Colorado Expedition: All Part of the Adventure

Day 3 we woke up to a clear beautiful morning. The Rooftest with couple blankets kept Nadine and I warm. Lambo didn’t mind the blanket, but then I woke up with Lambo by our feet.

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Breakfast consisted of Branden’s aeropress coffee, and hotpot leftovers. By 8am it was feeling the warm sun rays, which meant it was time to pack up. Till, the GX battery died.

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Mike left his refrigerator on overnight, and drained the battery. Thankfully my rig had the recovery gear and tool box. We used my jumper cables, and jumped the GX with my other friends Tacoma, who’s name is also Mike haha.

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After 5mins charging, the GX cranked, but wasn’t starting. We didn’t hear the fuel pump priming. Mike with the GX apologized to the whole group but it was fine. We all had car troubles in the past and know what its like to be in that situation. We are just glad that the GX broke down with everybody here has the tools and knowledge to work on cars.

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The campsite was roughly 40miles away from Durango, CO. Lucky, camp was higher in the mountains, and had reception. Just one bar and thats better then nothing. The ladies helped out by calling various auto part stores in Durango. The guys proceeded to work on the fuel pump. To removed the fuel pump, you have access it though the back seat and disconnect the connections. Then you have drop the fuel tank to removed the pump. Mike with the GX wasn’t going to drop the fuel tank. Instead he used my wire cutters and made a big enough hole to access the fuel pump the from the top. What a G, and I think all of us would have done the same given the situation.

With the fuel pump out, we want to make sure 100% it was the pump and not the wiring. Branden all brought his tool box which had spare wires. We wired up the fuel pump to Mike, with the Tacoma’s, battery. Sure enough, the pump did turn on and fuel wasn’t spraying. Thankfully around that time, the ladies was able to get a fuel pump. The thing was it wont be available till tomorrow morning.

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With that news, we decided to stay anther night at camp. It was 11am, and we want to make the most of the day. We couldn’t get the GX running till tomorrow. Mike’s with the GX decided to replace his brake pads since it was on the low side. Cathy found a dirt road named Lime Creek Road (another famous road name in Austin,Tx) that lead to a hiking trailhead.

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Mike’s family stayed behind while the rest went back on the road to do some off-roading and hiking. The route took us though Durango, CO and was nice small modern town. Ryan and his parents decided to stay in Durango and explore the city. The rest us continued to drive though the Million Dollar Highway and lead us to Lime Creek Road. The sign says 4×4 high clearance recommend. Whenever you see that, they mean it. The road started off easy, but the higher we climb, the more rough and rocky it got.

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We drove about 1hr into the trail till we arrived at the trailhead. Then Mike, crawling slow, told us he didn’t have brakes. Sure enough, we noticed the driver front rim was wet and brake fluid spewing from the line. This just happened right when we arrived at the trailhead. I’m guessing a rock damaged the line.

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One of the scariest feeling is stepping on the brakes the vehicle doesn’t stop. I didn’t have my tools because I left it camp for other Mike to use. Luckily Branden brought his. Mike and Adelyn couldn’t do the trailhead hike with the brake issue. It was about 2pm, and we still had time to hike. Mike and Adelyn decided it would be best to drive back down in to the Lime Creek entrance and park there. At least Mike can call around and find the brake line for the Tacoma while we hiked.

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You might be asking how can you go down a hill with no brakes. I’ve been in a situation where I lost brakes and couldn’t stop. There is a way, and I’ve used this method too. You put your rig in 4 low and stay in 1st gear. This changes the gear ratio to a crawling speed, 5mph and below. You can only do this if you have 4 wheel drive with low range.

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With Mike and Adelyn heading back to the entrance, the rest of us went to hike 3 miles into this beautiful lake. I was worried Lambo might struggle. Surprisingly Lambo loved it, and mountain lake at the end of the trail. I later found out it was Potato Lake Trail.

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The scenery was soo nice, and you notice the temperature drop by the lake. This was melted snow water from the winter months. Lambo went for a quick dip in the cold water. He loved being up in the mountains. We took a little snack break and then headed back to the trailhead.

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It started to rain on the hike back momentarily, and sun poked though. By the time we got to the trailhead it was 5pm. We drove back down, and Branden had enough cell reception to receive a call from Mike. He was able to buy a brake line, but the issue was by the time was arrive at the trail entrance the dealership would be closed.

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Sometimes things happen for a reason. Right after that call, Branden saw on the group chat Ryan was still in Durango, CO and was going to head back to base camp. Branden called Ryan, and was able to pick up the brake line with some other supplies. This saved us couple hours. Ryan was a lifesaver.

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We arrived at the trail entrance and waited for Ryan. We got to work by prepping up the Tacoma for the brake line change. I conveniently brought my cooler and had some cold brews while waiting. Shortly after, Ryan came and we where able to get the Tacoma brakes working in no time.

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By the time this was all done it was 7:30pm and sun was starting to set. Mike with the GX radioed to us he was making some noodle stir fry and will be ready when we get back.

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When arrived at the trail it was already dark. Night trail runs are fun and completely different experience. Ryan’s yelled LED fog light pierced though the dusty road.

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We arrived back at camp with food all ready. I quickly set up our Roofnest tent which was getting easier to set up. I could probably do it in less then 5mins now. We had dinner and talked about our adventure in the campfire till we had no more firewood.

Today was an adventure and this is also why we planed the trip loosely. Because sometimes things doesn’t go according to plan. You adjust to the situation. We missed out on another camping site, but just to have good friends around, even when problems arise is something I’ll always be thankful for. Stay tuned for day 4.

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