Sunday, May 27, 2007

Riding on the West side of the San Luis Valley, CO

Temps ranging from low 50s to high 70s, mostly sunny with overcast/rainy conditions in the passes.

Spent the morning with the family once again at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. My youngest son Miles and I undertook to climb to the highest dune's peak. We almost made it too, we were perhaps 150ft short of the peak but it was a steep dune to climb and both Miles and I were panting and having to rest a lot. Finally, Miles must have sensed my inner whimpering because he said he'd rather stop and start heading down. I strongly agreed and we headed on down these massive dunes.

We finally got back to the stream that borders the dunes and met up with my wife and older son for a quick lunch. The parking lot was chock full of cagers so I left soon afterwards, planning on meeting with the family back at the hotel. I took these shots on the way out, parking Maria on some small overlooks off the main road: CO150.

Here Maria and I met a couple of British gentlemen on their recently restored 1973 Norton 850s. Unfortunately, one of the had broken down and they guys were working on it when I happened by and offered assistance. They had the situation well in hand they told me and I moved on. They're touring the states on these bikes for the next three months!

Once we regrouped at the hotel, my loving wife issue me an extended kitchen pass and told me to head towards the west side of the San Luis Valley to see what I could find. I left shortly after 1330, tanked up and headed out on CO160 W, past the small towns of Monte Vista, Del Norte until I got to South Fork.

I stayed on CO160 heading towards the Wolf Creek Ski Area and the Continental Divide. The scenery definitely got more scenic the closer I got to the mountains. Let's just say the San Luis Valley is flat and boring for the most part.

After the above picture, I headed back East on CO160 back towards South Forks, here's some of the shots I took along the way.

Snow Shed leading towards Wolf Creek Ski Area and the Continental Divide

The Rio Grande, a river I crossed many times during the ride.

From South Forks I then headed North on CO149 towards the town of Creede in search of a biker loop called "Bachelor's Loop" (never did find it). The town of Creede is a quaint and small town, sitting next to an old mine in the midst of some cool rock formations.

The view from the North end of Main Street

Looking back towards Creede

Interesting "digs" for the Creede Fire Department

It was getting on towards 1730 by this point so I headed on back towards South Forks, here's some shots of the rock formations one sees at Wagon Wheel Gap which is between Creede and South Forks on CO149.

I got back on CO160 and heading East back towards Alamosa and the family. Got home just shortly before 1900, making it about six hours in the saddle, probably less with all the picture taking. A very nice ride. Kind of a nice coincidence since it was a year ago that I first got on a Honda 250 at the MSF BRC course and learned to ride a motorcycle!

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