Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Route to Breckenridge!

My journey will begin the morning of Sunday, June 21st from my home in Irvine, California. I have yet to decide if I will leave earlier on Father's Day and drive to Pasadena to meet up with other Southern California MG Club members, or head direct to the Primm Valley Resort and Casino on I-15 at the California/Nevada state line, where we plan to join up. The journey will continue on Monday, June 22, through the hot desert up I-15 through Las Vegas, St. George, Utah, and hopefully into a more moderate climate by the time we pass through Cedar City, Utah. From there we continue to Beaver, Utah, where we will spend the night.

The journey will have its challenges! There is a long climb from the southern California desert floor near San Bernadino to the high desert at Victorville and beyond. There is another serious climb near Baker, between Barstow, Calif., and Las Vegas, and that stretch will likely find ambient temperatures above 100 degrees. Hot climbs are double stress tests for these cars. The hot climate should continue through Las Vegas and beyond St. George, Utah, likely cooling off before Cedar City, Utah.

The next real challenge will be crossing the Wasatch Plateau and San Rafael Swell between Salina, Utah, and Green River, Utah, populated with a series of climbs and steep descents. That pass will take us to nearly 8,000 ft, which will richen up the fuel mixtures in these naturally carbureted cars and rob considerable power during the climb. That segment is also a stretch of over 110 miles with no services, the longest such stretch with no services on the U.S. Interstate Highway system. Here is a link for more interesting information about the unique characteristics of I-70 in Utah:

From there we will descend to Grand Junction, Colorado, which is at an elevation of around 4,600 ft. Grand Junction will see inbound MG groups and solo drivers from all over the western regions of the county funnel into Colorado and onto I-70.

A group local to Grand Junction is organizing a Gateway to the Rockies tour for that final stint over I-70 on to Breckenridge, beginning with a drive through the Colorado National Monument. This area shares geological characteristics with other nearby national parks such as Bryce Canyon and Glen Canyon to the south.

I-70 in Colorado appears to navigate the lower elevations and valleys, then climbs to around 10,670 ft at the Vail Pass. From there it is a relatively short drive to Breckenridge, which has an elevation of approx. 9,600 ft. Many of us are taking oxygen to puff on occasionally to help condition ourselves against elevation sickness. I don't believe I have been to over 8,000 ft in almost 30 years, except for flights in pressurized airliners.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck on your trip, Dad. Seems like you have Sapphire in top shape. I'm sure that you'll have a blast. Keep the posts coming.