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Dan Hughes

Wednesday June 2, Canon City CO to Salida CO

Yet another perfect day in Biker Trash Paradise. I’ve ridden these parts only one time before and that was many years ago. I have found some new roads, very likely these were not paved when I was here back then.

I left Canon City on Big Road US 50 West with the objective road being CO 9. I’m not sure I’ve been on this road. It’s a fine two-laner that heads directly into the boonies. Another back road to be explored.

The ride out to the intersection is very good even if it is a Big Road.

Not long after I get on the road I spot a sign that points to an even littler thin- line road. A Fremont County road, 11. That guy Fremont really got around out here in the West USA. This is another jewel. The sign says the road will take me to Cripple Creek. I see on the Real Time Moto Road Trip Planer that the place is really deep in the boonies. There’s a road off US 24, CO 67, that goes to Cripple Creek. I guess my map is not up to date.

Now we’re riding a true Biker Trash Paradise road. Beautiful country side and a twisty road with a pretty good surface. The road wanders through valleys and over mountain ridges. There are a few ranches out here, but not many.

I pass other small roads that intersect this one, but not a clue about where they go to. Maybe some other time. Lots and lots of dirt roads, too. Those people who do it on dirt would be in Do It On Dirt Paradise. It has been my observation that these dirt roads almost always go up into the really high country. Probably some can’t be beat long views from up there.

As I approach Cripple Creek I start to see MacMansion type hobby ranches for the idle rich. Every place in Colorado has been discovered.

Cripple Creek is a famous ole West mining location and town. The State of Colorado has allowed gaming ( née gambling ) to be legal in several of these old historical towns. This place has been completely converted to gaming. I don’t know how many casinos are here, but it’s a bunch. And while many of the old buildings have been retained, there are also many new structures.

I don’t know how this is working out for Colorado, and Mississippi when I was back there. But it is clear that very large numbers of people were expected to show up because of the massive areas covered by parking lots.

Cripple Creek is located right in the middle of high mountains. It’s a beautiful setting. Pike’s Peak is one of those mountains and I stopped to take a picture. The road on the mountain is still above the snow line, so I won’t be riding up there today.

It’s still very cool up here, mid 50s F to low 60s.

CO 67 is the established road to Cripple Creek. A wide two-laner, kind of rough in spots, mostly wide sweepers, especially as the bottom is approached. A very good ride, nonetheless.

CO 67 hits US 24 at Divide. Heading West the roads starts to drop down out of the high country. Soon we’re at the Western edge of an immense valley. I know I’ve used immense several times, but this time I’m talking immense. Maybe 15 miles East of Hartsel the valley is bounded by maybe 9000 foot mountains, and bounded on the West by 14,000 foot mountains. And they are on the entire horizon from South to North. Still topped with a little snow. Amazing!!

Can’t get a good photo of these very large scale landscapes. I’ve try for years and years.

The ranches in the valley, very likely actual working ranches, must be measured in square miles.

Out of Hartsel, US 24 continues downhill to intersect US 285. US 285 South of Buena Vista goes over Trout Creek Pass to reach this valley in which Salida is located. The Collegiate Range mountains are on your right as you come down the valley. Another spectacular sight.

A day filled with spectacular sights. Biker Trash Paradise.

I’m thinking that tomorrow I’ll go back to CO 9 and finish that ride northward. And continue North toward I-70. So long as no tiny-line road temps me.

I’ve been through Salida several times. Mary and I were here in 2004, or maybe 2006. Salida has been discovered. There’s a super Wal Mart here now. That’ll do in any remaining local businesses. I think there are no places left in Colorado that haven’t been discovered. Cripple Creek might be the next, shudder, Aspen or Telluride or Vail or . . . An uncountable number of Gated Communities are in Colorado’s future.

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June 2, 2010 - Posted by | moto touring |

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