I have a whole new appreciation for my Roadtrek eTrek. It not only allows us to boondock, or dry camp, for days on end, it can haul us up some of the steepest mountains in Southwest Colorado… while hauling a travel trailer.
Our little family caravan made our way south from Colorado Springs in some pretty dicey driving conditions. Heavy downpours, fog, slippery roads and high altitude. But it wasn't until we hit US 160 near Wolf Creek Pass when I put the eTrek to the hauling test.
Some 37 Miles of steep incline and a 8% winding decline made the ascent of Pikes Peak the day before seem like a Sunday drive. It was pouring rain the whole way. The eTrek drove firm and steady, though its' a good thing the speed limit was 45 mph because that is about all I could get out of the Mercedes 3500 engine hauling our 21-foot AmerLite travel trailer.
That's when I remembered why Wolf Creek Pass was so familiar. It was a song made famous by Country music artist C. W. McCall's humorous spoken word song of the same name, in which the pass is fondly described as “37 miles o' hell — which is up on the Great Divide.” In the song, two truckers drive an out-of-control Peterbilt down U.S. Highway 160 over the pass.
- I looked at Earl and his eyes was wide
- His lip was curled, and his leg was fried.
- And his hand was froze to the wheel like a tongue to a sled in the middle of a blizzard.
- I says, “Earl, I'm not the type to complain
- But the time has come for me to explain
- That if you don't apply some brake real soon, they're gonna have to pick us up with a stick and a spoon…”
- (“Wolf Creek Pass” written by Bill Fries and Chip Davis, sung by C.W. McCall)
Here is is if you want to sing along:
It was a real test. The highway climbs to 10,857 feet, smack dab on the Continental Divide.
I used the Mercedes engine to downshift on the decline. The trailer brakes stunk mightily as they heated up and we had to take a 45 minute break to let them cool down once we reached the bottom.
My son, Jeff, following in a borrowed Roadtrek SS, had no problems. My daughter Wendy, following in our Honda Pilot SUV, suffered from altitude sickness.
The rain continued all the way to Mesa Verde National Park. We didn't get in until very late and got very wet setting up. It was my first test of backing up the trailer. After Wolf Creek Pass, it was a piece of cake.