Sunday, October 25, 2009

Colorado: September 19-21, 2009. Snow and driving the Bug over Cottonwood Pass

For some reason the National Forest Service (NFS) scheduled the closing of Lakeview CG, where we had been staying, for Sunday, Sept 20th, right at the peak of the fall foliage color change.

I wanted to stay in the area a couple more days before leaving, partly because there was a good chance of an inch or two of snow coming.

We moved from the south side of the lake to Rivers End CG on the north side of the lake where the Taylor River enters the lake.

We still had very nice views, but no CG host to oversee the park and no electric. The CG is about 1.5 miles down a good gravel road from the end of the paved highway.

A few of views from our new CG

The above pictures were taken the morning after the snow fall we had the day before.

The Snow!

A light snow fall is starting

A few hours later it pretty well covered the gound

There was enough snow for me to through snow balls at Sharon as she stuck her head and camera out the window of the Bug

The evening after the snow it was 25 degrees at 9:45pm and 20 degrees at daylight. On this cold morning LiLi & Misty had the warmest place in the Bug, right in front of the “fireplace”. The “fireplace” is our propane catalytic heater.

Last night to be sure the water pipes and water tanks didn’t freeze we set our thermostats to 46 degrees for our two propane furnaces. They ran on and off all night and depleted our 30 gallon propane tank, from just below ¼ full, to almost empty. It is time to move on to civilization. We probably would not be able to make it through another night w/o running out of propane.

From the Taylor Park Reservoir area we are heading east to Buena Vista. There are two ways to get there.

The first is to drive backtrack about 45 miles to Gunnison and then 70 miles east and north to Buena Vista. 115 miles of all paved highway.

The second is to drive 14 miles on a gravel road starting at 9500’ to Cottonwood Pass at 12,126’ and then 21 miles down a paved road to Buena Vista.

A closer look at the road to Cottonwood Pass

We don’t normally drive the Bug more than a mile or two on gravel roads but this route will save us about 80 miles of driving. We did drive this road in the Blazer earlier in our stay here and knew the gravel road was in pretty good condition. I wouldn’t have attempted to drive the road in the Bug if we hadn’t driven it in the Blazer. Besides I wanted the experience of driving the Bug over the pass on the gravel road!

Since it snowed the day before, we drove the Blazer about half way up to the pass to be sure the road was still in good condition, before we made the final decision to take the Bug up the road. Once we started up the road in the Bug it would be very difficult to find a place to turn around if we ran into ice or mud. You don't just turn a 40' vehicle around in a wide spot in the road.

A few views of our drive up to Cottonwood pass.

Mountain views along the road

Part way up the road we saw a truck pulling a travel trailer coming up behind us. We pulled over and stopped so they could pass. Here they are right after passing us.

On the way up

Approaching the pass

At the pass

Looking down the far side

Switchback going down

From here it was an easy drive into Buena Vista for a couple of nights at Snowy Peaks RV park.

That’s all for now,

Al & Sharon

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