Thursday 17, January 2019

MGs in the Rockies

MG 2009

Breckenridge, Colorado

June 23-28


Chuck & Becky Hassler


This photograph encapsulates the experience, but I�ll tell the story anyway.


Spectacular!  There�s no other way to describe the experience of driving an MG through the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  These little cars are amazing machines.  A fleet of MGs zoomed for five days up and down high mountain roads at altitudes from 9,600 feet elevation at the host hotel, to 14,240 feet on Mount Evans Road, the highest paved road in the Nation.  While the Colorado geography was the centerpiece for MG 2009, the efforts of our hosts, the MG Car Club Rocky Mountain Centre and the North America MGB Register (NAMGBR), were the real reasons this event will long be the gold standard for future NAMGBR annual gatherings.  This was all about people working hard, smart, and together to ensure that those of us who made the trip to MG 2009 had a superb MG experience. Here�s the story.


MGs at Mimi�s Caf�, Golden, CO.


Our adventure started on Tuesday morning with a drive from Angel Fire, NM to Golden, CO to join other MG owners on Wednesday morning for the �Gateway to the Rockies Tour� to Breckenridge.  This event started at Mimi�s Caf� in Golden for breakfast where local club members gave us our direction sheets and where we met MG owners from across the country. 


After breakfast, we were off on a tour that took us to Dinosaur Ridge Park, Buffalo Bill�s gravesite, and then up to Squaw Pass before dropping into Idaho Springs for lunch at the Buffalo Grill (real buffalo burgers).  The next leg took us over Loveland Pass http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loveland_Pass and the Continental Divide at 11,990 feet.  We passed the Arapahoe Ski Basin, continued on through Keystone, made a few more turns, and arrived at the host hotel, the Beaver Run Resort. http://www.beaverrun.com/resort.php/BEAVER_RUN/OVERVIEW  The always busy �Worker B�s� in their bright yellow shirts were ready for us and soon we were registered and settled into our very comfortable room, taking in the view of the snowcapped mountains from our windows.  The next day would be full of wonderful driving, so we had a light dinner, two bottles of water each, and called it a day. 




Becky at lunch at the Buffalo Grill, Idaho Springs, CO.


The next morning, Thursday, Becky and I checked the B�s fluids, kicked the tires, put the top into the trunk, and prepared for the �Silver Dollar Tour�.  This tour was a 125 mile run that included visits to Leadville, Camp Hale, and Red Cliff.  The tour required the participants to answer 30 questions with the answers coming from clues along the way.  Lunch was at Doc Holiday�s in Leadville http://www.leadville.com/ which, at 10,430 feet, is the highest incorporated community in the United States.  Doc Holiday�s restaurant is the site of Doc�s last gunfight.  While at Doc Holiday�s, we learned why Wild West saloons covered their floors with sawdust.  The story goes that miners, digging into their pockets for coins to pay for their drinks, would spill gold dust onto the saloon floor.  After closing, the saloon owner would sweep the floor, separate the gold dust from the saw dust, and pocket the take.  Easy money!


A number of answers for the question sheet were in Leadville.  While looking for clues in a cemetery, we were surprised to come across the simple burial site of John Wilkes Booth.  This obscure burial site in a remote Colorado mountain town was surely no accident.  For two more hours we drove through heavily wooded forest and past large waterfalls, cold mountain lakes, and towering snow covered peaks.  Then, we arrived at the host hotel to turn in our answer sheet.  We were confident that we answered all of the questions correctly, but when we were handed the tiebreaker question sheet, we knew we were doomed.  We discovered later that the answers to the trivia questions were contained in an article in the back of the event program.  These folks didn�t miss a trick!  Now, we were hungry and ready for dinner at the Backcountry Brewery.



Becky�s photo of Rocky Mountain snow covered peaks.


After a quick shower and bottle of water, we joined the parade of MGs for the drive to the Backcountry Brewery in Frisco, CO just 10 miles from Breckenridge.  The ever present �Worker B�s� in their bright yellow shirts were located at every turn to make sure no one got lost.  The town of Frisco blocked off city streets for MG parking only, and the �Worker B�s� directed the parking.  The buffet barbeque dinner was excellent.  New friends were made, wine flowed, and stories of the day�s drive were told.  There was much discussion at dinner about the affects of the thin air on the MG carburetion systems.  Most drivers had leaned out their carburetors to correct mixture problems, but some had not.  Results varied.  I had turned our HIF-4 mixture screws one flat lean while in New Mexico at 8500 feet.  This was still a little rich, but daily spark plug cleaning after every long run kept the B running strong and smooth.  You can bet that the knowledge we acquired over years of TMGC tech sessions had a lot to do with how well our MGB LE ran at the high altitudes.  Thanks to all of you who taught us so much.


�Worker B�s� directing traffic in Frisco, CO for dinner at the Backcountry Brewery.


We passed on Friday�s driving event to have breakfast in Frisco and to take a walking tour of the town�s historic area.  We came upon the Frisco Historical Society�s historic building display that dated to the mid-to-late 1800s.  Original homes, a school, a jail, a brothel with barber chair, and a church were open for display.  The church is still used for services today.  We�re not sure about the brothel.  The afternoon was spent preparing the MG for the Saturday car show and getting some rest for the evening�s event, the Country Boy Mine Tour and Dinner.



Becky posing in front of a not-so modern �necessary�, Frisco, CO.


 Frisco, CO Historical Building Display.


The Country Boy Mine Tour and Dinner was a fun event.  The evening started with a tour of the Country Boy Mine http://www.countryboymine.com/.  Founded in 1887, the mine produced gold and silver, and later high grade lead and zinc for use in World Wars I and II.  After the tour, we took our turn at a wine tasting tent and then had dinner under a large event tent.  Once again, the �Worker B�s� were buzzing around to make sure even the smallest detail of this event went off exactly as planned.  Dinner was followed with a chocolate fountain to drench strawberries, bananas, and marshmallows for desert.  A large bonfire was lit for warmth, and a strolling musician played until the last ember died. 


Entrance to the Country Boy Mine Tour.


MGs at the Country Boy Mine.



Alan Magnuson, the event Vice Chairman, works the wine tasting tent.


�Worker B�, and always present, Laura Magnuson works dinner and desert.



Panning for Gold, Country Boy Mine


A big hit of the event was the group of four donkeys that arrived soon after the event began.  These donkeys live on the mine property and understand that human voices mean food.  Bigger beggars you�ve never seen!  These friendly creatures strolled from person to person, plate to plate, cleaning off tasty leftovers.  Chocolate was a favorite. 


With the humans going and the chocolate gone, the donkeys retreated to their barn at the bottom of the hill.  The fire burned low and the temperature dropped, so it was time to call it a day.  The car show was the next day, and early risers would be out at dawn to wash and shine their British iron. 



Becky and Chuck dining at the Country Boy Mine.  �Why the long face?�


Everybody loves chocolate!


The Beaver Run Resort dedicated two very large parking lots to MG 2009 events, as well as an indoor parking garage for all of the MGs.  The upper parking lot had the wash rack with a dozen hoses and buckets.  The lower lot was dedicated to the week�s car events like the Funkhana, valve covers races, tech sessions, the start and finish of driving events, and the car show.  A ballroom was used for a concourse car display, registration, and regalia.  Once again, the �Worker B�s� were a constant presence to insure all went as planned.  On car show day, the �Worker B�s� were at the show lot shortly after dawn to begin parking cars according to class.  We�ve all been to car shows, so pictures will best tell this part of the story.  Becky will post on her web site a nice collection of MG 2009 photographs after she returns to Virginia at the end of July.  Here are a few shots of the car show field.






The car show and judging ended at 2 PM.  After a shower and change of clothes, we headed off to the social hour, banquet, and awards presentations.  The evening programs were presented with the same professionalism as the rest of the event.  The food was great, the wine plentiful, and the company the best.  As Vince told me years ago when we joined TMGC �it�s not about the cars, it�s about the people�.  And that was the emphasis put on this event by our wonderful hosts.  All of the organizers and volunteers deserve a big thank you and a pat on the back.  The awards were presented, final comments made, and it was time to retire for the night.


The �crack of dawn� woke us before 6 AM on Sunday morning.  As we walked to the free continental breakfast at the regalia room, we saw MGs and their owners already starting their journeys home.  Our journey back to Angel Fire, NM started mid-morning.  This drive was a continuation of the beautiful high mountain scenery we had experienced over the last week.  We arrived home safely to 73 degrees and floating clouds.  It was a great ending to a great trip.


MG 2010, sponsored by the MG Car Club of Toronto, will be held in Belleville, Ontario Canada June 23 -27, 2010. http://www.mg2010.com/Maybe the TMGC will put together a caravan for the trip to Belleville.  We�re in!!

Fast moving Rocky Mountain stream.





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