Ride Report: Day 10

Day 10 / Sunday, September 6, 2009

We got up to the beautiful sound of rain falling on the tents and not wanting to pack up in the wet, we waited it out for about an hour and it passed, with the sun breaking through right away. The pavement started within a few miles and we rode into Steamboat Springs to get some breakfast and dry out our gear. There was an hour wait for a local breakfast place, so Wendy's it was along with Starbucks for Mike. Having been in wilderness mode for the past five days, with no shower, I sure felt strange sitting among people drinking their cappuccinos. I had a shave and sink-shower at Wendy's and we were off back into the trail.

Packing up with Hahns Peak in view, after waiting an hour in our tents for the morning rain to end.

Heading south to Steamboat Springs.

Riding into Steamboat, where we dried our gear before heading off on the trail.

I'd like to come and ski here someday, to taste some of their famous champagne powder snow... mmm...

Heading around the picturesque Lake Catamount and Stagecoach State Park, the route climbed up to Lynx Pass near 9,000 ft. The next few days would be all about high elevation. Rain clouds were chasing us south and full rain gear was donned before the skies opened near the deep water crossing next to CO-134 and Gore Pass. I was weary of this two foot deep stream crossing in my research for this trip, mainly because my air box was drilled with holes on its sides by the previous owner for the required air intake for the flat slide carb. I hadn't had the time to get a new air box and try a different setup. This increased my risk of intaking water while crossing deep streams and besides, with my injured foot, I wouldn't be as capable of catching the bike if she started to fall over in the stream. The good thing was that there was a highway to easily detour around the stream. Mike also said he wasn't looking forward to riding with soaking boots for the rest of the day. As we regrouped, we went to check out the stream in pouring rain and she was gushing pretty fast. The approach and exit paths looked really slick and we agreed that there was no need to be heroes in attempting to cross. No time for pictures in the rain, so we turned around and took CO-134 to rejoin the trail towards Radium.

At that junction, a bunch of bikes were coming up north on the trail. I had a few words with the leader in the rain and got that he was leading a group from Mexico. We got going quickly as the trail head was clogging up with BMWs, KTMs, TransAlps and other kinds of bikes clearly not from America. It was tough to wave at the oncoming riders as we were negotiating riding downhill ruts in the rain as they were charging uphill to keep the momentum going. Customary nods and smiles were exchanged.

I was being extra careful as these kinds of roads were the toughest for me to ride through, but right foot on the rear brake and good clutch modulation saw me make it through with no pucker moments. I learnt my lesson of respecting downhill gravel sections. Mike waited up ahead after tricky sections to make sure I was doing fine.

Woot! All this pavement is killing my knobbies.

Nice dense foliage

Rain clouds up ahead. Riding around Lake Catamount.

Riding towards Lynx Pass through Routt National Forest. "Ok, all the green aspens get on the right side and the dead pines on the left side" :(

Putting on rain gear excepting to cross into rain up ahead.

It looked nice and clear up ahead but a black wall was closing in behind us and the deluge opened a few minutes later. This is the road leading to the deep water crossing, which we decided not to attempt in the heavy rain.

Taking a break after a hairy downhill rutted section in the rain, heading towards Radium. The sun breaking through after a passing storm.

The foot was doing better, but I was still strap-shifting to give it more time to heal.

Mike on his XR, heading down towards Radium.

Mike on his XR, heading down towards Radium.

Taking a break on the way to Radium.

After crossing the Colorado River at Radium, the route follows wide gravel county roads into Kremmling. We continued along the Colorado River looking for a nice spot for a break as we had been riding non-stop since Steamboat for about four hours. After an extended break where boots, socks, gloves and gear was dried in the sun, we continued towards Breckenridge.

Going around Williams Fork Reservoir, the route heads up to Ute Pass at 9,165 ft. Seeing dark clouds looming over the peak, I suited up for the rain but was surprised not to come across any. Mike told me that this was probably the weather phenomena known as Virga, where the precipitation evaporates before reaching the ground due to higher air pressures near the ground.

A short bit of pavement in the middle of the mountain heading towards Kremmling.

Heading down into Kremmling and looking ahead towards Williams Fork Reservoir.

Dark rain clouds surrounding Ute Pass and could you believe, we didn't get wet.

At Ute Pass, looking ahead towards Silverthorne and Dillon.

We headed past Silverthorne and Frisco towards the ski town of Breckenridge, where I skiied a few years back in the early season. Motorcycling and skiing have a lot in common: the aspect of travel, wearing protective gear, being energetic in the outdoors, dealing with the elements and feeling g-forces.

My original plan was to head past the town and camp in the woods near the trail, but with it being cold and wet again, we decided to motel it. A quick Google search on my Android phone pointed us towards the Fireside Inn, a skiing hostel run by a British couple. $73 for a double room was probably the cheapest we could get in this high class tourist destination. We could've backtracked to the highway for cheaper accommodations, but we figured it wasn't worth it and besides, hostels are more inviting for travelers than regular chain motels.

The Fireside Inn was converted from a house built in the 1870s and it had a bit of a quirky layout. The hosts said they had other bikers who were riding the CDR stay with them, along with hikers and runners. I didn't know people actually ran the CDR in a race. Riding bikes seems much saner than that.

I had a good half an hour steaming hot shower after going six days without one. My last shower was in Lincoln, Montana. There were options for showers in Yellowstone, but it wasn't convenient and after paying $20 for a campsite and then having to fork over another $4 for showering seemed too much for my frugal ways. The body wipes I was using every morning ensured that I was at least hygienically clean and slapping on sufficient talc powder to cover perspiration added to that clean feeling. I was definitely starting to scratch all over as even if my body was perhaps sufficiently hygiened, my clothes did not get cleaned and I'm sure the billions of dead skin cells that we lose every day were piling up in my three sets of base layers. The hostel hosts were gracious to do a full laundry load for me including all clothes, gear liners and sleeping bag. Feeling squeaky clean, we headed out to Giampietro, a pizzeria on the strip and enjoyed a few well-deserved Colorado beers and hearty supreme pizza.

Next: Day 11, Southern Colorado

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1 comment:

  1. hi jay i am sargam of kamla mam's student in Embassy Of India school moscow