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Dan Hughes

Tuesday June 8, Estes Park CO to Salida CO

Heading home. The mess on Wall Street has made me uncomfortable for too many weeks now. The market has been up only for one week and down for like five weeks. I fell for the sucker Bull Rally, again, and I expect next year will be worse than this. I’m heading home to save up a few bucks for shorter, more focused moto road trips.

It’s been a good journey and I’ve seen lots of new sights and met several interesting people. It has also been good to have made it back to some places that I have not explored for many years.

I left Estes Park on US 34, the Big Thompson Canyon route, always a good ride. The frost objective road for today is the part of CO 72 that I missed when I went to Boulder few days ago. At Longmont I took CO 66 West to get CO 7 at Lyons. Lyons appears to be attempting to become a Yuppie-like place at this important intersection. I stopped at the local food market / deli to get a snack and coffee for brunch and pack a sandwich to eat at the side of the road later in the day. And re-stocked my supply of chilled Starbuck’s products to sip when I stop to let the joy sink in.

CO 7 goes up a canyon from Lyons, much like CO 119 down into Boulder. This canyon is not quite as tight as the Boulder ride, and it’s a very pleasant putt-putt up the stream to the intersection with CO 72. Apparently there has been mining all over these mountains down through Central City and Black Hawk. Ward is an interesting example. A very off-the-grid kind of rugged and rough place high in the mountains.

Soon I’m back to CO 119 at Eldora and heading back toward Central City, the old-mining-now-gaming town. These old roads just West of the Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, Boulder, Denver axis are located in some of the more spectacular country side. I suspect that CO 72 into Denver is another good ride. The road-surface quality is varied, but generally not bad.

This time I decide to check out Black Hawk. What the gaming opportunities have done to this place is amazing. The old road, replaced by the Central City Parkway, goes through Black Hawk. When the gaming industry decided to develop in Black Hawk, the narrow canyon was simply too narrow. So, the walls of the canyon were blasted out to make room for the mega-size gaming establishments. Triple ugly. There’s no land for large parking areas in these canyons, so the industry builds large multiple-level parking garages adjacent to the main casino buildings. Shuttle buses run between the various gaming locations and up to Central City.

Not wanting to take the Big Road US 285 again, I head West to Dillion to get CO 9 over Hoosier Pass ( 11, 541 ft ) and ride down to Fairplay. And then putt-putt on into Salida for the night. The huge valleys surrounded by mountains always provide amazing sights.

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June 14, 2010 - Posted by | moto touring |

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