Thursday, September 17, 2015

Our new gas line

We have a low pressure outlet for propane on our coach, the manufacturer installed it.  There is a 40 gallon propane tank which feeds into a regulator and that low pressure gas goes to our cooktop, and is teed off to an outlet on the passenger side of the coach.  Some years ago I tried to rig it up so I could feed our grill with that propane and it was a failure as I didn't fully understand that you cannot use low pressure propane with another built-in regulator on the grill, and I didn't want to modify the grill at that time.  Now that we have the fire pit, that reignited our interest in using the big propane tank on the coach.  The fire pit came with a hose with a built-in regulator so that was easy to remove, then all we had to do was find a myriad selection of fittings and have a propane hose built for us, simple right?  I called around to various propane dealers in Durango and only one said they thought they could do it, but when I called back it was apparent that they wanted no part of working on an "RV".  So back to square one.  I expanded our search and found a likely place in Cortez, about 50 miles from us, but on the phone they said they would make the hose.  So Jan and I decided to go have the hose made, find some lunch in Cortez, and then do a loop down around the southern side of Mesa Verde and work our way back.

Before we left we played around to figure out how long we wanted the hose, trying to go through different scenarios, and wanted to remain open to the possibility of modifying the grill to utilize the hose as well.  We decided on 30'.  The gas company was very nice, I explained what we needed and they fixed us right up at less than half the price of online gas lines!  So off we went to lunch, mixed bag, part good, part awful, oh well.  Then we headed south down 491 to find Mancos Canyon Road.  It went right by Chimney Rock, yeah one of the perhaps 50 chimney rocks in the country:)  It was still pretty impressive.
Chimney Rock
Mancos Canyon Road was all dirt and very remote, in fact, we never saw another car or person on the whole road, also we were very excited to see an Anasazi ruin, not marked, not on the map, and since we were on Indian land, unable to get any closer without being escorted, but it was cool nonetheless.
Right along the road

We also came across some paintings, pictures of more modern people, and the only thing we could figure is they had to do with the fact the Old Spanish Trail went through this same area.
Old time graffiti?

The canyon was beautiful and got deeper and tighter as we went, and as we turned on Johnson Canyon Road we climbed straight up the side to the top of the mesa.  Great views.

Well, we made our way back, had coffee at the best view point, got all the pieces and parts for the propane project, lit the fire pit, and decided 30' was way too long!
It works!
Now what to do?  We wanted to go up to Ouray anyway while we were here north over the "Million Dollar Highway", but there are signs that the road is closed on weekdays and only open on the weekend while they repair a part of the road that fell down the mountain.  Now this road is always a challenge for me, it definitely hangs off the cliff in many places, and the only way I want to drive it is north, that way in the worst places you are on the "right" side of the road, and we wanted to fix our 30' hose, and it was Saturday.  We decided to time our loop ride to get to Ouray in time for lunch, go out and around through Ridgway, Placerville, and Cortez, back to the gas company, and then back to Durango, 230 miles or so.

Well, what a day for our ride, sunny, blue skies, crystal clear, and super temps!  The road gets more and more interesting north of Silverton, and especially interesting the closer you get to Ouray.

The site of the town, Chattanooga

Site of an old mine above Chattanooga

The gorge just south of Ouray, you can see where they are working
The construction was underway even on the weekend, as the season for repairs is very short, and it held us up almost an hour.  The good side of that was we sat still in places like where this picture above was taken, that you'd never be able to normally stop, the road has very few pullouts, and as you can see it is quite narrow and perched on the cliffs.  Ouray is a very cool town nestled in the towering mountains, it is similar to Silverton, but even more picturesque.  We had an excellent lunch at Maggie's Kitchen, a little hole in the wall with awesome burgers cooked to order.
Looking up Main St in Ouray

Our view from Maggie's porch

Grafitti all over the walls

We made our way around and had a beautiful day, even made it to the gas company 1/2 hour before they closed and had our 30' hose modified to 2 hoses, one 12' long and the other 18', now we are ready for any contingency:)

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