LAND ROVER EXPEDITION AMERICA: UPDATE 4
Land Rover continues through Colorado and Utah and on their month long cross country off-road drive from North Carolina to Oregon.
The Expedition spent a few days crossing the Rocky Mountains, the largest physical barrier on the expedition. The Colorado leg began in Trinidad, on the New Mexico border, and ran northwest through Lake City and Telluride, using some of the passes that carried the pioneer and stagecoach traffic of the past.
“The pioneers covered around 10 miles a day on similar roads you guys are using,” said Dave Shaw, who drives a horse-drawn stagecoach in the old gold mining town of Silverton, CO. LREA is averaging around 200 miles a day.
Atop Black Bear Pass, a 12,000ft mountain above Telluride, Colorado, the trail descends into a town along a steep face. The slippery rock and shale surface is dangerous and requires extreme caution. Slowly but surely, Expedition Leader and Colorado resident Tom Collins led the team safely into Telluride.
“Hurry this section and you could regret it,” Tom said after the successful crossing of the Rockies. “We are doing this event in August because any other month and the passes could be blocked by snow. Even on Black Bear we had some snow flurries.”
The expedition then pressed onto Utah. The trail runs a few hundred yards from sections of Interstate 70. The Interstate is so close you can hear the rumble of trucks and cars.
Threading its way among massive boulders is a sand track that is part of a challenging section of the 5000-mile Trans-America Trail. The challenging trail goes through Black Dragon Canyon, where razor-sharp rocks, rattlesnakes and the risk of flash flooding are the antithesis to the Interstate.
Each Land Rover LR4 progressed steadily at a walking pace, while being watched over by 1,000 year-old cave paintings under the lip of a canyon wall. With the air suspension set in lifted mode and the Terrain Response dialed to Rock Craw, the crews edged through in the Utah landscape for 14 hours.
The heat of the Nevada Desert awaits the crews as they continue onto the next segment of their westward journey from North Carolina to Oregon.