It has been a long while since we had made any treks out west. Roughly 4.5 years, but that’s what happens when you throw kids into the mix.
Part of the whole reason for building The Mighty Merc was to make family trips out west more comfortable. I can safely say that it was a comfortable trip, but there are still improvements to be made to enhance the comfort and turn this into a better adventure rig.
Life has been a bit nutty this year, but we decided that we were going to make a trip out to Colorado one way or another, we just didn’t know when or where. We were literally on the fence on whether or not to go one week out from our scheduled departure date due to the misfire I couldn’t track down (fixed with a tune to the PCM). With the miss under control, we booked the hotel rooms and started packing.
I felt like I was driving a hoarder’s car by the time we were done stuffing things into the poor Mercury. Needless to say, we drove there a little nose up, and I need to come up with a better storage solution (and more suspension capacity) before we head out west in 2018:
I got home from work on Friday, took a brief nap while the wife fed and bathed the kids. Once they were in their jammies, we stuffed them into the Merc and hit the road. This is where our plan hit a bit of a snag. You see, we’d planned on piling on the miles at night while the kids were sleeping, but we ran into the Mercury’s poor fuel range (180 miles/tank) issue. Running a small block ford at 2,800 rpms nets you about 11-12 mpg at best. Since this is the smaller sport tank I have in here due to the doubler (17 useable gallons) meant that we were stopping for fuel frequently. Roughly the same time that the kids fell asleep, I had to pull over for fuel.
We pushed on towards Golden CO to the Colorado Railroad Museum for our first stop. We figured the kids would need a break after being stuck in the car for 16 hours or so:
While the place is a lot smaller than the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, it was still a pretty neat place to kill a few hours. One of the neater attractions is that they have a functioning galloping goose that you can ride around the for a few bucks. It was interesting to hear this thing take off and row through the gears:
After the museum, we goofed around the Denver area for a bit trying to let my wife’s migraine pass and kill some time as we were too early to check into the hotel we were staying at. I worked on wearing the kids out at a local playground for a bit, then we loaded up to start climbing the hill up to the Eisenhower tunnel. The Merc did surprisingly well as it was able to hold 50-55 mph (and better at times) all the way up the hill. I will admit at times it was in 3rd and hammered to the floor.
The first climb was the only time the motor gave me any issues. I didn’t have a miss, but three times when I dropped from 4th to 3rd and nailed it, I got a dead throttle pedal. Thankfully it fixed itself as I just let off and got back into it to continue on my way. It only did that trick on the first day and never repeated itself during the rest of the trip, so I’ll just chalk it up as a fluke.
We made it to our hotel in Silverthorne, CO and promptly crashed for the night. Other than wandering around for a bit to wear the kids out a bit more (endless energy from them!) this was all of the mountains we would see today:
Slide show from the day (Click Me!)