I got on the road about a half hour later than I wanted. We had a thick marine layer so at least for a while the temperatures were cool.
This part of the ride was all about waiting out the miles. First goal was to avoid the bulk of the morning commuter traffic. I headed up the toll road to CA-91 east to I-15 north. I managed to beat the crowds up the pass toward Victorville. Because I’d not filled the tanks before leaving the beach I needed to stop here and fill. Then back on the interstate. I got to Barstow with the temperature rising into the upper 90’s. Taking I-40 east now the heat was building. The first rest area out of Barstow was closed to all but trucks. the next was about 30 miles shy of Needles. I counted down the miles by taking five good pulls from my hydration pack every ten minutes. This gave my brain something to do beyond wondering what part was wearing out on this thirteen year old bike or if the tires were going to last of any number of worries I didn’t need worry over.
Even with the sun still relatively low in the east the heat was on.
With the first goal met, I was on to my second goal which was to beat the big heat to Needles. I was looking good for this as I would indeed arrive before noon and only mid-90’s temperatures, fuel, buy water and use the restroom. Then on to the last of my goals to beat the predicted afternoon thunder showers in Flagstaff.
The next fuel stop was very short at Kingman, Arizona. Topped off the fuel, water and another restroom break I was headed to the KOA north of Flagstaff US89.
Just. As I was zipping the rain fly the first few drops began. A light shower later it was mostly over and drying quickly. I took that as a sign to go get something to eat. I had not eaten anything all day. No breakfast, just water all day.
The camp shop only had six-packs this day so that would have to do along with a burger and fries from a nearby McDonalds. No, I did not drink the entire six beers. I had two, cut the carrier apart into pairs and packed them away for Ouray.
I was soon chased into my tent with threatening thunder then rain. I’d end up skipping a post-ride shower, but had brushed my teeth and was basically ready for bed. After some emails, texts and calls with family and friends, I was asleep by 8:30.
Because of the thunderstorm and rain that lasted into the dark I knew the rain fly and footprint would be soaking and it was so dark I would need to wait to closer to dawn to rise and pack camp. This got me on the road about 7:45 from the fuel stop across the highway. My route would take me north on US89 to US 160 east Cortez, Colorado where I would turn north on Colorado 145 to Dolores then follow that to Colorado 62 over Dallas Divide to Ridgeway where I’d turn south on US 550 to the KOA north of Ouray.
My goal was again to beat predicted rain, but as it turned out that was an easy goal to make as we didn’t get a storm until the following evening.
I stopped for one photo before descending toward Telluride. I could not resist. The Rockies never disappoint in terms of photo ops.
I got to Ouray to find Paul all set up and waiting. I parked and setup my tent, sleeping pad and bag. I’d spread out my footprint on the rail fence to dry and it was ready in a few minutes in the dry breeze. After I pinned it to the ground with four stakes I laid out the rain fly to dry a bit while I finished setting up the tent. A quick change out of hot gear and we headed into town for my only meal of the day.
Atop the Ouray Brewery we had to have a beer and a far too large burger and fries. Wow. That was a lot of food.
And that is how I got to Ouray and the beginning of some riding adventures for the week.