The night was pretty cold. I actually had to zip up inside the mummy as the temps were probably near or just below 40. Don't know for sure. We woke before sunrise and started packing in the early light the sun would never get to us at camp as we were in a valley.
Breakfast would wait for Del Norte which was about 30 miles as the crow flies but we aren't crow so I figured it would take a couple hours. The sun was directly in front as we rode east past a few homesteads.
After taking the previous photo Perry rode up next to me and asked if I had dropped this. One of his jobs in following me is to watch for things falling off my bike.
The flag belonged to someone else but since he is from Canada I told him he could keep it. We eventually found ourselves on some very nice two track road that started out like a roller coaster. Small hills of about 8 feet tall each that would roll from one to the next. Smooth surface made for a fun ride. Then across a high middle section.
Finally the road dumped us into a river bed, more of a wash actually, that was full of marble size gravel that went on for about a half mile. My mind wandered to thoughts of having to wrestle a GS Adventure through trails like this and was glad to be on the DRZ. Another navigation challenge when the road we were supposed to use was being rebuilt into a landing strip for the new airport in Del Norte. I could see a new road being cut over to the west so I took off that direction. Sure enough it made a nice loop around the under construction airport and back onto the road we were supposed to be on. Sometime you just have to improvise; pull your head out of the gps screen and go with your gut. We rolled into Del Norte and I gave Perry the assignment of finding a place for brunch. He chose this cafe.
This is the rig that most cyclists use on the Divide trail.
After filling up on omelets and cakes we found that our bikes had some company in the parking lot. A little fancier and not going where we were but kindred spirits anyway.
From Del Norte we go south toward one of the highest mountain passes on this trip. Indiana Pass. The road was good to a point where there was a three way fork and Karen advised to take the middle. Less than a hundred yards up the hill there was a gate but there was room on the right side for a bike or horse to go around and several had been through judging by the tracks. The road soon became overgrown but still obvious that it was a road. Then a tree across the road. I tried to go over but got hung up/high centered on the branch when my back tire spun the loose and dried bark off the trunk of the tree.
I know it doesn't look like much but what the photo doesn't show is the two foot deep washout just to my right. Perry help me get the bike off and we found a way around to the left that I didn't notice before I attempted to cross.
: We kept going and eventually came to the locked gate at the other end. This time no easy way around. We would have to go downhill then make a turn on the slope to make it back up to the road. Perry went first.
And fell making the turn in the loose soil.
I ran over to help him pick up the beast and added weight to the back to help him get traction to make it up the hill. My turn was less eventful but between helping him and taking my turn I was out of breath. I checked and we were up around 10,800 feet. No wonder I was winded. Looking back at the gate you can see the slope of the hill.
We pushed on toward the summit of the pass. 11,910 feet. The road going over the saddle.
A mining operation and the runoff collection pond. There was a lot of activity and new construction going on at this location. Must be making money.
A little further down the road and a couple parks over we saw this nice cabin at around 11,000 feet. Nice and secluded for a summer place.
This was probably the nicest reservoir we would see on the trip. It was posted private and no fishing but the view was primo.
Alamosa Canyon was beautiful with red and yellow colors. The soil is very acidic from the runoff the these hills that are rich in iron and other minerals. Vegetation will not grow in the soil resulting in the bare hill sides.
After taking that picture I notice that a bee had tried to take on the armored gloves I was wearing; he lost. What was the last thing that went through his mind as he hit my glove?
Next on the agenda was Stunner Pass. At 10,541 feet it was.....stunning.
From the pass we descended through the aspens...
to the village of Platoro.
There is a nice lodge with a cafe, store, and GAS. Never pass up gas or water when you have a chance to fill up on a ride like this. It was 4 bucks a gallon but we only needed a couple to top off so not to bad on the wallet. The village consists of all log cabins, many over 100 years old.
On down the trail a little further we reached the border with New Mexico.