Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Southwest Colorado Trip - Day 2

This morning I revisited Wolf Creek Pass to see what the early morning sun did in terms of lighting up the landscape. I had not even gone a mile from the timeshare resort when I saw the distant mountain range reflected in a small lake nearby:

Near the Wyndham Timeshare Resort

I rode north on US 160 away from Pagosa Springs, tanked up at the station outside of town, and enjoyed a brisk early morning temperatures ride back towards Wolf Creek Pass:

Approaching Wolf Creek Pass from the south

Above the Wolf Creek Pass Scenic Overlook

The lighting was disappointing at the pass itself though, dark shadows and bright sunshine combined forces and defeated my attempts at getting decent shots.

I turned back south on US 160, transited through Pagosa Springs again, and was soon at the Chimney Rock Archaeological dig exit where CO 151 junctions with US 160. The Chimney Rock formation is visible from quite a distance away and is located in the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.

This is as close as I got to the rocks, the tour guides at the site did not recommend my taking the motorcycle up with the other tour vehicles. While I don't mind trying tough roads on my own, I draw the line at witnesses watching me drop my motorcycle!

Chimney Rock

After I left the vicinity of Chimney Rock, I continued south on CO 151 all the way to the small town of Ignacio. The terrain turned into farmland and ranches soon enough and I found it a bit boring.

So I headed back towards the town of Bayfield via county roads from Ignacio. Once at Bayfield, I crossed over US 160 and proceeded on this county road towards Durango and Highway 550.

I got to Durango soon enough, tanked up again at Hermosa, and proceeded north on Highway 550 also known as the San Juan Skyway. It's part of the million dollar highway scenic byway. I must say, the first time I rode this road, I was less than impressed. I think perhaps it was the overcast weather that was causing all the rock formations to look dull and drab on that occasion.

I now take back all the comments I made then. LINK to my first ride on the million dollar highway back in October of 2007.

The San Juan Skyway is an awesome motorcycling road with great views of imposing mountain ranges, near and far. Perhaps these pictures will give you some idea:

West Needle Mountain (I think)

Looking towards Engineer Mountain
Twilight Peak

I am guessing this is Snowdon Peak

Grand Turk and Sultan Mountains

In due course, I arrived near the town of Silverton and was greeting with this view of the town:

After a short drink break in Silverton, to re-hydrate myself as the day was quite warm, I rode the San Juan Skyway back south towards Durango:

Back at Durango, I got lost for a bit but found US 160 eventually. After enduring several miles of construction traffic I finally broke free of Durango and cruised east back towards Pagosa Springs.

A bit over 8 hours of riding and picture taking, 327 miles racked up on Brigitta. A good day of riding!

EOD Mileage 76,327


cpa3485 said...

Great pictures. Things look pretty green out there. I have been out there before when the scenery looked pretty brown. Thanks for the great shots of the mountains.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Domingo):

You are becoming a pain in the ass with these pictures. Anything along the Blue Ridge Parkway will look positively tame compared to the shots you included in this post. At lerast now I won'y have t bother. Please be asvised that I am making arrangewments to have pole dancers, strippers, and go-go girls in every shot I do take.

I leave on the first leg of my rally ride in a couple of hours. While I am brining a computer, my online presence is apt to be somewhat sporadic.

Fondest regards,
Jack "reep" Toad

Charlie6 said...

cpa3485, yes its quite green in this part of CO....then again we're near a couple of major rivers...thanks for your kind words and for reading this stuff.

Jack: the pics are just there to entice you out here some day....I look forward though to the pole dancer pictures....Ride Safe!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Domingo):

I just wanted to let you know that I had passed through here today, while on the road, and looked in here to see if you had any more stunning pictures to share.

I think the most dramatic in your collection must be "Twilight Peak." That is the most impresive one, as far as I'm concerned.

Speakig of "Twilight," I nearly had one of my own as two deer stepped out in front of my Bike on Skyline Drive, 30 miles south of Front Royal, Virginia, yesterday.

Fondest regards,
Jack "reep" Toad

Charlie6 said...


I am confident your "aggressively forward scans" and deft evasion skills allowed you to miss those stupid deer with no undue fuss. Glad you made it past them.

Yesterday, I watched a full grown doe cross US 160 a few hundred feet ahead of me, it damn near got hit by a truck in the oncoming lane, and the beemer rider behind the truck successfully executed braking procedures to avoid hitting the truck that was hitting its own brakes! All this I saw as I was doing evasive maneuvers of my own away from the prancing deer.

This was at around 0930 in the morning in full daylight....stupid deer.

thanks for checking in.