Friday, 3 September 2010

Three Passes and I Didn’t Sit One Exam!

Today started badly, but then got much better!

It is said “An army marches on its stomach”. The same goes for bikers sitting in the saddle all day – they need their breakfast! I was feeling tired last night so I went to bed early. I woke early and sorted my pictures from yesterday, wrote my words and posted on my blog. Satisfied, I packed and went downstairs for breakfast. It was 9.05am and I was hungry. I walked into the hotel’s restaurant to be told that breakfast finished at 9am. This was my 72nd day on the road and the first time I had missed breakfast. No, correct that, it was the first time a hotel had been stupid enough to finish breakfast so early!

This pissed me off greatly and I told the hotel manager exactly what I thought about this when I checked out. For the record, this was the same strange hotel, the Delaware, that I wrote about this morning while breakfast WAS being served. My advice – don’t stay there. Anywhere that disregards its customers like this deserves no custom whatsoever. The hotel is too weird - one guy told me this morning that if he had stayed there as a child, he would have been put off hotels for life!

I left the hotel in a bad mood and went and ate breakfast at the only other establishment that had food in the town of Leadville – the local gas station. Stale coffee and a cardboard fruit bar. Yuck. Now I was in a really bad mood.

I don’t know why, but I decided to ride away from Leadville via some back streets and bizarrely, I found an old railway engine hidden away on one of those back streets.... I used to watch steam trains when I was a boy. They passed near to the first house I lived in....





















Many times on this tour, I have seen something and turned around to go back and have a look. This morning I did my now well practiced U turn to take a closer look at a lot of snowmobiles for sale or rent. They were a striking colour (US = color).... I was pleased with this picture when I saw it this evening on my laptop....



















Soon, I was riding over my first pass of the day – the 11318 foot high Fremont Pass. Beyond the summit, I stopped at Clifton Creek Lake. It was beautiful as it shimmered in the sunlight. I talked to two guys on bikes – one BMW and a Yamaha and I didn’t get their names, but save to say, we stood there for a while exchanging road stories. I like doing that. It is very easy to talk to other bikers!....



















I needed to find a restroom (but I didn’t need to rest), or a bathroom would have done (no, I didn’t need a bath either), so I rode quickly north hoping to find a toilet. Why don’t Americans call it a toilet? Luckily I soon arrived at Copper Mountain and I found what I was looking for. Relieved, I went for a ride around this mountain resort and I was surprised to see a golf course this high up. My GPS / Sat Nav told me I was at 9737 feet so I tried to think of how playing at this elevation would help or hinder your game. No doubt, in the thinner air, you ball would travel further, but you would get more tired walking the distance of the course. I looked for golf buggies but didn’t see any....





















I wonder if this is one of the highest golf courses in the US. Somebody will no doubt tell me.... !

On reaching the city of Dillion, I rode on top of the rock and earth dam that held back the Dillon Reservoir and headed for Swan Mountain Road. This wasn’t very high, but had an overlook. The view wasn’t great but I did see this little girl trying to feed the chipmunks.... she was getting near to a steep drop....



















Nearby I saw this good sculpture of an eagle....





















Next was Loveland Pass at 11,990 feet and on the continental divide....



















Riding down Loveland Pass, on its northern side, the road goes down at a steep gradient and meets I-70. I stopped on a bend, right where I shouldn’t and snapped this picture of the Interstate below. It was like being in a plane looking down....





















Before I left the UK I read about the Georgetown Loop Railroad, so today, it was on my list of places to see. How about this for a scary railway bridge.... and no, my picture is not at an angle – the track was inclined like this!....



















This was the same train at the nearby Devils Gate Station. There is something very appealing about the power of steam trains....





















A few pictures of buildings in Georgetown.....

It is made of wood and is 143 years old!....





















This church was built just 7 years later....





















My third pass of the day was Berthoud Pass at 11315 feet. This was my favourite as it had wide sweeping bends... yippeeee!.......



























For tonight’s stop I called into the Winter park resort and got a small condo for the night in this building.... being out of the snow season, it was remarkably good value....



















I went for a walk and soon realised this was a popular place for mountain biking. I liked this couples outfits....



























I rode the chair lift to the top....



















This mountain biker made me laugh. It was like he was saying something like “Shit, I left the oven on”.....



















This guy was going very quick over the rocks..... ok, maybe riding a motorbike isn’t quite as dangerous as this....





















It is remarkable how quickly these mountain bikers ride on such rough surfaces. No wonder they wear all that protection....





















A few shots from the top of the mountain....

































































I got back to the condo and took off my boots. After wearing them for 72 days in a row, they are beginning to get a life of their own. Here they are going out for the evening....





















I might need to buy some more boots, or at least leave these outside when I take them off!

I just re-read this blog post and realised there are no pictures of motorbikes. Note to self – take bike pictures tomorrow........

13 comments:

Doug said...

Gary, excellent post as always.

We Americans call the toilet the bathroom or restroom for the same reason you Brits call it a loo, the lav, or the water closet (W.C.) We also call it the john and the crapper in honor of your fellow Londoner Thomas / John Crapper. As G.B. Shaw noted, we are "Two peoples separated by a common language."

iansolley said...

Nice one Gary- toilet and stinky boots! - i was just eating some nice bacon and eggs as well!

Geoff James said...

Fabulous pics as always Gary. We'd better not let your boots meet my gardening boots then - the potential for mutation is too awful to think about!

Do you notice any loss of power on your bike at the high altitudes you're ascending to?

Axel said...

If one thing I learned from your reports, it is to learn making U-turn, ride back and take the picture. But I also learned so much more... thank you.

David Cloutier said...

Gary:
Nice write up on your day. Sorry to hear of your bad breakfast experience at the Delaware, but if I remember correctly, you really didn't miss much.

With regards to golf courses, the highest golf course in North America is called Mount Massive Golf Course and it is located in Leadville. Here is a quote from the website:
"At 9,680 feet, Mt. Massive is the highest golf course in North America."

I have played it a couple of times and found that it is not a bad little 9-hole course. And, yes, at that elevation you can drive the ball like a hero.
Cheers DCC

mq01 said...

have the boots gone out for a good breakfast today?

bobskoot said...

Gary:

appropriate subjects today, finding Toilets in the middle of nowhere. Are there no trees ? we all suffer the same fate, FIFO. Hoping it will be a never-ending cycle.

We can nearly smell the aroma of your boots from here. Like a homing device they won't need GPS to find you.

I also make a lot of U-turns to find that elusive award winning photo.

Hope you have a good breakfast tomorrow. HMM, bacon and eggs, my favourite

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

irishgalinabq said...

It looks like you will be riding near Durrango in Colorado. If you are riding on 160 and you have any interest in native American history, Mesa Verde national park is awesome-it is amazing cliff dwellings that you can tour-pretty impressive.

Charlie6 said...

Gary

just left you emails....

dom

Redleg's Rides

Lady Ridesalot said...

Try putting some Monkey Butt powder (if you don't already have some, you should. It's a biker staple! LOL!) in your shoes. It does wonders for the arse, maybe it'll help the tootsies.

Great pictures as usual, and I'm glad you "passed". The view looks awesome from up there.

Gary France said...

Doug – That is a fabulous saying and it is so true!

Ian – Sorry about that!

Geoff- Lets keep them apart- LOL. No loss of power at all because mine is fuel injected. The loss of power happens on engines with carbs.

Axel – I am now quite good at making U – turns, except when there is loose gravel near the side of the road (that happens a lot over here) and then I have to be really careful.

David – I am not surprised the highest is somewhere in Colorado! You mean you can hit a ball like a Tiger on heat!

mq01 – yeah, but they didn’t bring me back any!

Bob – I like that. GPS boots, that can find their own way around! Bacon and eggs is good, but I am trying not to eat them – I already weigh too much! Tasty yoghurt / granola for me..... how exciting!

Irishgalinabq - I have heard of Mesa Verde and if I have time I will go. I think I will be quite nearby.

Charlie6 – Got them. It seems strange to be sending this from very near to you....!

Lady R – I will see if I can find some! Thanks!

Eve said...

The little girl WAY too close to the edge for me!!! I'm glad your boots are enjoying their time, with our without you!! hahaha!
We went to a really great place this weekend, Rock City Tennessee and I got a picture of an eagle that could have been made by the same artist. Hopefully I'll make a post of that soon.
Ride Safe!

Gary France said...

Eve - My boots are having a grteat time now they lead their own life!