Sunday, August 6, 2017

"If I had one more low gear...

I would have driven up that hill!" 

Is the quote I eavesdropped upon in the Moab Diner a few years ago. 

The driver's Jeep Jamboree compadres nodded sagely in agreement.

I thought to myself, "how weird is that!" It would be like me saying,  "If I had another Clif Bar I would have summitted  that mountain." Except, I would be relying on myself instead of a machine. 

While I was spying, the Diner's customers was a 50/50 blend of hikers/mountain bikers and 4x4 vehicle aficionados. It was easy to spot the difference between the two antipodal recreational categories. The 4x4 gang dawdled over weak mugs of Mormon-made coffee while the "Silent Sport" crowd wolfed down their breakfasts of pancakes or veggie omelettes. The no-fossil fuel contingent wanted to beat the heat and the crowds. The drivers were  loitering until their mob showed up. No rush! 

Lately, I've been spending time in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. In my humble yet knowledgeable opinion, it's the most scenic part of a State famous for scenery. The San Juan's are Da Bomb! 

Back in the day, miners struggled up the gulches, creeks and mountain basins in search of a Motherlode of valuable minerals. Their trails remain. I use them. If the miner's dig-a-hole-here hunch was correct, rudimentary roads were built to move the ore to nearby settlements. The 4X4 crowd use those roads. 

On my way to two trails ensconced in a few Wilderness Study Areas. I had to drive my high clearance Barley the Van on miles of not quite 4x4 nor two-wheeled drive road either. (More like Three-wheel drive!) I was jounced and juggled around. I felt like a dryer sheet in an unbalanced laundry load. On one narrow stretch of dirt, crumbly rock walls lay on one side and a river-built chasm on the other. There was no margin of error or room for two side-by-side vehicles.

 People drive these roads for pleasure! I don't get it!

On my hikes, I'm fueled by coffee, veggie omelettes and a still high dose of testosterone. I off-gas water vapor and CO2. I sweat a lot too. When I take a misstep, scabs and scars are the results. (If I were a hemophiliac, I would have croaked long ago). It's the price I pay for being an aggressive hiker.

In contrast, the Motor-minded crowds fuel up on whatever they eat and plenty of gasoline. The Jeeps, ATV's, OHV's and motorcycle dirt bikes off-gas CO2 and water vapor too. BUT!  (From Wikipedia) There's carbon monoxide (CO) from incomplete combustion, hydrocarbons, (properly indicated as CxHy, but typically shown simply as "HC" on emissions-test slips) from unburnt fuel, nitrogen oxides (NOx) from excessive combustion temperatures, and particulate matter (mostly soot). No Bueno! 

When a Rough Roader takes a misstep, they can score a dent or scratch. No bleeding except for their wallets. A really bad misstep could cause a tumble down the above mentioned chasm. But Man! What a ride! 

At the end of my day, it's Happy Hour. I tip back an IPA while gazing at my bounty of photos. Sometimes I get a warm, fuzzy feeling (other than from the High Test brews) 
knowing I earned those views with Good Ol' American Sweat Labor. This makes me smile. 

I'm not sure what sense of satisfaction the Varoom-Varoom contingent receives during their Happy Hours. However, there are two things I'm sure of.

1) That Dude would have driven up that hill if he had one more gear.

2) I always carry an extra Clif Bar to reach that summit. 

Enjoy the photos. I earned them.



  1. This one is very Bill Bryson. The language used very similar

    nice work veggie boy!

    1. I've been compared to Bill Bryson! Show me the $$$$

      Random House? Are you listening?

  2. Beautiful! I hope the Grand Imperial Hotel in Silverton is still open and you enjoyed the decor behind the bar!

  3. Enjoyed meeting you next to the vroom-vroom crowd at the campground. My Dad was one of "those people" so I do get it. But I prefer my own two feet. Glad to find your blog and follow along your adventure. L'Chaim!

    1. Thx! A pleasure meeting another Member of the Tribe. Tell your billions of FB about my blog. Maybe I'll meet the Jewish woman of my dreams!

      Be well and be safe

  4. Hkers can chinch their belts a bit tighter... nice photos, Jeff. Need to run over to the San Juans before I head out for the season! Cheers (enjoying your book. I'm halfway through Wisconsin).

    1. I'm losing weight to get ready for the Alps.
      Keep enjoying my book and tell the World.
      It's not inexpensive to be on the move all the time.

      Be safe out there