PostedSep-05-2006 10:44 AM
Altitude10,974.39 ft.
HeadlineRollins Pass to Aspen
Entry I wake up to hear Austin and Hanely still talking cars after having woken up early. "Oh yea you saw the Top Gear video where they did xyz?" "Yea with the other rig they write up about in xyz!". Not being as gear savvy this back and forth unloading of information seems infinite.

Picking out a few trails we decide we want to give Rollins Pass a shot and head out after stopping for a bite to eat in the Winter Park grocery store parking lot. Austin climbs in and we take off winding our way and trouble shooting what we've found to be an ongoing problem of transcribing a route from 1989: detours.

Lots of land has been purchased since then and now and the maps have changed. What used to be a perfectly legit through road is now private property with numerous signs posted for the dense crowd (like ourselves). Making it to the peak of Rollins pass with Austin snapping shots
we begin to hear a tinging noise thats been following us ever since the water crossing in Wyoming.

As we round the peak of Rollins we see the other side of the pass has been closed to much dissapointment. Being up this high you begin to notice an immediate difference in the oxygen levels as any small level of exertion leaves you like a fish out of water. Though this could just be an acclamation to the altitude we're still blown away by those who are able to mountain bike and run at these levels. If they came back to Indiana I'm sure they'd be super human. Both Hanley and I feel a little light headed.

With the change in plans we figure there couldn't be a better time then to locate this mysterious noise and Austin jumps out to ride on the slider listening for where its coming from. With his help we find its a small rock caught between the dust shield and the rotar and whip out the Hi-Lift Jack to take off the wheel and fish out the rock. It blows my mind that a truck that heavy simply walks itself up with such little effort. The Hi-Lift Jack really is a cool and invaluable tool to have along.

Letting her down and making our way back into town we're still in search of some serious trails to catch for the DVD and though only a couple hours away Austin suggests we try out a few he'd rode just a few days before near Glenwood Springs to pick up some footage as he only has a limited amount of time before needing to head back to SCAD to resume school.

Han remembers a friend in Aspen only a short distance south with whom we can stay until tomorrow and head out. Hungry for dinner we pull into the Winter Park Library parking lot and combine the two cooking setups whipping out some pasta and steamed veggies. Austin had been smart buying pasta and canned foods in bulk before leaving for the trip, never leaving him with the need to replenish.

Afterwards we take smaller roads finding our way over Independence Pass before swerving for an Elk walking onto the road. We caught it ahead of time only because of our light setup on the Outback Off-Road Gear roof rack.

On a side note, there is a beyond tremendous amount of stress we've thrown on these Goodyear MTR's. Really. We've abused the hell out of these tires and in a condensed period of time and haven't so much as had a leak. These things really are amazing.

We arrive much later than planned as 80 actually goes through sections where it narrows to one lane higher up in the mountains forcing us to be wary of the overhanging rock ledges. Shame we weren't able to catch the view during the daytime. Hitting Aspen around midnight we grab a drink and crash.