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Friday, July 07, 2006

Colorado Motorcycle Vacation: Day Four

Day Four Map
Click on image for larger view

Ouray ~> Silverton ~> Durango ~> Mesa Verde ~> Delores

Doesn’t seem like much, but about 150 miles through the passes….yes, it can be.

We head out early…I think we agreed to depart at 8:00 am. I wasn’t particularly happy; my eating has been out of whack and for the most part has been disagreeable. Sigh…just too much overindulging with food all the time. I….need…..fruit….

Not only that, but I’m getting weary from being away from my bed…homesick and I’m only on the other side of the state.

So it’s a quiet start for me. John notices that I’m not my happy-happy self and comments. I’ll be okay in a bit, I smile.

The ride out starts together and after a couple of miles down the road—I pull out of the pack to shoot an image. Besides, I’m not feeling the best and want a bit of Zen time alone. I had some back in Glenwood Springs, but I was really feeling the morning call.

Welcome to Mining Country

Besides, the sign was pretty cool. I also got a chance to stop and get the rock arch tunnel. It would have been close to impossible to get all our bikes on the side of the road—since there wasn’t really a side of the road!!

Rock Tunnel

The ride down the Silverton was really nice and did much to charge my batteries. I met up with the group in Silverton—I found the pack of bikes parked along the street. Funny…everyone is backed in—except me!! Yes, I just have to be different!

Our gang is backed in..except me
(The two on the end don't belong to our group)

One shot of "Downtown" Silverton

Shopping in Silverton was fun…I didn’t get a chance last time I was through to do so. It has a lot of quaint little shops and the locals were great to talk to! I could have spent much more time here. I wanted to go into this leather shop—but it wasn’t open at the early hour so I had to be content to take a picture of the entryway. These two just crack me up!!

Isn't this the funniest??

We did have a recommendation to stop at Mad Mama’s Pies. You know, unhappy stomach and all…I’m going in this bakery which is my Achilles’ Tendon of diet busters. I am a pastry freak! I was good; I had an apricot and cream cheese croissant and a glass of milk. Unfortunately, I found out that my friends had purchased an entire pie and we all were “invited” to eat it…so I had a Luscious Lola something or another. Vanilla, chocolate cream and all other kinds of goodies…as I had my extra very small slice of three bites and then bolted to resist temptation.

Well, sort of bolted. We all had a wonderful conversation with “Mad Mama”. Mary Rusch, the owner, overheard us talking about doo-rags…and offered up selling her own “Mad Mama” doo-rag. At $6.50 per rag, it was pretty good…until Steve tried to bargain with her. It was all in good fun and we had a chance to visit with Mary. Seems she used to be a nurse in Chicago and decided to retire out in Silverton. Baking pies. Hmm…I love to bake but I can’t get it right in the high altitude!

Leaving Silverton we continued on our trek to Durango. I can’t remember why I got separated from the group again…oh wait, yes I do…it was raining and I wanted to put my rain gear on. Rain? Possibly. You decide with the mist on the mountains.

Rain in thar mountains....

As I passed the city limits of Durango, I passed the group gassing up. I just caught them as I was blowing by, so I just pulled over to wait. It is something to be on the side of a busy highway getting buffeted by the vehicles. I had a really nice gentleman pull over to make sure that I was okay. I assured him I was and thanked him for stopping. He was on a really great looking VTX1800 and had Nebraska tags.

Once in Durango, we determined the lunch stop was Subway and we would eat at Mesa Verde. Well, the plans went very awry since the ugly looking rain cloud I had been eyeing was fast approaching (I’m thinking it’s following us). Instead, we beat feet to Durango Harley Davidson and camped out at the picnic tables for our lunch. It never did rain; it just got darker and darker. The gang decided to pull out and try to make it to Mesa Verde…

Me, I had to stop for gas. Everyone else was full and so they headed out…I was going to catch them on my way up to Mesa Verde.

Not really…there was a really cool stop. After all, how could I pass up the giant arrows stuck in the ground?? I couldn’t….and you can see why!!! What a great shot!!

How great is this? Except for the dark clouds...

I did eventually get to Mesa Verde and entered the park. Of course, back off the bike to get the “I was here at Mesa Verde” shot…..

See..I WAS here!!

The ride into the park was really great! I enjoyed the scenery of the park and wanted to stop many more times, but I was behind as it was. I eventually caught up with the group as they were leaving the visitor center. No worries…I wanted to get a pin and then I’d catch them at the next stop.

Ride in the park..see the rain in the distance??

I did catch them at the next stop…and we spent a fair amount of time at the cliff dwellings. What a neat place! I even took a shot of the footpath because I thought it was funny…twisties by foot!! LOL!!! Okay, I amuse easily!!

Twisties by foot!!

Cave Dwellings

Tim asked if I wanted to lead out of the park…absolutely! Riding the twisties of the park out in front was right up my alley! No, not in any crazy riding form, but I was glad to set the pace.

Out of the park, our destination became Delores. Tim took the lead. The ride in was without incident and it stayed dry. The plan was to check into the hotel and then anyone that was interested in going to Four Corners would ride out with me.

Well, that was the plan until…….we were cruising down Hwy 145. Doing the speed limit and working the lanes as we should—I’m riding wing to Tim and Donna. Our two lanes are about to become one. Imagine 9 motorcycles and a semi. I knew there wasn’t enough room to get all the bikes around this truck and Tim suddenly slowed down. Where did I have to go? I braked but gave my rear too much and I ended up with a rear-wheel lock up. Thank goodness it was the rear and not the front! As a result, I had the screech of a tire and a pretty wild fishtail. Immediately letting go of the brake, I was able to stay up. I was pretty calm about the whole thing until I got to thinking about what could have happened.

No worries, everything worked out in the end and it was all good.

At least until we got to our motel and Steve quipped…”got a bald spot on that tire of yours?”

Evidently, I had a huge plume of smoke from the lockup and those behind me saw the fishtail. They said it was pretty scary.

Yeah, I agree…I was in the middle of it.

I decided I wanted off the bike for the night…so the Four Corners ride was off…I would get up in the morning and head out…as I was so close to Four Corners it would be a shame to not get it.

We had an early night in, ate at a wonderful local restaurant and then called it a night. I had to get up early in the morning. Did a bit of internet surfing…but not much else. I wanted to have a bit of mindless entertainment after the last bit of pavement I rode.

That’s the end of this day…

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine


KT Did said...

Hope you got a good nights rest, your trip has been fun to read. Its nice you have the confidence to go at your own pace that day when you really needed it. Sometimes its better just solo riding. Looking forward to more stories.

Vinod said...

Fantastic trip report and pics!! I'm sitting at work planning a trip like that in the rockies! There are some decent roads here in the midwest but the scenery leaves much to be desired. Which mapping software did you use>

Christine said...

I didn't map the trip, but for the blog, I just took a screenshot of Colorado from Mapquest, copied it to Photoshop and then hand drew the route. I'm sure there is an easier way, I'm just too lazy to spend the time searching for the mapping software (I could probably do it with my GPS software).

Yes, the solo riding was nice...most of the next day was solo too...and a long story!!

Mustang said...

cool write up...its neat that you stop to take pictures.. i never have the patience to do that sometimes..but then the last ride i was on, i did take some..

Thank God you stepped off the brakes at the right moment to prevent extra fish tailing..Ride safe..


ellopez said...

thanks ever so for the grand updates. yes. fishtailing is a very humbling moment. sometimes the motorcycle gods just want to make sure we are truly paying attention. thanks for the "how to" on maps also.
keep your excellent posts coming.

Steve Johnson said...

Some friends and I from our club did this ride. We moteled in Cortez, and then did the loop from Durango, up to Ridgway, and down through Telluride, Dolores, and back to Cortez. We did Mesa Verde also. What a great ride!