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!


Anonymous said...

Amazing images - love them and the spectacular colors!

redlegsrides said...

Thanks motoventures, and the colors really haven't peaked yet for the area!

Oz said...

I have only visited Colorado twice in the Fall. The colors are awesome, so vivid. Great photos, Dom

Trobairitz said...

Such gorgeous yellows. I don't think they get that vibrant here.

Loved the photo you captioned 'Bear Mountain'. Nice yellow contrast against the mountain.

redlegsrides said...

Thomas Osburn, obviously you need to ride Colorado in the Fall more often! Thanks.

Trobairitz, thanks to you as the right light, the yellow leaves can make it look like the pine forest is on fire in spots.

RichardM said...

Wow, what a collection of photos! It has been so dreary (not sunny) while the leaves were yellow that we never got the bright yellow mountainsides.

redlegsrides said...

Seems obvious to me RichardM, bring Bridget and the RV to Colorado next Fall!

Artie & Leinen's Grand Adventure said...

Looks like Colorado is a fall trip for 2018. Your pictures are fabulous! We had some color with blue sky. I didn't notice our fall being dreary until today when it rained all day. Our leaves were never as bright as your pictures. We have had it in the 50's lately. This time last year and the year before we had already had a dusting of snow. Last year's was a heavy dusting. Nothing here, yet, but it is predicted in higher elevations. Thanks for the beautiful pictures!

redlegsrides said...

I found some BLM sites and one campground near Silverton that would be a good base camp for our rigs. The colors hadn't peaked yet either on Sunday....

SonjaM said...

Nature has outdone itself again in your neck of the woods, Dom. Nicely captured. Love the header pic!

redlegsrides said...

Thanks very much SonjaM!

Unknown said...

Fab photos, Dom! It doesn't appear that many folks camp at Eureka this time of year--probably afraid of getting snowed in. :D :D :D (Gosh, I love the San Juans and their mines and dirt roads. Spectacular...)

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Ry Austin, there was a campground in Eureka, not good 4G signal though so not a choice for camping while I am still employed. Once free of the internet for work chain, the possibilities for boondocking become much larger. There were three RVs closer to town on BLM land , no signal there either. There was a campground near Silverton that had great 4G and it's made the candidate list for future stays in the San Juans.