After our short break we continued losing altitude as we headed for Crystal, CO and then Marble.
The Jeepers and Quadtards said the worst of it was over. But, the next few miles were just as challenging.
This was a place I had seen on postcards. I was stoked when I was route planning and recognized it. We decided this would be a great place for lunch.
Read about the Crystal Mill HERE
After our lunch was eaten and Terry added some air to his tires, we were on our way.
We came into Marble, CO and picked up the pavement. It would have been cool to see the marble quarry, but maybe another time. There were huge chunks of beautiful marble displayed in everyone's yard. I guess the shipping is cheap.
We got on 133 and headed North past many beautiful red rock outcroppings.
At Carbondale, we turned South in the direction of Aspen. Mt. Sopris is a massive mountain to the South of Carbondale. It only stands at 12,660 feet, but man does it have a vertical rise. I never got a pic because of the sun's location. My camera isn't spectacular looking into the sun.
At Basalt, we again turned away from civilization and headed up Frying Pan Rd. At lunch Terry was telling me about the damages that can be done to tires when you run low air pressure and really heat them up. Something about it changing the compound and possibly causing the tire to come apart. I really should have listened and added some air when he did. I was only running about 25 lbs and pushing them hard on this road. Oh well, I burn though tires fast.
More red cliffs and fast pavement.
Ruedi Reservoir. There's a pretty big sailing club on the lake where all richies from Aspen come to play.
We saw a lot of these kiln's on this and the previous section of pavement. I'm guessing all the red rock in the area was high in clay content and they made a lot of bricks here at one point.
Soon the road was deserted and we had it to ourselves again.
Ahh... dirt again. We began heading up Hagerman Pass. It's an old railroad bed so the grade is easy and road packed gravel for the most part.
Just above this meadow was a big elk camp. Several large outfitter tents and smoke rising from middle. What a beautiful place for hunting.
Ok, so I may have lied to Terry about this pass a bit. All I read was "Railroad grade" and I stopped reading. Well, the train went though a tunnel and the road goes over the top and is bit rough. Oops. It wasn't bad considering what we had conquered earlier in the day.
Yep. Top of the world here. At least the lower 48.
I couldn't stop photographing that mountain. It's Mt. Massive, 14,421 (third tallest in the lower 48) and Mt. Elbert, 14,433 (second tallest in the lower 48 and tallest in Colorado) is just to the South.
Turquoise Lake in Leadville.
This tells about the railroad and tunnel.
Mt. Massive to your right and Mt. Elbert to your left. I'm proud to say I have climbed Elbert. It was a spectacular climb.
Just past the lake, a truck pulled a U-turn right in front of Terry. I couldn't believe it! Terry had time, but jeez. Then this asshole pulls out right in front of me! He got the bird twice in 30 seconds for being stupid twice in 30 seconds.
Entering Leadville. We got gas and put the tire pressure back to road level. We were tired and decided to take the Interstate. Boring as it may be, it's still nice in the Colorado. We did agree that we had to take Loveland Pass to rock some fast pavement before heading home to catch the Sunday night game.
This was the last shot of the day as we traveled on 91 North to the Interstate.
But, the story isn't quite over. As we passed through Keystone, we were passed by and ambulance and then saw a Summit County Sheriff flip a bitch in front of us. I'm guessing we are gonna see the aftermath of an accident ahead.
Terry and I enjoyed our ride up the pass. We'd catch up the emergency equipment traveling up the pass and slow way down, let them get ahead, and then rock a few more switchbacks. As we got to the top, the scene was revealed.
Two motorcyclers were stopped along with a few of those cars Detroit was testing at high altitude all covered in black padding to disguise the next years model. As we passed, Terry and I stood on the pegs to view the crashed Harley and body 15 feet below the embankment. Let's just say the paramedics weren't in any hurry.
Best I can figure, he tried to pull off in the turnout that was there and carried a bit too much speed. The bike didn't go sailing off the 15 ft ledge. It was right at the bottom and the guy was right next to the bike. He couldn't have been going more than a few miles and hour when he went off the edge.
Ahem.... Where's my soapbox? Here it is and here we go. I'll describe the scene a little further to you. These were Harley riders. Guess what they were wearing? If you said assless chaps and a thin vest with patches on it, you're right! Guess what they didn't have on? FUCKING HELMETS!!!! This guy goes off a little ledge and would have easily survived if he had a helmet on. Colorado doesn't try to be a "mother" to you and "make" you wear a helmet. It's a personal choice. Well retard, today your personal choice was to die. One less idiot on the road.
Ok, I feel bad for his family if he had one. But sure as hell not for him. My brother and I had an "intervention" with my dad before our big trip. We told him if he didn't get a full face helmet he couldn't come. Period. He did ride with a 3/4 religiously before. The full face is just so so so much better. That's what a family is supposed to do.
See those scratches on my helmet? My face, as well as my girlfriend's face, would have been scarred for life from a 15mph low side last summer. I don't take the bike around the block or to the store. Hell, I don't even commute on it. It's too much time to put ALL of my gear on every time I ride. And I do wear it every time I ride. ATGATT PEOPLE!!!!! Improve your chances.
Off my soapbox now. As soon as Terry and I were past the accident, we were right back to having fun on our bikes. Scraping peg and enjoying LIFE!!! I hope that last rant didn't overshadow any of this trip. It was fantastic and Terry has really become one of my best friends over the past year. We share a passion for this type of riding and it's great to ride any time we can.