Day 16 – 8/19/10

I left around 8:00 again this morning and headed east on I70 to Grand Junction.  Not long after leaving the motel, I ran into some wet road.  There were dry spots so it must have stopped raining about 30 minutes before I got there.  As it turns out, this was a common theme for the day. 

SDC10979 

The scenery along I70 is typical of many places in Utah.  Large mesas, interesting rock formations, and numerous canyons make Utah an incredible place to visit.  Every time I ride through Utah, I’m always impressed by the vastness of the landscape. 

As I arrived in Grand Junction, it was obvious that it had just finished raining.  There was a lot of water or the streets and the dark clouds where just outside of the city.  Another luck break as far as rain goes because it looks like there had been a good amount of rain just before I got there. 

SDC11015 From Grand Junction, I turned south on 50 towards Montrose and then on to 550 to Ouray.  Ouray is the beginning of the “Million Dollar Highway” that runs through the mountains and then ends in Silverton.  The scenery on this road is right up there with the best of Glacier Nat’l Park. Yosemite, or virtually any place else I’ve been.  It has the usual hairpin turns, sheer drop-offs, and of course no guardrails.  From just outside of Ouray, I stopped and took this picture of the town from about 500 feet above the town.  As you can see, it’s a relatively small town that sits at the bottom of a valley formed by steep mountains on both sides. 

SDC11032 This area has many small abandoned mines.  According to some of the markers at the viewpoints, there was much silver, copper, and gold in these hills that was mined in the 1800’s.  One of the mines contained a vertical vein of silver that went straight down over 1,200 feet.  There were quite a few of these old mines throughout the mountain sides.  You can see various colors of dirt piled up beneath each of the mines where they had dumped the dirt they dug out of the mines.  It didn’t look like any of the mines were still active but I’m no expert when it cones to mining so it’s possible that someone is still digging in these hills somewhere.

There’s really no way for me to adequately describe what this road is like so I’ll just post a few pictures here and you can see for yourself how beautiful this road was.

SDC11047 SDC11049

SDC11055 SDC11056

SDC11069 SDC11033

When I got to Silverton, I checked my map to see where I wanted to go to next.  I saw a road on the map but it was shown as kind of a dashed line indicating that there was long term construction on that road.  I went inside and asked one of the locals about the road and he said I didn’t want to go on that road because it was a County road and was for 4×4’s with high clearance only.  I took his advice and decided to continue down 550 to Durango. 

When I got to Durango, I headed east on 160 towards Pagosa Springs.  I knew this road seemed familiar and as it turns out, I was on this same road last year except I was going toward Durango instead of away from it.   I didn’t mind because it’s a nice nice ride through the mountains whether it’s the first time or the hundredth time.

I stopped for the night in South Fork Colorado and after checking in and bringing my stuff to the room, I went down the road 500 feet to a small bar/restaurant.    As i left the parking lot, I felt some raindrops but it was about a 10 second ride so I didn’t worry about it too much.  After eating, it was still raining so I had another 10 second ride back to the motel.  Another lucky break as far as rain is concerned. 

Now for a couple of quick notes about the bike.  The display on the radio is now completely blank.  Good thing I have the sequence memorized to change between CD, AUX, adjusting bass and treble, etc.  Another thing that happened to the stereo was that the left speaker in the fairing blew out.  I actually got some replacement speakers when I was still in California so all is good as far as that’s concerned.  The tires are holding up pretty well so far.  They have about 7,500 miles on them and the rear is a bit squared off but still has a good amount of tread left.  The tires seem to work well – they don’t follow groves in the road, they ride nice and smooth, and they seem to be very good in corners.  I’ve scraped the highway pegs quite a few times and even scraped the right floorboard earlier today.     

Tomorrow will probably be my last day riding around out here.  I’ll probably start heading back home Saturday morning. 

Miles Today: 510
Total Miles: 6,694
States: UT, CO

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