Highlights - Colorado Vacation (Summer1996)

         Summer vacation 96 --- Golden Colorado 6/26/96-7/8/96

      Greg Grieff: Greenbelt, MD          John Kristofits: Golden CO
      Valerie Schutz: Lorton, VA
      Suzanne Ruth: Bethesda, MD
        Eric Ruth: Bethesda MD

                Starting Mileage 54400   Ending Mileage 58939
                             Total Miles = 4539

                  Bethesda MD to Golden CO      1780 Miles
                  Misc Driving                  1039 Miles
                  Golden CO - Bethesda MD       1720 Miles

Thursday 6/27/96

6:30PM   Greg departs Greenbelt with car already full from his stuff alone.

7:00PM   Greg meets rest of crew at Eric and Suzy's place.

7:10PM   Pizza Ordered

7:45PM   Group loads cart with Remainder of luggage and coolers and
                 attempts to pack car.

7:55PM   Suzy crawls on top of car carrier and lays spread eagle across it
                 to get it closed.

8:15PM   Group determines that everything will fit in the truck...Barely!

10:00PM  Group retires for 4 hour nap. (alarm set for 2:00AM)

Friday 6/27/96

2:00AM   Alarm goes off

2:10AM   Alarm goes off again.

2:20AM   Alarm goes off again.  Group arises...showers taken and coolers

3:00AM   Group departs Bethesda for Lovely Golden Colorado
                 (Estimated distance 1600 Miles)

3:50AM   Everyone screams at Eric as he nearly misses the exit for 66W

3:55AM   License Plate Bingo Started...VA Found, 49 more to go.

4:30AM   Greg awaken by unusual noise coming from Blazer.

4:35AM   With unknown noise getting louder, Eric decides to exit the
                 highway. As speed decreases, noise increases...exponentially.

4:36AM   THUD...

4:36:10AM  Silence...

4:37AM   Car stopped, group inspects area for source of noise.

4:45AM   No sign of damage or source of noise...group continues drive.

5:00AM   Suzy becomes annoyed at Eric, and wins Virginia.

6:15AM   Gas Running low

6:20AM   Gas located on Trip-tic Approx. 20 Miles away.

6:21AM   Greg estimates remaining fuel at 15 Miles.

6:22AM   Greg perplexed by low gas mileage (11 MPG)

6:30AM   Eric exits highway in search of gas.

6:45AM   15 Miles later, Eric nearly passes gas Station.

6:45AM   Gas Station Closed...will be open at 7:00.

6:50AM   Suzy and Val convince attendant to open Rest rooms.

6:55AM   18 Gallon gas tank filled with 17.96 Gallons of gas.

7:00AM   On the road again.

7:15AM   Eric realizes that the first leg of the trip had been driven in
                 drive, rather than overdrive. Thus explaining the poor gas mileage.

9:30AM   Gas Running low...

9:40AM   Gas station found in Hurricane WV...(Unacceptable to women for
                 lack of working rest room)

9:43AM   1/2 Gallon of gas spilled onto parking lot, because of faulty
                 shutoff on gas pump.

9:45AM   Rest room Found at McDonalds. Breakfast consumed.

1:00PM   Gas Running low...

1:21PM   Gas up in Floyds Knob IN.  Eric Annoyed because group refuses to
                 let him drive any further.(Eric wins Indiana) Suzy begins Driving.

2:15PM   Time changes to 1:15 PM
                 License Plate bingo Going well, However, prospect of finding New
                 England states dwindling.

4:00PM   Gas Running low...

4:15PM   Gas Filled in Ofallon IL.
                 Construction Crew nearly dumps 4 tons of rock/sand onto Blazer.
                 Suzy's skillful driving avoids catastrophe.

5:30PM   Suzy becomes annoyed with rush hour traffic in St. Louis (Suzy
                 wins Missouri)

5:45PM   Group notices tower Like Structure...Val remarks that it could be
                 the Eiffel Tower...Greg comments "Yeah, and it's not even
                 Leaning."  Group chuckles, (Greg also wins Missouri)

7:00PM   Unscheduled stop for Rest room...Greg Begins Driving.

8:00PM   Gas Running low...

8:24PM   Gas secured in Bates City Missouri; Next to large fireworks

11:30PM  Eric Estimates 5 More hours to destination.  *Cool*

11:50PM  Group gets weary after 21 hours of driving.  Begin Searching for
                 lodging in lovely Junction City Kansas.

Saturday 6/28/96

12:30AM  Lovely Dreamland Motel Chosen for location and price.  Room
                 accommodations include fly swatter, and dead flies.

1:00AM   NAP...

9:00AM   Wake-up Call.

10:00AM  Check out of Lovely Dreamland Motel...Stop for gas, and resume
                 journey... Eric Driving once again.

10:15AM  5 Hour Estimate recalculated to 8 Hours. Uggggghhh...

10:30AM  Group Distraught at missing McDonalds breakfast...

10:35AM  Group realizes "This is Central Time Zone, it's an hour earlier
                 than we thought...we didn't miss breakfast after all"

10:50AM  Group enjoys McDonalds Breakfast...Suzy Plays 'McDonalds Monopoly'

10:55AM  Suzy searches for Scotch tape to tape pieces to Gameboard.  Val
                 Explains to Suzy that game pieces are 'Pre-Licked'

1:30PM   Still in Kansas!!...Need More gas.

1:35PM   Greg, Perplexed by poor gas mileage again.  Eric explains that it
                 may have something to do with driving 91 MPH.

2:00PM   Finally Reach Colorado boarder...Eric Realizes that driving
                 through Colorado isn't much different than driving through Kansas.
                 (except Speed limit is now 75)

4:00PM   Gas Running Low...

4:10PM   Car filled with Gas in Lovely Golden Colorado

4:20PM   On Route, Up the mountain, to John's Place.

4:25PM   Greg reminds Eric that "The Blazer is not a Sports
                 Car...Especially not with the 'sail' on top"

5:00PM   Eric Turns off the Paved road...On Route to John's House.

5:05PM   After 29 Hours of driving, 1745 miles, 116.3 Gallons of gas,
                 and 28.6 Liters of Diet Coke...Group finally Arrives at
                 John's House. Sighs of relief from all.

5:30PM   Group has unloaded the Blazer, and taken over John's living room,
                 Dining room, and upstairs small bedroom.

5:40PM   Group notices missing gas cap from last gas Stop.

6:30PM   Kitchen cleaned up, and dinner is prepared. Sausage & fried Noodles
                 for all.

7:00PM   Group held in suspense by word of a downed snowboarder on
                 John's police scanner.  Snowboarder supposedly fell 1500 Feet,
                 and survived.

7:15PM   Group decides scanner is loud and annoying. (Typical of John)

8:00PM   Group relaxes to Pay per View Movie for the evening...
                 Under Siege II is playing.

10:30PM  Group retires to Living room and Small bedroom for a well deserved

Sunday 6/29/96

8:00AM   Group awoken by John going to church in "Sunday Best" (Worn out
                 Harley T-shirt, and Cut off jean shorts from High School)

8:30AM   Eric and Suzy Go Biking...

8:45AM   Eric and Suzy Return...exhausted by High Altitude, and Steep Dirt

9:00AM   Greg cleans up 50 used oil bottles and 50 lbs of used cat litter
                 outside the house, while Suzy cleans up 9 Months of Recyclables on
                 Back porch.

11:00AM  John Returns from church with plans to go "Non Gnarly" 4-wheeling
                 with friends from Fire Dept.

11:30AM  Group Meets with John's Friends (Steve, CC, and the Kids) and
                 depart for 4-wheeling.

11:45AM  Group Turns off Dirt Road onto Jeep Trail.

12:00PM  Greg begins to worry about Steve's definition of "Non Gnarly"

12:15PM  Greg notices aroma of gas after climbing 45 degree boulder trail.
                 (Mental note...Get gas Cap)

12:30PM  Traffic jam encountered at River Crossing.  Group explores on foot
                 only to find a drowned 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, with men under
                 the hood, pulling spark plugs to drain water from cylinders and
                 women bailing 1 foot of standing water from the passenger

12:35PM  Group, Realizing its limits, spectates while three vehicles
                 including a Suzuki Sidekick fort the river...

12:40PM  Group departs in search of a more "Reasonable" river crossing.

1:00PM   Group encounters second river crossing.  Suzy sent to Survey the
                 river depth. River reaches Suzy's knees; Group Decides that river
                 is "passable"

1:10PM   River crossing successful, No Noticeable Damage.

2:45PM   Group stops in Nederland for Groceries, and gas cap.

3:00PM   Group returns home, and Prepares for Dinner and Gambling in

3:30PM   Dinner at Black Forrest Inn;  While ordering, Val inquires if
                 the trout is "De-headed"  Waiter chuckles...

3:40PM   Guys suggest that Suzy lift her shirt to the parking attendant, to
                 avoid paying for parking; Busboy likes this suggestion.

4:00PM   Dinner finished, Proceed to Gambling...

6:00PM   Eric is through gambling and cashes in $25 in chips at the teller.

6:01PM   Eric finds $1 coin in pocket.

6:02PM   Eric Tries to rid himself of $1 coin, in $1 slot machine.

6:03PM   Eric Wins $40 with $1 Coin.

6:04PM   Eric Returns to teller with 40 more $1 Coins (teller looks annoyed).

6:10PM   Group departs for next gambling Spot.

6:50PM   Group arrives at valet parking for next Casino.  Group waits
                 patiently for first 5 min.

7:00PM   Greg becomes impatient, Decides to run over Cones while waiting
                 for parking attendant.

7:05PM   Parking Attendant retrieves cones from underneath Blazer, before
                 parking it.  Parking attendant looks annoyed.

7:45PM   Greg, Suzy, and John watch lame band while Val watches Eric win at

8:00PM   John wanders over to watch Eric.  Eric starts loosing so Val
                 explains to John that he is bad luck, and has to leave.

8:01PM   John Wanders away.

9:00PM   Group watches as Eric decides to play 7 Card Stud Poker.

9:15PM   Dealer flirts with Val, trying to get her to join in.

9:30PM   A player flirts with Suzy, trying to get her to join in.

10:30PM  Eric Still playing poker

11:00PM  Group realizes that John has to work tomorrow morning, and departs

Monday 7/1/96

6:00AM   Group awoken by John preparing for work in usual work attire (Same
                 as Sunday best)

10:00AM  Group departs for Rocky Mnt National Park for Hiking...Group hikes
                 up Deer Mountain trail, can't find summit, and hikes back down.

1:00PM   License plate bingo update (Mississippi, Washington & Alaska found)

2:00PM   Prepare to Meet John after work in Boulder for Happy Hour

2:05PM   Cat (Brittany) Escapes the house.  (Greg wins Colorado after getting
                 boots dirty chasing said cat)

3:00PM   Take short cut to Boulder to miss construction

3:30PM   Construction could not have possibly been as bad as the "Short
                 Cut"  Eric becomes annoyed by Road, (Wins Colorado)

3:45PM   Meet John at "The Walrus" for a pint of Fat Tire...and Pool on the
                 "L" Shaped Pool table.

4:00PM   Val, Driving School Bus, Races Suzy Driving Ferrari.

4:30PM   Machine Dispenses 5 Pistachios for $.25

5:00PM   Group decides pistachios too expensive and leaves in search of dinner

5:05PM   Greg Proves to the world that "Suzy IS wearing Underwear"

5:15PM   Dinner at the "Boulder Cafe"

6:00PM   Group attempts to identify "French Fry Like Substance" On Suzy's

6:10PM   When the Busboy cannot identify the substance, the Group forces
                 him to try one of the items.  His expression is indescribable...He
                 goes to find a manager to identify the substance.

6:15PM   Substance is identified as "Yam Fries"  Ohhh...

6:30PM   7' Woman enters bar...Men's jaws drop.

7:00PM   Depart for Grizzly Rose (line dancing/country bar)

7:30PM   Suzy has sore toes from teaching john to 2-Step

7:45PM   Val gets 16 oz Alabama slammer shot, and 1/2 Gallon of OJ, and
                 mixes her own drinks.

9:00PM   Val and Eric shoot pool, and annoy fellow pool players.

9:30PM   Eric and Suzy play catch with Football won in Vending Machine.

10:00PM  Strangers ask Suzy to teach them to Dance.

11:00PM  Depart Grizzly Rose for John's place.

11:15PM  Greg confused by seemingly random directions John is taking home.

11:30PM  Greg tests ABS Several times, trying not to ram John from behind.

11:45PM  After several short cuts, and Map Checks by John, group arrives at
                 John's place.

Tuesday 7/2/96

6:00AM   Awoken by John preparing for work again...

11:00AM  Men Chop and Stack firewood.  Greg forgets gloves, and gets
                 several blisters.

11:50AM  Greg leaves Sears catalog open to hydraulic log splitters for John.

12:00PM  Woman Prepare for Camping.

3:00PM   John returns home from work, and Group prepares for more
                 4- wheeling, and Camping.

3:30PM   Pick up Steve and CC...Steve shows off his "Hand Dug" Basement.

3:40PM   Eric decides Steve isn't playing with a full Deck!

4:00PM   John Tries to flip Jeep by driving over Snowdrifts.  Greg tries to
                 keep Jeep from flipping by pushing off rock face with his hands
                 from inside.

5:00PM   Steve & CC try to kill kids & dog (in back of pickup) by
                 repeatedly driving up an 8' snowbank...We hear kid's heads hitting
                 the tailgate.

5:10PM   CC Comforts Kids by telling them "Look, if you're getting hurt,
                 get out of the back!"

6:00PM   Return to Campsite for Dinner.  Where Eric learns the reason the
                 roads suck is because there are only 3 paved roads in the County.

7:00PM   3 Tone fire Call send Firefighters (John, CC, Steve) scrambling
                 for vehicles.  Beers dropped, kids left behind.

7:05PM   False Alarm, Firefighters rejoin party.

8:00PM   Much Eating/Drinking

10:00PM  Suzy announces that for $100 bucks, she'll blow the whole block.
                 (No Money changes hands.)

11:00PM  Smores Prepared...No peanut Butter available (Greg annoyed)

11:10PM  Micheal attempts to make marshmallow the size of a tennis ball.

11:30PM  John departs, group retires for the evening.

Wednesday 7/3/96

6:00AM   Group awakes, tears down camp, departs for John's house.

8:00AM   Group Prepares for 3 Day Back Woods Camping Trip

10:30AM  Depart John's House for Pikes Peek Colorado.  On Route, group
                 visits Garden of the Gods.  Can't find "Balancing Rock."

11:00AM  On the road to Pikes Peek.  Blazer mistakenly identified as a
                 "Race vehicle." Greg explains that we are just tourists.

12:00PM  Pikes Peek Summit Reached. Elevation 11,021 Feet.  Pictures taken
                 Post cards purchased.

1:00PM   Descend Pikes peek.  Greg's brakes not happy at all...

4:00PM   Valerie mistakenly identifies a Buffalo as a house.

5:00PM   Meet up with John, and Attempt to find Campsite.

6:00PM   Prime Campsite Located. Creek in the distance, Beautiful Sunset
                 over the Mountains.  The accommodations rivaled those of the
                 Dreamland Motel.

7:00PM   Camp Setup, Food Cooked, Beers Consumed.

8:00PM   Valerie Repeatedly Looses her beer.

12:00AM  Group retires for the evening.

Thursday 7/4/96

Happy 4th!!!!!

7:00AM   Group rises, and cooks Killer breakfast...Bacon, Hashbrown, Eggs,

9:00AM   Group tears down camp, and departs for Hike up a nearby Mountain.

10:00AM  Breakfast and Eric are not getting along very well.

10:30AM  Valerie offers Eric unknown Prescription Medication.

10:35AM  Eric kindly refuses medication.

12:00PM  Group in search of Tomorrow Nights Campsite.

1:00PM   Guys take turns riding bike from Mountain-Top to Valley.
                 (Woman Drive Vehicles)

2:00PM   Valerie and Suzy drive Blazer and Cherokee off small cliff...
                 Only Minor damage.

3:00PM   Group hits dead end at Timberland Pass. Group begins back-tracking...

4:00PM   4-Wheeling, and sight seeing.

5:00PM   Group finds Camp site suitable for the evening.

6:00PM   Tents set up, firewood chopped, fire started.

7:00PM   Group decides to Target practice before dinner.

7:15PM   Suzy Hesitantly decides to shoot John's 22 Semi-Auto Handgun

7:30PM   Everyone else takes turns shooting at Coors Light Cans.

8:00PM   Barb-Q Chicken and Baked Potatoes Prepared for dinner.

8:30PM   Eric tries to convinces Greg and John that the grill is
                 better for cooking chicken than the open campfire.

9:00PM   Greg and John Finally Conceit.

10:00PM  Hobo-Pies Prepared...Apple, and Raspberry flavors available.

11:00PM  Much alcohol consumed.

11:15PM  Taboo Game begun...

11:20PM  Val begins "Something that you get every 14 days, and it's never
                 big enough"  Greg responds..."An erection?"

11:30PM  John goes for hike...

11:45PM  John's hike cut short because of approaching Coyotes.

1:00AM   Group retires for the evening.

Friday 7/5/96

6:30AM   John awakes first...

7:30AM   John Gets up, and goes for hike...

9:00AM   John returns from hike, and determines that it's time for others
                 to be awake.

9:15AM   John decides that 44 Magnum will make good alarm clock.

9:20AM   Rest of group awake, and out of bed.

10:00AM  Breakfast prepared...same as yesterdays...

11:30PM  Group Packs up camp, and prepares for more 4-Wheeling.

12:00PM  Group encounters abandoned firing range.

12:10PM  John brings out his gun case (44 Magnum Revolver,
                 10MM Semi Automatic, 22 Semi Auto Handgun)

12:30PM  Women decide to shoot the Cannon!

12:35PM  Women enjoy shooting more and more...

1:00PM   Greg decides to depart the shooting range on Bike.
                 Plans are made to meet Greg at the bottom of the mountain.

1:10PM   Group departs shooting site in vehicles...

1:15PM   Group comes to Fork in the road...No one knows which direction
                 Greg has gone.

1:16PM   2 Vehicles turn Left at fork...Greg, Two miles down road
                 (in the opposite direction) sees vehicles and starts heading back
                 up hill...UGGGGH!!!!

1:20PM   Car traveling the opposite direction stopped.  Suzy asks "have you
                 seen a guy on a mountain bike on the mountain"  The vehicle responds
                 "Yes...about 2 miles back..."

1:25PM   Group continues down the mountain confident that we have chosen
                 the correct path. (Greg still heading back up the hill)

1:30PM   Group passes Mountain biker riding "UP" the mountain...Group asks
                 if he has seen any other mountain bikes going 'down'...Mountain biker
                 explains that he has not...

1:35PM   Mountain biker requests a ride up the mountain, so that he can get
                 medical attention for his friend who is hurt at the bottom of the

1:36PM   Load the bike on the Blazer, and drive the Biker to the top of the
                 mountain...on the way up, Group passes Greg, going 'down' the
                 mountain...we tell Greg to meet the Jeep at the bottom, and wait
                 for us there.

2:00PM   Regroup at bottom of mountain, and continue 4-Wheeling.

3:00PM   Summit of a mountain reached, Eric decides to ride down the other

3:15PM   Eric riding down the mountain...encounters herd of cattle.

3:16PM   Eric traveling 35-40 MPH down the hill, decides he can navigate the
                 cattle in the road...

3:17PM   John scrambles for camera, only to discover there is no film.

3:30PM   Suzy driving John's Jeep...Loud Clank...

3:32PM   Group stops to assess the damage.

3:35PM   Shroud around the Radiator fan is cracked.  Shroud repair attempted.

3:45PM   Problem Persists.

4:00PM   Group determines that Jeep no longer has 5th gear, or reverse.

4:15PM   Journey continues with Broken Jeep.

4:30PM   Group speculates that problem is a Broken Motor Mount.
               (it is later determined that the motor mount was sheered off the
               engine block...the only thing holding that half of the motor was
               the distributor.)

5:00PM   Lost on mountain road...Begin looking for tonight's campsite.

5:10PM   Stop for gas and Ice Cream.  John calls wife to explain
                 broken vehicle.

5:30PM   Group locates prime campsite, but finds that it is already occupied.

5:32PM   Group Hikes into swamp to ask fisherman if he is planning on camping
                 overnight...Fisherman informs group that he is...group continues
                 search for campsite.

6:30PM   Campsite found...equipped with outhouse and all...

7:00PM   Women refuse to use outhouse.

8:00PM   Last night of camping...All food and Beverages must be consumed.

9:00PM   Much beer remaining...but going down quickly...

10:00PM  Group attempts to find Milky Way among the stars...

10:30PM  Fireworks lit.

10:45PM  Bottle rocket shot into trees.

11:00PM  John inspects the forest for smoldering bottle rockets...

12:00AM  All Alcohol Has been consumed...Much food remaining...

1:00AM   Group retires for evening.

Saturday 7/6/96

6:30AM   Group awakened by large herd (1000+) Sheep being herded through camp.

6:31AM   Valerie panics...almost causing sheep to stampede.

6:32AM   John, seeming all too familiar with this situation, mutters,
                 "They're only sheep, it'll be OK" and passes out w/hangover.

6:35AM   Eric exits tent, to get picture of sheep...

6:40AM   Greg decides "While quite annoying, Sheep are a better alarm clock
                 than the 44"

6:45AM   Back to bed...

9:00AM   Group rises, and prepares to return to John's house for hot Showers!

11:00AM  John estimates 2 hours for Return trip...

11:30AM  John experiences flat tire on Jeep...

11:35AM  Group changes flat tire.

11:38AM  Suzy taking pictures of Vehicle catastrophe #3

11:45AM  Back on the Road to John's house.

1:00PM   Group reaches Interstate 70. 3 Hours from John's House...

1:10PM   Group still yelling at John for incorrect estimate...

3:00PM   Val nearly destroys the Blazer, by red-lining the motor on the way
                 up mountain on I70.

3:30PM   Blazer begins blowing black smoke...Greg Blames Val for wrecking
                 his truck. (Suzy takes more pictures)

3:35PM   Back on the road...all signs of smoke are gone...

4:00PM   Finally Reach John's house...group scrambles to take showers, and
                 pack Blazer for return trip to Maryland.

4:30PM   Greg and Val clean out 1/2 Ton of dust/dirt from the Blazer.

6:30PM   One last dinner before departing...

8:00PM   Group departs Golden CO for Bethesda MD. (Val Driving)

9:00PM   Spectacular Thunderstorm Encountered.

Sunday 7/7/96

1:00AM   Still in the Middle of Thunderstorm.

1:30AM   Val finally out-runs the thunderstorm...

2:00AM   Gas stop, Eric begins Driving.

4:30AM   Weary group Stops at lovely Junction City Kansas to rest.

4:35AM   Lovely Dreamland motel flashes "No Vacancy" Sign...

4:45AM   Group Settles for "Non-AAA-Approved" Motel...(Bad Idea)

11:30AM  Back on the Road again!  (Eric Driving)

12:35PM  Group finds Denny's for Breakfast. (Coke floats ordered)

1:30PM   Back on the road again...

1:30PM-9:00PM   Much driving...several gas stops...

9:00PM   Stop at Denny's for Dinner (Coke floats ordered)

10:00PM  Back on the road (Suzy driving)

11:00PM  Eric and Val sleeping soundly...

Monday 7/8/96

1:00AM   Eric still Sleeping soundly...

2:00AM   Eric wakes up in a panic...(Bad dream about Windows NT)

3:00AM   Stop for gas...Suzy Chewing on Diet coke bottles...
                 Group decides that Suzy should drink something without caffeine
                 for the rest of the trip. Suzy begins drinking Diet Mountain Dew?

4:00AM   Suzy still bouncing off Blazer walls.

5:00AM   Daylight...Fog sets in...

6:00AM   Rain Begins...

6:15AM   Eric finds large puddle of water in back seat of Blazer...
                 Eric Not happy!

7:30AM   Final gas Stop!

8:30AM   License Plate bingo... 47 states found...Missing
                 North Dakota, Delaware, Vermont

10:00AM  Home at last...

11:00AM  Vehicle Unpacked...Laundry Done...SLEEP!!!!!!!!!