​​​BamaRider

Day 5
June 17th, 2005
Somewhere in the San Juan Mountains
Private Campground
Near Dolores, Colorado

I was awake for almost an hour before I stuck my head out of the tent to check conditions.  I went borderline cold last night, and had trouble sleeping.  I spent most of the night in the fetal position trying not to shake.  I was dreading the prospect of getting out of my sleeping bag and facing the brisk mountain air.  
Brief thoughts of a late start to avoid the cold danced through my head, but eventually the right side of my brain prevailed, and I got moving.

Dressed in sweat clothes I started breaking camp.  After I started moving it wasn't so bad.  Only my hands bothered me, I thought they were going to break handling my tent poles.

I went over to the 13 and turned the switch to check air temp-37 degrees, and I'm camped in a low spot, up at Lizard I assumed the temp to be low 30s, and even possibly high 20s.  

Before loading the bike, I did a tire check.  Rear down 2 psi, front down 3.  I made a mental note of that, and planned to take care of it first break of the day.

I forgot to take my gloves off before pulling the skid plate up, and had to back up.

It was now time to double back the 40 miles to Telluride.  Like General Patton said, " I hate paying for the same real estate twice."  I maneuvered around the tire shredding thing that prevents jokers from coming in the exit, and took a right on 145.

The sun was shining on the mountains, but rays were yet to reach the surface of 145.  I was cold, and for the first time this tour had on lined gloves and 2 sweatshirts.  I had trouble keeping the Arai fog free.

Because I was keeping a sharp eye for deer, the does that jumped me a few minutes from the campground did no damage.  I saw them on the bearm as I came out of a curve.  I slowed almost to a stop to see what they had in mind.  They froze a few seconds then darted back into the trees.  This was my first of many deer sightings for this tour.  All over the American west, they are out of control, and things are no better in the east.  They have become my number 1 fear.  In the old days you seldom saw one, but now you have to becareful anytime of day, not just late afternoons and early mornings.

I've educated myself through experience where I am most likely to have an encounter.  Water areas, thick foliage, and green pastures seem to be the worst.  When I was crossing the plains anytime I saw an oasis up ahead I slowed.  The beasts are totally unpredictable, and often jump out of hiding right into you.  Bust one at high speed and things are ugly.  I don't even like thinking about it.

Back over the construction I went, and started making the long climb to Lizard Head Pass.  The scenery was good, but I was too cold to enjoy it.  The temp was steadily dropping, and by the time I reached the summit it was 30 degrees.
The mountains looked different in the morning light, so I stopped in the same spot as yesterday for a few pictures.  My breath quickly fogged the Arai and I had to take it off.























 
            This unique mountain peak can be seen at Lizard Head Pass


SR 145 begins a long descent into Telluride, and I hoped the temp would rise a few degrees.  
Again the weather for today would be perfect.

I came to the mountain lake from yesterday, but this time I found a spot to take a few photos.  The lake was carved in the trees and numerous cabins were on the banks.  Many had smoke coming from the chimneys and I cursed the folks inside for being warm.  The mountains in the background guarded all approaches and sported snow.  What a great view these folks had.  Riding across Colorado on back roads has its rewards.


























                     High in the mountains of Colorado.  A great ride on 
                    another perfect day.

Down, down, I went dropping elevation as I came out of the San Juans.  Left, then right, I carved the loaded 1300.  I can lean it ok if I don't do anything crazy.  The bike has a tendency to drift when loaded.  I'm basically riding 2 up.
SR 145 through the San Juans is a fine piece of riding.  Put it on the favorite list.

Most of Telluride was still asleep when I drifted into town.  The town has lots of bike paths and I wished I had my Trek.  I went to a con store, and bought a Mountain Dew and fixed a PB and J sandwich.  

"hey, that looks pretty good," a guy in a big SUV, with California plates, says as he goes in the store.

"yeah, ya want one?"

"do you mind?"

"no, but ya gotta fix it yourself."

I gave him the stuff so he could make his sandwich.  His first bite was a big one.  

"Dang that's good, I'm goin back in and buy the stuff right NOW.  I can eat them all the way back to LA."

I took on some gas, and remedied the tire pressure situation.  I called Debbie and got back on the road.  It was going to be another glorious day, and time to get going.  

North out of Telluride, SR 145 loses most of its elevation.  It is now a rollicking roll through the canyons.   I swept the 1300 around the land masses as warm air soothed me.  I stopped at a turnout and switched back to the AGV gloves, and removed the sweatshirts.  I kept the vents closed because I knew more high mountains lay ahead near Utah.




























                                           "it is now a rollicking roll through the canyons." 

The geography is much different than the San Juans.  Timber became scarce and brown hills and bluffs replaced flowing tree lines.





























With mountain peaks in the background, SR 145 clings to 
the edges as it takes a rider up.

The highway clings to the side of the mountains, and I was treated to vast overlooks.  The landscape was consistency outstanding, and the road challenging.  The curves were long and spaced out, not like you find in the east.

































                         Colorado Route 145 along the valley floor




























 

This Naturita, Colorado, motel displayed a no vacancy sign, despite 
the fact not a single car was in the parking lot.



In Vancorum I picked up SR 90 and headed up Paradox Mountain.  The roadway knifed through the mountains, and the riding was good. 
 
The post office in Bedrock was a 1 room affair with a port a let out back for a rest room.  The little community looked like THE dead spot in a dying area.

























                                  The post office in Bedrock, Colorado


Paradox, Colorado is located a mile off SR 90.  I followed the road into town where I found a few houses, and a closed down store.  I failed to see any movement ANYWHERE.  Not a dog, cat, mouse, car, or person was in sight.  I could see evidence that people lived here, but nothing substantial.  I was looking for someone to talk to, after failing, I took a few pictures and got back on my way.


























                                           Paradox, Colorado


The tiny town is located at the foot of the mountain, but now it was time go up and over, and book for Utah.  Up the twisty path I went, scraping pegs on the Honda even though I was riding slow.  Long drop offs were everywhere.  I could see the valley down below and it looked very peaceful.






































                                                Looking down at Paradox from the mountain


Cresting the top, a strong wind sheer hit me, and I was pushed far to my right.  I quickly corrected and made it without incident.  Down below, I could see the long run outs of the Utah desert.  I was out of the mountains, and on my way to the canyons of the Southwest.

The temp suddenly began to soar as I came down in elevation to the desert floor.  80, 85, 92, before leveling off at 98, at the intersection of SR 46 and U.S. 191.

I went north on U.S. 191 falling in with other tourists in RVs, SUVs, and mini vans. 

In Moab I ate lunch at Jerry's Pasta.  The food was good.  While I was eating a group of Asian tourists came in with 2 interpreters.  It was comical watching them trying to get all the menu items translated.  

I called Don Cortez when I finished eating, then my wife.

The day was still young and I wanted to ride SR 128, located near the entrance to Arches Park.  I was feeling good despite the 101 temp on the gauge.  The air is so dry, didn't feel all that hot.

When I was walking back to the bike (coat under arm) a lady asked-"is that an Aerostich?"

Moab was busy and it took 10 minutes or so to work my to the other side of town.  I was looking for a campground and found one on the west side of town.  Total cost for 2 nights; 15 bucks.  Can't beat that.  The tent sites have hard covers over the picnic tables, a nice touch, but not much privacy.

When it was all said I had put down 320 miles for the day.

A couple with a young child had the site next to me.  They were from NY and had more stuff in the worn out SUV than Goodwill.  Boxes of items covered the ground and table.  Chairs, stoves, lights, and food were everywhere.  They had 2 small dogs they kept tied up to the bumper.  The poor things might have had 3 feet of leash.
With bike unloaded I took off for more riding.

SR 128 runs along the Colorado River for 50 miles.  The road is not all that challenging, but the canyon vistas were excellent.  The river was full of rafters floating down stream to Moab.




























                            On Colorado 128, near Moab, Utah


A generous amount of tar snakes were spun across the highway.  It made any serious carving a questionable practice.  Large formations of balancing rocks were all around.  I was fascinated by them.  I was glad I had the time to sample this great road.






























                             Great riding on SR 128


The road came to I-70 and I took it west to loop back to Moab.  The riding was not good.  Lines of traffic were going in both directions.  I'm in the height of tourist season and expected it.   I took the 191 exit and went south. 

My plan was to go in the park now, but I changed my mind.  "I just think I'll spend 2 nights here, and do the park in the morning.  I can sleep late, do some running, find a computer, go to Mass in the evening, and have a good time just hanging out.  Yes, that is what I will do."  I returned to the campground and did some unwinding.

The sun was still high in the sky, so I changed into running gear.  I put on my Garmin watch and set off on a 4 mile run.  SR 128 is only 1 mile west of here, so I decided to run to it, and go through the canyon.  

I ran without a shirt and the intense sun was hot on my skin.  I felt good.  Fueled by the
pasta lunch, and peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I decided to do my 6 mile run now and not tomorrow.  I was feeling too good not to.

The running here was just as good as the riding.  My feet hitting the ground echoed off the granite walls, and I easily took care of the slight hills.  I ran three miles, did a 360 turn, and headed home.  

On the way home a cruiser came from behind me and beeped the horn.  The rider gave me a thumbs up sign.  I guess he was impressed at what I was doing.  I was quite the figure running among the canyons. 

The campground came back in sight and I picked up the pace the last quarter mile.  I was feeling great when I stopped at the tent site.  The air was so dry my shorts were not even wet.  My perspiration had dried to a white salt on the edges.  In Alabama you I don't even think about going out for a run if its over 85, I get on the treadmill, but here 100 felt like 75.
I took a stroll back to the office and picked up a Gatorade.  It felt good going down.  By now it was late afternoon so I took a nice long shower, and went looking for something eat.  When I was riding through Moab I saw a wineberry ST 1100 in front of one of the local motels. 

My first stop for something to eat was Smitty's.  The place was busy, but I was seated in just a moment.  However, after a 15 minute wait at the table, I was yet to receive water or a menu, and it looked none would be forthcoming.  I got up and left, and went back down the street to a Mexican cantina I saw on the way in.  One thing about Mexican or Chinese places, once you get seated, YOU will be waited on.

The food and service were excellent.  I had the grilled chicken (what else) and Spanish rice.  When supper was over I called Debbie and put a few notes in the Axim. 

On the way back from eating, I stopped and picked up a couple of cans of chicken and more bread, and some candy.  I like sweet things.  Candy is not all that bad for you, if it contains no fat.  It is nothing but pure energy, and quickly burned off by a exercising body.

By the time I made it back to the tent it was almost dark.  I retreated inside to escape the mosquitoes, which were really bad.  I scrolled the pictures I captured, and watched part 2 of "Into the West."  The night was warm, nothing like last night, it felt GOOD.

Sleep came quick, and all was good with the world.


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