Sunday, March 06, 2016

Revisiting the Rainbow Bridge and Last Chance

Back in February of 2009, I rode Maria, my 2004 BMW R1150RT motorcycle out into the eastern plains of Colorado to check out the Rainbow Bridge in the town of Fort Morgan and then the interestingly named town of Last Chance to the south of Fort Morgan.

The previous post from 2009 is here for comparison: LINK

I'd read on wikipedia, as part of the pre-riding, that there'd been a big fire in the area of Last Chance and this ride was to see what remained, morbid curiosity you might say.

Brigitta, my '87 BMW R80 Beemer and I motored out of the neighborhood shortly before 9:00AM and after a sumptuous breakfast by Martha, my loving wife.

Near the small town of Roggen, just before getting on US76 eastbound.

We retraced the route we took back in 2009, using Quincy Road to get to Watkins Rd to get to Roggen via CO52 and from there run along US76 until we got to Fort Morgan.  This time, I knew the right exit (#80) to use to get to the bridge, unlike the first time over seven years ago.

Leaving Fort Morgan, headed south until the junction with US34 where we turned east towards the town of Brush.  It is here that one then takes the turn south onto CO Hwy 71 to get to Last Chance.

Copied from the 2009 posting (the link no longer works):
A small cross-roads community established in 1925 at the intersection of what is now US 36 and Highway 71. In 1925, no matter which way you were traveling, if you passed up Last Chance you had a long distance to travel to find another place to get gas for your Model T. Last Chance never had an official post office but residents remember individual mail boxes in the general store.

I've always found some of the more quirkily or interestingly named towns here in Colorado a worthy destination.  Not much remains in Last Chance though but I did find that it appears to have survived untouched from the big fire in 2012!

 You can see the Dairy King hasn't changed much since 2009

Source: Ebay 

 The remnants of the motel are aged a bit but you can still 
recognize the basic buildings.

 Marker in Last Chance for the Texas - Montana Cattle Trail
This trail was a part of the history of the nearby town of Brush to the north.

Not much remains at the road junction of CO 71 and US36

Brigitta and I then motored away from Last Chance, heading west of US36 which eventually took us to the town of Strasburg who's claim to fame is that its where, at Comanche Crossing:

Source: Wikipedia: Excerpt: Despite Promontory Summit historically marking the site where the first transcontinental railroad was officially completed, a direct coast-to-coast rail journey on this route was not achieved until 1873. On the West Coast the Mossdale Bridge, which spanned the San Joaquin River near Lathrop, California, was completed in September 1869, connecting Sacramento to the network.  To the East, passengers had to cross the Missouri River between Council Bluffs, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska by boat until the Union Pacific Missouri River Bridge was built in 1873. In the meantime, the first uninterrupted coast-to-coast railroad was completed in August 1870 at Strasburg, Colorado with the completion of the Denver extension of the Kansas Pacific Railway.

There, a little bit of history for you, didn't hurt much did it?  :)

From Strasburg it was straight riding on US36 back to Watkins where we took Watkins Road back to Quincy road as we watched storm clouds rolling in over the front range mountains.  There's rain in the forecast for the front range, with 5-10 inches of snow forecast for the "high country".  Yes, with the legalization of pot here in Colorado, the high country has double meanings now.  Sigh.

Brigitta and I got home shortly before 2:30 PM, she performed beautifully as always, covering the 240 miles of today's riding without a hiccup or complaint.


SonjaM said...

Hey, where is your snow? Thanks for the history lesson. I love to learn stuff about places.
The motel looks a bit as if Norman Bates might have lived there... eery.

redlegsrides said...

Glad you liked the lesson SonjaM, no snow out here in the high plains desert that is the front range of Colorado.

It's supposed to be spring-like this week, right after the afternoon rains expected today.

RichardM said...

Why the name "Rainbow Bridge"? Is it just from the shape or is it lit at night.

What is this "pre-riding" thing? Is that related to planning?

redlegsrides said...

Apologies RichardM, it's officially the Rainbow Arch I guess its the shape of the arches.

pre-riding: recce activities, picking the route mostly.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I love learning about history and seeing things like this in little towns. I've been through Last Chance a couple of times and enjoy seeing the old buildings.

redlegsrides said...

glad you liked the contents of the posting motoventures!