Day 11—Solace in Torrey
I rose to an amazing morning but had heard my phone telling me I had email. I showered and began packing and then went and looked at emails. It was some strange news that had been forwarded so many times that I wasn’t sure what was going on but someone in my family had passed away. I called my mother to help me solve the mystery and discovered that my closet cousin had died in her sleep at 59. I was shocked and dismayed and very sad. I knew that this day would be meditative and I would be making no miles toward home. I planted myself in Torrey for another day and had the pleasure of further exploring Capitol Reef NP .
The Capitol Reef Inn has a Kiva (Indian ceremonial building) built on the site that is an amazing piece of architecture. It was conceived and built by two brothers, one of which died in the middle of project. The lone brother finished the Kiva as a labor of love and now has it furnished to rent. I believe I will stay in the Kiva on my next visit to this area.
Day 10–Cortez to Torrey
For some unknown reason I decided to go to Four Corners monument. I had absolutely no idea what was there, but when I arrived and found that the Navaho tribe charged 3 bucks to view the thing, I decided I really didn’t need to see it. It wasn’t that the price was overbearing, but the idea alone bugged me. I would rather spend the three bucks on a beer!
I am sorry I didn’t go to see Hovenweep NM as I was told by several people after the fact that it was well worth visiting. “Hovenweep National Monument protects six prehistoric, Puebloan-era villages spread over a twenty-mile expanse of mesa tops and canyons along the Utah-Colorado border. Multi-storied towers perched on canyon rims and balanced on boulders lead visitors to marvel at the skill and motivation of their builders. Hovenweep is noted for its solitude and undeveloped, natural character.” *taken from the park website. Anyway, I am sorry I missed it for the silly side trip of the Four Corners.
Day Nine—Keystone to Cortez
There was a chill in the air as I road out of the 10K foot elevation of Keystone and realized that I would remain in high elevations until I reached the Utah border. Even Mesa Verde area lies between six and eight thousand feet but breathing would be easier than it had been in Keystone! Now if only the cloud cover would let up, but no such luck. Today was my day for riding in the rain.
Fun car near a gas station
Redstone to Keystone could have been reached by any number of roadways, but I chose to take Independence Pass, a road that was highly praised by several riders. I chose Hwy 82 to Hwy 24 to Hwy 91 to Hwy 70 getting off on Hwy 6 to Keystone. So, once again I packed up my bike and bid my fellow travelers adieu following my own path. Walt and Nancy took a group north to hike some back country and Aurore and Joy took off south for ride through Gunnison. The morning was fresh but chilly, however we all knew it probably wouldn’t last so we layered accordingly.
Between Redstone and Aspen on Hwy 82 were a series of fabulous curves and lots of ascents and descents. I didn’t see one HP and thoroughly enjoyed my hooliganism. I did encounter probably the SLOWEST riders on the planet who had seven cars trailing them, with little room for anyone to pass. I couldn’t believe it! From a spirited 75 to 35mph as these bikes rode in formation and refused to move right. First opening, I passed all of them. There is something to be said for the acceleration of my 12S Bandit!! I ignored my impulse to rudely gesture the group of five riders, and decided their must be a learning curve in play somewhere within the group. The rest of the ride to Aspen was rote, abeit a bit boring, with a four-lane highway.
In Aspen, I though I had best check messages on my phone as I hadn’t had service since the day prior. I pulled to the road edge just as the road became Independence Pass., narrowing to a small two lane road. Yep, as I suspected, seven messages I needed to hear. I listened and then gave my mom a quick call and mid-conversation I suddenly responded, “MOM…omg…whoa…MOM…hang on….wow, “ as a mother bear and her cub passed me not 20 feet away. She just sauntered across the roadway with cub in tow between a bicyclist and me. I know my jaw was dropped open as the cyclist said, “Is that just amazing…it happens all the time here”. Hmmm, well not to me it doesn’t. I explained it to my mom, who was suddenly concerned that I was in danger. I suppose I may have been. : )
Now onward over the pass. Independence Pass seemed much like our local Ebbetts Pass on CA108. It is narrow, with no fog lines or center line and lots of sheer drops, but that was only about 1/2 the route. The rest was just like a small back road, with amazing vantages.
Since I have a moment…I thought I’d throw up a few more pix!
Since I arrived in Keystone and the AMA Women and Motorcycling Conference, it has been a whirlwind of events. Between seminars, test rides, walking in this gorgeous country that winds the heck out of anyone not used to 10K elevations, and meeting and making new friends, I am spent, but having the time of my life.
These pix are from leaving Moab and riding into CO via Hwy 141. Hwy 141 is an amazing road.
The Floral Bandito