the greatest trip of June 2006
Hi all .....
Some of you may have read parts of this letter already. I was using the web mail on the trip and am now home using my regular mail program. Not all your addresses were available on the web mail system. None the less, I thought you might like to see a summary of the trip.
I covered about 1500 miles and added lots of counties to my 'collection' ( http://www.ahollar.com/ColoradoCounties/CountiesTour.htm ) . I began from Grand Junction as there was a BMW motorcycle rally I attended. It was interesting to see so many interesting bikes at the rally and everyone had a good time. I didn't stick around for the Saturday night bash with live music and all - just not my style.
So the trip really started Sunday morning. By Sunday night I was in Durango after seeing Ouray, Telluride, Dove Creek and Cortez. Most of the places I had never seen before. Here is a picture from Telluride. Lots of the old mining towns have turned into tourist 'wedgie towns', you know, too many people, too many boutiques and all pulled up into the cracks of the mountains. Such beautiful settings for vacations or whatever. I guess overdevelopment is better than letting the places fall to ruin.
Monday was the toughest day. I started early in the morning from Durango and headed over Coal Bank pass (10, 644 Ft) and Molas Pass ( 10,902 Ft) to Silverton. The butt pucker factors on these passes is about 8.4 and 9.6 respectively. Man, those are high, steep, narrow roads.
Silverton was very nice early in the morning. Had a cup of coffee and found out my planned route over to Lake City was four wheel drive only! Having only one-wheel drive I drove back over Coal Bank pass and back over Molas Pass and found neither had gotten any flatter, wider or easier. But the road crews had finally showed up so the construction delays added about an hour to the drive. Got back to Durango about noon. Then on to Pagosa Springs, over Wolf Creek pass (10,850 ft, pucker factor abut 3.1), up to South Fork and into Creede ( one of the very most beautiful places on earth) the over Spring Creek Pass (10,901 - pucker factor 0.0) and Slumgullian Pass (11,361 - fifth highest pass in Colorado - pucker factor !@#!)
Found a clean cabin to rent in Lake City - life is on a totally different time scale there. Things just move slower. Kids were playing in the park and no one worries about internet access or email. I screwed up and dropped the motorcycle in the alley trying to get to the court house for the obligatory photo. Broke the tail light and pulled something in my shoulder. A guy from a liquor store helped me get it upright. I got the court house picture and later had fried catfish that was pretty danged good for what could arguably be THE most isolated place in the state of Colorado.
Alferd Packer ate some miners at a site near Lake City and was tried in the court house for murder and cabalism. The judge noted he had eaten all the democrats in Hindsdale county. Go Alferd!
So, Monday I drove over seven very high mountain passes and had fried catfish ...only in Colorado!
Next morning I got back over Slumgullian and Spring creek without hitting any deer. Had a really nice breakfast in Creede, an easy ride to Del Norte, on to Saguache and bedded down in Alamosa.
From there was was a nice ride home. South of Alamosa was much more beautiful that I expected. Farms and homes, friendly people. The ride from Conejos to San Luis was just surreal! Through the little town of Manassa where Jack Dempsey was born.
You can see the route through all the Colorado counties (not yet completed) on my web site. The collection of photos of the county court houses may be a little boring to you, but it's a scrap book of some really nice memories for me.
Colorado is a beautify place and sometimes we say things like, "Yea, I've lived here all my life and have never visited that town ....", or that mountain or that site. I hope to continue my travels so I feel really at home here. I would encourage you all to take time to explore your home places too. Life's too short not to!
- Andy Hollar -