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  • J.F. Rowan

Rally Those Tigers!

Our Planned Route From Lost Lake to Leadville.

Leaving Lost Lake Slough campground was bitter-sweet but we had to push forward in order to lay up properly for our Tiger Rally scheduled for Friday, June the 8th in Leadville CO. Fifteen miles of washboard road on the way out, and just in the nick of time. Why? Because this particular forest road (dirt) was scheduled for a Magnesium Chloride treatment. “What is that?” You ask? Well, there is a lot of dirt surfaced roads in Colorado, probably other states in the west as well. The Magnesium portion of the treatment helps bind the aggregate together and helps form a hard surface that lasts. The Chloride portion attracts moisture into the process and keeps the dust down. The end result is a surface that's hard, free of dust and very easy to maintain. The bad news is that you don’t want to be anywhere near this stuff when it’s wet like when it’s first put down, or when it rains. It is highly corrosive and when it dries on your vehicle, it’s a major undertaking to remove. As we were just getting onto RT 133, we passed several pieces of equipment that were dispatched to start the Mag-Chloride process on the forest road we just departed.

Mag-Chloride being applied to a gravel road. Great when it's dry, a nightmare if it's wet.

North on 133 to Carbondale where we stopped off at the Carbondale Recreation Center where for a very small fee, we were able to take advantage of some very nice public showers. Though we didn’t stay very long in this town, it looked inviting and at some point perhaps we’ll return for some investigation. I did notice though that bicycles were everywhere. Coincidence? I think not.

Carbondale Rec Center

Carbondale Recreation Center. Ultra modern/clean showers. (Google Photo)

We picked up 82 East and headed through Aspen. Oh by the way, even in the summer Aspen traffic is a lot like Boston traffic around 5PM. And, some of the worst drivers in all of Colorado must migrate here, we saw our fair share. We continue down the road to the Twin Lakes area where we hoped to camp for the night but since it was so early, we pressed on to RT 550 and headed north into Leadville where we stopped for a great dinner at a little bistro called The Treeline Kitchen. Leadville’s elevation is about 2 miles, so any alcohol consumed here has a magnified effect compared to sea level. In other words, it’s more economical getting a buzz here. We left Leadville and decided to check out the Turquoise Lake Camping area, just outside of town about a 10-minute drive. We settled into a camp area called “Father Dyer” and though most of the spots were reserved, the effective dates were usually about 2 days away so we found a nice spot and parked.

Good Eats in Leadville!

A quiet lay up at "Father Dyer" Campground

Two days later we headed back to Leadville for provisions before setting out to Hale Memorial Campground, about 12 miles away. We arrived at about 11am and picked our spot among several other Tiger vehicles that already found their spots. All told, there would be 34 Tiger Adventure vehicles that would gather. Owners sharing experiences and knowledge in a wide range of topics from boon-docking, solar power design, and management to traversing safely across Canada and Alaska. We met folks from all different walks of life and age groups. There were seminars and roundtables all through the weekend. Fireside chats every night and open house tours every day. Our trailer was a big hit too and Yvette and I spent a fair amount of time giving tours in both the truck and trailer.

Hale Memorial Camp Ground, Leadville CO. Old and new tigers alike.

Original Astro Tigers with pop up roofs. Lots of variety here..

Creative use of space. Lots of different ideas here...

Even a full blown roof rack cage!

Here is a short list of what we took away from the Rally.

1.) Our furnace may be too large for our truck. The furnace can not run hot enough, long enough and that may be the reason we are having some issues with it. (We are researching as I write this).

2.) Out solar control panel was initially set up incorrectly. It “thinks” we have 2 batteries when in fact we have four. Though the charge rates and protocols are not affected by this, the readings are and as such, when the discharge shows a given percentage, the actual percentage is less. Example, when I read in the morning that the discharge status is 60%, in fact, the actual percentage is more like 80%. Good news! The meter has since been adjusted. There are several other tidbits regarding the solar, maybe a blog post in it's own right?

3.)My bounce in the rear suspension can be cured with some spring limiters (rubber). We’ll probably take care of this the next time we either visit the Amherst area or Provan.

4.) There are a lot of other little details that will make our life easier and just too many to list. But rest assured, we will share them along the way through future posts.

The three days at the Rally ended and we departed the campground on Monday morning saying goodbye to all the new friends we had made. Sharing email addresses and phone numbers, we will stay in touch with our new friends without a doubt and we look forward to our next Rally a year from now. Until then, on with the next leg of our journey.

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