Colorado seems to be a popular vacation destination for Texans lately, probably because of the cooler weather there. Several of my friends have taken their families north recently, and some have yet to come back. A few have indicated they’re thinking about staying up there for good, if they can manage to learn the language.
While Paden and I were in Ouray recently, we talked with some of the locals about what they liked, and didn’t like, about living in an area known as ‘The Switzerland of America.’ They all said the same things, and Paden and I concluded that the only thing wrong with living in Ouray during the summer would be the tourists, and the only thing wrong with living there during the winter would be the winter.
So, basically, it’s a nice place to visit. If it weren’t so far from Texas it would be even nicer. A trip up there puts a lot of miles on the family wagon, and quite a few of those miles go through the Llano Estacado, which is about as exciting, scenery-wise, as the inside of a cardboard box. There’s nothing there, but there’s an awful lot of it.
To keep from wearing out our Jeep, Paden and I decided to make the trip in a Chevy pickup. We got hold of a 4-door 2500 diesel, which had plenty of room for gear that needed to stay dry in the back seat, and a large bed for the stuff that didn’t mind getting a little wet. Plus it was four-wheel-drive, just in case. And in Colorado, just in case happens about as often as not.
Now, for years I have harped on people who call pickups ‘trucks.’ A truck has eighteen wheels. A pickup has four, or six if it’s braggy. The state of Texas even issues license plates for pickups that say ‘truck,’ although the state of Texas should know better. If the cat has kittens in the oven, you can call them biscuits, but that don’t make it so.
After taking the big Chevy pickup to Colorado and back, I can see where some people might get the idea of calling a pickup a truck. The 2500 is impressive, to say the least. It handles like a sedan, and the ride is smoother, and when you need power to pass, it runs like a deer. I just hope the Chevy people don’t notice the fingernail holes I made in the leather seats while Paden was driving. They might not let me have another vehicle the next time I need one.
The 2500 was equipped with a navigation system built right into the dash, with a large screen that played a funny video whenever we backed up. It even started beeping when there was something behind us, but we never figured out why. It never did any of that going forward, for some reason.
We tried to enter our destination in the GPS thing, so it could plot a route for us, but we could never make it work. We even called OnStar, and let them have a shot at it, but it was a lost cause. We decided the thing was broken, and gave up. Luckily we had a map, which didn’t work much better, since I kept getting it upside down.
It wasn’t until the last day of our trip, when we were back in Texas, that I got to digging through the console, and found a quick reference guide for the nav system. Come to find out, you have to be stopped to enter a route. We kept trying to do it while we were driving down the road. I wish someone would tell me these things.
But it didn’t matter a whole lot whether we knew where we were going or not, because traveling in that pickup was the berries. It even had a sunroof that opened if you pushed a button over the rearview mirror. The little picture by the button seemed to show the sunroof flying off, though, so I was afraid to push it. We finally tried it while we were parked, and it didn’t pop off so much as disappear into the roof. Snazzy.
We only used four-wheel-drive once, when we were trying to get to the Oak Creek Trailhead outside of Ouray, and we probably could have gotten by without it even then, if we’d used the road instead of going straight up the mountain. Don’t tell Chevy about that, though. They were pretty clear about being opposed to dents and scratches, for some reason.
The only thing I was worried about, with such a big pickup, was the fuel economy, but even that was a surprise. We averaged about 19 mpg on the whole trip, and only had to fill it up four times.
Overall, I highly recommend the Chevy HD2500 pickup. I have no idea what one costs, but whatever the sticker price is, it’s worth it. If you do get one, though, and decide to take it to Colorado, I strongly urge you to consider a heavy-duty grill guard. You’d be surprised what an elk will do to a pickup at 70 mph . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who didn’t really make holes in the pickup seats. Not noticable ones, anyway. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org