Klondike Park Hike 1-20-18

After suffering a bit of cabin fever, the weather broke and allowed us to get out this past weekend for a bit of a hike. This was the boy’s first “Big Boy” hike and he managed to hike the full two miles all by himself. He had a few falls, but overall it went very well!

We hiked the overlook trail as well as the Hogsback trail down the bluff:
Sara L.: 1-20-18 Hike &emdash;

Both kids started out strong and made it up to the top of the overlook trail:
Sara L.: 1-20-18 Hike &emdash;

Sara L.: 1-20-18 Hike &emdash;

And of course, stabbing and cracking ice was too much fun to resist!
Sara L.: 1-20-18 Hike &emdash;

Nice view from the overlook:
Sara L.: 1-20-18 Hike &emdash;

After leaving the overlook, we headed down the hogsback trail:
Sara L.: 1-20-18 Hike &emdash;

 

Sara L.: 1-20-18 Hike &emdash;

Sara L.: 1-20-18 Hike &emdash;

 

Sara L.: 1-20-18 Hike &emdash;

Lots of fun little bridges on the way down:
Sara L.: 1-20-18 Hike &emdash;

The rosy cheeked boy was very tired by the end of the trail:
Sara L.: 1-20-18 Hike &emdash;

Klondike park was a very nice little park and I hope to make the trip out that way again with the bike sometime in the future to do a bit more exploring!

Colorado 2017 in the Mighty Merc – Final Thoughts on Thursdays Trip home

So no photos on this post as apparently we didn’t take any on our trip back home. Just imagine the rolling hills of Kansas as that’s what we saw during most of our daylight hours. We woke up before dawn and hit the road. Sunrise saw us sitting in Denver rush hour traffic, and Kansas was many hours of triple digit heat and a 40 mph cross wind. In the end we made it home without an issue, though very tired. I still made it into work the following day so the trip timing was a success.

All that windshield time gave me some time to think about what worked and what didn’t work using the Merc as our adventure rig. Over all, it worked out pretty well.

The good:
– It was fairly comfortable to ride in for all those hours on the highway, and really isn’t too taxing to eat up the highway miles in it.
– We were able to hold all our crap in it (Tools/Luggage/Kid Crap/Etc)
– The old 5.0 had enough gumption that power really wasn’t an issue other than when we were climbing up to the Eisenhower Tunnel.
– This thing is way overbuilt for what we typically do on vacation wheeling wise. Which made it nice to not have to worry about getting in over our head.
– Turns out the thing isn’t too wide to run around on the shelf roads!

The Improvements:
– Fuel MPG blows. The best I saw was 12 mpg, with a lot of single digit tanks thrown in there as well. With the cross winds in Kansas, we were getting 9 mpg. With the smaller sport tank, that means we are getting 160-180 miles out of a tank. I either need to figure out how to eek more mileage out of this (not likely) or build an auxiliary fuel tank to carry more fuel (more likely)
– As much as I don’t want to have a 37” tire hanging off the back of this thing, I’ll probably need to make a swing out carrier. We had enough room for everything in the truck, but it was tight. Getting the spare out of the cargo area would free up a lot of space.
– I need to add another leaf or two in the rear pack. We were pretty much on the bump stops with all the crap we had loaded in back. Along those lines, I’d really like to put some air bump on this to smooth things out a touch more when we do actually hit the bumps.

The Ugly:
– For whatever reason, the front locker does not always want to unlock which made some of the switch backs interesting.
– Had a wheel seal in the rear fail near home, and a front axle seal started weeping as well.
– The crawl box popped out of gear three times on me. Once under load, twice while coasting. I think I need to increase the detent pressure a bit on the shifter as it shifts in and out of gear very easily. I never did catch it in action while popping out so it is possible that my pant leg happened to catch the shifter or something. Either way, it’s only popped out of gear 4 times in the past 10,000 miles so I’m not sweating it.

Over all, pretty successful trip! The complaints and mechanical issues really aren’t that big in the grand scheme of things. The only thing I’m really bummed about is the abysmal fuel economy. While I never expected it to be that good, I was disappointed at how bad it was. The real surprise there was the off-road mileage being in the 6-7 mpg range just doing some easy running of the shelf roads. Considering we would like to do some longer off-road trails in the future, I’ll need to figure a way to address that issue.

I will say that one thing I never got used to was how much attention this thing garners. Literally every time I would park it I would come back outside I would find someone grabbing some photos of it. Kind of cracked me up!

Back to trips

Colorado 2017 in the Mighty Merc – Wednesday

Wednesday morning we work up to do our usual morning routine of grabbing sunrise photos. I kept the kids occupied while the wife grabbed some photos:
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

I’d say she made the most of the sunrise time that day! Once the sun was up, we bombed over the hill to Sliver Plume to see the waterwheel at the rest stop. I’m still kind of amazed the poor Merc didn’t scatter itself across the interstate when working its way up to the tunnel. Nothing like a 4k pull for miles at a time:
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

The rest area was pretty nice, but you only relax so much when sitting next to the interstate. The story behind the waterwheel was pretty interesting. The original contraption would have been a sight to see:
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Loading back up, we went the rest of the way down to George town to run Argentine Pass. This pass mostly follows an old rail road bed so it wasn’t particular challenging, but it was pretty!
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

We did see a road construction sign and track marks in the dirt, so we were kind of wondering what we would come across on the way up. It wasn’t too long before we found out. Thankfully they came by right as we passed a pull off:
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

After several more miles, we got to the Waldrof Mine. There isn’t much here though there is still an active mining claim going on and a small smattering of old equipment:
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Pretty valley though:
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

We pointed the noise uphill and started gaining elevation until we got up to the Santiago Mine. We were very surprised to see that the park service was there putting a new roof on one of the buildings. I guess they deiced to try to save some of the old structures up there:
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

The wind was a wee bit brisk, so back into the truck we went as we continued to climb up the trail:
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

It did get a bit narrower as you went up, but still plenty wide:
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

The view at the top didn’t let us down:
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Heading back down the hill…:
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

… the wife was happy to see some wildlife finally:
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Plenty of width left!
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

The way back down was pretty uneventful save for one thing. We were wondering where our buddies with tracked trucks were at. No sooner did we think that when both of them popped around a corner. Unfortunately for us, that meant we had to back up the shelf road for about a quarter mile until we came across a pull out wide enough for them to squeeze by:
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

We made our way to Frisco for dinner, and I tried to make the Merc blend in. I failed miserably at it as I often caught folks nabbing photos of it:
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

We tried to grab another good sunset, but it just didn’t work out for us this time. The wife did manage to grab a good photo or two of the daughter:
Sara L.: Wednesday &emdash;

Slideshow from the day (Click Me!)

Finial Thoughts