We started off with a great breakfast in Salida at the Patio Pancake Place. We actually got to the restaurant fairly early, but took a long time eating, then wandered around town looking for an ATM because someone didn't bring enough cash, and ended up not really hitting the road until 9:30 or 10:00 -- Losers!
We made our way north a bit, then turned west into a pretty, narrow valley, then headed back south toward Hancock Pass. The road was pretty rough, rougher than Todd's fender bag or dry bag could handle, apparently:
I had strapped the fender bag onto my luggage, but I didn't have a way to carry the dry bag. Todd finally figured out that he was missing things and headed back down to pick them up. Tony had stopped, then when he tried to get going again, he got stuck on a rock and fell over -- Loser!
(Photo by toddler
Eventually we made it to the top of Hancock Pass. Looking south, you can see the road up Tomichi Pass:
Then it was on to Tomichi Pass. Ascending:
Looking over Tomichi Pass to the south:
Eventually we made our way down to Sargents, where we gassed up and Todd headed back toward home.
Tony and I took a snack/lunch break:
We crossed some valleys and low ridges:
We dodged several rainstorms and only got sprinkled on several times, but it rained hard that night. We found a fun trail down a pretty canyon just a bit off the TAT route since it looked like we would arrive at Lake City early.
It was a fun little jeep road/stock watering road that eventually got pretty gnarly and turned into more-or-less single-track. It looked like it might
connect back up to the main road, but it was starting to get late... Tony sent me ahead after one tricky hill to scout things out, and I startled a great horned owl. He flew down the trail a ways, then stopped on a tree to keep an eye on me. No photo because I figured he would leave if I stopped. The trail ended up winding around a bunch, and I called it quits after a couple miles, and we ended up backtracking.
Tony was stopped by a Hinsdale County Sheriff for going 45 on a gravel road where the un-marked speed limit was apparently only 25. He received only a stern warning. Meanwhile, I realized that while I was sure
my registration was somewhere
on the bike, I had no idea where it was actually packed.
Interesting note: Hinsdale County
is the least densely populated county in Colorado, with a population of less than 800 (2000 Census). I'm guessing everyone there probably knows half the people in the county. If you ever wanted to become a mayor or county commissioner...
We had our first real encounter with cows shortly after leaving the Sheriff:
Later we would see more cows. Lots of cows. Sometimes cows in places where it didn't look like there was much for them to eat. Often in places marked "SMA", for Soil Management Area, on my GPS. Cows on BLM land, cows on National Forest land, cows on private land. And whenever the road crossed a creek or ran near a spring, there were always either cows there, or signs of cows recently there. That was especially sad, since some of the springs would have made excellent hydration pack re-filling sources, except for the cow crap everywhere.
Eventually we made our way into the valley that leads down to Lake City:
We found great lodging and dinner thanks to the recommendations and help of the friendly lady at the Lake City grocery store. She even called a couple places to check availability for us. We stayed at Adventure Base Camp and ate dinner at The SmoQue Shack BBQ.
Stats for Day 2: