Monday, 7 October 2013

They're all nuts!

We headed north on the 191 before connecting with the I-70 once more. We were finally making up for lost time. 350 miles was all that stood between us and Denver. The terrain changed once again, while the rock seemed fairly similar to that of Utah, the landscape became greener and greener as we rejoined and meandered alongside the Colorado River. Before long we began to see more and more trees, until eventually the hill sides were filled with green pines mixed with autumnal yellows and oranges. It was just like we imagined Colorado to be.

 We pulled in to a small town just outside Grand Junction to fuel up and put some air into the tyres to attempt to improve our m.p.g’s. We brimmed the tank and pulled forward to the Air compressor, gave the tyres a burst of wind and hopped back in to move off. NOTHING! Just the dreaded click of the solenoid again. I tried a few more times to see if she would fire. Still nothing. We popped the bonnet open and again couldn’t see a reason for her to fail. The gauges read fine and nothing seemed to be loose or disconnected. Then it dawned on us that we had plugged the rear view mirror back in to check the temperature earlier on. For some reason it manages to drain just enough juice to prevent the engine cranking over. Fortunately Kevin was there to help us out. Kevin was a crazy guy with a bit of a drink habit. He just happened to need air in his tyres too. So we got talking and he checked over what we had checked and came to no more understanding of it than us. So he headed over to NAPA an autoparts store to get some advice off his friend. While we waited we grabbed a bite to eat and something to drink. Kevin returned about 10 minutes later with some jump leads, and a theory of us being ‘vapour locked’. This was not the case. He gave us a jump and once more we were up and running. Kevin then showed us into NAPA to get our battery checked over, which came out with a very good reading although the alternator was reading just above bad. But that still counts as okay, so we got a quote for a new alternator and decided to run as we are for now and purchased a set of Jump leads, just in case. We then parted with Kevin who suddenly just pulled out a couple of whiskey sampler shot bottles, drank a few himself there and then, wished us well and headed back to wherever he came from. An absolute nutter but one I’m glad was there.

 We made our way back on to the I-70 ourselves shortly after and started to rack up the miles. 250 miles flew by before calling it a day as the sun began to set on yet another day. We pulled into a rest area made up some more sandwiches, Turkey for a change, made our beds and bunked once more in the Suburban.
We slept soundly that night despite temperatures almost dropping to freezing, although getting moving in the morning was not so easy. We used the rest area facilities to clean ourselves up, made a quick meal and stuck the hammer down for the last 100 miles over the Rockies. The road gradually became steeper and steeper as we wound our way over, the ‘Burb became a little thirstier as we had to keep our revs up just to keep moving. After about 25 minutes we reached the top and saw patches of snow all around us and snow covered peaks above us. We didn’t stop to take pictures though as we had to press on. Now our fuel economy could come back into line as we free wheeled for mile after mile down the other side, through tunnels carved straight through the mountain. The time flew by and before we knew it we were in heavy traffic just a few miles from Denver.
While the road networks here are a little confusing it wasn’t too difficult making it to the Hostel with a little help from our trusty sat-nav. I felt spaced and incredibly tired so I hoped to just bunk for the afternoon. Unfortunately the Hostel didn’t open till 5 so we decided to head into town. Denver is a mixture of old and new, creating a beautiful contrast in design and architecture.

 I headed to the post office to send my first few postcards. We then just walked around browsing in shops and Chris tried to find a new belt. We killed time pretty well. There were a lot of strange people, homeless people and a lot of cyclists. One guy even sat next to us and started to rap and write songs. They were terrible if you were wondering. We headed out to the park on the North side, hoping for some peace and quiet. Fortunately that’s exactly what it was. Before we knew where we were it was 5pm and time to check-in. We checked in sorted ourselves out, made some food and hit the sack.
A restless sleep from creaking bunks and roommates coming and going through the night led to a slow start again. It was nearly Wednesday afternoon before we made up our minds on what to do with our day. The evenings events were pretty easy as it was the opening night of the NHL (Ice Hockey) season and my team the Ducks were playing in Denver. While I couldn’t afford to get tickets; we were a few blocks from a sports bar with a lot of screens. But firstly, back to daylight activities. We decided as the Shelby car museum was closed until Saturday we’d find another automotive or car museum for now and see the Shelby collection in Vegas instead. We decided Forney’s was the cheapest and boasted everything from bicycles to steam trains. It was a few miles from us so it was worth a look at least. It was a nice collection of various pieces of automotive history. Many things I liked and many things I didn’t even know existed. So we spent a few hours wondering amongst the collection.
(see highlights below)

We headed back to the hostel at around 5-530. Chris started to cook while I went to get some more sheets as mine had disappeared. Feeling a bit miffed after not really getting on with our original roommates I grabbed my sheets and started to walk back up as a Chinese guy with a slight American accent started talking to me. We talked as we went up the stairs. We both headed into my room and finally introduced ourselves as it turned out we’d be roommates. Xiao was a student in Missouri who had found himself in Denver after getting drunk on champagne and coming up with the insane idea of driving all night to get there. I introduced him to Chris and we carried on cooking, while Xiao went for a shower. When we’d just started eating Xiao asked what our plans were for the night. I gave him a brief summary about a bar and Ice hockey and he gave me a lecture on how no one cares about Ice hockey, then decided he’d like to come along anyway. So we ate and headed over to the Tavern which was just a few minute walk. American bars are weird!!! You just find a seat and they bring you beer. It’s nice but it’s just not proper. A few drinks in and the game started and we were comparing how sports, sports fans , tv, food, pubs and well everything between USA and the UK. The game ended 6-1 against the Ducks. But by this point I really had lost all sense of time and was suddenly on the 9th pint and really feeling it. So it was time to call it a night, as soon as I found my sea legs.

In the end Chris had to offer a little support as straight lines were no longer my friend. We headed back to the hostel locked up our things and went back to our room, hung out with everyone and just had a good laugh. It’s a lot easier meeting people when drunk (sorry Mum, I’m normally responsible. Honest :D). After an hour I was pretty much done so I hit the hay and left everyone else to it. Chris will continue on with his night in his sector. Colorado ale is really, really, really good in my defence! Titan IPA, Fat tire, Great Divide and a pumpkin based ale I don’t remember the name of but all worth a try if you see them in the shops or pubs back home. So I was feeling pretty ropey the next day, so it was time to head back out on the road with Chris returning to the helm as we were now Kansas bound.