Day 3 Central City to Boulder. 184.6 miles, 15.8 mpg
Today we decided to head into the hills West of Denver, check out some old mining towns, do some off-roading and return to Denver by way of Boulder. In the process we would cross the Continental Divide, just like executive editor Ron Kiino did in the blue Lotus Evora (and like Mike Shaffer and I did in the Caddy CTS-V Wagon on the Great Midwestern Beer Run). Once again, the Range Rover's supercharged engine didn't so much as flinch when faced with hauling it's own near 3-ton self (5794 pounds!) plus three adults from Denver's mile-high elevation up to Central City's 8,500 feet. And unlike an Escalade or even an Evoque would have looked, the high dollar Range Rover didn't stick out as ostentatious, even in a decidedly quaint former mining town like Central City. Then we went up.
Up into the hills above Central City in search of some snow and bad footing to test out the Range Rover's legendary all-wheel drive prowess. As you may have already determined, snow and ruts and inclines didn't slow the big Rover down. Being a party of one vehicle, we didn't do anything too wicked crazy, but we still couldn't even get the Range Rover to break a sweat. I jacked up the air suspension into high mostly because why not, but also to get a better look at the truck's borderline comic wheel articulation. Something cool that I learned: one tug on the switch raises the suspension to its full 2.4 inches above standard (well, in the front -- the rear of the Range rover "only" raises up 2 inches). But what if you need more clearance? Not a problem, just keep your finger on the rocker switch and the air suspension will give you another inch. Cool. This can go the other way as well. The Range Rover features an access height that lowers the truck by about 2 inches. However, if you want to go lower you can keep pressing and the Range Rover will drop another inch. Of course, you can't drive when the vehicle is this low.
Once back onto the paved stuff, we went as high up as 9,000 feet when crossing the Continental Divide. We also hit a fairly frightening patch of ice that was the first and only time during the trip where the Range Rover felt like anything other than a well-fed mountain goat. As a result, I made the not-at-all-like-me decision to slow things down. In fact, it was right at the moment that my friend was telling me how good the roads we'd be approaching were and me saying no, I think the conditions are too treacherous for spirited driving, that I got pulled over by the Nederland PD. 45 mph in a 25 mph, ouch. Of course, I could have argued that I got caught going 45 mph in a speed trap. But, I didn't, and I think because I was honest and just said, "You got me," I was given a warning and let go. Thanks Officer Smith!
Day 4 Denver, Colorado to Las Vegas, Nevada. 719.3 miles, 16.3 mpg
Day 5 Las Vegas, Nevada to Los Angeles, California. 260.6 16.1 mpg
This is the rather uneventful section of our journey. Even more so than the trip out to Denver, the plan for this part was to get home as fast as possible. Luckily, the Range Rover is happy to cruise at 90 mph all day long. And since much of the 15 in Utah features an 80 mph speed limit, we weren't even breaking the law all that much. Besides, I had a rough New Years Eve, so the wife did much of the driving while I dozed. But just like every other moment spent in the Range Rover, all three of us (don't forget Knuckles) were swaddled in luxurious comfort the entire time. The Range Rover, no matter how you slice it, is one of the absolute best vehicles on the road. Or, for that matter, off it.
As to Mr. MacKenzie's claim, that if you can only have one vehicle in which to do everything, it would be the Range Rover, well... If 2142.4 miles in five days is indicative of anything, I'm very much inclined to agree. Expect for one thing -- the gas mileage is borderline grotesque. I think it's high time that us American types get our hands on that diesel.
Total Miles: 2142.4
Total mpg: 16.1 mpg
(some photographs were snapped by the double post-op Murilee Martin)