First off, welcome to August. Now that we took care of that, get a nice warm cup of coffee, a bagel and something comfortable to sit in and get ready to read.
This weekend we went to Westcliffe, CO to stay with some friends and their families. As well as do some horseback riding and 4wheeling as mention in my previous entry. We headed down Friday night and got in around 9pm, ate some dinner and stayed up late drinking beer.
Saturday we were set to go horseback riding down on a ranch that Stu helps out at. We first stopped at Jim’s parents house to pick up Karen and the horse JW (John Wayne). Got him trailered up and we headed down to the ranch. Once at the ranch we realized the horses were not corraled or saddled so we had our work cut out for us. Stu, Renee, Karen and myself all had a hand in rounding up three horses, Rojo, Pinto and Champ. JW was already sadled and just needed his bridal so he was pretty much ready to go.
Rojo is kind of like a dog so he was easy to corral and loves all the attention. The other two kept running around like mad. It was pretty difficult to get them into the first corral and even harder to get them intot he smaller one.
Once they were all corraled it was time to attempt to bridal them. That wasn’t going to well then the ranch hands that were supposed to have done this finally showed up. They bridaled and saddled the horses in no time. It was pretty entertaining considering we were stumbling over ourselves.
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So now the horses are saddled and bridaled and raring to go. We all mounted up and Renee and I hadn’t ridden in about 15 years so we did some practicing around the front of the ranch. Both Renee and I were having som real difficulties controlling the horses as they were pretty wild after all the morning excitement and are a little bit more accustomed to experienced riders.
A fe minutes into the ride we both realized this was a bad idea as neither of us had much control of our horses. So back we went. The horses are very good and very well trained, but our lack of riding experience made it uncomfortable for us which translates in to an unsafe riding experience.
We sent Stu and Karen out riding while Renee and I took the truck and drove around the perimiter of the ranch.
After allw as said and done we headed back and took showers then headed to the Cosby’s ranch for a cookout. Everyone was there, the Cosby’s, Jim, Karen, Stu, Mike, Sasha, Patrick, Renee and myself. Stu’s parents showed up a little later.
Everyone had a great time and ate too much. Jim and the others had ridden the crestone trail while we attempted horseback riding.
Now we get to Sunday. Sunday was the big 4wheeling mountain bikin Sand Duning day. We got a late start which should have been a sign of things to come. We met in town after getting a bite to eat at Hungry Mountain (formerly Breakfast Hut) and headed out. It is about a 20 minute drive from Westcliffe to the access road for Medano Pass (21.5 miles).
We headed up with full vehicles, 6 mountain bikes and 8 people.
Everything went smoot until our first water crossing. The water was pretty deep, up to about my front bumper. I went in and througha little quick and when we came out the other side the scout just quit. This was just the beginning of my problems.
We popped the hood and figured she took in too much water and needed to dry out. The water seemed to short something and cut all my power and made it seem like my battery was dead. We were very un prepared for stuff like this and had to scrounge for some tools. Stu took over and got the battery cable off the terminal and Mike had a file so we filed the clamp and the terminal and re-attached it. Scout fired right up but ran horribly. Then it died, I was wable to start it up again and sputtered out some water and ran much better, but still was sputtering and not running right. All this took us about an hour and everyone but me ate some lunch.
Onward we go as we head through more great water crossings and onto the Sand Dunes. Keep in mind most of the downhill to the Dunes was ridden by Mike, Sasha, Patrick, Stu and Karen.
Once at the Dunes the scout was still running rough so Figured maybe it was a little flooded from trying to start it earlier and it just needed to sit for a little while. We all wanted to have some fun at the Dunes anyway so it was a good opportunity. Unfortunately I was beat already by this point and hung back, took some pictures and enjoyed the views and watched everyone go nuts in the sand.
Once we finished up at the Dunes the clouds were rolling in fast and we were getting some sprinkles. We hihg tailed it out of the Dunes and the scout was being crabby. Then we hit a few bumps and it stopped acting up and was fine. We were making good time then we do a little incline and after completing it the scout ups and dies. Wont start at all. We figured it was fuel starved from the inlcine and try a few things ad get it started. Running like crap again.
Now we have a big steep incline and we almost make it to the top when blah, it dies again. This time nose is uphill so no gas seems to be getting in. Jim pulls me up with the Jeep over the top of the incline and we get the scout out of the way for some people to pass.
Now we are in bad shape, the clouds are moving in more, it is raining a little and it’s getting late and most of us need to be back in Denver. We are working on a plan when i find a brolen ground wire int he engine bay. I touch it to a ground spot and the scout fires up. I had Stu pull it away and it dies. Well dammit this has most likely been my problem all day. Woo Hoo it’s solved!
At this point I was so shakey I couldn’t hardly control the multitool Mike had to strip the wire. So both Stu and Jim jumped in and stripped the coating and I affixed the wire to the ground with a few others. Scout fires up and we finish up the trail.
It doesn’t end here however.
We get down and reach the access road which is all dirt. I find I am stuck in 4lo. We stop and try a few things no luck, stuck in 4lo. We continue down the road slowly and it is taking forever so I stop again. This time I am able to get it into 4hi which is good enough for now and we haul butt down to the highway. Now that we are at the highway it is important to get out of 4wd to not burn up the tranny or the t-case. However I can’t get out of 4wd at all. I can go betweem 4hi and 4lo but never back into 2wd.
As usual Jim thinks I am an idiot and tried it out. As he backs up I notice a puddle of ear oil on the ground and then as we look around we find other spots from tryng to get out of 4wd. At this point I knew I was in big big trouble. That oil means I have been leaking for awhile and I don;t know of it is the tranny or the t-case or both.
The sun us starting to drop and we needed help. So Stu, Renee and myself stayed witht eh Scout, Jim and the rest headed back into Westcliffe to get the others on their way and to get Jim’s Dad to come out and tow us.
We watched the sun go down, the mosquitos try to eat us alive and the teperature drop before they could get back. It;s pretty quiet out there and really creepy.
Jim didn’t remmeber to ask his Dad to bring the trailer so we had to flat tow the Scout. This was a very stressful and scary experience. I had maybe 8ft betweeen the front of the Scout and the back of the Dodge. All I could see was the truck and that was it. We had the Scout running buit the t-case and trannywere in Neutral. It took us about 45 minutes to get fromt he access road to Westcliffe and it was a very scary ride for me and Stu in the Scout.
We dropped the Scout off at Westcliffe Petroleum and headed back to the house and to bed.
Got up yesterday morning and called the shop and explained my situation. It didn’t sound promising. By noon they had the Scout up on the lift and I called in to find out my t-case was about to fall off. This explains whay we saw so much oil when trying to shift our of 4wd and then hardly any when we just sat there.
They were able to repplace the missing bolts and tighten everything up. The transmission was fine on oil and they fille dup the t-case and got it into 2wd. We paid about $49 and picked the scout up at 2:30pm and then Jim came to meet us and we caravaned back to Denver at about 3:30.
Things could have been far worse than they were, but with the help of everyone in the group as well as Stu and Jim’s parents, Westcliffe Petroleum and Chris Keck we were able to get out and back home.
So the moral is what we always hear, even if it is an easy trail, don’t go alone, don’t go without tools and don’t go without your Visa card :). It was a humbling and eye opening experience as I always felt I did a good job inspecting my scout before a trail ride. Obviously in my hurrying I forgot to check over the tranny and paid for it. It could have been much much much worse and I am so thankful it was not. Just a lost day of work and sleep.
As a reward for reading all of this I have wuite a treat for you. Lots and lots of pictures with more coming real soon. So if you want to see them Click here to see the pictures!
Here is a little treat for you, me and my old west look: