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Old 06-19-2013, 05:38 AM   #92
Near Normal
Joined: May 2013
Location: North Georgia
Oddometer: 140
Day Thirteen

Mr. Snake meets Mr. Toad, outside Trinidad, CO

Day Thirteen
Trinidad to Salida, CO
I was excited, but yet a little apprehensive entering the Rockies on the Hodaka. I had a fresh top end and tires, lower gearing and new brake shoes. The big question was whether my damaged rod would be able to take the strain climbing the high mountain passes. Since the top end was new, I left the jetting in for the 4,000 to 6,000 foot range. I would be climbing a few passes today in the 9,000 foot range and the bike would be running rich, but that was an acceptable compromise to avoid a piston seizure.
I was on the trail around 9:30 after the drive down from Colorado Springs. The day started sunny and mild, but the wind was already beginning to gust. The ride out of Trinidad is a series of dirt farm and ranch roads that head north before finally turning west, crossing the Interstate and heading into the foothills. The route here passes the site of the Ludlow Massacre, where striking miners in a tent colony were attacked by the guards of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company and Colorado National Guard on April 20, 1914. Between 19 and 25 people were killed, including two women and eleven children. The public outcry resulted in the creation of the House Committee on Mines and Mining, which investigated the incident. The Committee’s report helped promote child labor laws and the eight hour work day.
After Ludlow, the climb into the foothills begins. You can see Culebra Peak off to the west before your turn into the San Isabel National Forest. The roads here are loamy soil without too many rocks as you climb to the northwest towards La Veta. After fueling in La Veta, I headed north past the town of Gardner. The climb became steady, up into the hills of the Ophir Creek area, towards the Bigelow Divide which has an elevation of 9,300 feet. It was here that I saw my first snow banks of the ride along Ophir Creek. The Toad was wheezing a bit with the rich jetting at this elevation, but had no trouble getting over the divide. The road eventually turned west and I dropped down into Silver Cliff, Colorado, where I saw several dual sport bikes parked in front of the various cafes in town. The road turns north again and I zigzagged on the dirt side roads off of Highway 69 towards Cotopaxi, where I crossed the Arkansas River and started a steep climb through Red Gulch up into the mountains to the east of Salida. The summit of the divide was close to the elevation of the Bigelow Divide, so the Toad had its second major workout of the day.
Salida was a happening place with a festive mood. Tourists crowed the streets and outdoor thrill seekers were everywhere. The Toad had survived its first day in the mountains, and I felt good. It was time to put a leaner main jet in the carburetor, because Hancock and Cinnamon Passes were on tomorrow’s route, the biggest challenges yet.
259 miles traveled today, 5.5 gallons of gas and 23 ounces of injector oil burned. 2,596 total miles traveled to date.

Ludlow Massacre Site
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