DIRT ‘N DRIVE, DAY 3 & 4 WERE JUST AS AMAZING AS DAY 1 & 2
After a day of wheeling in the awesome Farmington, New Mexico area, it was time to hit some pavement and make our way up to Cortez, Colorado.
But in true Rick Pewe Adventure fashion, it would not be a direct route. But, that said, the JP Magazine Dirt ‘N Drive is unlike other Adventures. This is not an “extreme” type of event. In fact on the very first day we are all given a “Trail Book”…unlike any other trail book I’ve ever seen. This being the fourth year of the event, the staff (Traci Clark) has figured out a few things, and had also put like a million hours into creating this trail guide.
While the object of the entire trip is to get from Farmington to Moab, they make sure that there is something for everyone along the way…and by that I mean fun! With over a 100 rigs on the road for this event, creating something for everyone is a huge undertaking. And these guys knocked it out of the park!
While the trail book contained pages for Social Media information, including hashtags, accounts to follow across all popular platforms, etc, it also included detailed maps, turn by turn directions AND links for downloadable GPX files…AND links to apps for GPX file viewing in case you already didn’t have one you liked to use! Awesome!
I won’t give away all their secrets…you will just have to attend an event to see for yourselves.
So, after leaving the Farmington area, it was time to head towards Cortez, Colorado. This is my neck of the woods. In fact this whole trip is through an area that I am fairly familiar with…and once again I am constantly amazed by the things that I have never seen before…or let me re-phrase that…by the things that I’ve seen before but are seeing them through different eyes this time.
Usually, I’m on a mission to get somewhere, and usually that involves the quickest most direct route. On this trip, I got to be a tourist! Places that I had been in the past looked different this time. One of the first places I realized this was when we arrived at the 4 Corners Monument. I have actually been here a few times in the past, but this time was different. Maybe it was the fact that this time I was simply driving my Jeep. No truck. No trailer. Just my 2004 LJ, Golden Spike.
The satellite imagery of this place says it all. This is the place out west where the corners of 4 states meet, hence the name. You can touch 4 states at the same time: New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.
There are also a number of local Indian tribe members on the site selling their crafts. I’m not sure they were quite ready for 100+ Jeep vehicles rolling into their location, but my guess is that they were pretty happy to see us!
For me, in the past, after leaving the 4 corners area, it has been a mad dash to head for home near Montrose, Colorado. But today would be different. How did I know? Well, the map told me so! But, again, the maps are a “guide” and if you chose to head straight to the hotel, that was up to you.
The next place in the trail book was a place I had never been before. The Hovenweep National Monument. Once home to over 2,500 people, Hovenweep includes six prehistoric villages built between A.D. 1200 and 1300! There are a few hiking trails and lots of information at the ranger station. It is off the beaten path for sure, but worth the trip!
What a day! After a quick hike down to the ruins and some pictures it was time to get to the hotel and some dinner! Of course there were still some miles to cover before reaching the hotel for the night…and of course the JP Magazine staff made sure that you never missed a thing along the way…even a mail box in the middle of the desert…
Or a stop at the Ismay Trading Post. Built in 1921, the Ismay Trading Post is on the map at the confluence of McElmo and Yellow Jacket canyons. It is the last stop on the road to the Navajo reservation from the east side in Colorado. For many decades it offered one-stop shopping for people living beyond the end of the road. Customers could pick up mail, general store goods, seasonal fresh produce and flat-tire repairs all in one place.
Another place that most folks drive by and never really SEE.
A healthy welcome by the Cortez Chamber of Commerce ended the day as we arrived at the hotel. A busy day followed by a great nights sleep was in order, especially since the following day we would be headed into Montrose!
After some very scenic highway miles including a drive over Dallas Divide outside of Ridgway, Colorado, we arrived around noon into Montrose. In fact, I even got to cheat a little and stop by my house for a quick change out of some gear. See, I wouldn’t be home again for a number of weeks since Easter Jeep Safari fell right before Jeep Beach Week in Daytona Beach, Florida, followed by an Unlimited OffRoad Expo Show in Nashville, TN. I really need to swap a couple things around!
I knew the afternoon in Montrose would be EPIC! The trails on the Uncompahgre Plateau are nothing short of amazing and I was excited to see an old friend as well as get to do some extreme wheeling in my newly built Jeep!
One of the local Jeep Clubs, the Western Slope 4 Wheelers, provided some guides for the folks that wanted to venture out and test their Jeeps…completely optional. Montrose is home to my favorite trail of all time, Die Trying. Is has a little bit of everything…but is mostly big rocks and very technical driving. And its FUN!
No chance of falling off the earth or anything like that since it lies in the bottom of a canyon. And my friend, Terry Hawkins, would be our guide. Interesting that I have never done this trail with anybody else spotting…and I’m not sure I would. He knows this trail like the back of his hand and is an exceptional spotter. The best I know! It would be a good trip!
I think there were 8 or 10 of us. Some very well built and some not as extreme. This is a bring your best equipment kind of trail…because the tow truck can’t make it. But with good spotting and some patience I think everyone had a great time! Since we got a late start, we got back to town a little late…but I think it was worth it!
Some food and another night of sleep were a high priority again!
The final day would be a mostly highway push with some dirt roads in between…scenery and fun were the focus again! From Montrose we headed north for a bit before turning back west and heading into Gateway, home of the Gateway Auto Museum. The Hendricks Collection, owned by Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks and his family, is an auto collection like none other. We did not have time to stop during this event, but if you are in the area and get a chance to, you will not be disappointed. Just driving through the canyons here are amazing enough!
Driving through Disappointment Valley, the Paradox Valley and along the Unaweep/Tabeguache Colorado Scenic Byway are among some of the most scenic and historic roads through Western Colorado, and the hanging flume is no exception!
Another side trip that provided another unique look at amazing places. Well done JP Magazine!
We still had a ways to go to get into Moab, Utah. So we pushed on…we still had to drive over the La Sal Mountains…
After passing Hole in the Rock, we were close. There would be a dinner, a few giveaways, and even a few of the Jeep Concepts would be making an appearance to celebrate the final day of this years’ Dirt ‘N Drive event!
I can’t emphasize enough how much fun this event was. It included a little bit of truly everything. From the amazing folks that put the event on to each and every singe participant…it was an Adventure. It was the 2019 JP Dirt ‘N Drive presented by Jeep.
Thanks Rick, Traci and the entire staff (including the cronies!) that made this event what it is!
For the video re-cap:
And a Gallery of all of the images: