Save the Road Warrior

May 18: Day off. Time to catch up. So, to back up. On Wednesday on our run from Colorado Springs to Durango, we crossed three mountain passes, each 11,000 ft. OK, the last one was only 10, 018, but the first one, Monarch Pass was 11312 feet, so it evens out.

Red Mountain Pass

This was a very difficult day for Stewball. I should let him tell it in his own words, but it might not be fit to print. He didn’t like the altitude or the temperature. He bucked and kicked slooooowly up these mountains in second gear. Ed had already leaned out the fuel mixture, but even then, it was a tough go. Bottom line, we made it but we missed all our check in times because we just couldn’t make the speeds.

This brought us to a decision. One of the things that appealed to us about the way this rally was organized, was the possibility to run this is a competitive way on some fast dirt and rocky gravel sections timed to the second, or to run in a relaxed manner, skipping these sections. Any team can make their decision on a daily basis. One day competing, another day relaxing, depending on your mood and your car’s condition each morning.

Now we have decided to skip the time trials, give Stewball the break he deserves and enjoy our drive to Alaska. We’re not willing to subject our car and ourselves to this level of challenge and since we left the rally earlier for two days for a graduation, we never would make up for all our penalties.

Monument Valley, Arizona

We will be following the rally route along with everyone else, checking in and out each day, but we are leaving the serious competitions to those who are willing to punish their cars and themselves. Every day there are accidents. Just yesterday one car hit a concrete rail and another had to be pulled out of a ditch. Every evening drivers and our mechanics are out in the parking lot, putting cars back together, replacing most anything. We know of broken rear axles, brake lines,and broken wheel rims but none of this compares to the earlier accident in which two young women were injured and are still in the hospital.We have now learned that one recently had to be transferred to intensive care with a collapsed lung.

Endurorally warns that ” the onus is on the competitors to drive carefully and safely at all times”, but the definition of “carefully and safely” seems to vary among competitors. We have found the way to make this work for us and will leave the serious competition to those who have greater skills or experience.

We continue to enjoy spectacular scenery which for us just keeps getting better and better. We are eager to reach British Colombia and Alaska. New territory.

Jan (with Stewball’s input)

About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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2 Responses to Save the Road Warrior

  1. TBC says:

    Oh, goodie, you did get to go over Red Mountain Pass. That really is some pass. And Monarch, too. That is the one we always head over when we visit my daughter (the one whom you’ve met) in Gunni (Gunnison in Colorado parlance).

    It is so much fun to cross the various passes, although I think you are wise to not stress poor Stewball out. He needs oxygen at his advanced age.

    Now, we see you got to Monument Valley, but did you happen to stop in at Canyon de Chelly?

    You have been traversing all the roads and routes we love and know so well.

    Have a blast!


    TBC and Arnie

    • ejhowle23 says:

      We have thought so much about the two of you in these last travel days. We find this scenery so spectracular that we were sure you had photographed at least some of these very same places. We were in Page, AZ last night. Home of a famous photographer we were told by a local. Tonight in Provo, tomorrow Jackson, Wyoming. Moving on.
      XOXOXO E&J

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