I’m starting my annual trip with a ride up the beautiful, twisty Poudre River Canyon, over Cameron Pass (elevation 10,240) into North Park, a very pretty, green and sparsely populated bit of Northern Colorado. Temperatures were nice and cool, but strong crosswinds (30 mph), made the ride a bit less comfortable.
Clear and sunny Utah morning. Probably be hot, so I’ll plan on a swim in the Green River when I return home.
From my base on the Green River, I rode the 33 mile, “out-and-back” Harper’s Corner Rd along a high ridge in Dinosaur NP. Surprisingly cool temps in the high 60’s and fantastic views made for an enjoyable day.
Back from Harper’s Corner, the skies opened for 15 minutes dropping pea size hail and buckets of water. After I passed under the storm cloud, the sun came out, temps climbed back up and made my dip in the Green River comfortable. Skinny dipping is frowned upon in Utah, but no one was around so I got my bath in perfect solitude. Then the clouds rolled out and all was calm.
A stunning Colorado day! Cloudless blue sky, early morning temps in the 60’s and a light breeze, so I know the 3 1/2 hour ride home will be great fun. At Muddy Pass there is a roundup underway…Up over Rabbit Ears Pass, east of Steamboat, crossing the high rolling plains to Walden, CO, then up over Cameron Pass, and we are now in the Poudre River Canyon.
The water is running quite high and the rafting companies look like they doing a nice business today.Through the tunnel in the rock And home
After a nice (free) breakfast at my hotel, I headed north from Steamboat, up the lovely Elk River Valley for a day of exploring and hiking.
Exploring nearby campgrounds
The above Campgrounds are all nice, but my favorite is still (ta da….) Pearl Lake! Nice campground, pretty lake and an easy hiking trail festooned with wild flowers.
After an exhausting day of exploring, dinner at SweetPea Restaurant a local Colorado, fresh, farm-to-table (did I get enough buzzwords?) food. Very good actually, in a nice garden setting next to the river. Carrot fennel soup, candied beet salad, trout tacos topped off with Colorado cherry pie!
Squeezing in a quick motorcycle trip between family/social activities, I headed for Steamboat Springs, Co, and one of my favorite loop-trip rides. I like to start from Fort Collins, riding along Rocky Mountain National Park’s Trail Ridge Road (the highest paved road in the USA, reaching over 12,000 ft at its apex), down to Grand Lake, Kremmling and Steamboat. With stops for mountain vista and elk viewing, bio breaks, lunch, etc it’s a 6 hour ride, although Google maps suggests that if you just power through, it should only take about 4 hours (party poopers). The return trip will be through Walden, Co and down the beautiful Poudre Canyon, back to our Ft Collins abode.
Massive bull elk were EVERYWHERE along the road! Attracting hordes of photo snapping tourists and creating logjams of autos that kept the frustrated park personnel, very busy indeed! One lonely moose created his own independent traffic hazard. A poor marmot was found walking along the road looking a bit confused, but overall, despite the hordes of Nebraskans, Kansans, Texans and (yes, I’m sorry to say) Coloradoans, the day was gloriously sunny and the mountain air was refreshing and cool (56 degrees at 12,000 ft).
The ride from Grand Lake to Kremmling was gusty, with unpredictable crosswinds! Not as bad as some previous trips, but requiring full concentration and both hands on the grips. The occasional gust would lay the bike over about 15 degrees, but she righted herself easily and tracked reliably down the windy, 2 lane highway 40.
Arriving in Steamboat at 5:15 pm, I shared the pics of our Eastern Europe Trip with my Polish Innkeepers at the Nordic Inn of Steamboat Springs, ate my picnic dinner (which Sally so thoughtfully packed) and turned in. Tomorrow brings a beautiful ride North along the Elk River, a loop hike from Pearl Lake and more adventures, no doubt!