Day One – Silverton
For our first day we decided to ride over to Silverton and explore the town. We’d been through here in 2018, but did not take the time to stop and wander around.
I’d been here and walked around a bit back many years before on my old Airhead BMW while on my way home from a BMWMOA rally in Durango. This photos are lost in slides somewhere in the back of a closet so, will wait for another time.
Between Ouray and Silverton is a big pass. Plenty of switchbacks and shear drops between some guardrails and missing shoulders.
My first time over this pass was in the back of an early 60’s Chevrolet Impala wagon as a kid. Later I’d ride over int he back of a 1966 Volkswagen camper bus. And still later ride across with my wife on our trusty old 1974 Norton Interstate on our way back from Arizona.
That ride’s day so very long ago began at Mesa Verde and ended the day on a gravel camp spot near the boat ramp at Blue Mesa, west of Gunnison. A very wind-whipped night was spent there.
Today was spectacular weather in the morning with blue skies, and puffy clouds. Temperatures just that slight chill to inspire switching on the Oxford heated grips.
We stopped on our way up to grab a photo at a scenic overlook.
Then over the hill to town.
We quickly found prime parking on the street, showing off the big KTM’s to good affect.
We found ourselves in close proximity to a lunch spot even though the time was a bit early, we decided to beat the rush.
Yummy salads were sourced along with iced tea and water.
Walnut, apple, and garden greens salad with dried currents and an excellent basaltic vinaigrette. This was also a huge portion. I tried my best to clear my plate, but in the end I had to leave the last few bites. I was absolutely stuffed full.
Now we were fittingly sustained for a trek, we set off to explore the town.
The train arrived and the crowd of tourists disembarked, this signaled we had indeed been correct to lunch early.
Paul got a nice shot of me waiting for the crowd to clear so I could shoot a clear photo.
I never managed a shot with all the many like minded souls wandering in front of my frame. Off we wandered.
We even found a pair of Tesla chargers on Main Street. We stopped into the hotel to check on packages for the train tours and a nights stay. Quite a value and something to think on for an adventure with our wives. Train and Hotel Package
With our tour of the town complete enough to satisfy us and darkening skies off in the direction of camp we decided to skip a train ride to Durango with a bus ride back that would have us negotiating the pass home in the dark and as it would turn out, very wet night. With that we headed to fuel up the bikes and make the run to camp. We had a few sprinkles then a steady very light rain that made the road surface pretty slick in spots. Particularly on the tight switchbacks where one end or the other of our bike would slip-slide or step out on throttle. Made for a somewhat more intense ride experience back to camp than we were really after.
Once back to camp the skies were of course clear.
Off to the north and west threatening skies for the evening. We covered the bikes, Paul with a proper cover, me with a heavy duty trash bag just over the saddle. These were enough to ward off a soaking. We turned in at what would seem the early side around 8:30, but would become our usual. We drifted off to sleep amid distant thunder, lightening and light rain. Just enough to make the air smell amazing, but not so much to make a muddy mess when I would later in the night need to walk to the restroom.
Day Two – Laundry Day
All of us eventually end up here at some point. Whether we’re traveling or just everyday life. Laundry is there to be dealt with. Paul and I managed to stuff our stuff into one huge machine, then hang out for a bit. But, before we got to this lovely little spot, we had gotten up expecting to breakfast at the camp cafe’.
Nope. Closed on Monday and Tuesday mornings. We rode to Ridgeway and found breakfast there. Being very hungry by the time we got there and a busy place, I forgot to the a photo. My veggie omelette was big and yummy. I’d have used less butter but, good food. Good coffee and great service. Back to camp change to wandering around on laundry clothes, aka my board shorts and sandals. then laundry. The task was made quicker by the dryer resetting to stun from low as I pumped it full of quarters. a very short spin in that furnace and everything was dry save the wool socks which all dried as we carried it all back to camp.
Next up we suited up lightly for the short ride to the Hot Springs Pool where as a senior I got a discount. Then we got stamped wrists so we could leave, enjoy lunch then return to soak away the afternoon.
A short walk form the pool into town for a late lunch.
Pizza and a garden salad. Very good food. The best crust I’ve ever had.
We ate it all and enjoyed it all too. We walked around town then past the distillery where Paul picked up a bottle of the local rye, “Ourye”.
The inner workings of the establishment.
It was back to the pool then back to camp. Much refreshed and relaxed. We settled into our camp chairs with a nice sample of the rye, some junk food to fill in the cracks and planned our next day. No rain in the forecast this evening cool breeze slowly led to slumber.
Day Three – Telluride and Dirt to Miramonte
Miramonte is a great place to fish for big fat trout. The last time I was there to fish, it was not summer as can be seen from the above photo. That photo was taken when the fishing is best. Today would not however be a fishing trip. This was about riding some easy dirt and gravel to just relax and enjoy being out and away.
Today didn’t start here, so I’ll go back to that. Paul and I woke early enough, rode into town and found a big breakfast at a cafe’. I got a veggie breakfast burrito and coffee. And forgot to get photos. Hunger and talk turned my head.
While we ate, Paul was getting messages from his family that they were going to be taking in a festival in the mountains and he should join on his way back from our planned Flagstaff exploring. Some quick calculations and map routings soon set that up as crazy. We talked some more, finally figuring out with the rising heat in and along my homeward corridor as well as the heat around Flagstaff, coupled with the holiday weekend it might be best to save that exploration to a later time and just make it fun.
And so we did. I was able to quickly fiddle the camp reservation in Flagstaff and we now had one day to go ride dirt. And so we did.
The ride over to Telluride was cool other than the young deer who tried to end our ride early. Ha! I was not to be outdone so easily. Both Paul and I able to slow, and ride around the back of the young bucks path and away unscathed.
Up and over Dallas Divide then down to the junction to turn south toward Telluride. We rode through town noting how much more crowded and busy and bustling it was from Ouray and Ridgeway. Nice but wow the traffic!
We rode down south of town so we could shoot set photos such as above. Paul not having looked up at Black Bear Pass from here before. I’d been here years ago on foot with a backpack along with my wife, her brother and their dad. We hiked up to the rock fields and spent a stormy night in tents then back down here to hitch back to Ouray.
After our brief photo shoot we headed back to the round about and down to Dolores where we topped off our fuel and headed up Forest Service road 526.
We made it easily to Miramonte, stopped at the boat ramp restroom, then after a few photos headed back toward the highway at Norwood and back to camp.
This would be our last dirt ride together for the trip. We stopped in Ouray for one more of those pizzas, then back to camp to pre-pack for an early start the next morning.
It would turn out this would be our last ride day for the trip. We breakfasted in town then headed up to Grand Mesa and lunch up there to try for some cooler weather.
We rode around exploring a little bit and fighting the comm units linking. We found a spot for some lunch.
They weren’t really open to folks outside of folks staying with them, but let us in for a lunch.
Great food. Chicken pot pie and salad were perfect. Very good food and quite reasonably priced. We ate it all too fast to remember to take photos.
We headed back down the hill only to battle the comm linking/not linking gremlins again. We finally got its fixed. We never did figure out what we did to ever be successful.
Once back to camp we pre-packed to leave in the morning. We stopped at McDonalds in Montrose for the air conditioned cool and our evening meal.
A fun time that evolved easily as it played out. Come morning Paul would head north and over Independence Pass to home and I’d head southwest into the heat.