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.