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Published: July 18th 2018
Day 19 - Awoke to cloudy skies and very windy, with rain forecast for today from Loveland to Colorado Springs. We hit the I25 and sat on 75mph, around Denver and onto Colorado Springs to see The Garden of the Gods. What a 'Slappin' Horses' moment (only a couple of you will get this!), absolutely amazing landscape, similar to Sedona on a smaller scale. Being a Sunday there were massive crowds out climbing on the rocks. We stopped for a few photos and parked in the bus zone, where a National Parks Office (only a young fella) came up to me with ticket book in hand, he'd already booked a half a dozen cars for parking illegally. So the conversation went along the lines of - Sorry Mate, we're just about to leave, am I getting a ticket? No, you guys are ok, park here as long as you like, we only write tickets for the cars, bikes are fine, would you like to park over here close to the lookout? Nah mate, we've got to get going soon. You're from Australia aren't you? Yep. So another 2 officers arrive and its a full on conversation about Australia and you guys
get paid holidays, hey? These guys are very friendly and just wanted to keep chatting.
Leaving Garden of the Gods, we head for Old Colorado City, the historic Main Street, full of cafes, art shops & such, we had our lunch and hit the road for Canon City (pronounced Canyon) then onto Salida for our nightly stop. As we rode into the canyon which follows the Arkansas River, which again, is an amazing ride, the black clouds had gathered over the Rockie's, and the it hit us, soaked to the bone for 15 minutes along the bottom of the canyon. Then as we exited the canyon it fined up for a short ride into Salida.
Day 20 - There is really nothing like being in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Packing the bikes this morning, the light clouds over the mountains that surrounded us cleared, leaving an uninterrupted view of more than half a dozen 11,000 feet peaks, and amazingly there was not a speck of ice on one of them. Behind us was Methodist Mountain, a mere 11,713 feet. On the road and up to Monarch Pass (11,312 feet) for some photo's. I actually felt a little
altitude sickness this morning at Monarch, slightly light headed and a bit short of breath. Onto Gunnison for fuel then past The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, another cracker of a canyon. Onwards to Lake City via Silver Thread Scenic Byway. We stopped in Lake City for morning tea, a small village only about 12 blocks in size, catering to the winter snow sports people. It sits in the valley with massive mountains surrounding.
Onto Slumgullion Pass (11,530 feet) and into South Fork, which follows the famous Rio Grande River for close to 40 miles. After a rest in Pagosa Springs we crossed Wolf Creek Pass (10,856 feet) for our run into another massive storm, yes folks, fire & brimstone with this one, however we managed to dodge the heavy stuff and arrive in Durango dry-ish!
Day 21 - We've booked a tour on the Durango Narrow Gauge Railway this morning, we took the bus up to Silverton, had a look around for hour or so, had lunch at "Thee Pitts Again" which is a bbq joint owned by Guy who hosts 'Diners, Drive Ins & Dives' on Channel 33 the Food Network. Then we caught the steam
train back to Durango, a 3.5 hour ride which takes you through the valleys of some of the highest peaks in Colorado. We saw no bear, moose or elk, which frequent this area.
Arriving back in Durango, we had dinner at The Strater Hotel on Main Street. Very big day and bed is calling.
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