Before heading out west, it seemed like a good idea to figure out a way to hold our portable DVD player for the kids. While I’m not really a fan of letting the kids veg out, I am REALLY not a fan of listening to tired whiny kids for 18 hours, so I made the concession to make the DVD player available to them during our long highway burn. But the way that the mount was made makes it easy to break it down and stow it once we arrived at our destination. Continue reading The Mighty Merc – DVD Player mount
After having the benefit of on board GPS with my old PN-20, I knew I wanted another GPS solution in the Mercury. Preferably with a much larger screen than my old PN-20. The simple solution was to find some ‘cheap’ tablet with built in GPS which I could run a mapping app on. The extra flexibility of the Tablet means that I can also use it to extend my MP3 storage and run other applications like Torque.
I settled on a 7” Samsung Tab A tablet which fits in the area I wanted to perfectly and is more than large enough to allow me to read the screen while moving, even when splitting the screen and running Torque on one half and the Mapping Software on the other. Continue reading The Mighty Merc – Tablet Mount
Not much to look at on this one as it was just a long road day driving from Granby to St. Louis in one shot. Things went pretty well on the way back, we managed to sneak out early enough to miss Denver morning rush hour, the wind in Kansas was tolerable, and I finally managed to find a way to sit in the truck for long stretches without it killing my back (I really need a new driver’s seat and some suspension work).
The trip was success in that we all had a good relaxing time away from things. It was very nice to unplug from work for a week (though walking back into the office on the following Monday sucked a lot), and the truck handled the trip well. Prior to heading out, I had the ECU retuned to turn the emissions stuff back on since I am now in an are that requires compliance. That changed netted me better mileage than the prior years trip, though still crappy. However, the truck seemed to run much smoother than it had in the past. Highway mileage (at 70-75 ish) was around the 11-12 mpg mark. Running around the mountains (50-60 mph) was upper teens which surprised the hell out of me considering how hard I had to run the thing at elevation. Trail MPG seemed to still hang out around the 6-8 mpg mark, but that’s mostly due to our leisurely pace.
There is lots of little things I would like to do to the truck prior to its next big excursion (or wheeling trip), but no money to knock those projects out for now. It is nice to know that it can handle the long road trips as it sits right now though!
As for CO, it was a bit of a different feel than it was in years past. I’m not sure if it is the fact that it is becoming more and more of a blue state, or the now legal Pot. Either way, we got a weird vibe from lots of places that we never had before, and there was more homeless people wandering around than we have ever seen before as well. We’re not quite sure what to make of it at this point, but it won’t keep us from visiting in the future.
I don’t know that we would stay in the same area again unless I drag my Mountain Bike out there with me. While we slept in Granby every night, every day we were driving a good distance to the places we wanted to go. While it would have cost more, it would have made more sense to stay in the Winter Park/Fraser area, or head up to the Grand Lake area as that was where most of our time was spent.
Man it was HOT and DRY out there as well. We felt like sponges rehydrating as we traveled back to St. Louis. None of us were expecting the heatwave that was going on while we were there, and we were all actively seeking shade as the day wore on.
The beetle kill is kind of depressing to see, and there were lots of areas where the dead trees were being removed/cleared, presumably to cut down on fuel for forest fires? However, there are areas where trees are coming back, and it will be interesting to see the rebirth of the forest over the next 20 years.