I woke up early in La Quinta Inn’s not-very-comfy bed and Mark was nowhere to be found. I went outside and saw the engine lid for the bus open in the parking lot and him crawling around on the ground. Being 7,000ft up the air-cooled VW motor needs a special tune to have a hope of dealing with the mountains. Its not the air-cool part that’s an issue it’s the thin air robs a ton of horsepower from a motor, when you have around 36 horsepower to begin with every little bit counts! Normally you time a stock VW motor to 7-1/2 degrees, in the mountains we learned from Mike that you need to advance the timing 5 degrees to 13! It seemed to work though. The bus was wayyyy low on power driving around Colorado Springs but the quick adjustment to the tune and we had a noticeable amount back…good thing for what was in store for us later that day.
I started the drive in the morning as we headed down Colorado state highway 50. The 50 is an amazing drive, lots of hills and beautiful fall scenery to enjoy as the road makes it wasy along a fast moving river. As we were enjoying the stunning views I happen to notice a little turn-off and make a quick exit. Immediately we were blown away. Within minutes a pack of deer were standing right in front of us! WOW! They just starred at the bus wondering how they could get one too im guessing. As usual the road turned to dirt but we kept going. Seemed we were on a road to some small ranches or something, all I know is it was spectacular. We hopped out and started taking photos, of course I had to give Ole Blue a quick detail job for the occasion! We burned an hour snapping photos before we got back on the 50 blown away by what we saw. What a great little detour!
Back on the 50, we took the advice from our new buddy Mike who told us when we get to Salida to take a stop and drive around the old part of town. Once again he was right, a cool little historic town where we enjoyed a fantastic burger and picked up some gear for the cold weather that was ahead.
In the background of the town was a fairly tall mountain with a big S for Salida on the side of it. Some locals told us you can drive up the spiral to the peak for a great view… then mentioned they doubted the bus would make it! HA! So on the way out we hit the dirt road spiral that brings you to the top where Ole Blue easily made it. While up there we learned why the town is called Exit in Spanish as mountains seem to end into a large prairie. Im sure back in the day on horse it was quite a relief to exit the mountains.
After stocking up on supplies weren’t quite sure what to do after that. It was about 4pm and the next town was at least a couple hours away. Since the bus is a 6 volt system the headlights are nowhere near as bright as a modern car so we really don’t like driving it at night. We sorta looked at each other and decided to make some time and just hit the road. I turned the keys over to Mark and off we went…no idea what was in our future! I’ll save that story for the next post.
Highway 50 sure is purdy!
On the way to Salida we pulled over for a quick photo op. You’d swear the bus was winking at us!
We pulled off on a side road and were immediately greeted by a pack of deer! Check it out a dozen or so right in front of the bus!!
This is right outside the bus window!
A little further down the small road and things got even more pretty.
It was so good I decided the bus needed some detail spray and a wipedown stat!
The back road just kept giving and giving!
Livin the dream! hehe
At the base in Salida, “the bus wont make it up there!” HA!
On the peak with Salida in the background. It seems everywhere we go someone has a VW story…even on the top of a mountain.
Same Place, different angle