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.
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.