After Conquering a Mountain….I’ve Returned
We’ve taken a bit of a break but I’m here to tell you The Cranks are back. I mean, if we weren’t back I wouldn’t be typing this right? As my comrade has suggested….I went on a long trip this summer. “Trip” is likely an understatement. I embarked on a voyage. A voyage to a land of beer, beards, and badassery. The plan was to drive from Dallas Texas all the way to Silverton Colorado. From there we’d hit Telluride and then Durango. Round trip would be about 2,200 miles. And we were ready. The Tacoma just had an oil change and a fresh 3″ lift installed by yours truly and some friends. In addition to that I had GPS and a gorgeous copilot. Pretty solid plan if you ask me.
Epic Voyage = Epic Pictures
I went toColoradofor a couple of reasons….
1) It was 110 degrees in Dallas
2) It was 80 degrees in Silverton.
4) Mountain passes.
Modern day roads go around the rocky mountains and wind their way up to the other side. This makes for a very LONG trip but the incline isn’t much of a problem. Back in the day they didn’t have the ability to create roads like this. Plus, traveling by way of oxen was quite slow. Break a wagon wheel and lose 5 days. It’s because of this they created mountain passes. Very direct routes through the mountains. Many of these began as mining roads. Now they exist for those of us who can identify with Frost and enjoy the road less traveled.
Enter at your own risk.
Opphir Pass starts near Silverton off Highway 550. You literally drive off the edge of the road and into the trees. As things start to go up you begin to realize that the path is just slightly wider than your vehicle. Then the hard realization hits you: The pass is a two way road and mere inches separate you and a 1500ft cliff of death…..cute. Keep going after you hit Ophir and you’ll wind up in Telluride where you can take Imogene Pass over to Ourray.
That red circle is a Tacoma on the edge of a cliff…
For those who aren’t familiar with this kind of driving there’s a few things you need to realize. First of which, the altitude makes you breathe hard and it does the same to your vehicle. Forget about your overdrive gear because you’ll never use it. You’ll be down on power and you’ll need the gearing to keep climbing. Speaking of gearing, you’ll need to use your lower gears for decent control or you’ll cook your breaks.
Coming around the mountain when we come…
But the reward is substantial. If you make it to the top you’re king of the mountain. You can look out for miles and survey all that nature has to offer. Go ahead, look down on the world. Take it all in. Then, when you’ve had enough, drive down the other side and hit up the Ourray Brewery because you’ve earned it.