The OFMC pulled out of Meeker in the morning headed west toward Rangely on CO 64 and then turned south on CO 139 to go over Douglas Pass. When everyone else had arrived separately from me the evening before they had gotten gas so there was no stopping this morning and I didn’t think about it. Until, that is, we turned south toward the pass and I noticed my gas gauge was showing only two bars.
Let me explain about the gas gauge on the V-Strom. First of all, it has one. A lot of bikes don’t. And because this bike does have a gas gauge, it does not have reserve. On the digital display it shows five bars when the tank is full. I was running on two bars.
Now, this bike is new enough that I didn’t really have a feel for what kind of range it has. Depending on the type of riding I’ve gotten between 52 and 70 miles per gallon. But I didn’t remember how many gallons of gas it holds. Meanwhile, my trip meter was showing something over 200 miles on the tank so far. From the turn-off to Douglas Pass the sign said it was 82 miles to Loma, the next town. I was a little nervous but figured if I made the top of the pass before it went to one bar I could definitely make it to Loma.
The ride to and up the north side of Douglas Pass is pretty but nothing special. It’s once you get over on the south side that it gets really spectacular. It’s a steep slope with lots of switchbacks and a terrific view. We didn’t get that far when my gauge went to one bar. And to really make you nervous, once it goes to one bar it flashes endlessly telling you you need gas soon.
Of course, once we got to the top there was a whole lot of downhill. That doesn’t use much gas. But I didn’t remember how far it was to Loma from there. Just keep your fingers crossed.
Well, to shortcut this story, I made it. The trip meter was reading 320 miles on the tank of gas when I pulled in the station and it took 5.01 gallons. I know now that the tank is supposed to hold 5.81 gallons. So that was 64 miles per gallon, leaving me with about 50 miles worth of fuel. I’m really getting to like this bike.
From Loma we headed on to Fruita because Brett had lost one of his tail/brake lights. A stop at an auto parts store took care of that and then it was on across Colorado National Monument on Rim Rock Drive. The monument is a plateau with sheer sides and the road runs right along the cliff. It’s a lesser-known place in Colorado that you would do well to see if you come out this way.
We came down from the monument into Grand Junction, through Junction to Clifton, and stopped at the grocery store. Our destination for the day was a ski condo on the north side of Grand Mesa called Powderhorn. Being summer, however, there was no gas, no restaurants, no stores–nothing. We had to take everything we would need tonight and in the morning.
So we went in City Market and by some amazing chance ran into Christopher. This is a guy who John and Bill have known since grade school, and I’ve known for nearly 40 years, but who we had not seen in more than 10 years. What a small world.
Finally we headed up the mesa and what a relief that was. It was broiling hot in Junction and nicely cool up higher. Plus the sunset was one of those more cosmic ones that you get when the air is full of ash from forest fires, such as the one outside of Meeker the night before. Another day in the books.