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Old 10-17-2011, 08:08 PM   #3
coolsen OP
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Location: Idaho
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2011 Continental Divide Trail Ride (Part III)

2011 Continental Divide Ride
Part III
(Chama, NM to the Steamboat Springs, CO)

The next morning as we headed north back over Cumbes Pass, we were treated to the passage of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad that still operates today as a historic narrow gauge heritage railroad between Charma, NM, and Antonito, CO ( ). The sights and sounds were right of the 1880’s.

On FR 250 between Platoro and Stunner Pass (elevation 10, 451 feet) you will find this mountain (for which I could find no name) that is devoid of all vegetation on its southern slopes as though it had been mined.

On FR 330, at the turn off to Grayback Mountain (elevation 12,616 feet), is Indiana Pass. At an elevation of 11,910 feet, it is the highest point on the CDT though this pass is not on the Continental Divide.
Just North of Del Norte at the Municipal and County Airport we encountered our next detour. CR-23 connecting to FR 665 just past the airport has been plowed out and a fence placed across it. We diverted onto CR-374 that joined state Hwy 112 to CR-38A (a distance of about 2 miles) where we rejoined the CDT.
Marshall Pass (elevation 10,842 feet) is located on FR 243 between Sargents and Poncha Springs, NM. It is on the Continental Divide and is one of the 29 times we crossed the divide on this trail. Near the pass we encountered a large area of downed trees, perhaps flattened from a microburst.

A little further on this road we encountered a tunnel of trees (quacken aspen and pine trees) resembling Aspen Alley in southern Wyoming.

Salida, CO, was our destination for day 5 of our route. We stayed at the Super 8 on West Rainbow Blvd, and had dinner at Wallbanger’s Sport Bar (recommendation of the desk clerk). The restaurant provides a free shuttle van to and from the motel and their restaurant. We took advantage of it not because we drink, but because we were tired of riding any further that day.
The next day (Monday) I tried a few of the motorcycle shops to see if I could get a replacement mirror for the right one I broke off in New Mexico; but alas, all the motorcycle shops are closed on Mondays – a situation we found to be the case in Utah, New Mexico and now Colorado. Giving that up, we took a little side trip up Tenderfoot Hill on the east side of Salida. From the observation deck at the top of the stairs where we parked our bikes we got a spectacular view of the city and surrounding area.

Off in the distance is this lone high-rise brick smokestack, one of the last remaining artifacts of the Salida smelter. It was built in 1917 and stands 365 feet high. The smokestack was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 ( ).

About 15-20 miles north of Salida, CO, we came to our first significant water crossing, Badger Creek on CR-18. This is Jim going through after I had gone through.

South of Hartsel, CO, CR-53 on the CDT runs through wide-open plains of rolling hills for several miles. There are virtually no buildings and no fences at all. All the side roads, even two-tracks lanes, have street signs. In this vast empty space there was a pickup and a small trailer home, probably a ranch hand tending a herd of cattle. There was also a motorboat on a trailer, which seemed so out of place. We wondered where on earth he would use the motorboat. Later we learned there are two reservoirs within 15-20 miles, Spinney Mountain and Eleven Mile Canyon Reservoirs, where he probably used the boat.

Not long after Hartsel, CO, you cross US Hwy 285 and come into the small unincorporated town of Como. Despite having a population of about 500, it has more the feeling of a ghost town. It is a historic mining settlement founded in 1859 during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. It became a railroad center with a roundhouse (still standing) in 1879 (,_Colorado ; ). Como is the gateway to Boreas Pass from the south. Heading up FR 33 to the pass from Como, you will pass Mt. Silverheels (elevation 13,822 feet) to the southwest.

At the top of Boreas Pass (elevation 11,481 feet), snowfields are still visible on Boreas Mountain (elevation 13,082 feet).

Descending Boreas Pass into Breckenridge is one of the prettiest segments of the CDT with lush meadows filled with colorful flowers.

The historic Bakers Tank stands next to the road, which is built along the old narrow gauge railroad bed. This tank served to restock coal-fed steam locomotives with water that pulled trains over Boreas pass.

Kremmling, CO, our day 7 destination, was far less crowed and quieter than Breckenridge, Frisco and Silverthorne through which we passed to get there. The next morning in the parking lot of our motel, the Cliff Side Inn, I encountered my next incident – another flat rear tire, this time from a nail that I must have picked up coming into Kremmling the previous day. Changing the tube delayed our departure by about an hour.
About 25-30 miles west of Kremmling we crossed Rock Creek while on FR 206. This is the deepest water crossing on the CDT. Coming from south to north on the trail, be sure to take the left side of the cross. Even with that the water was over the top of my raised front fender within about 3-4 inches of entering my air box.
If you take the right hand side, there is a steep bank coming up the west side of the ford that would be nearly impossible to make, and is shown in the second of the next two pictures. The first one shows our tracks coming out of the west side of the ford after taking the left fork. My tracks are in the middle, which is the deeper portion of this ford, and Jim’s are to the right where it is a little shallower. You can easily avoid this deep-water crossing by staying on state Hwy 134 thus bypassing this 4-5 miles segment of the CDT.

We stopped in Steamboat Springs, CO, for lunch, and visited Steamboat Powersports on the outskirts of town where I was finally able to replace my broken right mirror and Jim picked up some chain lube.

coolsen screwed with this post 10-18-2011 at 12:53 PM Reason: typing error
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