May 21, 2012 - Yesterday we rode from Naturita to Fruita, CO. We had a relaxing ride with lots of nice scenery. From Fruita, we headed towards Aspen and beyond.
We ended up in Buena Vista and on the way passed by an observatory on hwy 65. The views were stunning and we were happy to have made the impromptu detour over 12 miles of dirt road.
Looking down onto Grand Mesa, you can see an endless set of long sweepers clinging to the mountain side and fleeing into the distance. It certainly is an area not to miss when riding through.
In our hotel in Buena Vista, we heard some chatter outside shortly after we got there. Poking out head outside our room, we saw two bikes parked next to ours, a KTM and a KLR. We chatted with the owners, who were local dirt riders. After a while we were convinced we needed to change our route for the next day and include some back roads and Cottonwood Pass. At 12,126 feet, one of the higher passes around.
Cottonwood Pass was a fantastic detour.
The ride up was a feast of long sweepers with not a single car or other vehicle in sight.
The other side of the pass is a gravel road all the way down.
Around every turn there are small lakes, tufts of beautiful forest, and scenic slopes.
We stopped in Gunnison for coffee and later battled the wind on I50 till we turned off at highway 550, also know as the Million Dollar highway. 550 is one of the "must do" rides in Colorado. At the end of it lies Durango, a small town with a vibrant history and an exquisite tourist district. At night we stumbled upon a Nepali restaurant, a nice change in speed at the end of a long day.