Was That You? 7/20/14 Red Mountain Pass
You: Driving a long Class C Coachmen with Colorado plates.
Me: Heading to Montrose, CO for two days of training in my work truck.
Where: Hwy 550 North over Red Mountain Pass Colorado - between Silverton and Ouray, CO.
When: Sunday, 7/20, at around 6 PM
I first caught sight of you heading north out of Silverton. You were about a mile ahead and I figured I'd be catching up with you well before we started up the final grade to go over Red Mountain. You know, because you're driving a good sized RV at 9,318 feet heading over a pass that tops out at just over 11,000 feet. But you surprised me that I didn't catch up till we crested the pass. Wow, you must have really had the pedal to the metal. But surely you’ll be downshifting any moment now on the downhill run right? I mean, with the hairpin turns, narrow lanes, literally no shoulder and all.
Gee, you sure hit those hair pin turns hard. You know it’s best to slow way down before starting into them so you don’t overshoot the lane coming out the other end of the turn. And if you had downshifted you wouldn’t be relying so much on your brakes. Crap, you kept crossing the center line into the oncoming lane. You know the oncoming drivers don’t have anywhere to go right? I mean there’s about a foot of gravel on the shoulder before they would have to put the passenger side of their vehicle into a rock wall. Guess that’s why that Subaru driver was blowing his horn at you.
Yea, you were making great time through the curves. Of course you had to straighten out the curves by going as much as 2/3 into the oncoming lane. And I can’t imagine how much fun it was for your passengers lurching side to side. When DOT posts the speed limit I suspect they’re thinking of a car not an RV running 10 MPH over the limit. And that seemingly piddly 25MPH speed limit is meant to keep you from going over the edge of the shelf road and tumbling 800’ down the gorge. You know, like the poor guy did last week on his motorcycle (59 year old from AZ). May he rest in peace.
I really got worried when I started to smell your overheated brakes. By this time you were past Bear Creek Falls and seemed to be hell bent on making a time trial on the run into Ouray. Just a couple more sharp turns – with more oncoming lane excursions – and then we were back to somewhat level ground. Off you went.
I was trying to figure out your plans when you slowed down as we approached the green light at Ridgway. But a sudden right turn into the gas station made it as clear as if you had botherd to use your turn signal that you were pulling off and pulling off right NOW!
I do have to apologize that I didn’t stop and try to strike up a friendly conversation. You know, one in which I could have gently pointed out a few safety tips. Like by down shifting and keeping your speed at least to the speed limit you may not end up killing yourself, your passengers, or another innocent driver.
The proceeding, while a bit tongue in cheek, is a factual account of my trip this evening. I doubt that the driver will ever read this but it’s presented here as food for thought. You see, I live and work in these beautiful mountains of Colorado. But sometimes I see what can only be described as sheer madness on the road.
Barry, MSgt, USAF, Ret. & Rose
2015 Nissan Frontier V6
2014 Coachmen Viking 17FQ