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Aug 04

The Christian Crawlers Colorado Adventure in God's Country

Posted by trlfrog  filed under Colorado   0 Comment(s)    Add a Comment  comment-icon.png

We would like to share our story and pictures of the Colorado trip with everyone.  First we must thank God for one of our most memorable trips ever.  Getting to see God’s creation with great friends like that is such a blessing.  The blessings began before the trip even started.  We (the Barclay family) have a small farm with goats in milk, chickens, a dog, cats, and a large garden.  Getting people to help with all of that for eight days is kind of hard and a little stressful.  The first blessing was when friends we had made through our home school group said they would be happy to house-sit and do all the farm and garden chores while we were gone.  They were eager to learn the farm life and did a great job which helped put us at ease.

The adventure started Saturday July 19th at 7:30 in the morning.  James had driven in from Arkansas and met us at our house the night before so we could get an early start.  The anticipation was building, and we were finally going.  The first day went well.  We drove to Glass Mountain and had lunch. After lunch we had a great hike up the mountain and enjoyed the great weather we were having for July.  We were blessed with cool weather that day for sure.   We made our way on to Capulin RV Park.  The park is owned by Christians, and you can tell by all of the Bible verses on the doors and the Bibles in the bathrooms.  It wasn’t really our type of tent camping, but it was a nice place and we weren’t staying there long.  We were leaving early the next morning to drive to the top of Capulin Volcano. 

We got to the volcano and ate breakfast at the bottom.  We then went hiking on a few trails while we were waiting for them to open at 8:30 am. We saw deer and rabbits with some nice scenery.   My family along with James drove to the top of the volcano for another great one mile hike around the top at 8,000 feet.  A great start for an elevation test for what we were going to be in for the rest of the week.  We met a lady at the top that started a conversation with us because of our Christian Crawlers windshield stickers.  That was just one of several conversations started by the windshield stickers that week.  Sometimes it’s the people you meet along the way that help make the adventure. 

We were off again and heading to our final camping spot, Silverton Lakes Campground.  We took a scenic route up through New Mexico and stopped at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge for lunch.  We ate lunch while enjoying spectacular views of some of the damage most likely left by the great flood of the Bible.  We took pictures and moved on.  While making our way through the mountains of New Mexico, I thought I was going to have to stop and tie James’ to his seat.  There were so many places to stop and hike, and I could tell he couldn’t stand it.  Rightfully so, though, because it was beautiful and a hiker’s dream with so much to explore. 

We made it to our camping spot Sunday evening right before dark, and it was awesome with spectacular views.  We were at 9,300 feet, and you could tell by the way we were getting out of breath a little just setting up camp.  Dave and Rita had already arrived at camp earlier that day, had their tent set up and were in town enjoying dinner.  They are some friends we met at last year’s Rock the Ozarks event.  The hard work that was put into that event by the club members helped open the door for making life-long friends.  We woke up the next morning to temperatures in the low 40’s, which was going to be the norm for the rest of the week.  We also had a view of mountains towering all around us. 

We had driven 910 miles to get there, and when we pulled into the parking lot of the campground my rear axle made a single popping noise.  It didn’t do it again so I didn’t think much more about it. The next morning our anticipation was at its highest, and we made plans to start with Black Bear Pass (one of the most scary and tightest switch-back trails in the area), and then move on to Imogene Pass and Yankee Boy Basin.  Well, things didn’t go as planned, but toward the end of the day you could see God working again.  A little ways into the trail my rear axle locker started popping more and more.  However, it didn’t pop as much as long as I kept the rear locker locked in, so I locked it in and went on.  Halfway down the trail it turned into a one-way trail and there was no turning around.  It was then I figured out how hard it is to turn going downhill on a shelf road with the rear locker locked in.  It tends to push your front end so that you can’t turn as sharply.  It added a new level of excitement on the switchbacks for sure.


By the time we made it to the bottom it was popping more, louder, and harder.  We knew we had to make repairs, and it was the first day into a long trip.  We were in Telluride which is a ski/tourist town only, and there were no repair shops in sight.  I always try to think everything happens for a reason, but I was kind of worried to be honest.  Fortunately for me, I was surrounded by good Christian friends that were there to remind me of that and to help out.  We even had friends stopping what they were doing at home to help out over the phone (more friends I had met because of the club).  Thank you, Brad, for all your help from home.  We had found an open parking lot outside of Telluride to assess the damage.  We deemed it terminal and repairs were a must to even get home much less keep four-wheeling.  James and I had both driven our Jeeps all the way instead of trailering them.  We kind of figured it would make a better adventure.  My two options were to either have a new locker shipped next-day air or weld my broken one in order to keep on wheeling for the rest of the week.  With help from Brad, we were able to modify the wiring of the rear locker to keep it locked-in in two wheel drive, and we made it on down to a gas station out of town. 

Here is where we could start seeing God putting everything in place.  I went into the gas station to ask the clerk if she knew of any place around that had a welder.  She didn’t know of any, but the guy behind me said “You need something welded?”  I started talking to him, and he gave me a guy’s name and number, but said he probably wasn’t around so I should first check with a tire shop out west of town.  We all drove down to the tire shop and I walked in.  A guy asked how I was doing while I was waiting to talk to the guy behind the counter.  I said I was ok, but then I wondered why I had said that.  I really wasn’t feeling ok at the time.  This was my first day there, and my vacation was not looking good.  About that time the guy behind the counter asked what I needed.  I tell him I am looking for a welder.  He tells me I need a guy named Simon.  The guy he is talking about walks in the door.  He is the owner of the place down the road that has a welder.  I tell him I need a welder, and he tells me to follow him.  We get to his place of business (I’m not sure what all they did there), and after he looks in his mechanic’s shop, he tells me that Anton, his mechanic, is gone for the day (it was pushing 4 pm.)  My heart sank again.  I’m thinking there is no way he is going to let me use his welder without his mechanic there and with me being a complete stranger.  Also, I still had to take the diff cover off to access the locker and assess the damage, but I was desperate so I told him I knew how to weld if he didn’t mind me using his welder.  He looked at me a second and said “Yeah, that’s ok.”  So I got it in the shop and started on it. 

About that time Anton shows up at the shop before going home.  He says “What’s this Jeep doing in my shop?”  I jokingly said, “It makes your shop look a lot better, doesn’t it?’ hoping he wasn’t about to get mad.  We had moved a bunch of his stuff to get my Jeep in there (it was only a one car shop).  He was just kidding and was really nice, also.  He told me to use whatever tools I needed, and even said there was more tools in his truck tool box and that the keys were in the truck.  He then told me he was going home.  By that time I had the diff cover off and figured out there was no easy access holes to weld the locker together.  That was not good because it was coming up on 5pm and everyone else at the business is ready to leave.  I was thinking there was no way they were going to let us all stay there and work on my Jeep with no one there.  The owner comes back into the shop, and I tell him it’s going to take at least a few hours.  He tells me that it’s ok, and asks us to lock up everything when we’re done.  He also said he had gear lube there if I needed it and to use whatever I needed.  We are all thinking this is unbelievable.  It was God’s hand at work for sure. 

To make a long story short, we had to tear the axle all the way down to get the ring gear off to weld it.  We wrapped it all up right at dusk , left a note with lots of thanks and God bless, and some money even though he told me I didn’t need to pay anything.  We then took the long way around to Silverton which took 2 hours because there are no short cuts except trails.  On the way back right before dark we saw mule deer and elk which made it a nice closing to a long first day there. We made it back to camp really late, thanked God again for the blessing and went to bed.     

Tuesday we got off to a later start because we were on the phone with Funtreks trying to figure out why our SD card with all the trails on it wasn’t working.  After a couple of hours of trying several different things, and just as the guy at Funtreks was about to give up and just refund our money, we finally got it working.  They decided to go ahead and give us our money back anyway because of the problems we had.  We were thankful for that and the Funtreks card worked great the rest of the week.

After that we decided to go on a mine tour not far from camp.  We all had fun with that and headed down CR2 to look for a scenic spot for lunch. We ended up stopping at an old mine by a river.  After lunch James, the boys and I crossed the very cold river to go explore an old mine shaft.  My younger son, Easton had removed his boots to cross the river, and when he tried to throw them across to the other side, one of them didn’t quite make it, so downstream it went, and the chase was on. We caught up with his boot, hung it on the side of the Jeep to dry, and headed to Placer Gulch and Picayune Gulch.  We got to do some more hiking and old mine exploring, saw some more deer and stopped by Animas Forks to finish out the trails for the day.  We got back to camp after dark again, grilled dinner and had s’mores around the camp fire to end out a very good day. 


Wednesday was a little slower paced.  We went up Stony Pass and over to Kite Lake. We stopped along the way to let the boys swim in the start of the Rio Grand River in the San Juan Mountains. 

On Thursday we decided to do the Alpine Loop.  We started with Engineer Pass which had some amazing views.  Towards the end of that trail we got rained on and hailed on for a few minutes.  We then made our way onto Cinnamon Pass to work our way back to camp. On the way we saw a mountain goat and a moose and then it rained on us again toward the end of that trail and through the rest of the night.

When we woke up Friday the rain had stopped, and we were blessed with the coolest views from camp yet.  The clouds were right above us covering parts of the mountains.  What a sight!  We then headed to the Sunflower Mill to take a self-guided tour.  We arrived about an hour before they opened, so we and James decided to check out a trail by a river close to the mill while Dave and Rita grabbed a few things from town.  By this time in the trip, Dave had gold fever so bad his new nickname was Golden Dave.  We ended up doing a little panning for gold and actually found a little. 

We were fortunate to see Skeeter come out a few times as you will see in the pics.  James kept us laughing the whole time while making sure we stopped to eat frequently.  He also made sure to stop and smell the flowers and take pictures of them.  Our two boys stayed entertained by him and also by Dave and Rita who took the time to make sure they were having fun.  Saturday we got up early, said our good byes  to Dave and Rita and left camp by 7:30am.  We stopped for fuel and to eat lunch and dinner, and made it to my house south of Tulsa 17 ½ hours later a little after 2am.  The week seemed to fly by so fast.  We all had a great time and enjoyed a lot of blessings. 



Always give God the praise.  He wants to bless us in all we do.


Story and pictures by Steven Barclay


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