Thursday, September 28, 2017

RV Trip: Montrose - Day 7 Ironton Park and Yankee Boy Basin

I was socked by rain clouds all day, on day 6 of this trip, so no story, no pics.

Day 7, on the other hand, worked out pretty good in terms of finding Fall Color in spite of yet another wet weather front moving in.

The sunrise was just fair, but it did illuminate the nearby San Juan peaks nicely:

I took an early and extended lunch in order to squeeze in the riding before the front moved in, as it is, I thought I wouldn't be able to outrun it!

It all started under pretty sunny skies
View of the San Juan Mountains as one heads into Ridgway

After fueling up in Ridgway, I headed through Ouray, through the Million Dollar Highway, and past Ironton Park....all this under grey over cast skies, which got darker as Scarlett and I gained altitude.

Right after Red Mountain Pass, we must have gone past the 10,000 ft altitude mark as it started to lightly snow on us.  Yay.

 Not a bad start for the snow cover that will soon cover
the San Juan mountain peaks as Fall becomes Winter in a couple
of months.

 Normally a red colored peak, Red Mountain has its
early Fall coat of snow on today.

Stopped several times at likely points for Fall Color along US 550, headed back towards Ouray, but the light from the sun was pretty much blocked at this time.

 The storm clouds chased me from Red Mountain Pass
down to this point on Ironton Park.
 Hey look, its sunny over Ouray!

 Here's a view of the mountains to the west of 
the town of Ouray

As I negotiated the hairpin turns just before the town limit of Ouray, I notice a pair of riders riding two-up, turning onto a side road near the sign for Box Canyon Falls.

Falls don't interest me per se, but then as I glanced in that direction, I also saw a sign for Yankee Boy Basin and the Camp Bird Mine.  Now, that sounded interesting and best of all, the road was sunlit!  Perhaps, there would be Fall Color down that road!

A mile or two later, there it was, the sunlit Fall Color I'd been hoping for for today.  Scarlett and I rode up to the site of Yankee Boy Basin (old gold mining area at the base of an imposing mountain).

As we rode up and gained altitude again, I would see nice views of this imposing mountain top, I failed to dig out my phone to invoke the Peak Finder app though, so I can't tell you its name.

It could be part of Hayden Mountain as I look at google maps but not sure.

Neat rock overhang over part of the road

 Looking north towards Ouray

Back in Ouray, the clouds had caught up with the town and I rode back to the campground under ever thickening cloud cover.  We made it back just in time, it started raining fitfully soon after I parked Scarlett.

Good couple of hours of riding, got some decent pics on this my last day of the RV trip.  Uma, Scarlett and I go home tomorrow.

Not much of a sunset either today but here you go:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

RV Trip: Montrose - Day 5 Buckhorn Mtn, San Juan Mtns, Ridgway Sunset

Tuesday, September 26.

I was able to take a lunch time ride and went up to the top of Buckhorn Mtn located near the campground.

I didn't spot the lakes for which Buckhorn Lakes Park is named but it was a pretty good offroad ride nonetheless.  Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol charged (its the only way Urals can make decent headway up steep roads) its way to the top and didn't overheat its engine! (though it heat up a bit over 400 degrees Fahrenheit)

There was some Fall Color at the top but nowhere near peak really.  The views weren't bad, just not great due to hazy conditions.

 San Juan Mountains to the south

 A bit of fall color at the top

I made my way slowly down from the top as the road is basically packed dirt with a covering of loose gravel, kind of slippery if you're going too fast.

Later, after work, and after a short ride into Montrose to get some dinner in the form of Chinese takeout (big surprise, I know), I headed back down towards Ridgway to see about sunset pictures.

As the sun went down behind a nearby hill, I posed Scarlett with the San Juan Mountains as a backdrop:

 Scarlett in front of Mt Sneffels

From the same location where I shot the above pics, I could see the setting sun painting the clouds and horizon through a space between two hills to the west:

I thought, five minutes after the sunset had set, and the colors above had gone that I was done and so started riding back towards the campground while there was still some light in the sky.

Well, that "little light in the sky" produced gorgeous lighting over the lake in the nearby Ridgway State Park!

 Waning sunset lighting by Ridgway State Park

Of course, I lost most of the light taking the above pictures so the ride home was in near darkness.  However, as I approached the campground, the more open western horizon presented me with one last photo op:

Photo taken at the campground.

A good day for pictures, courtesy of Mother Nature.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

RV Trip: Montrose - Day 4 Short ride to a Sunset

Days 4 was a long work day, being Monday, usually one of the the busier days of the regular work week.  Monday proved especially taxing as we dealt with issues that recurred on Tuesday; but thankfully for a shorter duration.

So, didn't get a chance to ride on Monday till near sunset so I simply headed down to the junction of US550 and Owl Creek Pass Road to capture views of nearby rock formations and the San Juan mountains visible from that location north of Ridgway, CO.

 View of Chimney Rock and Courthouse Mountain
from Owl Creek Pass Road

 Closer view of both rock formatiuons

 Looks like a great spot for pics of Whitehouse
Mountain doesn't it?  It's actually the entrance
to the town's waste transfer station.

 Parked along a bike path that is part of the
Dennis Weaver Park to the south, with a view
once again of Courthouse Mountain and Chimney Rock

Sunset came and went without much ado or color, so I packed things away and started riding back towards the campground.  As I rode up a slight rise along US550 I spotted pink/red wisps of clouds crowning the San Juan mountains.

Obviously, I had to stop and accidentally discovered another good location for future pics.

 Mt Sneffels on the right

Panos created using Photoshop

The last three shots were done AFTER the sun had set so by the time I was finished and back on the road, it had gotten quite dark.  

Luckily, no wild life was seen by me on the way home.  Being out here in "the country", not much in the way of artificial lights to illuminate one's way.

Monday, September 25, 2017

RV Trip: Montrose - Day 3 Uraling to Purgatory and Back

Yesterday, Sunday, the riding would be along US550, through three mountain passes, exploring the Silverton portion of the Alpine Loop, hunting for Fall Colors away from the crowds on the highway and ending up at the Purgatory Ski Resort north of Durango before turning back north towards Montrose.

A bit over 120 miles covered today, about 9 hours in the saddle riding through glorious weather, hordes of leaf peepers and steep/twisty mountain roads.

282 pictures taken, whittled down to the following 25....yep, a lot of pictures but it was a lot of territory covered!  Note, and the fall colors haven't really peaked yet!

After riding through Ouray, I transited through the Ironton Park valley, it was much clearer today as opposed to the dense clouds and fog yesterday!

The views along the way to Silverton, along US550, soon after one crosses Red Mountain Pass:

 Bear Mountain

Keeping to the theme of exploring side roads off of US550, I found the Christ of the Mines Shrine located near Silverton, marked only by a small sign and a "Point of Interest" Park sign....

 On the Christ of the Mines
Scenic Byway which overlooks Silverton

 Christ of the Mines Shrine near Silverton

Once I got to Silverton, I cruised through town and got on County Road 2 which leads to the nearby entry to the Alpine Loop.  I went to a point two miles past Eureka on the map below from Silverton before turning around due to lack of Fall Colors and an overheating engine.

The way down from the last two miles past Eureka was steep enough that I was able to shut off the engine, and put the rig in neutral to slowly cruise back down to the Eureka area.  This helped cool the engine off had reached 450 degrees Fahrenheit and I was smelling burnt oil.

Views of Bear Mountain, Fall Colors and distant peaks along the Alpine Loop Road:

 Vicinity of Eureka
Remnants of the Sunnyside Mill visible

 Near Maggie Gulch

Alpine Loop Road, headed back towards Silverton

Near Arrastra Gulch
 Final view above from the Alpine Loop just
before one arrives back in Silverton

After Silverton, Scarlett and I climbed US550 towards Durango.  We did get delayed slightly by construction as the road becomes a one lane road with traffic stacked up on both ends; controlled by an automated traffic light.

I rode past Molas and Coal Banks Pass and reached the intended end of the ride: Purgatory Ski Resort located north of Durango.

 Small lake across from Purgatory Ski Resort

 Engineer Mountain

 Twilight Mountain

 North Twilight Mountain

 Sultan and Grand Turk Mountains
from Molas Pass Overlook

Skies had become mostly overcast as I cruised north back towards Ouray so not too many pics taken.  I did stop for the below picture to give you an idea of what the same spot looks like when the weather is dry and somewhat sunny.

Just before Ouray, one last shot of the Million Dollar Highway:

Made it through Ouray with no issues as there were not big crowds that I'd expected.  Easy riding to Ridway where I fueled up again at the 200km mark (I'd filled up in the morning across the street) and noted almost 39 MPG!