Up relatively late, well after sunrise, and rolled on down the road to Montrose. Montrose was a place where I had a spot of bother a few years earlier where driving in the late dusk, only to have a giant truck tire materialize out of the dark where the lights didn’t penetrate. I didn’t even have time to react, and plowed straight through it. My only thought at the time was ‘Im going to luck to survive this’ as there was the massive thunk and the car jumped from the impact. Maybe a second later, and much to my own surprise I still had the steering wheel in my hand and was in control of the car. In disbelief I carefully slowed down and eased the car to the side of the road, watching in the rear mirror as at least one other pair of headlights swerved and jumped as they hit the truck tire among the smoke of locked wheels burning rubber. Another guy also stopped, as visibly shaken as myself, and we chattered for half an hour, telling each other over and over our frighteningly similar stories while comparing the damage to our vehicles. Mine had fared much worse and was visibly leaking coolant. That was bad, real bad. Without coolant the car will overheat and destroy the engine in fairly short order, and I was still 50 miles outside Mostrose. The guy who had shared my fate with the truck tire decided escort me to Montrose, just to make sure I made it, and get me to a radiator place. I made it only to find out the next morning there was no real chance of getting it fixed in Montrose. Further I had realised early on the AC was fracked, although I didn’t find out till later the AC radiator is in front of the engine radiator, and so had taken the brunt of it. This had clearly caused the AC coolant to evaporate. Eventually had to drive, very carefully to Colorado Spring to get the car fixed.
However this time all I was up for was to find a coffee shop to upload some stuff. Spent the day preparing talks, and uploading things like the Phelps interview. Rolled out in late afternoon towards Durango, and enroute I saw a sight! An Old Friend from way back, Mount Sneffles.
Sneffles isn’t just one of Colorado’s 14 000 footers, its impressive. Indeed when I first saw it, my first thought is, I have GOT to climb that thing! Two days later I did and it’s still one of my most fond memories of the West. You really do feel on top of the world on that mountain, almost on a pillar with the ground dropping away on every side. Looking down on one side to the jagged ridges of the Sneffles range, and on the other over the gentle hills to other distance mountain ranges of the Rockies. The hike shattered me though. You really need a 4×4 with high clearance to make it up to the trailhead (Yankee Boy Basin), and my polite, under-powered, and heavily laiden Little Blue NYer barely made it up the two wheel drive portion of the dirt road (and even that was incredibly hairy and touch and go!). Still, one of the reasons I’ve been kitting the aerial video rigs up with HD cameras etc, and trying to get stuff sorted for remote piloting even at this obscene altitude is to fly from the top of Sneffles. However while I hope to get up Sneffles before the end of this year, the time is not now. I have a conference to prepare for and the I have to get my ass over to TAM (The Amazing Meeting) by saturday .