Summer Road Trip – Part 2 (Through the Sand Storm)

Quick recap …

We left San Carlos on Sunday, May 29th, and returned 5 weeks later on Sunday, July 3rd, with many free overnights at WalMart in between.

Day 1 – San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico, to Buckeye, AZ; 470 miles; Mexico Hwy 15 to US I-19 to I-10

Day 8 – Buckeye, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ; 178 miles; I-10 to I-17

Day 9 – Flagstaff, AZ to Telluride, CO; 338 miles; SR-89 to US 160 to CO-145

We pulled out of the WalMart parking lot early in the morning and headed for Colorado. After several hours, we were crossing the Arizona desert with over 60 mph winds. M. was working hard to keep the motorhome in our lane as we continued down the highway. Visibility was limited with all the red sand blowing furiously around us. That’s when it happened! M. looked in the passenger side mirror and noticed that our roll-up awning was flapping around, when it should have been cozily wrapped up in its protective cover. We found a place to pull over and M. carefully opened the door to check on the awning.

Sadly, there were two tears … one seemed irreparable. The awning had flopped up onto the roof, caught on the wind vane and tore it off, then ripped on the remaining metal rod. We spent at least an hour rolling up the awning in the raging sand. It was definitely one of our least pleasant road trip experiences! And yes, we’ll have to buy a new awning at some point.

We made it through Four Corners without too much more excitement. Though I must admit, Four Corners was quite, well, unsatisfying. There isn’t much to see, despite it being  the only point in the United States shared by four states – Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

Toward evening, we headed into the mountains of Colorado, passing through Dolores, CO. The brakes started to overheat after a couple hours of mountain driving. Not to mention that it was getting quite dark. M. wisely decided to stop for the night in the parking lot of a gas station and let the brakes cool off. I crawled into bed, exhausted from the long day. M. stayed up for awhile longer reading through the RV manual. By morning he was ready to conquer the rest of the mountain driving and had learned how to keep the brakes from overheating. The answer … not only using the jake brake, but also switching into the lower gear of the two speed rear axle!

Day 10 – Telluride, CO to Elizabeth, CO; 370 miles; CO-145 to SH-62 to US-550 to US-50 to I-25 to CO-86

Lunch in Gunnison, CO

We got another early start, eager to make it to Elizabeth to have dinner with our friends. We stopped for lunch in beautiful Gunnison at a large park near Western State College of Colorado.

40 miles east of Gunnison is Monarch Pass, peaking at 11,312 feet and located on the continental divide. We continued on, winding through the mountains. M. did an excellent job driving and kept the brakes from overheating by using the jake brake. What a lifesaver!

Monarch Pass

M. driving through Monarch Pass

So, we made it Elizabeth, CO, by dinner time. Another successful day of driving! 

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