Day Fourtytwo
Day Fourtytwo

Gunnison, CO to Durango, CO
July 24th, 2004

High Point of the Day....
Low Point of the Day......
Brian - Being all McGuyver with the dead battery
Theresa - Colorado!
Brian & Theresa - The twenty minutes or so before Brian got all McGuyver with the dead battery
Miles Traveled Today
Total Miles Traveled
Miles Theresa Drove
0 (3207 total)
Sunny, overcast, in the 60's(!)
Price of Gas 
(average per gallon)
Night's Lodging
Where this Page was Uploaded
Cows, deer, porcupine
Durango KOA
Cortez, CO

Daily Didactic
The day began in the lovely climate of sunny Gunnison. We packed up camp and hit town for a coffee shop and a little internet. After breakfast, we drove a few blocks up to look at the nice little campus of Western State College and then headed west toward Montrose. The drive was very nice, nice road, great scenery, perfect weather. As we got closer to Montrose, thunderstorms formed on the horizon and the brakes (that we had looked at in Boulder) got as loud as we have heard them yet. They have been making that high screeching sound that brakes make when pads are worn, but only intermittently. On the outskirts of Montrose we saw a Midas with three bays, one car inside, and two guys standing there. We were obviously being presented with an opportunity for a second opinion. The father and son team were very pleasant in the same way all of the Missourians around Iantha were. The problem, turns out, is with the front calipers not releasing fully. It goes without saying that there are no calipers for a 1977 VW bus in Montrose, but with our problem being too much brake and not too little we can put off the repair until the Northwest. The rest of the safety check, bearings, rear brake drums, etc. was all good, so we aimed directly at the next steep and windy road we could find.

Heading south on 550, we drove through the incredibly picturesque towns of Ouray and Silverton as we wound our way up and over Red Mountain and Molas passes. The drive from Ouray to Bear Pass is now officially Brian's favorite road, very steep, very windy, no shoulder or guardrail, catastrophic drop offs, and a 15 to 20 mph speed limit. Theresa still prefers the slightly less nail biting "Road To The Sun" in Glacier National Park. So, as we finally scooted into Durango, we had long since written off that battery light as a loose wire. As we came to a stop at the first intersection and the radio uncerimonously turned itself off, we began to wonder. As we came to an emphatic halt in the closest parking lot (Albertsons) we could find, it became clear that Brian's reading of the battery charger last night was errant. As we sat there and strategized, actually using the "T" word for the first time on the trip, Brian had a brainstorm.

Okay, try to follow along here, because this is pretty fun. We carry an RV battery that we use for electricity when we are at "dry" sites, like many state campgrounds, in a self designed enclosure Brian calls "The Box of Power". It has a converter that lets us power normal 110 volt stuff, like lamps and chargers. The RV battery looks just like a car battery, but we weren't sure whether a deep cycle RV/Marine battery would power the bus without damaging something. So...we plugged the battery charger we carry to recharge The Box of Power when we need to into The Box of Power itself, and then hooked that charger up the bus' dead battery through the engine access hatch behind the pullout bench seat. The bus powered up and got us to the closest KOA, where we confirmed the alternator appears to be dead, began recharging the bus battery, had a bite to eat, and called it a night.

Daily Pictures (Slide Show)

Morning in sunny Gunnison Public art in front of Western State College
The Studio Theater building at Western We like Gunnison's choice of font
Main street Gunnison Clouds over the desert on the way to Montrose
Dillon Spires An odd theme for an RV park
Wall art in downtown Ouray The road up Red Mountain Pass. Steep, windy, and no guardrails.
Snow in late July, feels like home... Red Mountain
Theresa, studying mine reclamation Old mine building
Theresa and the bus The road down the other side of Red Mountain Pass
Downtown Silverton Theresa lets the secret of the ''driver shot'' out of the bag
Wild sunflowers We eat in!

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