Quick and Troublesome Mountain Escape, May 2021

I was able to get a couple of days off last week and decided to head into the mountains for two nights before coming back in for a concert at Red Rocks. I spent the first night in a perfectly deserted, beautiful spot in the Buffalo Creek Wilderness.

The next morning, I headed south to check out the spiritual hamlet of Crestone, CO. Unfortunately, due to an inexplicable brain fart I ended up in Westcliffe, CO, directly on the wrong side of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Westcliffe is all F150’s and cowboy hats, not the Subarus and prayer wheels I had expected to find in Crestone. I stopped to get my bearings and have a quick lunch.

Pigpen apparently didn’t like Westcliffe either; when I started the van back up, I found that I’d developed a nasty misfire. I decided to limp north, running hot and slow, to Urabus in Buena Vista. John, the owner, has a heart as big as a mountain. He diagnosed a bad coil wire and got me back on the road.

It was too late in the day to go south all the way to Crestone and I was still not feeling total confidence in Pigpen, so I went west to Cottonwood Pass instead. The misfire returned with a vengeance on the way up the hill. The area was deserted and I picked a nice spot by the creek to work on the van and stay for the night.

The campsite featured the idyllic rhythm of the flowing spring as well as a gnarly tuft of fur and an big footprint.

I diagnosed the misfire and got a fitful night’s sleep before crossing my fingers and heading east towards Denver the next morning.

Love that paint color!

I made it back to Denver, stumbling and misfiring for the last few miles of heavy traffic.

The whole issue with Pigpen was my own stubbornness–I just couldn’t believe that my brand-new OEM quality ignition wires were all defective. Unbelievable. I found a new set of wires in Denver, replaced them, also replaced a fouled MAF sensor, then was ready to return to Red Rocks for the first time in two years for the Leftover Salmon show. It was a beautiful night and a great show. Welcome back!

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