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eastsidemav SuperDork
5/27/16 5:52 p.m.

Hope you had a good trip - I'll have to get some Colorado opinions from you for my trip next year.

EvanB UltimaDork
5/28/16 1:30 p.m.

I thought I took a ton of pictures at the time but looking through them they seem to be lacking. That is usually how it goes with me. Here is the full report.

TLDR; Average trip that didn't go quite as planned.

Day 1 (5/19): Columbus, OH to Little Rock, AR
Left Columbus around 8am, drove south to Nashville then headed west to Memphis and Little Rock. I stopped in Little Rock around 8:30 local time and continued on for about 60 miles toward Texas before sleeping in the back of the Montero at a rest stop for the night. Long day of interstate driving, no pictures.

Day 2: Little Rock, AR to Mineral Wells, TX
Woke up around 6:30 at the rest area in AR and hit the road. First stop was Hope, AR for coffee and breakfast at McDonalds. I saw the signs for the Bill Clinton childhood home and decided to check it out. The Saab Sonett parked at the house next door was much more exciting.

I enjoyed the interstate through AR, the pavement was smooth and the trees lining the road are a nice change from the open fields of the midwest I am used to.

Heading into Texas I call my parents who are taking the train from Sandusky, OH to the wedding. They were scheduled to be in at 2pm Friday but a breakdown in Illinois and waiting for a replacement engine meant they wouldn't be in until around 7. The rental car agency in Fort Worth they had a reservation at closed at 6pm so they would be stuck an hour East of the wedding. I got into Fort Worth around 11:30 and went to pick up the rental car for them. It wasn't going to be ready until 2pm so I had some time to kill downtown. It seems like a nice enough area but with a lot of fancy chain restaurants and stores nothing much for me to do. I picked up the rental at 2 and parked it in the lot by the train station for them to pick up.

Continued to Mineral Wells west of Fort Worth and checked into the hotel.

Day 3

The wedding was at 4:30pm at the bride's family farm north of Mineral Wells. I had some time to kill so I took the CT90 off the Montero and set off to explore some back roads. I had ridden it for a few hours previously but only off-road, never any extended road miles. After about 15 miles of back roads I pulled to the side of the road to decide where to go next. As I came to a stop the engine died. It started back up again after a few kicks but would bog and die at low RPM. I just revved it up and took off in the general direction of the hotel figuring it would be ok. At the next stop sign I was off the back roads and at the intersection of a major highway. The engine died again as I was coming to a stop and this time it wouldn't start. I figured the charging system wasn't working since I had the headlight on and the battery voltage was just too low to have decent spark. I called my parents and got a ride back to the hotel to pick up the Montero and rescue the bike.

After checking the battery the voltage was 6.5, should be plenty for it to start (6v system) but I charged it up anyway. No change, it had good spark before and after charging. I decided to deal with it later.

EvanB UltimaDork
5/28/16 1:49 p.m.

Day 4&5 Mineral Wells, TX to Albuquerque, NM

Sunday I left Mineral Wells around 8am and headed toward Albuquerque on the back routes. The farm roads from Mineral Wells through Lubbock were fantastic. Slightly hilly and winding with 75mph speed limits on smooth pavement. I continued on into NM and hit some terrible concrete pavement on 60 from Clovis to Fort Sumner. The expansion joints were placed perfectly to make the CT90 on the back shake constantly. After Fort Sumner I headed north on 84 (with much better pavement) to meet up with 40 West and the final stretch into Albuquerque.

Monday morning I wanted to get the CT90 running in preparation for Colorado. I checked the charge on the battery and it was still good. Still had good spark. The plug looked damp and smelled of fuel so I figured it was getting fuel but went to the parts store for some starting fluid just in case. Spraying the starting fluid directly into the carb didn't get any results. The compression felt low kicking it over but I couldn't remember if it had always felt like that. The compression gauge my granddad had would not fit the CT90 head, the threads were too large. I tried a loaner one from Auto Zone but that was the same story. Pressing my finger over the spark plug hole and kicking the engine over barely generated enough pressure to feel. At this point I decided to give up on it and just save money for a rental in Silverton.

I visited with my grandparents for the rest of the day and left on Tuesday morning.

I think this picture is 84 North heading to 40 in New Mexico.

EvanB UltimaDork
5/28/16 2:18 p.m.

Day 6 Albuquerque to Silverton, CO

I left my grandparent's house around 9am on Tuesday. Heading out of town I got on 550 north that would take me all the way to Silverton. It was a fantastic road and the weather was beautiful. Hardly any traffic and interesting scenery made the miles fly by.

Just south of Cuba I suddenly started hearing a louder droning than before. I figured it was the pavement changing and just tire noise. Then I noticed that it changed with throttle position, must be an exhaust leak. I pulled into Cuba and at low speeds through town it was obvious that it had no muffling. I pulled over and took a look underneath. The exhaust had separated right at the flange heading into the muffler. The noise wasn't too bad while cruising so I continued on to Bloomfield about 60ish miles north.

I asked at the local Napa where the closest muffler shop would be. The only option was in Farmington about 15 miles west. I took a quick detour and stopped a the first option, Mister Muffler. They said I would need a new muffler and they couldn't get me in until tomorrow.

The next option was Farmington Muffler down the road. I pulled up and they put the Montero on the lift immediately to check it out. The guy there at the time said he couldn't weld it but his muffler guy would be back in about 20 minutes and he might be able to do it. I went for a short walk around the area and when I came back the Montero was off the lift and they had welded the exhaust back to the muffler. $50 cash later and I was on my way with a quiet exhaust again, definitely a benefit going over the mountain passes.

North of Farmington I started to see the mountains. Durango was only an hour away and it was still early despite the delay with the exhaust.

Forgetting that SKA Brewing, my favorite Colorado beer, is in Durango I passed through and headed onto Silverton. That brought me over my first mountain pass of the day. I forget the name but I believe the elevation was around 11k feet.

I continued into Silverton and arrived around 3:30pm. After checking out the ATV/Motorcycle rental options and getting an opinion for camping I decided to head over the pass to Ouray.

After that I headed back to the recommended campsite near Silverton and chose one of the dispersed camping sites to set up. The campsite was named Bear, thankfully I did not see any while I was there.

It was a cold night even with a sleeping bag and some blankets. I did get some sleep and was up around 7 the next morning to rent an ATV.

Toyman01 MegaDork
5/28/16 9:45 p.m.

Nice! I'm jealous.

EvanB UltimaDork
5/28/16 10:19 p.m.

The remainder will be posted tomorrow.

EvanB UltimaDork
5/29/16 9:30 p.m.

Day 7

I woke up around 7 on Wednesday. I was out of cell phone service since Durango and last I checked the weather was supposed to be sunny in Denver on Thursday and storms on Friday. I decided to just rent an ATV for a half day and head to Denver Wednesday afternoon to get a motorcycle and ride Pikes Peak on Thursday.

The first place I went to was supposed to open at 8am but there was noone there. After waiting about 10 minutes I went to another rental place down the street. He didn't officially open until 9 but the door was open and he gave me a 4 hour rental starting at 9 even though I took off around 8:20.

The first stop was the Animas Fork mining site before trying Engineer pass.

After stopping for a bit I attempted the first pass of the day, Engineer pass. I was told that it may be passable but there was still a lot of snow. It started out clear but with lots of snow along the trail. As I got higher the trail was snowy and icy. Finally near what seemed to be close to the top I found a county truck in the road. After that the snow was much deeper and I decided to turn back. I later found out it was the truck for the worker clearing the snow from the pass so I probably would not have made it much further anyway.

EvanB UltimaDork
5/29/16 9:39 p.m.

After heading back down Engineer pass the next one was Cinnamon pass. It was in the same area and I figured about the same condition so I skipped it and headed for the lower, warmer area.

I saw an old car across the valley and tried to get closer to see what it was but it was private property.

Heading back toward Silverton I saw a few jeeps running together, only one other ATV.

The last pass I wanted to try was Stoney pass. It started out much more clear and dry than Engineer pass I was hoping to make it all the way to the top but nearly there I met up the the guy clearing the snow from the top. It was still blocked by a few feet of snow so I couldn't make it all the way.

Heading back down.

Out of the snowy section.

After some more time riding the lower roads it was time to return the ATV and hit the road for Denver.

I was glad I went for the ATV instead of renting a dirt bike. Wrestling someone elses bike up those passes while trying to take in the scenery would not have been fun.

Toyman01 MegaDork
5/30/16 7:00 a.m.

That is some beautiful country. Some day, SanFord, the Samurai, and I are going to wander around there for a couple of months.

What a great trip.

EvanB UltimaDork
5/30/16 10:25 a.m.

In reply to Toyman01:

It is definitely a beautiful area. Next time I am going to be more prepared and have more time to spend there. Preferably in summer when there isn't so much snow on the passes.

EvanB UltimaDork
5/30/16 10:47 a.m.

Days 8+

After leaving Silverton I headed north on 550 then took 50 east to 285 north toward Denver. It was about 5 hours and a beautiful drive.

On 285 north I thought I spotted Toyman until I noticed the bus wasn't green. Crawling up a small grade at about 20mph with the hazards on. Crown Supercoach apparently, wonder if he made it to the mountain pass further up the road.

I got into Denver shortly after 8pm and booked a hotel downtown through priceline. It was near the motorcycle rental place so I figured I could get up early and rent a bike to take up Pikes Peak. After I got settled in I checked the weather and severe thunderstorms were forecasted for Thursday afternoon so I scrapped that plan. I ended up leaving Denver around noon on Thursday to get ahead of the storm and headed through Kansas.

Saw this bus from a distance that appeared to be keeping up with traffic. It made sense when I started to pass...

I made it all the way through Kansas, chasing a storm for about 100 miles until I finally caught the tail end. After Topeka the rain picked up and I was about ready to call it a day.

I missed the hotels at the first exit for Kansas City thinking there should be some more coming up soon. By this time the rain was so heavy there was standing water in spots on the freeway and I put it into 4wd for some stability with the nearly bald tires.

I pulled off at the next exit to check my GPS for nearby hotels, it turned out to be a residential neighborhood in what didn't look to be the best part of town. I turned around to head back to the highway and the Montero started cutting out with anything over a tiny amount of throttle. I limped it to a parking lot next to the highway and shut it off, hoping I didn't have to get out in the downpour to see what was wrong. After about 5 minutes and finding the closest hotel 20 minutes away I started it back up and it ran fine.

After the night in a hotel in Independence, MO the last day was just a long interstate slog home. Arriving in Columbus around 7pm Friday.

Overall I went around 3600 miles in a $400 Montero. The CT90 was unfortunately dead weight for most of the trip. I checked compression yesterday and it took about 15 kicks for it to register on the gauge, only building up to about 15psi.

I spent $410 in gas for the trip, averaging around 20mpg.

Overall it was enjoyable. Some parts could have been better but it was more fun than a week at work.

Toyman01 MegaDork
5/30/16 12:05 p.m.

Awesome!! Thanks for sharing.

stan UltraDork
5/31/16 7:49 a.m.

Cool trip, Evan!

I bet you're glad you didn't do the $500-bike thing considering the weather you dealt with. (the quad looked much more fun anyway). Too bad about missing Pikes Peak though.

Next time you go will be even better after you have this experience under your belt.

IndyJoe Dork
5/31/16 12:24 p.m.

Wow! What a cool adventure. I really love that part of Colorado (285 corridor area)

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
5/31/16 12:33 p.m.

Too bad about the CT90, maybe time for an oversized Chinese engine? If someone were planning a trip through the areas you covered, which would you give the thumbs up vs. thumbs down?

EvanB UltimaDork
5/31/16 3:09 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ wrote: Too bad about the CT90, maybe time for an oversized Chinese engine? If someone were planning a trip through the areas you covered, which would you give the thumbs up vs. thumbs down?

The larger Lifan engine was the plan all along, I was just hoping to get a little more use out of the stock engine before replacing it. Now I just need to decide on 125 semi auto to keep a similar feel to the bike or 140cc manual clutch.

The whole Colorado area from 550 through 50 and 285 was awesome. That is the part I was really wishing I had a motorcycle. It was above 50 every day even over the passes but got cold at night.

I liked Silverton more than Ouray (larger and more touristy) but the real attraction for me is the mountains around them rather than anything in the towns.

550 north of Albuquerque was nice but I wouldn't go out of my way for it, only as a route to something else.

Huge thumbs down for Kansas, I hate driving through every time. Next time I'll take an extra few hundred miles and head further north through South Dakota since I have always wanted to try that.

EvanB UltimaDork
5/31/16 3:11 p.m.
stan wrote: I bet you're glad you didn't do the $500-bike thing considering the weather you dealt with. (the quad looked much more fun anyway). Too bad about missing Pikes Peak though.

The $500 would have been fun for everything except for Kansas in the rain although that could be planned around for the most part.

I would like to take a motorcycle next time but it will be better planned out and likely not $500.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
5/31/16 3:19 p.m.

Manual clutch, because CT90 wheelies

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