Trans USA & Canada Week 3, 6/6-6/14

Day 14 (6/6): Another early rise and hitting the road today. I wanted to get to one of the campgrounds close to the Colorado boarder. Between jumping between the TAT trail which at this point is just a long straight smooth gravel road and a two lane highway I made it to my destination. The rolling hills stopped and soon I realized I was just very slowly driving up hill as I headed west. I believe I went from 1300’ to around 4300’ and none of it resembled a hill.

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One thing I did run into a lot today were angry cows. It took these guys a little while to move out of the way. They were mad at me but could not do anything with the cattle guard!

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Now this angry guy was out of the fences and there was a herd of his ladies just to my left. I ended up backing up and turning around. He would not let me pass. He was throwing dirt everywhere and charged me a few times. I charged him back and he would not back down.  With the directions his horns were pointing knowing my luck this trip I would of ended up with a leaking radiator or a flat tire.

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I did see a few of these guys .

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I saw a few hundred of these. They would jump out of the busch about 100’ in front of my vehicle and start running down the road away from me. You could tell when thewould put it into high gear there ears would drop back.

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One thing saw a few of were ground hogs. They would run and hide before I could take a picture of them. As I was driving west I was driving towards this massive rain cloud. At the last minute. I took a left and it barely missed me.

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As I drove into the Mesa State Park for camping tonight there was another one rolling in. And as I type this I’m spending the first time tucked down in the tear drop as it rains, lighting and thunders outside.

Day 15 (6/7): Leaving the flat plains of Oklahoma was wonderful. You could tell as soon as you crossed over the board into Colorado.  There were small peaks here and there and the terrain because so much more rugged. After a couple hundred feet into Colorado I finally got a picture of one of these guys.

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All over the place I saw these old stone abandoned houses. They were pretty neat and made you wonder all old the house is.

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The roads were pretty good for the most part. Well packed gravel.

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The upcoming terrain looked exciting and terrifying all at once. I could imagine when the settlers were coming on through after the flat lands of Oklahoma and to see this maze up ahead must have been anxiety ridden.

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I apologize for no more pictures today as they did not turn out. I accidently switch a setting on my phone and they were all white wash. Some of the roads I drove on today were fairly interesting some had 10deg grade and were gravel switchbacks that were slightly wider then my vehicle itself. Of course the downhill edge was nothing more than a drop off to the next switch back below. I was happy I went up vs down it. I hit about 50 miles of gravel/dirt roads that were still wet from the last rains which made a very slippery and dirty drive. Which was a little disappointing since the rain storm last night cleaned off my vehicle and trailer fairly well good news is Colorado mud dries quickly and easily falls off. I noticed all morning long my gas tank kept going down and there was never a gas station within 50 miles of me they all seemed to be a big detour. So I continue to treck on. Once my gas light lit up I stopped and drained one of my 2 full jerry cans. 5 more gallons. I should be able to find something within this time period. The trail is designed for Duel sport guys 150mile range. I have that and some on the stock gas tank. Did I miss a fill up? Hmm. I kept checking my GPS for gas stations. 50mile is what I kept telling me. Well now I was down to an 1/8th of a tank again. Probably have 5 gallons total and 1 full jerry can. In this sloppy stuff I was burning through gas faster than I would of liked. So I said screw it and started heading to the nearest as station luckily most of the directions were the same as the TAT. I soon came across a rancher move his cattle down the road. And the road seemed to be drying up and nicer than before. I took this time to scrape the mud off my trailer. I removed probably around 150lbs worth of that crap. Guess what works pretty well to remove mud a window Ice scrapper. I knew there was a reason I kept it for the 6 years I lived in the south and only used it once. A vehicle coming the other direction to see if  was alright I told them I was. Just removing some weight and headed to a gas station. They mentioned a town and I asked if it was the nearest gas station. They said yes. I looked it up and wow right on my path while still taking the trail and it was 25 miles closer than the other one, stupid GPS. Hey I don’t even have to drain my other jerry can. I headed to the town and about 15miles out my gas light lite up again. And knowing I have a 3-4 gallon reserve I kept on driving. I ended up filling up 3 other jerry cans so now I have 4 full. I don’t want to worry again. I also stopped and picked up some food and some Calamine lotion for a bad Poison Ivy rash I must of picked up while chain sawing in Arkansas. I must have cut through a bush or vine. It is all over my trigger hands wrist and kept getting worst every day. Hopefully it goes away. Ohh the good old days of my childhood were I use to not get this stuff and my brother would. Haha!!! I continued on my way and the mountain passes are amazing to drive through.  And for this is what I’m most upset about the pictures not turning out. I also saw a bunch more deer. No more hairs though. They must of taken the day off.  For some reason this picture somewhat turned out and for that I’m happy.

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Right now I’m camping at some national forest inside of some gulch and it is wonderful. I’m at over 1.5miles up right now.

Day 16 (6/8): Today I woke up to a chilling morning at 8400ft. I packed up and hit the road for a nice ~100mile day as soon as I started driving I noticed something was not right. My clutch was not grabbing like it was the day before. After a short drive I pulled over and adjusted my clutch pedal. I jumped back in and it was still doing it. Well I guess it was time to head to Denver and get everything fixed. So I routed my GPS to Denver and Insain Fab. I still had about 25miles of gravel road and a pass to drive through before I got to a paved road. Then about 130miles to Denver, so it was time to baby this clutch to make sure I can make it and don’t need a tow. Even though I was in a hurray I could not help myself and stop and take a few pictures.

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As I continued on I reached a new peak altitude over 10,800’ for this trip. It had some very impressive views as you can see above. I then finally started to go downhill. I finally hit pavement and drained my trailer water tank and started filling up my fuel tank from jerry can’s to lose as much weight as possible. After a few more hours and some slow speeds on steeper grades I finally made it to Insain Fab. As I was doing this I called Boulder Nissan and made an appointment for a clutch replacement. Once I reached t Insain Fab it was time to start modifying my trailer and vehicle. We decided to hit the trailer first and try to reduce e the tongue weight as much as possible. Some of the things we changed. We moved the axle forward 2”

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Then Insain also created another spare tire mount to sit right above the trailer axle to match the other side.

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Next some trailer jack mounts were created on the existing spare time mount. This opened up storage room in the tongue box and vehicle along with moved some more weight back on the trailer.

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After this the winch mount was moved to behind the driver side fender on the trailer. This help greatly reduce tongue weight.

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Then the security bar across the door was bent to fit better.

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Once midnight hit and the trailer was finished up we decided to clean up and get to bed. Just a nice 18hr day.

Day 17 (6/9): Today’s focus was on fixing the Xterra. The first thing was to reinforce and fix the frame for the rear bumper. It was holding so far but I wanted to ensure I never will have an issue again. Insain removed the corner panels and then using a torch and a hammer he re squared up the rear frame. Then using ¼” plate steel he boxed in the frame and capped the end. It turned out like perfection.

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I changed the oil as insain was doing this. Meanwhile Mr. Blueberry stopped by. It was nice to finally meet the most famous Xterra out there. After the Blueberry left I then ran over to NissTec to pick up an AAL to help with the rear suspension. Once I returned Mr. Eirish was there and we talked for a while. Once Mr. Eirish left, it was time to reassemble the rear bumper swing arm and hook up all the electrical stuff. Once Mr. InSain and myself enjoyed some wonderful home cooked food from Ms. Sain. We headed back out to the shop to install the AAL.

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It was amazing after removing the U bolts. I could set the whole weight of the vehicle on the back tires and it would not separate axle from the leaf. So I crawled under the vehicle with a crow far and pried it apart. The leaf springs sprung back to life with a ton of force. Then we installed the AAL and reinstalled the packs with new U-Bolts. Then it was time for bed since it was getting close to midnight again and tomorrow is going to be an early morning.

Day 18 (6/10): Today I woke up and headed out to Boulder Nissan at 6am. They wanted me there for 7am to try to ensure they can get the clutch replaced in a single day. Right now I’m sitting in the waiting room updating this for the past few days waiting on being picked up by Mr. Insain so I can be his garage bitch today. Since he helped me out over the last two days a ton it is the last thing I can do. We ended up installing a 4” drop bracket on a 96’ Chevy.

Day 19 & 20 (6/11-12): These days were spent working in the Insain shop and learning all the trade secrets.

Day 21 (6/13): So since we were building a few roof racks for others. I decided that I wanted one but of a different profile. Mad of Aluminum to save weight and super low profile.

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Day 22 (6/14): Today I woke up early and headed up to Lyons, CO for a trail run of T33 with the NORAC Group. Trail T33 is named after a trainer plane for the air force that crashed in 1965. It was a good but tight trail.

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The crash site was breathtaking.  You could still see the fuselage and the wings and the engine was almost fully intact.

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After words I attended a NORAC BBQ at Boulder Nissan and a Club Meeting. It was nice to finally interact with people I’ve met online before.

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