Expedition San Juan Mountains September 2021-Part 1-The Drive Out

After years of wanting to go back (was there for 2 days in 2015, see YouTube for those video’s), months of studying maps, phone call & Emails with Chris Wood at AEV & Matt at FunTreks, and prepping the Jeeps, we are ready to leave. From Ohio we have 3 routes to Ouray. I-80, The Northern route, but has tolls in Ohio and Indiana. I-80 The Southern Route, no tolls; both are about the same distance. The Third route is I-80 and then US-50 through the mountains to Montrose , CO. I wanted to take the third option, I have been out West to Ouray and Moab 3 times and 1 additional drive just to Denver area. I wanted to do something different, and see new sights.

We planed on 2 12 hour drive days, 12 hours behind the wheel plus food and gas stops, with a hotel planed in Topeka, Kansas. We Started the first day of driving with meeting at a truck stop sound of Medina, Ohio. This was the first location where we call meet up in I-71 from our houses in North East Ohio. We left early enough to miss Columbus Ohio traffic. Working our way through Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Kansas City to the hotel in Topeka. We did hit a bad traffic jam, where we lost about 2 hours, but we ate lunch on the side of the road, so it wasn’t a complete loss of time, but did set us back. Got to the hotel for a quick sleep/nap and back behind the wheel for another 12 hour day.

Started Day 2 with rain, but that didn’t slow us down. We missed out on “Jeep Road Exit” it was still dark out when we passed it, but we stoped there in 2019 and got the required pictures! We stoped at a rest area and saw some wind turbines resting for the night. Long/extreme loads have many restrictions so the drivers were resting in their cabs, but it was fun to walk around them.

After The wind turbines, we made great time through Kansas and Eastern Colorado. The drive from Ohio to Denver is not fun, it’s just corn fields as far as the eye can see!

Once we got to Limon, Colorado, that where we got off I-70 and took back roads to Colorado Springs. It’s fun to drive through these small towns. I planed out a gas stop, but it dint work out well for us. One of the guys in the convoy was trailering his Jeep, and it was a a trailer friendly gas station. Once again passing through Colorado Springs, it was back roads, CO 115 to Penrose. We were driving between Fort Carson, and Cheyenne, Mt.

Now we are on US 50. This his the road that I’ve been waiting to get on. Just taking a different route through the mountains is always fun. We did have some challenges in front of us. Monarch Pass, is the continental divide on US 50, it’s a very steep grade up and down. Also Black Canyon west of Gunnison and East of Montrose has sharp hairpin turns. But ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL scenery. In the Balck Cayon we met up with Jeff who was driving in for a few days to join us, he was coming from Denver, and we groups up on US-50. Once through Black Canyon, tucked off the road is the National Park Service, Cimarron Canyon Rail Exhibit.


After the Train exhibit, we pushed to Montrose to do a final provisions fill up at Walmart and dinner at Colorado Boy Pizza & Brewery. I’ve eaten here before in Ouray, good quality Pizza. Tome met s here for dinner, he got a late start from Ohio and pushed hard to join up. After dinner it was the last and final stretch to the House in Ouray!

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