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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Colorado Motorcycle Vacation: Day Three

Route for Day 3
Click on image for larger view

We had an early (and cold start) out of Glenwood Springs. Our destination for the day was Ouray with a stop at The Black Canyon. I did have the opportunity to stop at the Black Canyon last year so I was looking forward to seeing it again!

Our route took us from I-70 to Hwy 82 to Carbondale then Hwy 113 to Hotchkiss. We then took Hwy 92 to Sapinero to Hwy 50 then to The Black Canyon. We would then take Hwy 50 to Hwy 550 on to Ouray. I think the proposed mileage was 202 miles with the stops. It ended up much longer than that!!

Hwy 113 crosses McClure Pass and is a wonderful ride. Unlike some of the other ranges we rode with the mountain views further out, this ride was truly “in” the mountains. The pass, at 8,763 feet, isn’t as high as some of the others in the state, but the view was just as spectacular!

We didn’t stop in the pass, but once on the other side, we had a pit stop. The countryside became much gentler. The sky in this shot is crystalline!

When we got to Delta, we had a stop. I turned around to head back to a winery…I needed it for the Scavenger Hunt. Getting the image was simple enough. What beautiful country!!

I had to cross a wooden bridge and I thought it was neat to shoot the pic—even though it was not on the list. I just thought it pretty neat.

Ok, I admit, it was a bit scary to cross this..

I also took some other shots of just the countryside. The sky is beautiful with the mountains…and of course the Fatboy in the foreground in the morning light. Notice that the Harley is not too terribly dirty even with four days of riding!! LOL...the chrome is still shiny and you can still tell what color the Fatboy is!!

Early morning shot...beautiful day
and not a very dirty Harley
(click on image for larger view)

Back on the road, we are now heading south on Hwy 550. This is a terrific ride and for those of you who have had the opportunity to ride this road, you understand exactly what I am talking about. If you have the chance to ever ride this pavement…do so! You won’t be sorry!!

This leg of the trip is the first time I’ve had to break out my raingear. As we are heading down Hwy 550, the afternoon accumulation of rain sets the stage for late afternoon rains and we were in the pocket for the cloud formation. At this point, the we had a spot of rain…and even though the chances of getting in a full deluge was pretty slim…I’d rather be wrong with rain gear on and stay dry than wrong without rain gear on and get soaking wet. Nothing pleasant about riding down any mountain highway soaking wet!

Of course, I had a bit of rain—not a soaking downpour…and then I had to stop. At the edge of the Black you can see…..not a hint of rain…in front of me. Behind me, however, was another story! Here’s one of my fellow rider friends on the ridge of the gouge in the ground…throwing rocks!! His story was that he wanted to stir up the wildlife….

Shot of the overlook

Steve throwing rocks

Errrrr….okay, thank goodness we didn’t have a 1,000 pound creature come charging at us!!
I entertained myself by climbing on a big pile of rocks…Gotta keep the tradition going, eh??

All right..enough already!!

The next roadside stop was overlooking this gorgeous lake….as I forgot to take note as to where we were. The only thing I have an image is of the sign at the stop area…designating the overlook of the San Juan Mountain Range. Anyone have any insight to this lake?

San Juan Mountain Range in the background

George looking at the lake

Lunch stop and then on to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park! Yes, the rain is here as you can see by the clouds in the sky. Nevertheless, we press on…don’t want to miss this sight!

Entrance to Black Canyon National Park...I didn't feel like riding the bike on dirt AGAIN!!

We had a few stops in the park…our first stop was before the park center….and here I am goofing!! I just left my rain gear on…it is just easier at this point since we have no real clue as to what’s going to happen.

Group shot at one overlook

Diving anyone??

Overlook view

Of course… did…and my pouting face tells it all. Brenda says I now have a bubble bootie…with my raingear on!! LOL!!

Does my rainsuit make my @$$ look fat??

I had a few cool spots to shoot…one that involved getting past the fenced area..and so I climbed down….what a great sight!! Little did I realize that Donna had stopped behind me and shot me taking the pic…then started yelling to turn around…so I did…whoooohooooo!!

Donna shooting me shooting the image

Now I'm goofin'

What I was shooting

And of course….I have to stand on a rock…..

Standin' on a rock at Black Canyon

But wait, I can stand up on the fence support that's next to the rock….LOL…

Can I get any higher??

There is a road that goes down to the river canyon bottom. It’s a steep ride and my V-Star had the designation of riding down last year…this year it was all about the Fatboy riding down. Taking the East Portal Road will get you there and yes, I warned them…it’s a steep road (15% grade) and full of sharp hairpin turns. Gloria about said it all…it’s Space Mountain without the music!!! No, she wasn’t crazy about riding it down….

Well, here’s the group shot of us at the bottom…and we still have to go up!!

OH, and it was VERY HOT down here!!!

I decided to take off a few moments earlier to see if I could get a few really cool ride-up shots of everyone else.

Steve and Brenda in the foreground
Ed and Gloria in the middle
Daniel is in the front (very small, but he's there)

What I didn’t know is that John had pulled off up higher and was snapping pics of everyone else…and yours truly…

Ed and Gloria

Steve and Brenda in front
George in the middle
Steve in the back

…yours truly (and yes, I have a huge grin on my face)....

And my shot of John as I was waiting for him...
Cool Beemer, BTW!!

After the visit to the park, we head out to Ouray. It’s a great ride…of course…it’s Highway 550 or the Million Dollar Highway…..again, riding down through the rain and arriving to at dark. We’re hungry and tired. I crash as soon as my head hits the pillow. No writing that night, either…

Tomorrow: Ouray to Silverton, Durango, Mesa Verde, Cortez and then Delores. And the bejeebers scared out of me and the Red Fatboy……

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

1 comment:

Biker Betty said...

As with all the other posts of this ride, the photos are breathtaking and the commentary outstanding. Thanks for sharing the ride with us.