Not even two miles into the Day 5 drive we had our first problem. The car bottomed-out and ripped off the rear muffler. Luckily we stopped right away and removed it before the road tore it up. With the muffler strapped to the roof, we were quickly on our way again.
And just as quickly we were sidelined by fuel system issues, just 5 miles down the road. This is where I almost lost it. I came as close as I ever did to throwing in the towel when Robert had to push me and the car across three lanes of traffic so I wouldn’t be blocking the turn lane. I’m pretty sure the four-letter words are still echoing off the mountains as I type this. Fortunately the “fix” was just to hang our Fuel Cooler 3000™ outside the engine compartment, dangling in front of the headlight in the relatively cool air. This got us up and down the mountains, through our first two checkpoints in the Estes Park area without issue.
When we hit flat land again, the temperatures were soaring and traffic was slow-moving. This led to yet another boiling fuel problem. We stopped for a long lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings, and then headed over to Lowe’s to get a garden sprayer that we could rig up to drizzle cool water on the Fuel Cooler 3000™, marking the third and final revision of the contraption. It worked sorta OK, but we still found ourselves pulling over frequently. We did have a nice rainstorm that brought some temporary relief. By the time we hit the third and final checkpoint for the day, it was after dark. There were still a few locals hanging out who had been there since 4:00 in the afternoon. After a quick chat we were on our way again. This time we bombed 150 or so miles in the cool darkness without any further problems.
We finally pulled in to the hotel parking lot sometime around midnight and were immediately greeted by Fred from 1320 Video, where we gave this interview: