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Dan Hughes

Thursday June 3, Salida CO to Boulder CO

A long day today what with stopping and sight seeing and road touring. I have some business to take care of in Boulder, so I’ll try to get kind of close.

As planned, I head for CO 9 to ride North into the high mountains. I’ve been in these parts several times, but I can’t tour every road every time, so some parts will be different.

Out of Fairplay the road goes over Hoosier Pass ( 11, 541 ft ) and then down into Breckenridge and Frisco. Met Bill in Frisco. He was just returning to his Can-Am Spyder as I got to town. Bill has one of the machines from the original production run. And he loves it. His is serial number 15. Jay Leno has serial number 1. Bill will ride the machine to Sturgis this year.

I continued through the mess that Frisco, Dillon, and Silverthorne has become heading for Kremming. CO 9 follows the Blue River here. The last time I was here, the mess more or less ended at the light at the intersection. Now it extends up the canyon for a few miles. And the road has been proved up to the max and most of the fun parts cut-and-filled and straightened out for a good way up the canyon. Still a great ride, tho.

From Kremming I take US 40 toward Granby with the objective being Bethoud Pass ( 11,315 ft ) out of Winter Park. It seems that all the Ski Resorts have grown to be enormous and ugly cities. This is a great pass ride; it’s a long way up. The road has been made into a three-laner, more or less. But the surface is getting to be pretty bad. It remains very cool up here above the snow line. I’m wearing my aviator scarf to help keep the chill off. And it looks way cool, too.

I ride down the other side of the pass to Idaho Springs, another beaten down former mining town. I probably should start looking for a motel, but it’s kind of early, so I decide to continue on.

The next objective road is CO 119. I’ve not been on this ride before. And it turns out that Central City is another one of those places in which gaming, née gambling, is allowed. There’s a Central City Parkway now. A brand new four-laner with enormous cuts and fills. Enormous. Built solely to get the gamers to and from the town. I wonder how much the good citizens of Colorado paid for this thing.

The countryside around Central City is much like that around Cripple Creek. Beautiful. I could stay here because I’m sure there are a large number of empty rooms. But this gaming environment has absolutely nothing to offer for me. I’m guessing there won’t be other rooms between here and Boulder. So it goes.

Soon the road is riding across the ridge lines for a long way until it starts down the Boulder River Canyon past Eldora. Lots of camps up here. The canyon is narrow and very twisty and the traffic is heavy, so it’s somewhat of a chore, but beautiful nonetheless. I’ve seen lots of authorities on patrol all through Colorado and many pull overs to collect fees. So it is in this canyon, too. Driving awards we call them when there are appropriately earned.

I end up in the middle of Boulder and lots of traffic, but manage to find a cheap motel. When I check the Maps app, I discover that I’m only about 12 miles straight up the road to where my business is to be conducted.

It’s been a long day, but two big passes and miles and miles and smiles all day.

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June 4, 2010 Posted by | moto touring | | 1 Comment

Friday June 4, Boulder CO to Walden CO

Boulder is a beautiful place. More correctly, the surroundings of Boulder are beautiful. It is very evident how the town got its name.

I left Boulder on CO 36 heading North to take care of some business. Following completion of my assigned tasks, I took US 287 farther North to connect with the first objective road for the day. If you have a more detailed map than mine, you should be able to bypass almost all of 287. It wasn’t really bad except for Fort Collins.

The objective road is CO 14 through the Poudre River Canyon. I have been on this road only one time before and that was way back in the 1980s. That would have been on one of my first moto tours of Colorado and for some reason I entered the state by way of Walden. If I recall correctly, I continued on to Estes Park and there were no motel rooms available. I had to ride down Big Thompson Canyon in the growing dusk to get a place in Loveland.

That first ride made a lasting impression because the road has been on my To-Do list for a long time. The ride down Big Thompson also made an impression. I don’t know what has taken so long, except that the road is kind of out of the way. On the Eastern end there’s nothing but big city and lots of people. On the Northern side there’s nothing because that’s Wyoming.

Well, my memories did not do the ride justice. This might be the number one ride so far. And that’s saying a lot if I recall previous entries of this journal. The canyon is beautiful. Tight, twisty and very narrow in places. Wider and open and valley-like in other places. The tight and narrow parts are classic Western Canyon with just barely enough room for the river and the road. In other Western Canyons, the tight and narrow places include the railroad. I’m certain that the river grade was modified when these things were built.

The river is quite large for most of the distance and easily becomes a part of the journey. The road varies from narrow to kind of wide and the surface varies between smooth to rough. All in all tho, very ridable. Some sections have been proved up to the max; very wide, very smooth, wide shoulders. It looks like upgrading the road is on Colorado’s to do list. Near the top of the pass, as usual, the conditions are less than perfect.

The outstanding part of the canyon is from the intersection of CO 14 with US 287 West to the top of Cameron Pass ( 10,276 ft ). Simply wonderful. Just ride it !

Eventually, as you always do out here, you come to the immense valleys and straight and flat roads. Many time with a big wind that is not a tail wind. That’s what CO 14 does as it drops off the pass and makes its way to Walden. Mary and I were here back in 2004 on our way to Steamboat Springs. So I decided to stay here in this very quite place. Another one of those towns that has seen much better days when mining and limber were big business. Oil might make a come back if the fall out from the recent troubles in The Gulf are significant. Walden must be the last un-discovered place in Colorado. Huge ranches. No gated communities in sight. No MacMansions on the ridge lines. There’s not a single national franchise here.

The place I’m staying in has been significantly upgraded by a guy who is extremely optimistic about the possibilities for Walden. He is also very Biker Friendly. If you have any money left in your 200.5 ( K ) a Subway would likely be a money maker. Or an ice cream place.

A most excellent moto road touring day.

ps

Met three Beemer riders here from Missouri and chatted with them for a bit. They trailered their bikes from Missouri to Steamboat Springs. One said that they had ridden across The Great Flats Barrier one time, and they don’t intend to do it again. Hell, Mary has made that trip three or four times.

Shameful.

June 4, 2010 Posted by | moto touring | | 1 Comment