A Sportsmobile is not what you'd call svelte. Even though some trails were barely wider than the big guys, not a single vehicle was unable to make it up to the passes. Maintaining a prudent pace and low-range kept the Sportsmobiles trundling over rocks and through streambeds. Occasional encounters with other off-roaders provided passing challenges, but the surprisingly nimble Sportsmobiles impressed owners and passers-by with their goatlike tenacity.

The 12.8-mile Imogene Pass Road proved to be a rally high point. Not just because this is the highest pass in the entire San Juan Mountains (13,114 ft) and the second highest in the United States, but the overlook onto Telluride gave a sense of accomplishment to the Sportsmobile owners. Filing down the peak into the one-time mining town of Tomboy was like taking a trip into the past. Much of that establishment is still in place, though slowly crumbling. Dropping further into the valley brought us into the affluent resort town of Telluride.

Returning to base camp via the Ophir Pass Road (11,789 ft), the Sportsmobiles traversed trails blessed with the most dramatically sheer drop-offs of the entire rally. Cool heads and steady nerves saw the entire group back at the lake each evening to enjoy hearty meals dished up by Fat City Catering. Entertainment, as well as trips to the surrounding towns, meant that boredom was never part of the scene, unless participants chose to veg. Each trip to the mountains was voluntary, as were the seminars given by Mike Quigley. We each did what we wanted when we wanted. Yet the day trips were well attended, and nobody drove away feeling he didn't get his money's worth.

Next year's rally will be descending on beautiful Park City, Utah, in June. Barring a real emergency, there's no way we'll miss it. The rally is reason enough to buy a versatile Sportsmobile; the rest of the year is gravy.