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Old 08-23-2012, 01:20 PM
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Default Cruise Colorado 2012

Well, another Mile Hi Cobra Club super cruise is in the books. Once again Al and Deana Bockman produced a fantastic event and the memories will stay with me for a long, long time. I’ve been fortunate enough to have made several of the events and, believe me, it’s worth the commute from Portland to Denver and back for the six days spent in Coloradao.
For anyone who hasn’t made this cruise yet PUT IT ON YOUR BUCKET LIST. This year us “foreigners” came from Illinois, Texas and Oregon. In years past they’ve come from as far away as Ohio and New Jersey.
This year’s Cruise Colorado went from Golden (read Denver) to Steamboat Springs to Grand Junction to Salida and back to Denver. On the way we wandered from 4 to over 12,000 feet and drove through scenery you could make postcards of. About 1300 miles for the entire cruise. Only one significant mechanical problem (a blown throw out bearing) but it was repaired in a day. I think the high count for cars was 16 with one or two hooking up and then dropping out as the cruise progressed. Not a drop of rain for the entire six days (we didn’t even see a cloud until day 5) with daytime temperatures for the most part in the low to mid 80’s.
My co-tographer (Carolyn) couldn’t make it this year so I didn’t get as many photos as I have in past cruises. Both of my cameras were mounted on the car so almost all of what you’ll see here is through the windshield. A true shame because about 90% of the scenery is missed by fixed forward mounts. The other thing that’s missed by photographs is the tremendous “scale” of what you’re seeing. That’s something that no photograph can truly impart. You’ve just got to be there to appreciate it.
I’ll make my standard disclaimer and caveats about the photography here. IT WASN’T MY FAULT. I only had my standard lens to use on the stills and my dashboard mount for the video wasn’t rigid enough so there’s a lot of vibration in the video. I apologize in advance.
That being said, here we go with Day 1.
Since we were heading northwest from the Denver area we got a head start by kicking off in Golden, CO. For those who aren’t familiar with it Golden is the home of Coors Beer which most readers of these forums will probably recognize.

The view from the hotel created a nice preview of what we’d be seeing during the cruise.


The cruise kicked off at a local 7-11 where we provided a mini car show for the locals and picked up anything we’d forgotten.

The usual suspects.


And the lineup for the start.


From Golden we traveled up to Estes and then on to the north entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park.
The road in RNMP starts off in a reasonably flat valley but you quickly start climbing. Once the climb starts it just keeps going and going. The climb from the valley floor (around 6000 ft.) to the crest (about 12,200 ft.) goes on for about 27 miles.
Starting off on the valley floor (call it a running start for the climb ahead)


Starting the climb. Always with the mountains around and in front of you.


And continuing to climb.


And still climbing.


Did I mention that it was a long climb? Summer came a bit early this year since we were above 10,000 ft. before we finally started picking up some snow.


As we neared the top we kind of leveled out. We were still climbing but not as pronounced as it had been up to that point.


As we neared the top the wind had picked up significantly and there were a couple of times I had to keep a hand on my hat to keep it from blowing off sideways. My best guess was about 40 to 50 mph.
At one point we had a couple on a motorcycle about 10 cars ahead that were down to about 20 mph trying to keep it upright in the cross winds


Finally the top. The motorcycle finally pulled off and from here on it was clear sailing down (32 miles) what we had just climbed.


Here’s a very compressed video of the climb up to the top. I’ve tried to keep the segments down to no more than 30 seconds to keep away from the “summer vacation” video syndrome.
Some of the most “interesting” scenery is off to the right as we climbed higher. In several cases with nothing between you and the “long step” down the side.
At 2:29 in the video we pass a bicyclist on his way up to the crest. Keep in mind that this guy is peddling uphill at 10,000 ft. plus. I figure he’d be a good candidate for the Iron Man.
CC 2012 Day 1a - YouTube

Again, my apologies for the shaky mount. It has since been corrected for next year’s cruise.

The trip down the mountain was pretty much the reverse of the trip up. Every time you come around a curve or over a hump you’re presented with another spectacular view.



Go a little farther and you get more.


We start to pick up more trees as we descend and the views just keep coming.


And finally back onto the valley floor for the rest of the run into Steamboat Springs.


Here’s the video of the descent back down to the valley.
CC 2012 b - YouTube

The day ended with a well earned drink in the bar and finding out which bits you missed with the sun screen when you jumped into the shower.
All in all a great first day.

Last edited by DonC; 08-23-2012 at 01:32 PM..
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Old 08-23-2012, 01:25 PM
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Default Cruise Colorado 2012 Day 2

Day 2
Day 2 was a local loop in the Steamboat Springs area. From Steamboat to the town of Kremmling for lunch and back into Steamboat.
We stayed mostly in the valleys and just had to “put up” with rolling hills, forests, lakes, streams and nice sweeping turns that felt made for the cars. A really laid back run.









Al took us through some (relatively speaking) low hilly areas just so we wouldn’t loose the “Colorado feel” of the loop.





A quick stop so our “Leader” could check in with everyone to make sure they were keeping up o.k.



Coming into Kremmling was a pretty straight shot but having the mountains in front of us kept the horizon interesting .




While we were having lunch Al got a road update that showed some construction that would be a buzz kill on the planned second half of the loop so we all opted to retrace a good portion of the outbound leg. Seeing what had been in the rear view mirror on the way over from a head on perspective resulted in it feeling like a completely different road.
We were at a pretty leisurely pace on the way over but the roads seemed to be beckoning for a little more spirit in our driving on the way back. Hearing the call of the Road Spirits AL led a more “accelerated” return leg. What were curves on the way out became one gear down kinks on the way back and 70 mph sweepers got a lot more “interesting” when you’re getting up towards triple digits.
One of the great things about the cruise was the marked lack of traffic. For the most part our only traffic was us. The lion’s share of any traffic we came up behind would pull over to let us get by and continue on uninterrupted. I think it was probably about a 50/50 mix of courtesy and wanting to see all of the cars.





On the unfortunate side the video for Day 2 all ended up on the cutting room floor.
Totally my fault. I didn’t double check the camera and lens alignment when I remounted the camera that morning. Since I didn’t think anyone would want to try to watch the video with a couple of phone books under one side of their chair legs I didn’t include it. Decided to just leave the camera mounted for the rest of the trip so it wouldn’t happen again. Cured that problem but the one remaining will be addressed later.

Last edited by DonC; 08-23-2012 at 01:34 PM..
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Old 08-23-2012, 01:27 PM
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Default Cruise Colorado 2012 Day 3

Day 3
Day 3 took the Cruise from Steamboat Springs to Grand Junction. The long way.
The first leg took us from Steamboat to I70 for a short burst to Glenwood Springs and the second leg on a southerly loop back up to Grand Junction.
Steamboat to I70 brought us down through hills and valleys to the I70 corridor. Again a mix of hills, valleys, lakes and streams were presented for our viewing enjoyment.









Here’s a shot approaching the I70 connection and where I ran into another miscue.
I normally consider Interstates and freeways to be pretty much a snooze. Four lanes divided with pretty boring stuff on either side. Simply the easiest way to get from point A to point B. Then again I’m not from around here.
That being said I turned off the cameras in preparation for a quick boring dash on the freeway until we got to some more interesting stuff.


No one told me that I70 follows Glenwood Canyon into Glenwood Springs. What a spectacular piece of road. You wind down through the canyon following the river course through towering canyon walls and through tunnels all at 70+ mph with a string of snakes in front of and behind you.
I managed to get the video camera turned back on but no luck reaching over my shoulder and connecting with three small buttons on the still camera. Again, my bad but here’s the video I managed to catch of the drop down to I70 and then the start of the climb over to Grand Junction.
CC 2012 Day 3a - YouTube

Once we were off the freeway it was more climbing up over the local passes and then down into Grand Junction. One of the great things about the cruise is variation of the countryside you travel through. Up, down, flat, down, up, sort of flat, repeat with variations.






And almost always with the mountains in view to provide vertical relief.





Down into valleys


And then back up into the twisties through the cuts before arriving in Grand Junction.





Here’s a video clip of the second half of the run from Glenwood Springs into Grand Juction through the flats, up and then down along a river into the valley.

CC 2012 Day 3b - YouTube

I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up one of the more spectacular aspects of the Grand Junction stay.
Earlier I mentioned that one of the folks hatched a throwout bearing on Day 2. With the able assistance of Chris, Mike got the bearing replaced by a local shop and then, early in the evening of Day 3 they made a dash from Steamboat to Grand Junction. As they were buzzing along I70 it seems a group of bugs got together and decided to cross the road just about the time they were passing through.
My thanks to Boyd and Emily Maddox, from whom I shamelessly stole these photos, for their great CD of photos of the trip. I wish there were a practical way to get them into a shared space to everyone could view them. They grabbed some really great shots of the cruise.

Mike’s car


Mike’s bugs

Last edited by DonC; 08-23-2012 at 01:35 PM..
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Old 08-23-2012, 01:31 PM
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Default Cruise Colorado 2012 Day 4

Day 4
Day 4 took us in a loop from Grand Junction to Moab, UT and back. This loop had by far the most varied scenery of the cruise. What you see literally changes every 5 minutes. The loop led into the beginnings of the formations that make up Arches National Park but, unlike the park, you’re immersed in the rock formations for almost 200 miles.

Coming south from Grand Junction you begin to see the rock formations that will be part of everything you see for quite a while


Just a precursor of what’s up ahead.


The start of the river course and valley that we’d be following.


The valley is seldom straight for very long and starts out with sweepers.


Then tightens up a bit.


Then opens back up.


At Gateway we stopped for a stretch and to get ready for the next phase which would take us into the butte type of scenery.
Lineup at the Gateway Auto Museum.


The break provides a chance to touch base with our fellow travelers.


A small panorama of the views around the museum.


From the museum the countryside opens up a bit.


But not that much for a while.




Pretty soon the walls of the valley really start to rise.


And then they get closer.


And closer.


And closer.


Then they try to get into the seat with you.


Then they let you have your personal space back for a little bit.


And then start looking over your shoulder again.






Then a dash across the flats.




We pass the Hole in the Wall which is a store and museum with a 5000 square foot home carved into the rock.


Just to give an idea of scale, if you look at the left hand side of the photo you’ll see a lizard sculpture on the face of the rock.


Here’s a closer look at the lizard next to a motor home to give you an idea of it’s size.


After a short fuel and bathroom break in Moab we got into the final leg of the loop which took us through some more striking landscape.


Again we varied from close in to wide open to close in again.












And we finally go spit out into the flatter terrain that would lead us back to Grand Junction.


The videos:
I’ve broken them into 3 parts for this portion of the cruise. The only problem is the schmuck who was operation the video camera forgot to turn on the microphone until about a third of the way through the third video. That being said just plug in you favorite cd or Ipod music for the first 2 1/3 sections. The last part you can listen to exhaust and mechanical noises from behind my driver’s seat.

Video 1 from Grand Junction to Gateway.
CC 2012 Day 4a - YouTube

Video 2 from Gateway into Utah and on towards Moab.
CC 2012 Day 4b - YouTube

Video 3 Coming into Moab and back to Grand Junction (sound comes on about 1/3 of the way through)
CC 2012 Day 4c - YouTube

Last edited by DonC; 08-23-2012 at 01:38 PM..
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Old 08-23-2012, 01:40 PM
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Default Cruise Colorado 2012 Day 5

Day 5
Day five was scheduled to have it’s ups and downs. We’d be traveling from Grand Junction (4600 ft.), going up to Grand Mesa (10,800 ft.), down into the valley and through Black Canyon and then over Monarch Pass (11,300ft.) and finally down into Salida.
A short hop out I70 and then off at Rt 65 where we stopped for a group shot before we got to the more serious business of driving.

Grand Mesa Group


We started out in the canyons at the northern end of the route.






Then into some more open terrain with the mesa starting to rise in front of us.









Then we started climbing for the top of the mesa.





Once on top of the mesa things flattened out a bit and we could see the evidence of how dry the spring season had been. We took this same route last year and we had snow all the way down to the roadside. This year, while it was still green, we had no snow at all.





Once we had traveled a little way along the top of the mesa we stopped at the US Forest service station between Island and Cobbett Lake for a brief rest, restrooms and to let more travelers look at the cars.



Here’s some video of the run up to the top of the mesa.
CC 2012 Day 4a - YouTube

Once we were rested and restroomed we were on the road again to come down off the mesa and through Black Canyon on our way to the valley.

The route took us back into some flats and sweepers.







We stopped again at the overlook for Black Canyon for the requisite restrooms, photos of the view and car show for our fellow travelers.





Again, the photos don’t do it justice. With my widest lens I still had to stitch this together from 3 regular photos.


From the Black Canyon overlook down to the valley floor is pretty much coasting all the way through the usual twists and turns.

















Once we were in the valley it was a scoot over to Gunnison for Lunch and fuel.





Another video. This one from the top of the mesa down into Gunnison.

CC 2012 Day 5b - YouTube

Once we were fueled and fed we were off to our second “up” of the day, Monarch Pass.
One of the nicest things about the route over Monarch is that once you start climbing for the pass there is a passing lane for almost the entire stretch. Makes it a lot more pleasant getting around the motor homes, tourists and sightseers giving you room to enjoy driving along with the views.







Cresting the pass leads you to a drop from over 11,000 feet to the Salida and the valley below at 7000 feet.







Video of the run from Gunnison over Monarch and back down towards Salida.

CC 2012 Day 5c - YouTube

Salida was our last overnight stop of the cruise. Tomorrow would be the final run back into Denver, load up the car and hit the road for home.
A real mixed bag of feelings here, most of them of the “sorry to see it end” variety. The cruise had been another in the “spectacular” category and I was sorry to see it coming to a close. On the plus side it put me in the early stages of the “look forward to next year” syndrome.

Last edited by DonC; 08-23-2012 at 01:42 PM..
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Old 08-23-2012, 01:44 PM
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Default Cruise Colorado 2012 Day 6

Day 6

We left Salida fairly early to get back into Denver early enough to get a head start on the run back west to Oregon. Mike and Janelle we kind enough to be my native guides for the leg back into Denver.

Even in the flats of the central valley leading back into Denver there was still more than enough things to see to keep it interesting.




















The last video of the run back into Denver.

CC 2012 Day 6 - YouTube
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Old 08-23-2012, 01:47 PM
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Default Final Thoughts

I’ll say again, YOU REALLY SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE.
I can’t say enough good things about Al and the Mile High Cobra Club. I can’t thank them enough. They make the whole thing work. I can’t think of a more pleasant and friendly group of people. Add that to the common interest in the cars and you have a match that can’t be beat.
While I can’t give Al credit for the scenery I can sure give him credit for how we got there to see it. Roads that are to die for leading to scenery that’s unmatched in my experience. Having done a few short 3 day cruises for my club here in Oregon I can appreciate the amount of effort that goes into a project of this magnitude. Al’s ability to “herd the cats” for six days is something to see.
As always, what I’m able to put together here is about 5% of the total experience. We may have Colorado beat when it comes to rivers but when it comes to the sheer scale of what there is to see the Colorado folks take the prize.
Here’s looking forward to Taos and Durango next year.

DonC
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Old 08-23-2012, 04:05 PM
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Don
Thanks for the fantastic photos & videos!!!! Al & I really look forward to seeing your pics every year. We are always glad to see you & look forward to seeing you next year. So glad to hear you had a great time.
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Old 08-23-2012, 05:16 PM
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Great pics and video, Don. It was a boat-load of fun, and the scenery and roads are simply unmatched anywhere in the country. The only roadways I'v ever driven that might be considered better were in the alps. Looking forward to next year!
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Old 08-23-2012, 05:45 PM
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Living here, this is just every day stuff

The drive down the canyon to Glenwood Springs is one of my favorite drives. It's called the "million dollar mile" (but there are a whole bunch of them in Colorado).

The Gateway resort is also one of my favorites. No pictures from the museum? Again, a favorite of ours.

This is the one trip I wanted to make when I had my Cobra. Would you guys be willing to have a Ford GT along for the ride next year?
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Old 08-23-2012, 06:29 PM
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anything "touched" by Shelby is welcome.
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Old 08-23-2012, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James460 View Post
anything "touched" by Shelby is welcome.
They claim that Shelby was involved in the Ford GT project, and even "Workhorse 1" is at the museum in Vegas, but what he actually contributed is not known. Still the linkage to the GT40 is unquestionable, and since the FGT is the son of the GT40, we'll let it be

I was looking for something for him to sign and like my Mustang was going to pull the airbag cover and sent it to the Foundation. The cover doesn't come off as easily as the Mustang and most people suggested one of the support bars in the engine compartment (4-6 bolts, don't drive it while it is out), but alas, he passed away. I still plan on sending one to Camillo this winter.
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Old 08-23-2012, 07:51 PM
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I can't think of any reason anyone would object to having a 40 in the group other than jealousy.
Don't want to insult any Coloradans (?) but I hope you folks realize how spoiled you are living in that part of the country. As near as I can tell there are a couple of thousand "miracle miles".
Keep an eye on the Mile Hi Cobra Club web site for updates on next year's run.
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twobjshelbys View Post
Living here, this is just every day stuff

This is the one trip I wanted to make when I had my Cobra. Would you guys be willing to have a Ford GT along for the ride next year?
I'd love to see you make the trip, if for no other reason than to see how you could pack enough luggage for the week in a GT.

Al
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:59 AM
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DonC

I know this is an old thread, but I just found it and had to thank you for posting it.

One question - how did the carbureted cars run at high altitude? Where I live it's about 1000 ft above sea level. I wonder how my Holley would perform at 12,000 ft over one of those beautiful mountain passes.

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Old 12-10-2012, 07:12 AM
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Quote:
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DonC

I know this is an old thread, but I just found it and had to thank you for posting it.

One question - how did the carbureted cars run at high altitude? Where I live it's about 1000 ft above sea level. I wonder how my Holley would perform at 12,000 ft over one of those beautiful mountain passes.

Doug
Doug,

We always enjoy having Don along on our Cruise. Besides his personality and sense of humor, he takes great pictures and always provides us with a great recap.

All of the cars made it okay last year. We did have one out of state participant that felt some altitude sickness. They arrived in Denver (5,280 ft.) on Saturday then went over Trail Ridge Road (12,183 ft.) on Sunday. They recovered nicely by taking the day off in Steamboat on Monday.

The 2013 Cruise Colorado will include stays in Taos NM and Durango CO. There will be eight mountain passes involved, but we won't be going as high as last year. Our highest point will be Slumgullion Pass (11,361 ft).

The best thing to do would be to talk to your engine builder/mechanic to get their recommendations for reducing jet sizes. Your car won't run nearly as good at high altitudes as it does at home, but you'll probably get behind a motorhome or two anyway.

If you'd like to join us next year you can find the information here.

Al
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:16 AM
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Carbed engines tend to run a bit rich at high altitudes. And they can be a little more difficult to start, especially when hot. But it's really not that big of a deal, and they seem to run just fine. Don't let that stop you.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:49 AM
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Doug:
While many of the cars run EFI there's no reason to worry about and engine that's normally aspirated. Follow Al's advice and bring a couple of smaller jets with you and adjust once in Denver. I come up from Oregon and sea level but I cheat since I added fuel injection to my big block. Another Oregonian who's come with me several times runs a normally aspirated 460 and he comes down several jet sizes when he makes the trip.
As Bob mentioned you can probably get by without doing anything to the carb other than being careful on starting. I originally had my ERA delivered in Denver (running a carb) and drove it back to Oregon for it's maiden (break in) voyage and didn't encounter any significant problems even when traveling up to 9000 feet.
Look forward to seeing you on the next trip in June. Definitely worth the trip.
DonC
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