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Day 5 – Mar. 24th: Talking Jeeps w/ Worn Rusty Hubbs

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<– Day 4 – Mar. 23rd: Hurray for Ouray | OVERVIEW | Day 6 – Mar. 25th: TinkerTown and the Turquoise Trail –>


Rusty and me with his FC-170. This seemed like an appropriate photo to start the post since the FC Roundup is only a few days away.

We woke up a little lazily on Monday morning. We knew we had a long drive ahead of us from Durango to Santa Fe, but we wanted to peruse a little of Durango before we left, so we hunted down some breakfast using an iPhone App called Ness (that won’t be around much longer), which calculates the time of day to suggest nearby restaurants (for mornings it will find breakfast places for example) and provide ratings. That’s how we found the Durango Diner in downtown Durango.


The Durango Diner had a wide selection of breakfast items that looked good, including two eggs & a chile relleno, which was my choice. I expected to just get the eggs and the relleno, but instead there was a heap of hash browns with green chile sauce (love that New Mexican Green Chile sauce, even in Colorado). It was a lot of food and if there’s one thing I’ve learned on these trips, eating light saves money and bathroom stops. So, I ate a good portion then pushed it away, reluctantly.



I liked the sauce enough to get a “to-go bottle” of it.

We left Durango and quickly found ourselves wandering through northern Idaho, or what looked like northern Idaho to us. Southern Colorado felt remote and looked beautiful as we drove through endless forested valleys with the occasional ranch.


Today’s trip from Durango to Santa Fe

Pretty soon we dropped south into New Mexico. The land opened up quite a bit, with fewer forests and more open land. Here’s an example:


As we approached 10,500 ft Brazos Pass, Ann decided I needed to pose for a photo. I still don’t know why she wanted me to assume this pose, but you gotta humor the wife sometimes . . .

2014-03-24-nm-highway2Driving down out of the pass, we spotted the oddest collection of houses. We later determined they were Earthship homes, earth-friendly housing designed from biodegradable or recycled products. We only got a chance to get some poor photos, but check out these photos to see what this group had built. Below is what we saw as we drove along highway 64.

2014-03-24-earthship1 2014-03-24-earthship2After the Earthships, we toured Taos. If you like Pueblo style architecture, you’ll love Taos. My grandfather (born in Pueblo, Colorado) sure must have liked the style, because he built a home in Sea Cliff, NY, in the Pueblo style, only he used concrete and steel beams. I’m told it is a fortress!

These photos should give you a sense of the city. Even McDonalds complied with the style.



We did find one problem with Taos. Their Wurlitzer Juke Box was out of order, which didn’t please me for obvious reasons. Ann said to frown, but this was the best i could do.2014-03-24-taos4

Finally, after seeing almost no jeeps during our entire drive, we got a chance to meet up with a man whose online persona is Worn Rusty Hubbs, but I’ll call him Rusty. He suggested I drop by because he had a few jeeps and was a Willys nut. He had me at nut.

He got his first Willys when he moved to New Mexico a couple decades ago. Since then, he’s acquired several in varying conditions. He likes the mechanical side of working on them, but isn’t so hot on the body work side, something I can understand.

This wagon is his favorite. He noted that it was licensed and insured, so he can drive it any time he wants. It’s in solid shape inside and out and looks ready to go.



Rusty’s got a truck parked around back with a Belleview Electric Winch in great shape, made by Warn Belleview Inc, out of Portland, Oregon, the precursor to the Warn winch most of us have seen. Here’s how the tag reads.

2014-03-24-rusty-hubs6-belleview-winch 2014-03-24-rusty-hubs9

Rusty also has a 1970 CJ-5 with a V6 and chrome front bumper. Anyone know if the chrome was part of a special package in 1970? I didn’t have any luck finding information about it. The first half of the serial number is 8305017.


Rusty’s newest project is a FC-170 he found through The FCConnection in Montana. He’s been attacking problems one at a time and is currently working on replacing the back bumper area.


Rusty is showing me the bumper repairs.



Ann was impressed with the improvisation of the coors can.

One issue that has left him confused is a large gap between the driver’s door and the top piece. It’s difficult to tell whether the door dropped somehow or the piece has been pushed upward. Either way, he’s still debating how to repair it. Anyone have an insight?


The seam between the door and the upper plate is much wider than on the driver’s side.

Sometimes fixing a Willys requires specialized tools. Rusty has built himself a couple one-use tools. On the left is a custom drum remover that won’t bend the drum. On the right is a specialized pitman arm remover.


Many thanks to Rusty and his wife for allowing us to come by, meet them, and enjoy their jeeps! We had a great time talking and getting to know them both.

During our trip through Taos I had hoped to visit Red River, New Mexico, and meet James, who runs Red River Offroad (you can find them on Facebook, too). However, we just didn’t have time to get up there this trip. Besides, I think a drive up there will require an all day off road adventure. If you are ever in the area, be sure to check them out. They offer all kinds of tour packages.

Tomorrow we tour the Bataan Museum, then visit Tinker Town, before driving south to stay at either Tularosa or Las Cruces (It’s a fluid situation).

<– Day 4 – Mar. 23rd: Hurray for Ouray | OVERVIEW | Day 6 – Mar. 25th: TinkerTown and the Turquoise Trail –>


5 Comments on “Day 5 – Mar. 24th: Talking Jeeps w/ Worn Rusty Hubbs

  1. dencoarty

    The guys behind the counter of the Durango Diner really know their stuff! They have something for the “morning after” called The Cure. Eggs and green chili beat hair of the dog. I’m enjoying your trip log a great deal. Thanks

  2. John Hartman

    My ancestors built this and you broke it. BOO HOO. Quit being a crybaby.
    Ann’s smarter than I am. I’m from Milwaukee. What is the beer can doing if it’s not holding beer. Looks so old it’s not aluminum.
    It all looks like fun

  3. Robert Anderson

    Sure glad you and your Wife are having a good time.
    Enjoy, and thanks for all you do for us on this fine forum !
    Bob 🙂

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