Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Abandoned Mine
Heading to and from Littleton we cross over the Vail Pass Summit (elevation 10,662 ft.) and the Eisenhower – Edwin C. Johnson Memorial Tunnel (elevation 11,013 ft.)  Highway 70 is challenging, steep, winding and bumpy. The trip to Littleton is uneventful, the trip back not…

Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel
Under the Continental Divide

Serious Curves and a steep Runaway Truck Ramp

They really mean this!

Vail Ski Runs

Just past Vail, right before the off ramp to the town of Avon we hear a loud clang bang and Dave looses power.  Fortunately we can get to the off ramp, pull over and push the On-Star button.  The On-Star rep runs a diagnostic, but it shows nothing wrong.  They call the closest GMC dealer in Glenwood Springs, but they can’t get Dave in until the middle of September. The GMC dealer back near Denver (just around the corner from Camping World) can take us, so they connect us with a towing service. Because of our remote location we were not given a time frame, only that it would be awhile.  We also have to make additional arrangements to have Dimples towed.  Fortunately we have cell service so we start to research.  While I’m working Dimples logistics, Chris pops the hood and looks to see if he can see what’s wrong. 

The hose to the turbo has come off.  As an experiment, he zip ties the hose back on and starts up the truck.  It runs!  We call and cancel the tow truck and look for an auto parts store to get some hose clamps to replace the zip ties.  There’s one about a mile away.  We head around the corner and right there is a Home Depot.  We pull in & Chris buys a couple of hose clamps and installs them in the parking lot.  Once back on the road, we call the GMC dealer in Grand Junction, where Dave had his last service, and get an appointment for the next Monday morning. Excellent! We have a reservation at the James M Robb Colorado River State Park Fruita Campground until Tuesday and it’s all down hill from here… This should work out just fine.

We get to Fruita late afternoon and have a nice spot with full hookups near the laundry room.  With a sick truck we don’t venture too far.  We take the time to empty out the truck, do some housekeeping & laundry.  Not all that fun. We talk about the things we missed on our last two trips to the area.  We have not gone wine tasting (SHOCKING!) and this is a premier Colorado wine region.

The Two River’s Winery is just down the road not too far. No steep hills to tax Dave.  They have a nice tasting room with free tastings.  We try all of their vintages.  Their Chardonnay is quite nice, buttery with a hint of oak and ready to drink now. Their Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon are both bold and flavorful but a bit rough around the edges.  If we had a cellar these would definitely be stored for a bit.  The Vintner’s Blend (60% Syrah-40% Cab) is a good choice for immediate drinking with time to breathe and maybe the Vinotemp. Their ruby port has good body and flavor.  A big plus here is their prices that run from $12 - $16. (Excellent quality to cost ratio.)

Monday morning Dave goes into the shop.  That afternoon we get the call.  Dave’s turbo is blown and needs to be replaced.  Fortunately this is covered under warranty, they have the part in stock and the diesel mechanic can work Dave into his schedule, if we can leave him until the end of the week. One Problem: Our reservation is up tomorrow and the tag on our campsite tells us that it is reserved for the rest of the week.  We need to move Dimples, so the dealer sends a shuttle to pick us up to collect Dave.  We check in the visitor center and the park is 100% booked through the upcoming Labor Day Weekend. 

Fortunately the Monument RV Resort across the road can accommodate us.  So Monday night we get Dave and pack everything up so we’re ready to move bright and early the next morning.  We’re checked in and unhitched by 8:30AM; Chris gets Dave to the dealer before 9:00 and returns in a loaner car before 9:30.  The loaner is a cute little Chevy Cruz, it gets us around, but it’s no Dave.

The weather is sketchy with a series of heavy thunderstorms.  It’s a perfect excuse to catch a movie or two.  A Walk In The Woods has just been released.  We enjoy seeing the scenes that were filmed up at Amicolola last year.  It’s always interesting to see the finished product when you know what was going on behind the camera.  We also catch Ant Man – for mindless fantasy entertainment you can hardly go wrong with the Marvel franchise.
By the end of the week Dave has his new turbo. It’s Labor Day weekend and we know how difficult it is to find camping spots over holidays so we stay in Fruita until Tuesday.  This gives us a chance to test drive Dave a bit.  We also celebrate Chris birthday and the 5-year anniversary of the great traffic jam that changed our lives.

The chef at No Coast Sushi remembers us when we sit at the sushi bar.  After a brief rundown of our summer, we start with a bottle of Haiku Sake and proceed to order our favorite appetizer, the Shishito Peppers: deep fried, salted & tossed in a spicy sesame sauce with bonito flakes and a trio of exotic nontraditional rolls.  (Technically all of their rolls are non-traditional as they use black rice seasoned without dashi – so vegans can partake.) Our first roll: the daily special is one of our chef’s creations.  Smoked mackerel (the sustainable alternative to smoked eel) topped with slices of Palisade peaches. The peaches are a sweet counterpoint to the salty mackerel and would please mackerel fans… unfortunately no mackerel fans here. It’s not horrible but would definitely be better with eel. The Tai influenced, Coconut Curry Lobster Roll:  fried yam, lobster, Roma tomatoes and basil with a coconut curry sauce is a real treat for the taste buds.  BUT H.I.C. is probably one of the most delicious sushi rolls ever!  Smoked Oysters, soft shell crab, avocado and cream cheese with eel and dynamite sauce. Dinner is finished with an order of green tea ice cream (with a request for sliced lemon wedges) and a fresh house made peach sorbet.
No Coast Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

By Tuesday morning, Dave is running great, he’s all packed up and hooked to Dimples… time to hit the road..


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