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Old 07-31-2013, 01:02 PM   #31
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Subscribed! Loved your last trip, loving this one as well as I'm sitting her at work. Your slackin though, you didn't pack any steaks this time
Patience grasshopper. I wasn't kidding you that I always pack emergency steaks and this time is no different.

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Old 07-31-2013, 01:29 PM   #32
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DAY 1

We woke up, ate some crappy continental "breakfast" which included some sad bagels and muffins, and went on our way. Our first stop was the Four Corners Monument. It is the only spot in the nation where 4 states intersect. This monument is on Navajo land, so of course that means it has a fee to enter, $3.

This area is very remote, so if you plan on visiting, make sure you have gas in your vehicle as well as water and snacks.



The monument itself was recently redone with granite and brass.



Surrounding the monument are stalls with the natives selling their stuff...some advice, don't go up to the stands if you don't intend on buying anything....they get kind of nasty when you say "no thank you, we're just looking." My wife almost swung at some teenager who was mouthing off to her. Now, a top travel tip. The above photo is what you are going to see. This place is not particularly pretty, particularty interesting, or IMHO, worth the time to travel all the way here (about 1.5 hours from anything else of significant interest)....I just want you to understand that the above photo is what you are going to see here. It's one of those places that you can say "I've been there" and cross it off the list....this and Mt. Rushmore, although at least Mt. Rushmore is technically impressive.

Leaving slightly annoyed, we left the Navajo lands and headed to our second stop of the day, which was the Mesa Verde National Park. This was an almost 2 hour drive so off we went. After driving for about an hour, I saw something in the distance. I saw a dirt road that didn't appear to be a driveway (it was marked with a state sign) and lead into the mountains...so I said what the hell...turned the wheel, and off we went...having no clue where this leads.

After driving on dirt/gravel for some time, we came across this place...



We had no idea what this was, it looked like no one has been there for years, but it was still a cool site to see.



A very Moab'y looking rock formation....

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Old 07-31-2013, 01:39 PM   #33
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I actually do, but my parents took our daughter down to Miami for 3 weeks, so I was kid free!!!
Doubleplusgood. Taking my daughters to Tampa this summer only added 7 hours to my drive time for bathroom breaks.

Great pics!
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:54 PM   #34
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After another hour of driving, we arrived at the Mesa Verde National Park.





Inside the visitor's center they had a few displays showcasing the terrain, the lifestyle, etc.









There is a real reason to stop here, you need to pick up tickets for the tours of the several cliff dwelling tours. They have several, but the one you want is the Cliff Palace. Those are the ruins you see in photos of the park. However, you need to get there early because the tours fill up fast. They take 50 people per group, and the earliest tour left was 5:00PM. Since it was only about 1PM, we figured we would go check out the park and kill time.



Driving through the park was a doddle, but there were great elevation changes. I'll discuss tips for elevation sickness later on for our sea level dwelling folks.



A lot of the driving we're cliffside roads with awesome views...


After over an hour of driving (roads are windy, park is HUGE and speed limit is low) we were starving. We decided to find a quiet picnic sport and set up shop.



Time to break out the emergency ribeyes...never leave home without em... (hope you're happy jeepinchester )




Always a nice morale booster to have a nice hot meal in the middle of nowhere, and not have to spend $17.50 on an order of chicken fingers at a sad park cafeteria. This little grill has been one of my best purchases for expedition travel, worth every penny.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:15 PM   #35
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Nothing to do with the thread, but damn...I want your front bumper!

Thread related: I'm moving from Phoenix, AZ to Denver, CO area in the next couple months, so I'm digging the pictures! Thanks for documenting this so well!
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:21 PM   #36
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:24 PM   #37
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Nothing to do with the thread, but damn...I want your front bumper!

Thread related: I'm moving from Phoenix, AZ to Denver, CO area in the next couple months, so I'm digging the pictures! Thanks for documenting this so well!
Only a true jeeper would look at that picture and choose to comment about the bumper, lol.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:28 PM   #38
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After lunch, it was about 3:45 so we headed towards the tour location. Right before the Cliffs, they had a little building called the museum, where they showcase the lives of the pueblo indians, the inhabitants of these lands.

Inside were a few cool dioramas,







And a number of interesting displays, showcasing their shoemaking, basket making, pottery, tools, medicines, etc.











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Old 07-31-2013, 02:29 PM   #39
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Im a sucker for paleontology and thought this was cool as hell


At this point it was time to start making our way towards the tour start point and wait for the ranger, but a storm was about to roll in...



Before we got in the jeep to head over to the tour, we realized there were some dwellings that we could check out without a tour, so we decided to do the short hike to take a look.







These dwellings were in natural alcoves, so they make excellent shelter from the elements and predators.



One of the many religious ceremony wells.


Now, off to the tour....it's a 10 minute drive, so off we went....

The area seemed to have been impacted by a wildfire a while back, so the landscape seemed to be slightly "silent hill" looking, but my god...look at the roads...I would have LOVED to have my s2000 here (along with many other places I'll be showing you later)....





Parked the Jeep, but before we can go to the tour, we were attacked by a wild animal...
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:47 PM   #40
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So we started the tour, and the ranger spent about 20 minutes talking to us about the environment, the people, etc, before we began. She warned some of the older people that there would be some very narrow squeezes, some ladder climbs, etc, and if they feel they can't cope they should turn around now. It would be nice if the ticket sales people offered this advice to people, rather than a ranger at the scene AFTER you already paid.

Example of one of the climbs...


Finally we got to the site of the dwelling...











It was interesting to see, but it wasn't that different from the free dwelling you can see near the museum. If you are interested to hear some of the details, I'd say the tour is worth it. If not, I think you can skip it. The tour kept going, but we had a long drive into Telluride, so we took the nearest exit and left.



Telluride is the start of the real adventure, and the real reason I wanted to come out here....for real Jeepin'. So, with 220 miles (long miles) to the town, off we went.

On the way out of the park, we saw some wild horses, not something you see everyday...being from NY anyway.

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Old 07-31-2013, 02:56 PM   #41
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After a LONG drive of almost 4 hours, we finally arrived to the foothills of Telluride...the scenery kept getting prettier and prettier...it was cool to see Moab style red rock mixed with the green vegetation.



On one section of road the speedlimit was 60mph, and a bird flew right in front of my grill...the impact killed him instantly and somehow he rolled up onto my hood.



Once again, the road made me wish I had my s2000 with me




Finally, we arrived to the proper rockies...the views were incredible....







Finally, after a long day, just as the sun was begging to set, we arrived in Telluride....





Since we didn't have any reservations anywhere and had no real plans, we needed a place to stay, so I hopped on hotwire and booked a room at a "4 star hotel"....after booking, I found out that it was The Hotel Telluride, which turned out to be a very nice boutique hotel, with every room having a balcony, a fridge, a microwave, a king bed, and a plasma.



After a LONG day, it was time to call it a night. Tomorrow would be another day, and the real adventure begins.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:04 PM   #42
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BaD ASS jEEP AND GREAT SHOTS MY FRIEND... Damn caps!

subscribed...
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:20 PM   #43
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Oh, forgot to mention, on my way to the Four Corners monument, I was passed by a Discount tire FJ and chase truck!

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Old 07-31-2013, 03:35 PM   #44
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What an awesome trip.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:41 PM   #45
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As I sit here at my desk at work and look at these great photos I wish I could retire right now and go on a similar trip with my 2014 Sport scheduled to arrive Monday.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:49 PM   #46
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Day 2

We woke up to the stunning beauty of Telluride...really a beautiful town. Well rested and eating a nice breakfast, it was time to head out for today's adventure. Today's fun was something I have been looking forward to all year. Those of you that remember my Moab thread will remember that I only did Moab because all the trails I wanted to run in Colorado were still closed in May. Granted, I'm glad I went to Moab, but I have been wanting to run Imogene pass since I learned about it. So, off we went.

Telluride mornings are beautiful. Clear skies, crisp air, amazing.



The beginning on the trail (it can be run both ways, but it's usually better to start in Telluride...the other end is Ouray, another amazing town) starts out in a communal driveway.



After the driveway, you are deep inside the forest, inside the tree line, and the bugs are biblical. Flies everwhere!!! After about a mile, you begin to gradually climb.



Imogene pass is the second highest drivable trail in Colorado. Monsquito pass is the first. Imogene tops out at 13,114 feet!

As you continue the climb, the shelf roads begin. There are parts of it where the tires will literally be inches from the edge (depending on your vehicle and axle stance)...for me it wasn't an issue, as I don't mind shelf roads, by the wife started to get nervous. If you are trying to ease someone into the Jeeping lifestyle, this is NOT the way to do it.



You can see how much room to have for error...and this is an "easy" section.


We arrived at a little pull off (passing is dangerous and often impossible on Imogene, so you must look and think ahead, otherwise backing up would really pucker up your butthole) which had the remains of an old small mine.







The climb continued, and we are now starting to get above the treeline.


There is no reset button...one wrong move, and it's game over.



As we got near the summit (11,500 feet or so) it became really rocky, steep, and narrow. At one point, I had to stop and help a guy on a BMW bike to turn around. I met him at the base, and he didn't realize how steep it was, and ended up smoking his clutch. He had a long way to go (he was doing a roadtrip to Oregon) and didn't want to kill it completely. He was unable to turn it around alone because everytime he tried, the bike kept tipping over. After helping him (man was he happy to see me) I finally made it up to the summit.





Coming from sea level, and since this was only our second day here, being at 13000+ft gave breathtaking a new meaning. Breathing was not an issue until I tried doing something. Lifting the camera bag made me breathe harder. Luckily I didn't have any other symptoms, like headaches, but we didn't linger here for too long. We had a rocky descent into Ouray ahead of us.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:53 PM   #47
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Quite the photographer you are.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:58 PM   #48
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Quite the photographer you are.
Thank you, I appreciate that.
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:13 PM   #49
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You're making work today a little more enjoyable.
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:15 PM   #50
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Thank you, I appreciate that.
Your pictures are amazing. What kind of camera do you use? And are you using any kind of photo software to process the images?
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:15 PM   #51
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gonna have to show the wife this thread and talk her into something similar. Awesome looking Jeep NFR and excellent road trip detailing/pics
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:18 PM   #52
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Oh man, we were in Ouray and Telluride (stayed in Telluride) last Wed-Sun. What a great time...will have to do at least one annual trip there from now on. Great pictures.
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:26 PM   #53
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Damn you! If "our" road trip couldn't get any better, you throw on some steaks(and yes, now I'm satisfied) and "we" do a Jeep trail. I tell ya, "we" are having a FANTASTIC time. This is the best vacation one could have behind a desk. Looking forward to "our" next adventure today, tomorrow.
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:36 PM   #54
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The climb to the top of imogene is rather mild. A good 4x4 with low range and a decent set of tires will get up there. There are some crazy tippy spots, and some very rocky spots, but a 4Runner that was trailing me had no real problems making it UP....down is another story...more on that later.

The route from Telluride to Ouray means that you climb up the easier side (the Telluride side) and descend down the Ouray side (more difficult and rocky)...doing the trip in reverse is of course possible, but ill advised. One of the major rules of these trails is (some exceptions apply, depending on circumstances) uphill traffic has the right of way.

The ascent starts with a rocky road, but nothing of note. Pictures unfortunately don't do the surface justice...it looks like a parking lot on the photos and videos, but I assure you, it isn't. I saw two other SUVs (a Tiguan and a Rav4) turn around after they popped their tires. The rocks are sharp!

So the start is fairly mild...


The shelf road begins at about 1.5 miles into the trail.


Passing is now much more difficult, especially if the other vehicle is less rugged and can't climb up on the bank.


Close to the edge...


After another mile or so, you come to a "tunnel"....obviously there is no room to pass, so someone needs to get out and check if any traffic is coming.


Whenever you are on a trail (or a road) with blind curves, it is always good practice to give an audible signal that "someone is coming" by beeping your horn twice.

Looking across the valley you can see the switchbacks of the infamous black bear pass.





More on blackbear pass later.

After a minor climb, the trail levels out for a bit, so you can catch a breather.


Once you get to the disused mine, it starts to get rocky and steeper again.


Coming up to the mine...


A few creeks flowing nearby, in case you want to wash up.


At some points, the trail gets rockier and tippy in spots. This is a mindscrew. Trust your vehicle and don't panic.


After another mile or so, you are above the treeline, and things start to get much more rocky.


Another 4000 feet left to go!
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:37 PM   #55
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There are many instances where you can't see the ground. If you don't have a spotter, sometimes hanging out the window to make sure your tires stay on the ground is a necessity.



Another mindscrew...




At a certain point, you will be completely above the vegetation line. I suspect this has something to do with the temps and the lack of oxygen, but Im not botanist.



Some more shelf road fun


The views are getting better and better....




Now completely above vegetation


Peeking over to the summit!
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:03 PM   #56
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Breathtaking indeed. Looks like I need to plan a trip to Colorado . Thanks for sharing NFRs2000NYC, keep it coming. Some fantastic pictures you have there. Looks like you had a blast
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:00 PM   #57
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Great thread. Can't wait for my trip there next year.

I'm still waiting for the Granite crystal color to be available before i get my 1st jeep. i know what options i want to come with the jeep but i don't know about driving mountain passes. Are you driving an automatic transmission? Are you ALWAYS in 4WD LO while ascending and descending these trails? Are you in 1st, 2nd, 3rd or do you just leave it in Drive while on these trails? I assume most people would put it in 4WD LO, and use the auto-shift and stay in 1st or 2nd gear. Yes? Thanks for including us in your adventures.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:05 PM   #58
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I'm still waiting for the Granite crystal color to be available before i get my 1st jeep. i know what options i want to come with the jeep but i don't know about driving mountain passes. Are you driving an automatic transmission? Are you ALWAYS in 4WD LO while ascending and descending these trails? Are you in 1st, 2nd, 3rd or do you just leave it in Drive while on these trails? I assume most people would put it in 4WD LO, and use the auto-shift and stay in 1st or 2nd gear. Yes? Thanks for including us in your adventures.
It depends. Climbing depends on elevation and grade. I was in 4HI for the first 2 miles or so, then switched to 4lo. You never leave 2nd on 4lo. Descending depends again. Certain spots I needed to use hill descent so I was in 4lo. You don't want to use your brakes on these trails if you don't have to. Overcooked brakes can spell disaster, and on trails like this, a fatal disaster. I use 4lo descending since the crawling is often enough to keep a slow and steady pace, especially with a rubicon.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:51 PM   #59
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Your pictures are amazing. What kind of camera do you use? And are you using any kind of photo software to process the images?
Thank you. My road trip camera gear includes a Canon 1DsMKIII, a Canon 70-200mm F2.8IS, a Canon 24-70 F2.8, and a Canon 16-35 F2.8, along with a Canon 580EXII flash unit. Processing is done depending on what Im using the images for, but I use Capture One, CS4, and Photomatix for HDR processing (although I didn't really need to use HDR for many images.)
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Old 07-31-2013, 11:31 PM   #60
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Now it was time to descend. The descent is mentally easier because you can see where you are going...climbing always puckers the cheeks because you often are looking at nothing but sky. There were a few oh sh!t spots where the wife grabbed the Jeep's "oh sh!t" bar and was REALLY nervous...so, down we go!



At first things weren't too bad. I have read that the Ouray side is worse than the Telluride side, but things "seemed" ok...at first....



Thankfully the Jeep has hill descent, which makes your life a LOT easier, letting you concentrate on other things. Things started to get tippy and off-camber.


After the first few switchbacks, I realized why they said the Ouray side was more difficult...it was a lot rockier, and the rocks are all loose...not something you want to feel/see on a shelf road!


Although the pics don't show it, this slope is about 35-40 degrees. The wife ran down to take this pic, but was unable to stop and literally slid on her a$$. I saw a few rigs (mostly rental Jeeps) riding their brakes for this descent. At the next pulloff, i had to tell them that if they want to live to see another day, to stop using their brakes and start using the low gear crawling and hill descent control.



Here is a short vid of me creeping down this slope.



This is where the length of the unlimited becomes detrimental...backing up isn't fun on these roads.



This is what you see when driving on a steep shelf road...



At this point, there was a ledge that required "plopping" down slowly. Remember the 4Runner I was talking about earlier? Well, I lingered up at the summit for a bit to snap a few shots, and he went down first. I finally caught up to him and saw his rear end dangling in the air. Looking at the situation closely, I realized he had gone down at an angle and his front bumper was buried in the dirt (similar to how clarkson bottomed out the range rover in the Bolivia challenge going down the gulley.) I hooked my winch up to his rear end and yanked him up. He was really glad to see me too. Unfortunately, I was so busy helping the guy that I forgot to take a video of it.

So, still descending the mountain, I saw that it was still a LONG way down. 13 miles never felt so long.



As you descend the mountain back into the vegetation, the wildflower bloom was incredible. All different colors, as far as the eye can see.








Pulled over for a few more snaps





Finally, after making it down to the tree line, we were almost home free, just a few minor water crossings to go through...


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