Summer 2011 – Update #2

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Summer update #1  left off with us hanging out in Moab, Utah and running 4×4 trails, a lot of trails.  We did about six hard rated trails and two moderate rated trails.  The hard trails require modified 4×4 vehicles – large tires (at least 33 inches tall), locking differentials, excellent suspension articulation, very high ground clearance, and good driver skill.  Fortunately after a winter of hard work (and quite a few dollars spent on upgrades), our Jeep Wrangler Rubicon proved to be well up to the task and John was quickly acquiring and enhancing his off-road driving skills.

The original plan was to spend two weeks in Moab, travel around Utah for the rest of June, then make our way to Silverton Colorado on July 1 where we had reservations for a couple of weeks.  Good thing we are flexible since the Jeep started acting up while we were in Moab.  The transmission would go into limp mode – it wouldn’t shift out of second gear.  This situation got progressively worse to the point that we could never depend on the Jeep to work properly.

After quite a bit of investigation, John thought the problem was the Powertrain Control Module (aka PCM, the “brain” or computer) which was something only a Chrysler dealer could address.  Here’s the fun part of the story:  there is no Chrysler dealer in Moab, Utah.  Moab is the Mecca for Jeeps that like to off-road and there are literally hundreds of Jeeps in Moab (at least when the weather is mild.)

So, what to do?  The closest dealers were in Salt Lake City, Grand Junction Colorado, or Montrose Colorado.  Since we were headed to Colorado anyway, we decided to come to Montrose since we had a good service experience there last year when the Jeep Liberty needed maintenance.  We made a service appointment for a Monday, took the Jeep in and about two hours later they diagnosed the problem as a bad  PCM AND it was covered under warranty!  Not sure how it came to be under warranty since the Jeep is an ’06 with over 50k miles on the clock, but there was no argument from John (a new PCM would have cost hundreds of dollars!)

Since we saved so much money on the repair, John took the opportunity to spend more money on the Jeep at an off-road shop in Montrose (Rockworx.)  We had them do a repair (not essential, but desirable), relocate/weld the tow bar brackets to the front bumper (so we wouldn’t bang them on the rocks), and install a Currie Antirock front replacement sway bar.

Lots of snow still on the trails

Lots of snow still on the trails

We got so settled in, we spent the entire month (at a delightful RV park south of Montrose – Centennial RV Park) and made several friends.  There are many people that spend the entire summer at Centennial and of that group many are into off-roading in the nearby San Juan Mountains.  We wound up joining the Montrose 4×4 club – the Western Slope 4-Wheelers and participated in two club runs.

July 1 we moved to a very small RV park in Silverton Colorado (A&B) which is a very short walk from downtown.  Silverton is a wonderful little town in the San Juan mountains with quite the feel for the old west with most of the buildings being well over 100 years old.  Every day two or three steam powered narrow gauge trains (the Durango & Silverton) bring up a load of tourists from Durango to spend a couple of hours in town sightseeing and shopping.

The plan was to be in Silverton for the July 4th celebration which we heard was quite the fête and we certainly weren’t disappointed.  There was a parade (here’s a video John shot), military jet

July4 fete - eating cherry rhubarb pie with new friends

July4 fête - eating homemade cherry rhubarb pie with new friends

flyover, homemade rhubarb pie sales, a duck “race”, and one of the most amazing fireworks displays we have ever witnessed.  Wow, what a great time we had!

We will be running more trails in the San Juan mountains and enjoying the cool mountain weather (Silverton is at 9,300 feet altitude) until July 18 when we leave for Gunnison Colorado for a couple of weeks, then we move on to Salida Colorado to participate in a week-long 4×4 event (the All-4-Fun.)   You are probably picking up on a trend that we enjoy 4-wheeling!  After Salida we head to Wyoming for sightseeing and more off-roading.

If you want to see a bunch of pictures of us on the trails with a commentary, John has made many posts on a trail by trail basis in the Rubicon Owner’s Forum.  Click here and look for the posts by johncanfield.

The news isn’t all fun and good however due to the extreme drought that most of Texas is experiencing (which is ironic since the mountains of Colorado have had record snowfalls and the rivers were/are in flood stage from the snow melt.)  Our ranch has only had about four inches of rain since the first of the year and there is still no grass for our animals to eat.  Everything is brown and dead-looking and there seems to be no relief in sight.  We continue to pray at every meal for rain to be sent and we know that God will work in His time to send the rain we so desperately need.

As always, thanks for riding along with us and many blessings.