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06-30-2011, 05:46 PM #1
IntrepidXpedition 2007 | The Beginning, Troubles Along the Way, Reaching Buena Vista
Day 0: The Beginning
Near the end of 2006 I had the idea to take a two week trip through Colorado, Utah and then into Wyoming & South Dakota staying off the pavement as much as I could. I decided to plan the trip for the end of July and early August so that all of the high passes in Colorado would be open. There was only one problem at this point.....I didn't have a Jeep capable of pulling off the trip. The Cherokee I had at the time, had become a rockcrawler and was no way capable of driving a couple thousand miles without being pulled on a trailer.....which is not what I wanted to do on this trip.
So, in Janurary of 2007, I bought a 2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport that I would be building up for this trip. At the time, I had been working a part-time job to pay off some bills. I was planning on quitting, but realized I needed to keep working that job for a while if I wanted to get the new Jeep built up in time. With each paycheck from my second job, I would buy new parts for the buildup of the Jeep. They were accumulating in the garage since I had no time to work on it with two jobs. A few weeks before the trip, I finally had everything I needed to begin the build, so I quit my second job and got to working on the Jeep just about every evening and weekend.
Here's a few select photos from the build....
The day I bought it.
Lots of parts waiting to be installed.
Started tearing it apart.
Gears & Lockers...
A nice pattern on my new gears.
Fresh coat of paint after cleaning and welding on my new axle
There were plenty of late nights spent working in the garage.
First day out after putting it back together.
I managed to finish the buildup of the Jeep just over a week before I was going to leave on this trip. Looking back, I can't believe I cut this so close before taking this Jeep on a 5000+ mile road trip across the country. I had no time to really test out and make sure everything on the Jeep was working properly, aside from driving it to and from work a few days before I left. I guess that's all part of the adventure?
Day 1: Lots of Driving...
Day 2: The day that almost wasn't! | July 20, 2007
Why was it almost not? Well, when I got close to the Nebraska border on my way to Colorado, not only was my Jeep running very warm and almost overheating, but my transmission wasn't shifting properly.......
I decided to stop and get dinner at a Country Kitchen and then turn around and head home. Luckily after dinner I scanned my check engine codes and was able to clear the light causing the shifting problem to go away. Then I decided to make it to Denver by morning in order to fix the overheating problem. During the night I was able to drive with no issues since it was cool out, but as soon as it warmed up, I had to turn the heat on to keep the vehicle cool enough. I ended up only sleeping 1.5 hours that night, making it to Denver by 9am and replacing my whole cooling system (with a big help from Mark over on NAXJA) by around 3pm. I was still able to stop at Sonic for dinner and make it to the trailhead for Sevenmile Road (Fourmile Area) at Trout Creek Pass by 5pm so I could run a trail or two and still keep on schedule! Sevenmile Road is an alternate off-highway route to Buena Vista instead of taking US 285 the entire way. There are also a lot of great camping opportunities in this area and a lot of other trails to explore.
What a day! Here's some pictures from day 2.
Fixing my Jeep in Denver
Stopped along Sevenmile Road
The winding Sevenmile Road
Cabin along the way
After reaching Buena Vista, I thought it might be a good idea to head up to Mount Princeton. Unfortunately, as I got closer, some bad weather started rolling in.
Made it to the trailhead and started up anyways....but as the weather got worse and it got darker out, I ended up turning around to get my camp setup for the night.
I will have to return another time to complete that trail and hike to the top.
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