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Well, we had our little 'rally' yesterday, and we had a great time.

Those joining us were RvDUB, Sockdaddy (from VWVortex), Kev (from Club Touareg), and myself.

We met up in Confier, CO at 8:30. We got a late start from there because I needed to find an auto parts store that carried power steering that met VW's requirements (I'll start a different thread about that :rolleyes: ).

Our entire climb up to our starting area, Weston Pass, was filled with color filling entire hill sides in some areas. We started up Weston Pass, and once again the hill sides came alive with color. The east side was very easy, if not VERY dusty.


We stopped at the top to let the dogs out and chat. Both Sockdaddy and Kev had never done any four wheeling, or even taken the vehicle off of the road. They were LOVING this.

We started down the other side of the pass, and high clearance was required, but no need for low range. Bright golden aspens made golden tunnels to drive though, and the bright clear blue sky made for some amazing contrast.


Next, we headed into Leadville for some lunch. After sitting for 20 minutes at our table waiting for our waitress to our order (she never did), we moved on to another cafe down the way that had our food out to us in 10 minutes, tops.

After lunch, we did the usual 'show and tell' and did some good ol' fashioned tire kicking for about half an hour before heading out. We took US24 towards Minturn, out past Ski Cooper and turned in at Camp Hale.

A note about Camp Hale. It was the training home for the 10th Mountain division during WWII with the purpose of training for Alpine and Mountain warfare and survival. All that is left now are the crumbling foundations of the barracks and other buildings, some old, crumbling railroad ties, and a largely intact brick sewer system. The remaining roads have retained their original names, such as D Road, and Hospital Road.

A picture of Camp Hale in the 40's


Lined up at the Barracks area


Finding the trail proved to bit a bit difficult. I had GPS coordinates of the start of the trail, and we could see the trail, but we could not figure out how to get there at first. We started our climb up McCallister Gulch, and let me tell you , it was a climb, STRAIGHT UP.


With the added rocks in a few places, we managed to get Sockdaddy and Kev’s hearts pounding. Kev even got sideways at one point after he lost traction climbing a steep section (yes, locking the center diff would have helped). We continued to climb, only to find it got steeper yet. There were several sections that got near a 40 degree straight up climb. We continued up until we found a big “It ain’t gonna budge” oil pan, diff splitting rock in the middle of the trail. It would not have been a big deal if it had not been placed directly in the middle, had sharp side panel eating rocks on either side, and had deep holes your wheels would fall into right when you straddled the rock.


OK, that picture does not look too bad, but also keep in mind that this obsticle was on about a 35 degree slope hill. I was hard to walk down it with out falling flat on your butt. There was also a LOT a loose dirt that made getting traction very difficult.

Even after filling the holes with rocks, I (lightly) bottomed out in Offroad level. Bumped it up to Xtra level, but I could not get ANY traction heading straight up with the center diff locked. Since neither Sockdaddy no Kev had air of rear diff locks, I was trying to make it over without using anything on my vehicle they did not have. It quickly became obvious that I could probably make it with my rear diff and Xtra level suspension setting, but nobody else would be able to follow me up.



Much to everyone’s relief, I turned around. A jeep with a big lift came down and procedded to hit both diff housings, so we made the right choice to abandon our attempt. After backing down a 30 degree or more slope, and we headed back down. It was steep enough that the hill decent assist (yes, it does work from time to time) kicked in, only to kick off at very in-oppurtune moments. 45 minutes later, we were back down at Camp Hale and we detoured to Red Cliff and Shrine Pass.


Shrine pass was very dusty, and we caught it as the light we starting to fade. At times, I could not see the vehicle in front of me, despite his taillights. At one point, we did pass a brand new V8 Touareg come from the opposite direction. He had a curious yet giddy look on his face after all four of us passed him, covered in white dust, and me with my spare tire on the roof. He must have thought that we were on an expedition.



Shrine Pass exited onto Vail Pass and we jumped onto I-70. We stopped in Frisco for a cup of coffee, then we hit the road back to Denver. Kev followed me to my house so I could VAG his touareg. Another happy customer!

All in all, we had a great time, and it was great to meet more Colorado Touaregers. I hope to do it again soon, but I think the snow we are supposed to get this week will put damper on that.

The entire set of pictures are here: Colorado Colors Cruise Pictures
 

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Aircooled, very jealous of your expidition. I too am a virgin 4wd'er and am yet to undertake such a trip. I also dont have air shocks or rear diff so may be a bit limited in where I can go, but I cant wait!
 
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