Saturday, August 23, 2014

Retracing the Bike Adventure, Telluride to Moab. Part 1: Colorado

My husband and son recently went on the mountain biking adventure of a lifetime, riding the 215 miles of trails and secondary unpaved roads between Telluride, Colorado to Moab, Utah over seven days and six nights. They stayed in provisioned huts along the way as provided by the San Juan Hut System. You can read the trail descriptions, see daily mileage and altitude changes, and even sign up for a ride yourself at the system's website.

Beez was so excited about the trip that he wanted to share it with me, so a couple of weeks ago we set out to retrace the journey, only this time in the Prius with nightly stays in proper inns and hotels. I was so impressed by what they had accomplished!

We stayed in an inn in Telluride, Colorado the first night and ate at a pretty little cafe, 
where we dined on the patio. The service was terrible, but the people-watching was great!

The next morning we drove the beginning of Last Dollar Road outside of Telluride. It was so gorgeous, especially to our parched desert selves. The rivers all ran with actual water! We don't have that in southern New Mexico where we live. 

I was very taken by the light on these aspens. 

We didn't get much further than these trees. The road became muddy and very trail-like. We turned around and continued the re-created journey on the other side of the mountain. 

There were wide open spaces as far as the eye could see. This spot was absolutely silent except for the sound of distant hawks.

I was fascinated by the sheep herder wagons we saw now and again. At one end of this wagon, the shepherd had hung out his laundered clothes to dry, and his tools and broom were hanging up at the other end; underneath the wagon his working companion sheep dog was keeping an eye on the sheep below. 

This was an old farm where some of the John Wayne movie, True Grit, was filmed. We stopped to look around and spotted a gigantic herd of sheep being brought down the mountainside across the road. 

You'll have to look hard to see the sheep, but they were moving beneath all the trees you see on the left, coming down to join the herd and then being moved up the valley by the clever sheep dogs.

We stopped for lunch in Gateway, Colorado at the Paradox Grille, which is part of the Gateway Canyons Resort. That resort is a beautiful and very fancy place, indeed, with nightly rates in the $600 to $700 range. The Grille, however, was friendly and welcoming and we had a lot of fun chatting with the staff there about biking in the surrounding areas. 

I loved the landscaping at the Resort. 
I kind of like that bike-rider guy in the photo, too. 

 The views in every direction were of red rock mesas and mountains. We had just traveled through the Unaweep Canyon to get there; it was so breathtaking that I forgot to take photos. You can see a photo here or here, or you can search Google images for more.

It was a warm day and most of the Grille customers were inside, enjoying the air conditioning. As desert dwellers who don't mind a little heat, we chose to be out on this secluded little shaded patio so that we could enjoy the views and the birdsong. It was lovely, and we had the patio all to ourselves. 

Next: John Brown Canyon--not meant for a car, I'm sure, but we did it!


Jean (aka Auntie Bucksnort) said...

Beautiful photos! Colorado is one of my favorite states. Were there any afternoon showers while you were there?

clairz said...

No rain for us (although the bike riders the month before had a snow shower). The monsoon season hadn't gotten underway yet and that's a good thing, as you will see in the next post. They are having the afternoon rainstorms up there now and a Moab bike race was just washed out.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh my goodness Clair ... I am deeply impressed just by the car journey -- there are no words for the admiration I have for your bike riding husband and son. Wow.

What beautiful landscapes. So amazing. (Contrasting it with where we are now really makes me think about what an amazing country this is! )

I would love to do another roadtrip through the Southwest sometime. Sigh. So man places .....