above 8,000 feet on Hwy 145
Lizard Head Pass, 10,000 ft
Circle K Ranch accommodations
Jeanne at the Circle K Ranch
Doug making the "band aid" repair to his fuel problem.
Up early, we had a good breakfast at the lodge room and then some had registered for the horseback ride so we just relaxed for the morning while they had their ride. The plan will be to head towards Dolores for lunch, then on to Mesa Verde National Park and then on to Durango for the night. We all opted not to go to Four Corners and that's OK with us because we'll be passing by it on the way to the Grand Canyon in a few days.
Well best laid plans don't always work out. Today was no different. It seems someone forgot to find out how long it takes to get to Mesa Verde and with some doing the horseback ride, the others (like us) waited for them so we could leave. That was noon! By the time we got to Cortez, the group had already split up and left several of us behind. We connected with a few others fueling up and the plan was to meet in the Mesa Verde visitor parking area. When we got there, nobody else from the group was there. I found out it was a one hour drive into the park and being 2pm, we opted not to go. Very disappointing for us to travel this far and not see a site. Oh well, another trip will need to be planned.
After returning from the Visitor Center Information desk, I found out the group went into Cortez for lunch, so we turned back and met them there. I wasn't happy but didn't make a big deal of the mishap, but instead said it would've been nice to know who was going on the horseback ride so the rest of the group, if they wanted, could've gone on to Mesa Verde National Park, and then all met in Durango, CO at the end of the day. Planning is everything, even in a small group. Some actually did get into the park and were able to view ruins from the turnouts. In order to really see the sites, you need to get a guided reservation. So, next time we visit the area, we'll do that.After lunch, Roy, Arlene, Larry, Shirley and us took our time getting to Durango for the night and I invited them to dine across the street for some pizza and talk about the issues we're having over dinner. We dined at Home Slice Pizza, suggested by the hotel desk clerk Austin, so we strolled across the street for an early dinner. This is one of the best pizza's I've had and recommend a stop here when you're in Durango, CO if you have a craving for pizza. The next few days are planned for us so there won't be any mishap unless we cause our own. Hopefully all will go well.
We're up early for our 8am train ride to Silverton, CO on the Durango Train Station and then back to the cars in Durango, CO for the drive to Delta. Wow! No time to dilly dally today or you miss your ride. Everyone decide (except Larry) to go to the depot and grab a breakfast at Mickey "D's'" (Golden Arches) so we'd have plenty of time to relax before boarding the train.
We left the station about 8:03am for our three and one-half hour train ride to Silverton, CO. Scenery is very nice and peaceful with the Animas River flowing closely all the way there. We had freedom to roam the train so I took advantage and moved about getting a few good pictures along with others in our group. We all got seated in the same covered coach. After experiencing a train ride in Virginia City, NV, I knew we should be in a covered car. This was the furthest from the engine (#3) and the closer you got to the "coal burning engine" in an open car, the more you're apt to get "coal spots" on your clothes. Just something to remember when planning a train ride.
Once we got to Silverton, we had about 20min. to do a bathroom break and get on the bus to take us back to Durango. Too bad we couldn't spend more time there roaming the town. The bus ride was 1 1/2 hours back along the "Million Dollar Highway" and we were going to be driving back up that same road on our way to Delta, once back at the station. The section of Hwy550, that skirts the western edge of the Rocky Mountains, is full of spectacular scenery, sheer cliffs, tight turns, sweeping turns and just plain ole good road. This is a definite must do if you're ever in Colorado.
Everyone fueled up for the drive to Delta. I led the way and was just interested in stopping at the Molas Pass overlook, which has a height of 10, 910 feet. We had some good open road to really let the cars run without having to really push. Very nice roads and the temperature was perfect for a drive. Once we stopped for our "photo shoot", we headed back on the road past Silverton through more "Million Dollar Highway" road and the views were tremendous. High peaks and low valleys with almost vertical walls made for a wonderful afternoon drive. My highlight was driving through Ouray, CO when everyone seated at any outdoor restaurant and people coming out of stores seemed to stop and watch us all parade through town. I always knew these cars were magnets.
After another long day of driving, we stopped at Mark's friend, Jim in Montrose, COMontrose, CO that helped plan some of the trip features we visited. After stopping by his house, and Jim getting a "ride", we drove into town and all had dinner at a very good Mexican dinner at MI Mexico. After that, I led our group to the Rodeway Inn in Delta. By the time I got in bed it was 10:30pm. No pre-sleep at all, but tired. Larry got NO points for today. In fact, he lost more than he originally had :)
Durango Train Station
Our group on the train
Train on the bend
Another train, oh wait, it's ours
Glenn & Jeanne
Train taking on the second of two water stops
Our group at the Molas Pass lookout, 10,910 feet
Bud & Barb during discussion
Actually they just took a "selfie"
Jeanne and the Cobra at Molas Pass
The sign of things to come
Open road at 10,000 feet
Today, Jeanne and I broke from the group and headed toward the Grand Canyon. Our planned stop is Moenkopi, AZ before heading into the park in the morning. We left around 4:50am.
I did some route checking and found that we'd be coming back down part of the San Juan Skyway we drove a few days earlier, and that we'd be passing by Telluride, which we didn't get to stop by a few days earlier. We headed back down Hwy50 to Ridgway and then Hwy62 (very nice drive) and connected to Hwy145, then a short drive to Telluride and drove through town, parked and got a bite to eat for breakfast. The drive was about an hour and one-half. Very cute town, but talking to the locals, not the same once "big money" came in. Ah, the sign of progress. After that it was on down the San Juan Skyway to Cortez and then a stop at Four Corners Monument.By 10am, we arrived at Four Corners Monument and I can now take this off my bucket list. Always wanted to go and see it, so now it's done. It is on Indian Reservation land so there's no "free pass". We spent about 45min. just looking around and then had others take our picture in 4 states at once. This is definitely a tourist trap and full of trinket vendors selling stuff. I went back to my car to get my hat and a visitor said "this car is better than the monument". Well maybe not as relevant, but surely better. Once satisfied with the stop, it was on to Moenkopi for the night. One thing I forgot was the time change. I thought ALL of AZ didn't do DST, but it seems that Moenkopi is on the Hopi Reservation and across the street (Hwy160) is one hour later and is the Navajo Reservation. We just had a bite to eat and waited in the lobby until check-in time.
Early morning (6am) going over Hwy62
The little town of Telluride, CO
Toward Lizard Head and Sheep Mountain on Hwy145
Here we are, 4 states at once!
OMG! What can I say. It is HOT, HOT, HOT!!!
Our morning started about 4:30am with a nice drive to the Grand Canyon along Hwy160, Hwy89 and Hwy64 through the Desert View Entrance. Sunrise was beautiful and the air was crisp, knowing that in a few hours it would be another 30 degrees hotter, we enjoyed the ride and views as we drove toward the South Rim village. Our first stop was the Desert View Watchtower for Jeanne's first official view of the Grand Canyon. From there, we headed toward the village. We had breakfast at the Market Plaza cafeteria and then spent time checking out the Visitor Center and Mather Point, then on the shuttle bus to El Tovar Hotel and Bright Angel Trailhead for more views before taking the shuttle back to the Visitor Center. Views are definitely breathtaking and just seem "unreal" as if someone just painted a mural in front of you. Incredible geological formations!
After leaving the Grand Canyon we stopped in Tusayan, AZ (just outside the park) for an early dinner at the Yippee-Ei-O! Steakhouse, which is nothing fancy, but food was good. Knowing we would be driving through triple digit temperatures once we hit the Kingman, AZ area, we thought it best to eat now and when we check in the hotel at Needles, CA we don't have to go anywhere. Good thinking on our part. :)
Part of my plan was to drive a section of Route 66 from Seligman, AZ to Needles, CA, but that will be on the "burner" so to speak for another time. It was just too damn hot to continue in this heat without more protection. Maybe I can figure out a cool suit or something other than a top to keep from getting overheated. At least the car didn't, it stayed at a constant 185 - 190 degrees in the heat.I find it very interesting to see the landscape change so drastically from a forested plains to nothing in a matter of minutes. After getting on the I40 toward Needles, all was well until we came upon a big rig "flip and slide" that must have happened just minutes before we arrived. We had to sit (in 100+ temps) about 15 minutes before getting to pass by. The umbrella came in handy once again. From the looks of the accident, the truck was East bound and flipped and slid across the median and onto both West bound lanes ending up on it's side. Not sure what really happened but my guess was wind shear. Within 10 miles we came upon another incident, but this time it was just a median grass fire. No stopping so we could easily pass by. With another two hours to go, it was time to keep cool, literally. Our last stop was Kingman, AZ for fuel and back on the road. We arrived in Needles, CA around 5:30pm and 110 degree heat.
Desert Sunrise along Hwy160 in AZ.
Desert View Entrance
Grand Canyon National Park
View of the Watchtower
Jeanne taking in the view.
We finally made it!
Panorama view of Grand Canyon
We also found a shady spot. :)
Another rim view
Traffic delay due to roll over.
Truck was Eastbound and ended up Westbound!
Debris trail on Westbound lanes.
Our plan was to leave for home early. The only thing was it was earlier than I expected. After getting about six hours of sleep (for me) Jeanne was up at 1:30am and said, lets go. Oakey doakey! So, I packed up the car and we hit the road around 2:30am. Oh, it was...wait for it....95 degrees! Yep, got in the car, fueled up and hit the road in a tee shirt.
After a couple of hours driving the temperature dipped a bit (73 deg.) across the Mojave Desert so I put on my long sleeve tee and kept going. We stopped in Tehachapi, CA for breakfast around 7am and then it was just another five hours to home. The final drive home was cool enough to be comfortable, and after 2700 miles, six states, no car problems, NO RAIN (of any kind), we finally arrived home at 11:30am.
Now we wrap up another adventure in the Cobra. We will do another road trip, but if we do, we'll most likely trailer to the destination and do a loop trip from that point. I have to give my wife Jeanne "big points" for being a real trooper and going on my adventures. I know both of us do enjoy the drive, but the getting "to and from" is the hardest.
NOTE: I was trying a couple of products on this trip. One was a brake-dust-repellent and the other was a paint protection product. I can say that both did their job pretty good. The brake dust product is ArmorAll Outlast and the paint protection is Road Warrior Plus.
The Road Warrior Plus did a pretty good job keeping the "softer" harmless items from making a mess of the paint, but rocks are no match. I was very pleased with the front end not getting really dinged up due to road debris. However, the front of the rear wheel wells got blasted, but maybe not as much as without the protection. I will be repainting both sides this winter and then allowing it to gas-off and then install some 3M type clear bra protection. Not unhappy, just bummed.
The ArmorAll Outlast did a FANTASTIC job! It kept almost ALL of the brake dust off the wheels after 2700 miles. My brakes are Carbotech Brake Compounds using XP10 up front and XP8 on rear. These pads do DUST a lot and I was overwhelmed by the lack of dust after driving that far. I'm a true believer in the product and will continue to use it during my open track days as well.
Just before removing film.
Removing film with regular hose pressure.
Just after removing film, nice and clean.
Shot of front wheels after 2700 mile trip