Day 7 of the 2015 West Coast JK Experience
We begin Day 7 of Nitto Tire’s 2015 West Coast JK Experience by taking an early morning departure from our overnight digs in Grand Junction, Colorado. Our first stop for the day would be a little over an hour away in the quaint town of Gateway, Colorado. The town gets its name from being at the entrance of Colorado outside of neighboring Utah. Sitting along the 133-mile Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway, the town holds an incredible attraction that one would never expect to find in such a remote location.
We’re not talking about the fancy Gateway Canyons Resort, but rather the Gateway Automobile Museum. The museum and its cars are furnished by John Hendricks, the founder of the Discovery Channel. With more than 50 vehicles on display spanning nearly 100 years of automotive history, it’s an absolute hidden treasure trove of immaculate machines.
The museum’s most prized position is the 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 concept car. Valued at a staggering $3.24-million dollars, this one-off auto is one of a few concept cars to ever land in the midst of a privately owned car collection.
Gateway Automotive Museum's 1930 Model J Duesenburg was another incredible work of art. This cherry ride is one of only two long wheelbase Transformable Cabriolets built by Hibbard and Darrin.
As is apparent by the photos you see here, Gateway allows its guests to take pictures of the collection. These keepsakes are great, but seeing the collection up close is definitely worth the drive.
While we could have spent all day ogling the Gateway collection, we had a date with dirt! Gateway would end up serving as our fast track to the famed Dolores Triangle Route. This is a well-known dirt-road alternative that sends adventures seekers to Moab, Utah.
Picturesque was the word of the week, as everywhere you turned there were million-dollar views. The Dolores Triangle Route isn’t overly difficult, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not dangerous. You will be ascending a series of extremely steep and often narrow switchbacks as you thread your way from Colorado into Utah.
Reaching the crest, the group stopped for lunch and to enjoy the high mountain views. While we’d put a good dent in the trail, we still had plenty to go.
Beyond the dizzying drop-offs, the Dolores River crossing is the most challenging part of the route. During spring and early summer, the river is often too deep and fast moving to even attempt. Thankfully, it was low enough for our group to pass through without issue.
Our lodging arrangements for the night were under the stars just outside of the ‘wheeling mecca that is Moab, Utah. The weather was absolutely perfect this September night and made for a relaxing evening.