Ride The Rockies 2021 – Day 6 The Million Dollar Highway

October 25, 2021 § Leave a comment

People kept saying the words “The Million Dollar Highway” all day the day before. When I re-read the route description, those words were front and center alerting us that this day would be unlike any other. Except of course we would be on our bikes going uphill and down. I could have googled it and at least gone into this day informed, but I was as ignorant as a rock. All I knew was we had three passes to get past before we would reach Durango. If you type that into google you will be directed to the Wiki page for 550, and there is one sentence in particular that accurately names which part owns this moniker. “Though the entire stretch has been called the Million Dollar Highway, it is really the twelve miles (19 km) south of Ouray through the Uncompahgre Gorge to the summit of Red Mountain Pass which gains the highway its name. “. If todays ride was just this 12 miles it would be a ride complete. Those 12 miles were some of the most scenic miles I have ever witnessed on a bike in these United States, and I have witnessed a fair number of miles in these United States. More than a lot, not as much as some.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Ride The Rockies 2021 – Day 5 The Ridgway Loop

October 23, 2021 § Leave a comment

I will try and take it easy on my audience in this one. It was a short day, so let’s see if we can make it a short post.

Rise and shine was early because that is just what your body does to you when you lay down around 9PM. You just can’t stand lying there any longer, and as soon as first light pokes it’s head over the horizon, I am ready to get up and get a move on. On this day, there was no need to break camp as we were spending a second night in the lovely little hamlet of Ridgway. The route for the day was in two parts, as discussed a little bit in the previous post. The first part was a loop ride to the North that included some bike path, followed by some ample 550 shoulder riding, and the a long 12 mile ascent on a dirt road, and eventually back to Ridgway. The second optional part was to climb back up pass, and then take another dirt road, and climb some more up to the ranch that had been used as a set location in the 1969 film True Grit.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Ride The Rockies 2021 – Day 4 What Happened to the ‘e’ in Ridgway

October 23, 2021 § Leave a comment

As you have undoubtedly learned, I don’t sit right down after an event like this and get to writing. I let it sit in my head for a while and develop. These days, with all the good programing on all the streaming channels it’s amazing I squeeze any time to droll on about my adventures. Day 4 of this adventure occurred June the 16th, and here it is October 19th, and I am just now starting this. We shall have to see when I publish it, and just how long I dilly dallied my way through it.

When I left you yesterday, we had finished the longest distance day of this years event. It was yet another day over 100 degrees, and there had been other challenges which are well documented in that post. My compatriots spent the night in Telluride, in the comfort of their hotels, and were 30 miles away. On the shuttle that would be at least 45 minutes, and if I could have talked to them, then I might have given them the benefit of waiting, but I was coffee’d up, I had broken my fast on my granola, I was packed, and my bags had been dropped off, and I was ready to ride, so while I could have waited, and maybe I should have waited, I did not, and off I rode, back towards the Norwood Descent. See, now that we were up upon the plateau, it is called the Norwood Descent.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Ride The Rockies 2021 – Day 3 What!?! No Breakfast?!?

October 20, 2021 § Leave a comment

I am going to start this post with an out-of-timeline explanation, as the timeline in which I learned this is later than this story telling moment. It is in the best interest of the story to tell it now.

Morning, Cortez Co. It isn’t a morning unlike Monday morning. The sun rose at about the same time, and it was maybe a wee bit warmer. We were in Cortez, and as you may recall from my last post, there was a bit of a dinner issue the night before. In summary, 100+ degrees, people waiting hours to get dinner, lines slow, food delivered in short spurts with long waits in between.

I awoke like the last two mornings. About the same time, and learning my lesson from yesterday, I waited until the last minute to hydrate my breakfast granola. It turns out, that crunchier is better. I followed my procedures, and I was ready for tent breakdown the first time I stepped out of the tent. With that taken care of, I set off for coffee, and it was on this excursion that I heard the first rumblings of “an issue”. The issue was, that the caterer did not show up for breakfast, and since that was the only food source, there was no breakfast at the beginning of the longest ride of the tour. I, was okay, but really, you can complain all you want, but if you want to get to Norwood, hop on your bike and get going. Don’t sit around and think that breakfast will somehow materialize out of the ether.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Ride The Rockies 2021 – Day 2, Hot as Fuck

October 7, 2021 § Leave a comment

This day began exactly like the previous day. After a fitful night of trying to sleep, but getting some rest in between at least two porta-john excursions, it was time to make haste and get this day rolling. Yesterday, I hadn’t soaked my granola long enough, so today, the first thing I did was to measure out the needed water, and get that started. I’d eat it when I was ready, but in the mean time, I had a kit to don, and a camp to break. The older I get the harder it is to get dressed lying down in a tent. My tent isn’t large enough for me to stand in, and there is very limited space to even sit up. Add to that, my aging muscles and some times I can only just get an operation completed before I begin to feel a cramp coming on. Fortunately I catch it before any damage is done.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Ride The Rockies 2021 – Day 1 Loop

October 1, 2021 § Leave a comment

I slept about as well as any 62 year old male can expect to sleep when you have both your Mother’s bladder, and your Father’s prostate. A detail left out of my last post was the proximity to the port-a-johns. That can be viewed in a positive way, as in it doesn’t take long to get over to them, and perhaps a negative way as well. You might first think “odor”, but that wasn’t it. What you hear all night are the doors slamming shut usually followed by a “Fuck!”

Slept is also a word that is over used with me. Rested is more the proper word. I rest a lot, with periods (short) of sleep peppered in between. How do I know I sleep? If there are any dreams involved I usually know that something crazy was going on in my head that barely made sense while I was dreaming it. As always, they make even less sense when I try to remember them.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Ride the Rockies 2021- Getting There

September 30, 2021 § Leave a comment

Ride the Rockies is an organized ride facilitated by the Denver Post in 1986. I am not sure when I first heard about it, but while I was house rich and cash poor, some of my cycling friends embarked on more than one RTR adventure, and I stayed behind and pined. Images were sent, and I wished I had the resources to attend. Of course, me being a cheap bastard, I would have camped, while my friends dined and slept in the luxury of the hotel option, but at that time, my vacation time that wasn’t family oriented was dedicated to backpacking, and the luxury of a week of bike riding just wasn’t in the cards.

« Read the rest of this entry »

The Weminuchi Wilderness – 2021

June 27, 2021 § 2 Comments

Before we even finished The Eagle Cap Wilderness, we had our next destination decided. It started with a discussion around one of our camp fires where Larry (and maybe Drew) brought up the subject of “Where next?” Now, they came prepared to propose the Weminuchi, but they pretended to let me think I was in control of future destinations. Like I am some kind of adventure tyrant who says “This is our plan, take it or leave it”. In fairness, that is how the 2012 Grand Canyon played out. I chose the route, the dates, and simply said “Be there or be square!”, and they all complied. On a return from Phoenix, my favorite brother-in-law, Walt, gave me a copy of Backpacker magazine which had a lengthy article on The Highline Trail that crossed the expanse of the High Uintas, and I was immediately taken with it, and that is where I picked, and that is where we went in 2014. Banff was next, as Mike B asked me if we could target that and bring him back to the mountains he visited many cycles of the sun earlier in his life. There might have been a woman involved, but I investigated, and picked a route, and that is what we did. Scott attended that trip which his partner home pregnant and a baby girl in their future, and while we were on that trip he mentioned the Wallowas, and the Eagle Cap Wilderness, and that is how 2018 came about. The idea of Oregon allowed our Oregonians (Scott, Mike S, and possibly Dan) to attend, however circumstances always get in the way, and Scott was unable to join us except on our last night in Oregon after the trip before we all flew out. Dan and Mike S camped with us before we went into the back country.

« Read the rest of this entry »

On a Roll

April 3, 2021 § Leave a comment

Having purchased my own snowshoes from REI, I was ready for a more challenging adventure. I had already been to High Point 3 times, the first written about here, and then two more follow up trips, the weekend prior where I introduced the activity to Robert Risberg and his family. Robert had actually mentioned that he and his family were taking some time up outside of New Paltz, NY and asked whether I would be interested in a snowshoe hike in the Catskills. I was very interested, however when I checked in with him, he no longer had the time in his schedule, so I looked to Mike to see if he wanted to give the Catskills a go. Now keep in mind, getting to High Point takes about 90 minutes, maybe less when there is no traffic, however getting to the Catskills is 3 hours, so if plans aren’t made to spend the night up there, and they weren’t, then that is 3 hours up, hike all day, and then a 3 hour drive home. Six hours driving in one day is lot for anyone. Add the efforts of a snowshoe hike, and chances are high, I would get a good nights sleep when it was all over.

Micro Spikes are terrific
« Read the rest of this entry »

Snowshoeing Again

April 2, 2021 § 1 Comment

An unusual thing happened this winter. It snowed! It didn’t just snow, but it snowed a lot. I live at the Jersey Shore, where I wouldn’t say that it doesn’t snow, because it does, but the Jersey Shore just isn’t a place where it snows a lot. At least not consistently. Occasionally there are storms that come, and dump, and the conditions are right, and a lot gets dumped, but those conditions are rare. This year, the snow gods aligned their energies, and the conditions were right. That isn’t necessarily enough though, because sometimes, when it snows a lot at the Jersey Shore, it doesn’t snow a lot where it’s better to have a lot of snow. Like in the mountains. That wasn’t the case this year. While the Jersey Shore got 10 inches of snow, High Point NJ got almost two feet! With two feet of snow, there are a lot of options on the winter sports table.

The day after the storm ended, and the roads were clear enough, I drove over to my local hiking park, Hartshorne Woods, and donned my micro spikes, and set off into the normal loop I do with Mike and Jed. The going wasn’t too bad. There was about 8 inches of snow, and only a few people had been on the trail, however that included one brave soul who took in Laurel Ridge on cross country skis. A cross country skier, I am not, but Laurel Ridge seems like a pretty challenging route on skis, but this skier was perhaps a very experienced one, and able to make a go of it, as the tracks looked to be fairly stable, and I didn’t see anything that looked like the person had suffered for their choice of route. There were no broken trees, or bloodied bushes, so control seemed to have been maintained.

« Read the rest of this entry »