Tuesday, July 27, 2010

10,200' Leadville, CO

After 11 days in Salida I headed to Leadville. I parked at the very friendly Leadville Elk's Lodge.

Here's a picture of my trailer and another rig parked in the Elk's Lodge parking lot. The picture was taken from the Lodge's south facing deck. Notice the colorful Victorian behind my trailer.....

Here's a full picture of the adorable Painted Lady...

I only stayed in 10,200' Leadville for two days before heading to a town with more oxygen. But, while there, I went on another 200 mile loop ride. I went south out of Leadville and then turned west on Hwy. 82 which took me to the top of the beautiful Independence Pass. At 12,095' I think it is the highest paved pass in Colorado. It's the highest one I've every ridden over. The views on the ride up and down are just breath taking!!

Hwy. 82 took me through Aspen, playground of the Hollywood stars. I didn't see any Hollywood types but I did see lots of huge Hollywood star type houses. I first visited Aspen in 1967 on a two week Christmas vacation, while in high school. The town has sure changed since then!!! The ski lift tickets where only $4/day for those under 16, which I was.

I arrived in Glenwood Springs, home of Colorado's and possibly the world's largest natural hot springs-fed pool. It's 405 feet long and 100 feet wide, and varies from 90 degrees to 104 degrees depending on where you are in the huge pool. I was lucky enough to take a dip in the pool back in 1967. But this day after visiting the local Harley-Davidson shop I stopped by a white-water kayak park. Unfortunately no one was bobbing around in a one of those little kayaks, but I did take a picture of the turbulent water.

I then hopped on the beautiful Interstate 70 and headed east, then south on Hwy. 24, and back "home" to Leadville, thus completing my 200 mile loop.

I was going to gas up my bike in Glenwwood Springs, but I was having such a good time riding I completely forgot. 57 miles later, while passing by a gas station in the tiny, charming town of Minturn, I luckily remembered about the importance of gasoline. If not for that very expensive gas station I would not have made it the 30miles to Leadville and the next station. WHEW!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

So long Salida

Before I left Salida, CO I went on one last ride - A 200 mile loop which took me north to Fairplay where a motorcycle rally was going on and where I bought a pair of riding glasses to replace the ones I left in Arizona and miss a lot. Then I continued north up Hwy 9 up and over Hoosier Pass. Some bicycle riders where stopped by the sign and offered to take my picture. I continued on up to Frisco where I caught Interstate 70 and headed west a short distance to Hwy 91. I took 91 south up and over 11,318' Fremont Pass, which I didn't get a picture of. I rode through Leadville and checked out the local Elk's Lodge. About 18 miles south of Leadville I turned right off the hwy. to check out the free camping situation at Clear Creek Reservoir. My camping neighbors at Salida were heading there in a few days and invited me to join them. I didn't like the dirt road going to the camping area. Plus, a few days after Jerry and Terry arrived there they called to inform me that the mosquitoes were really bad. Meanwhile back on the hwy... I cruised through Buena Vista, also known as B.V. or Boonie. Don't ask me why!!! Boonie is a cute town where scattered around the town are old, small white-water kayaks recycled into flower planters. I should have stopped and taken a few pictures, but I didn't. They were really cute.


One evening when it was just getting dark this little rig came in looking for a spot to camp for the night. The man driving it had a stroke several years back, but didn't want to give up riding a motorcycle. He found this three-wheeled bike with a steering wheel and automatic transmission. The back end of the trailer has a cooking area and the inside has cozy sleeping quarters. He's from Kansas and just decided to head to Colorado for a few days.


Finally my water heater was working well with it's new pilot assembly and gas valve, and my mail finally arrived, so it was time to move to greener pastures. Or should I say higher elevations. I had spent several days deciding where to go and finally decided on 10,200' Leadville. I'm staying at the Elk's Lodge which is just a block from the old historic downtown and across the street from the High Mountain Pie shop. = ) Leadville has a lot of charm, but not much oxygen!!

I have one bike ride planned, for Friday - a 200 mile loop to Glenwood Springs via Aspen, then Hwy 70 east to Hwy 24 which will take me south back to Leadville.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

More Colorado

I spent one night at Antero Reservoir. I was going to stay a few days and do some riding from there, but the 4 mile rough, dirt road wasn't conducive to me and my motorcycle, so I decided one night was enough. The reservoir is at 9000' elevation and it was quite chilly the one morning I woke up there.

Here's the view from my campsite. Being that it was a weekend, there was lots of fisherman there.
But hey, I had good phone service!!!!

On the 4Th of July I left Antero Resevoir and drove about 50 miles to the charming town of Salida. I found the free camping area along the Arkansas River and one of the few available spots I could fit into, where I could easily unload my motorcycle for the next days ride. Salida is at 7000' and again I had good phone service!! That evening I listened to the local fireworks, but I decided to stay home with my dogues, in case they got spooked by the loud, scary noises.

Here's the view from my Salida campsite.

On July 5Th I left my camp site along the Arkansas River, just east of Salida, CO, headed east on Hwy 50, and road up and over the 11,312' Monarch Pass. Then I zipped into Gunnison where I cruised through town and stopped for a short rest. I then back tracked for 8 miles and turned south on Hwy. 114 which took me up and over 10,149' North Pass. I hit the small town of Saguache, which I'm sure I do not pronounce correctly, then headed north on Hwy. 285 which took me back into Pancha Springs, then east about 7 miles back to my campsite. This was a 180 mile ride.

There was a short ride to the very top, with a fabulous view. but I chose not to partake.

This is the pretty, city park in Gunnison.

The next day I rode my bike west, to lower elevations. This loop ride took me east on Hwy 50 past the really tiny town of Texas Creek, then to Canon City (pronounced Canyon, I think, then south on Hwy 67, then scenic Hwy 96, then Hwy 69, then back north to Texas Creek and Hwy 50, then back west and back to camp. I didn't take very many pictures, or stop very often, but the whole loop was very beautiful. This was a 140 mile ride.

Salida is really cute town, with a charming, touristy old historic district. There's a small Super Wal-Mart, a friendly Chamber of Commerce, an RV dump and water station, a public swimming pool heated by water piped in 5 miles from a natural hot spring. The town also has an extensive recycling center that I utilized. People come from all over the area to partake in a number of outdoor activities. 4-wheeling, bicycling, fishing, white-water rafting, white-water kayaking and of course, motorcycle riding!! The free camp area I am staying has a raft launch area nearby where individual and private rafting companies launch their rafts all day long. Also, many white-water kayakers camp at night after kayaking all day. Many set up tents, but most sleep in their trucks and cars. There is a 14 day time limit for camping but many semi-homeless looking people arrive in classic RVs just before dark and leave just before sunrise, allowing them to evade the Park Ranger who came around everyday checking on the campground. I was planning on staying for four days, then head down to Hooper and stay at the UFO Watchtower Campground while attending the Del Norte Motorcycle Rally. Then, return back to Salida for a week or so. But, with my on going water heater problem, I'm just staying at Salida while a nice young mobile RV repair man works on my water heater. And, I ordered my mail to come to Salida, so here I will stay until my water heater is fixed and my mail comes in.
It looks like I won't make that ride up and over Wolf Creek Pass this year. Maybe next year!!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Before my refrigerator stopped working.......

My first stop on my summer adventure was spent at Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico. It's about 7 miles off Hwy 40 and 7400' elevation.

My second stop was the Elk's Lodge in Santa Fe. While there, Murphy was treated to a Spa Day.

Isn't Murphy handsome after his Spa Day at Companions in Santa Fe? I think that was the most expensive Spa Day any of my dogues has ever enjoyed.

I went on a 150 mile motorcycle ride one day, starting at the Elk's Lodge in Santa Fe heading toward Los Alamos, which is known for, well, here's the Chamber of Commerce's description:

We say, "where discoveries are made" because Los Alamos, New Mexico is a place of ancient village sites, spectacular scenery, diverse wildlife, uncommon high-altitude recreational opportunities, small-town friendliness, world-class cultural activities, fascinating history, and world-changing science and technology development. Los Alamos .... Yours to Discover!

Here's some signs I stopped to read and photograph, just west of Los Alamos.

And the beautiful valley, looking north.

Towards the end of my 150 mile loop, about 15 miles south of Santa Fe, the wind began to blow, then it rained and then it hailed. I pulled off at a closed weigh station hoping to find some shelter, but there wasn't any, but there was an underpass just up ahead. I turned left to find a nice dry spot, which I found, but I also found a dozen or so other motorcycles taking shelter too. I talked to one couple from Canada, and another from California. After awhile, all the south bound bikes got back out on the highway, but the few heading north waited a bit longer. There was a rest stop up at the next off ramp, which we all headed to. After hanging out there for awhile, I was getting anxious to get back to my trailer and check on my dogues...

...but, here's the view I saw looking north, towards Santa Fe. It was pretty intimidating, but eventually it cleared a little, and I hit the road. When I got back to the trailer I was soaked, and so was the trailer. I had left windows and roof vents open so the dogues wouldn't get too hot. Eventually everything dried out, and then the refrigerator quit working!!