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Old 10-03-2008, 06:45 AM   #1
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McBeast goes to Boulder, CO 2008

It is T plus 14 hours and we just woke up in a Cotton Field between Lubbock and Amarillo....... more later
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Old 10-06-2008, 07:18 PM   #2
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So this trip started on a Thursday afternoon after the Middle School let out for the day. The family packed up and we headed north.

Since the 12 yr old (Ches) was going to be out of school on Friday he decided to do some extra-credit work. There were two types of extra credit... 1. Digital photos of the word "TEXAS" and 2. Photos of Texas Flags other than those on a flag pole.

One of our first stops was an Historical Marker north of Austin in the Hill Country. As we turned to go back to leave the rest stop look what we saw...



This is one of those photos that tell you that God must be a Longhorn.
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2008 Ford 6.0PSD EB/E-PH SMB 4X4 Aluminess f/r bumpers (13.5mpg avg, 15mpg hwy) 52k miles [Texas McBeast]
2006 Toyota Prius (48 to 68 mpg) 120k miles [Penelope]
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (15 to 18 mpg) [Johnnie]
2012 Mitsubishi MiEV (no gas required) ($.50/day in electricity) [Evie]
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Old 10-06-2008, 07:54 PM   #3
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Day One :

We drove from Austin and intended to drive as far as we could North into the Texas Panhandle.

We drove North on US183 and then cut West on IH20. At about Sweetwater we turned North again. Shortly after we headed North we topped a hill and suddenly we saw red lights floating well above the ground. The lights were at different heights and stretched from horizon to horizon. As we drove the lights seemed to change relative position. There were hundreds of these lights and they seemed to be hovering over what had to be hundreds of miles. The lights seemed to move and sometimes even flash.

We did not take a photo because it was dark and the lights were so far away, but we wished we had had a video camera. That might have done them justice.

...they turned out to be the the warning lights on hundreds and hundreds of electricity generating wind turbines.

This has to be the highest concentration of these things on the planet. We did not really understand the magnitude until the return trip. They really do stretch from horizon to horizon all around Dumas and Sweetwater.

After solving that mystery we kept driving north. We refueled and then we left the highway in New Deal, TX, to find a boondocking spot.
It was dark but we had our Delorme map software; we used it to locate what looked like a low population area. A half mile or so off the highway on dirt roads we found a field we could back into.

It was quiet and pleasant if a little cool overnight.

The sun came up looking similar to how it had gone down the previous night...



and then it was back on the road to head further North...

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2008 Ford 6.0PSD EB/E-PH SMB 4X4 Aluminess f/r bumpers (13.5mpg avg, 15mpg hwy) 52k miles [Texas McBeast]
2006 Toyota Prius (48 to 68 mpg) 120k miles [Penelope]
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (15 to 18 mpg) [Johnnie]
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Old 10-06-2008, 08:35 PM   #4
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Day Two :

We headed north from New Deal with a plan to go through Amarillo and then head for Texline and the wonderfully smelling Clayton, NM. From there we would find IH25 and head north through Colorado Springs and Denver to Boulder.

On the way out of Texas we found that place where everyone like to be.... The Happy place....



After Happy and Texline we found New Mexico... we were finally leaving the Republic of Texas.



We enjoyed the drive through New Mexico,... well, except for the feed lot areas....
...and next thing we knew we were heading into Colorado. There was a really nice sign where we entered Colorado on IH25, but it was on us before we knew it and it was going to be a pain to get back to, so we will just use this pic from when we left Colorado a couple of days later !



We saw some lovely traffic between Colorado Springs and the North side of Denver.
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2008 Ford 6.0PSD EB/E-PH SMB 4X4 Aluminess f/r bumpers (13.5mpg avg, 15mpg hwy) 52k miles [Texas McBeast]
2006 Toyota Prius (48 to 68 mpg) 120k miles [Penelope]
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (15 to 18 mpg) [Johnnie]
2012 Mitsubishi MiEV (no gas required) ($.50/day in electricity) [Evie]
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:38 AM   #5
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Day Two part two:

When we finally got through the traffic and made it to Boulder, we had to pull out the instructions on how to get to Caribou west of town.

Our Nuvi ook us right allong the edge of the CU campus where they must have just had a homecoming game pep rally. Our aux horn got some use as we made our way through. There was plenty of burnt orange present as well; more than we expected.

Caribou is a well hidden area, but the nav systems took us straight there.



We did get to use some of the lights on the way up. There was no real terrain issue on the way to where we camped. It did get dark before we found where to stop.



The spot we decided on was what looked like a turnaround spot on a track that was just wide enough for McBeast. ...and directly across the road was the Caribou Silver Mine mine-shaft.



One vehicle went by just as we were backing in to the spot, and then we did not hear or see anyone until mid morning the next day.
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2008 Ford 6.0PSD EB/E-PH SMB 4X4 Aluminess f/r bumpers (13.5mpg avg, 15mpg hwy) 52k miles [Texas McBeast]
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2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (15 to 18 mpg) [Johnnie]
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Old 10-10-2008, 07:51 PM   #6
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Night Two:

The weather was great, crisp and cool and dry, so I decided after the other two had gone to sleep that I would try and get some night shots.







The idea was to get some of the night sky along with McBeast, and the tripod helped, but I still have some work to do.

During the night I woke up a little chilly. I peeked below at our new replacement indoor/outdoor thermostat; it said the outside temp had dropped into the mid 30s and the van was down to 51F. SInce there were a number of hours left before morning I decided we should fire up the diesel furnace that we had installed earlier in the week.

(the furnace had been on our order and build sheet originally, but had somehow been left off the shop paperwork. We had paid for it, and decided not to hold up delivery; we woul djust get it installed later)

I fired up the furnace and heat started flowing into the van... and then there was an error code. uh oh. Then I remembered that we were down below a quarter tank on the fuel guage. I slipped on another layer of clothes, and went to the back of the van to grab a jerry can of diesel. After adding it to van's tank I tried the heater again. It cycled once and gave me the error again. The net time through it cranked right up and started heating the van nicely. Within no time we were up above 60F.

Before morning the outside temp had dropped to 31F, but the van stayed nice and toasty.

We were at almost 10k feet (9979ft) and the altitude compensation module for the furnace worked great.
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2008 Ford 6.0PSD EB/E-PH SMB 4X4 Aluminess f/r bumpers (13.5mpg avg, 15mpg hwy) 52k miles [Texas McBeast]
2006 Toyota Prius (48 to 68 mpg) 120k miles [Penelope]
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (15 to 18 mpg) [Johnnie]
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:36 PM   #7
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Day Three :

We had no idea how nice a spot we had stopped in until we peeked out the window as the sun was coming up.



It turns out we had backed into a turnout that was on the edge of a mine tailing heap that looked out over a beatiful valley surrounded by mountains. (after driving the area later in the day there was not another spot we saw where we would have rather camped)









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2008 Ford 6.0PSD EB/E-PH SMB 4X4 Aluminess f/r bumpers (13.5mpg avg, 15mpg hwy) 52k miles [Texas McBeast]
2006 Toyota Prius (48 to 68 mpg) 120k miles [Penelope]
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (15 to 18 mpg) [Johnnie]
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:45 PM   #8
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The abandoned mine shaft was right across the trail from us. It was well secured, and very tempting. If we had been staying for longer, I might have had to find a way in....





We could see back into the struture a few dozen feet, but that was still in the structure and not int the hillside.
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2006 Toyota Prius (48 to 68 mpg) 120k miles [Penelope]
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (15 to 18 mpg) [Johnnie]
2012 Mitsubishi MiEV (no gas required) ($.50/day in electricity) [Evie]
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:10 PM   #9
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Before breakfast we hiked and explored the area on foot. A very pretty spot indeed.

About the time we returned to the van for breakfast we started seeing some walkers and runners coming through on the trail.







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2008 Ford 6.0PSD EB/E-PH SMB 4X4 Aluminess f/r bumpers (13.5mpg avg, 15mpg hwy) 52k miles [Texas McBeast]
2006 Toyota Prius (48 to 68 mpg) 120k miles [Penelope]
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (15 to 18 mpg) [Johnnie]
2012 Mitsubishi MiEV (no gas required) ($.50/day in electricity) [Evie]
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:59 PM   #10
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After breakfast it was time for McBeast to get its first real offroad work.

from the spot where we had stopped for the night the trail narrowed and became rougher. It was narrow enough and rough enough that the Wife was a little unsettled.

It was at this point that we wished we had a video camera. With me driving the Wife was using the camera. A first she had a hard time worrying about photos, but later she exited the van and she felt much better at that point !







She exited the van about the same time that the van came out of the trees at higher altitude.































































We started out through the trees in 2WD, and wanted to see how far we could go that way. The trail was riddle with big rocks sticking out tof the ground. We finally got to a point where we felt like we needed a little more "umph". We locked the hubs and put it in 4WD. From that point on there was plenting of power and no problems. We were careful and went over the rocks slowly. We did not airdown. The van seemed very nimble.

I never worried about ground clearance.
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2008 Ford 6.0PSD EB/E-PH SMB 4X4 Aluminess f/r bumpers (13.5mpg avg, 15mpg hwy) 52k miles [Texas McBeast]
2006 Toyota Prius (48 to 68 mpg) 120k miles [Penelope]
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (15 to 18 mpg) [Johnnie]
2012 Mitsubishi MiEV (no gas required) ($.50/day in electricity) [Evie]
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