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Old 01-31-2014, 04:39 PM   #31
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Eventually found myself here.

It was dark enough the flash came on. Still packing it out.





Coming down.



The water in the Conejos River was much more clear than the Alamosa.





Just after I stopped to put my raingear on, this guy sauntered across the road. He didn't look too healthy.



I gained SH 17 and proceeded west and as I climbed La Manga Pass it started feeling a lot like lunch time so I pulled over at the summit. An oriental lady was doing a large painting up there and I wondered what she might do if the rain followed me. I got off Red, stretched, and walked around back to open my old backpack and immediately stepped in a big, fresh pile of cow dung with my brand new booties -- first time to wear em'. That was insulting, but I followed up with this maneuver.



Shit! One cow patty manages to soil a bootie and a glove in the span of 3 seconds. And I was concerned for the painter lady.....Didn't spoil my appetite though. Several months ago a client gave us a $50.00 gift certificate to a BBQ place in town. We never eat out, but in this instance, LA went and got $50.00 worth of chopped chicken, turkey, beef and sausage the day before we left and we just threw it in the bottom of a cooler. Earlier, I had rolled me a chicken and cheese and a beef and cheese roll up, and once I quit laughing about the cow pie ordeal, I consumed them right there atop La Manga Pass.
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Old 01-31-2014, 04:58 PM   #32
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As I continued west on SH 17,

approaching and then coming down Cumbres Pass, a thunderstorm decided to join me, dropping lightning bolts and protests of thunder. My original plan was to drop down to Chama, NM and then head northwest over the Continental Divide on Old Chama Road into Chromo, CO. The black skies in that direction, combined with the cow pie reading, encouraged me to proceed just a little further on SH 17 and pick up US 84 to Pagosa Springs, CO., stopping only long enough to get gas.

An hour or so later, I was warm, dry, and congratulating myself on a wise decision. I stopped here and took my rain gear off, noting the dousing I had taken failed to wash my new booties clean. Regardless, I tossed it in the little rain gear sack I carry. The velcro on my new britches a thing of the past following LA's quick troubleshoot. Now, I like them again.



I took a chance and exited SH 84 on County Road 119 heading west and it just skirted the southernmost extent of Pagosa Springs and joined Cr 500 which turned out to be one of the best stretches of the trip. Why couldn't LA be following me today?





This well maintained road is wide and has just enough loose gravel scattered along here and there to keep you honest. Just about any motorcycle could navigate it.

The road meanders along the San Juan River as it makes its way to Navajo Reservoir.







Goes through a ghost town, Pagosa Junction.









With a beautiful church, and lookie here, a bridge.





Inspirational

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Old 01-31-2014, 05:02 PM   #33
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Loving the ride report so far, thanks for sharing!!
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My lame, but photo intense day trips around Wyoming can be found here: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=960272
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:06 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gstanfield View Post
Loving the ride report so far, thanks for sharing!!
Thanks for looking in gstanfield. Hope you're having as much fun as I am. I'd rather be riding though.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:09 PM   #35
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You can turn north here on Cr 700

and go back up to US 160 where LA is driving in all the touristy traffic, or continue along Cr 500.

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Old 01-31-2014, 06:47 PM   #36
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And check out Navajo (Lake?)







I bet it's beautiful when there's water in it.

This cloud looked suspiciously like an infant discovering his wee wee. "Spirit in the Sky" ~ Norman Greenbaum



Maybe I'd been on the road a little too long?

I eventually came out on SH 151 and headed northwest to Ignacio, CO where I T'd into SH 172 heading north to Durango. I got a light shower, unworthy of the (dookie smelling) rain gear.



I gassed in Durango and quickly departed, heading west on US 160. I stopped for a snack and a brief history lesson that did include the Santa Fe Trail.



LA sent a text while I was stopped -- see how we tend to be in synch -- "Mancos State Park #30". So now I had a destination.

On the approach I was treated to a snapshot of Mesa Verde with Sleeping Ute Mountain in the background.



We'll visit Mesa Verde National Park (in the Xterra) tomorrow and circle Sleeping Ute the following day so stay tuned.

Exiting US 160 onto SH 184 north in Mancos, CO and then a quick right onto Cr 42 before getting out of town puts you on your way to an easy to find Mancos State Park maybe 5 miles down the road.





This beautiful roan kept an eye on me as I signed in.



Another horse bit the tip of my right middle finger off 20 years or so ago. Shortly afterwards I quit working on large animals and became a dog and cat only Doc.

Lake's a little low, wouldn't you say?



Over our 3 night stay we got to know Roy, the camp host, who explained it was low to begin with but in June they divert most of the incoming river water for irrigation.

You can see Mesa Verde in the distance from the dam if you look closely.



That ride along the San Juan River was spectacular. It feels good to bring out the orange tent and to be settled for a 3 night stint, a short walk from a very clean outhouse. For the first time in our camping careers we bought a bundle of firewood for $5.00. The price here is a little steep. ($7.00 X 2 vehicles/day + $16.00/night to camp = $30.00 a day for a total of $90.00 + 3 bundles of firewood @ $5.00 for a grand total of $105.00) Note: there is no water in the back camping area, you must get it down near the entrance and haul it.







I apologize for this bbllluuury photo, fried tomato basil polenta and chunky spaghetti sauce -- but it's a player in tomorrow's activities. It was also the last meal to be cooked on our 25 year old Coleman stove.





No windmill sightings today. Perhaps I've slayed all my demons.
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:12 AM   #37
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Day 4, August 13, 2013 -- Mesa Verde National Park -- Wetherill Mesa

Red gets a well deserved day off and we visit Mesa Verde National Park for a day of relaxation.

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, LA flits around as I sit slouched, drinking coffee, trying to shake the cobwebs.

I take a short recon stroll. Where's the water?



Ah, there it is.





High Plains Drifter





Breakfast of champions.



And we're off. Being back in a car felt confining and nearly angering. LA had purchased an entrance permit to Mesa Verde for $15.00 (good for 7 days) yesterday on her campsite scouting mission.



And then THIS!



We almost turned around and went back to camp, but we have unfinished business here -- Wetherill Mesa and a little picnic and hike, so we stayed the course. We had been here several years ago and did Chapin Mesa and everything associated with it, leaving the less popular western half of the Park on our "to do" list. The Long House tour required a ticket. We bought 2 for the last tour of the day for $3.00 apiece. Standing in that crowd for nearly an hour was kind of like shock therapy after 3 days of solitude.

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Old 02-01-2014, 09:25 AM   #38
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Good way to spend a relaxing day.



No crowds here, folks. Paint a mental picture of the distance from the only vehicle in the parking lot (ours) and the handicap parking area off to the left, it comes into play in a few hours.



It's pretty steep, note Sleeping Ute Mountain in the distant left.



A better shot of Sleeping Ute.



Two miles later, a fine picnic at Lookout Point, looking east, back towards Mancos, CO. Red's out there somewhere. "Half a World Away" ~ R.E.M.



And westward. That winding road sure would have been fun on Red, but we intended to spend the whole day here and didn't want to ride back in the dark among other reasons for bringing the Xterra.



This is how LA looks when I'm rolling around on the ground laughing my ass off after crackin' a world class fart. It's called the Hissing Kitty Stare.



Luckily we had finished eating. That picture was the last my camera would hold so nothing to show on the trip back to the Xterra. It was still the only car in the lot.

Sorry, but bear with me for a little narrative here. About halfway down from the Mesa my bowels gave one of those awkward little indications we all dread. It faded away, though, as we hiked along. Back at the Xterra, we plugged the laptop in and started transferring the pics off my camera. The second gastrointestinal repayment for the fart was audible and URGENT! Remember the aerial view of the parking lot? There was what looked like some restrooms just beyond the handicap parking area and I did the "pinched cheek shuffle" over in that direction, praying fervently that either men's or women's was unlocked. This was not going to be pretty. The anticipation as I reached for the door handle was great indeed, as were the feelings of gratitude as the door swung open.......

That was close. Real close. No more polenta for this traveler. I regretted my earlier vulgar-but-funny toot. Paybacks are hell and LA definitely got the last and loudest laugh.

The other reason for bringing the Xterra was so we could carry our toiletries and pirate the showers at Moorefield Campground. The showers there appeared to be coin operated and we both took a bunch of quarters and tried to deposit them unsuccessfully. We were yelling back and forth between stalls, trying to figure out how to make the thing take our quarters. Maybe you had to buy tokens or something? Some of my quarters stayed in the box so I tried the water and on it came. LA stepped out and found someone cleaning down the way who told her the showers were free to campers....Hey, we're campers aren't we, just remote. So I inadvertently left a donation of the quarters that stayed in the box. By the way, the shower felt wonderful.
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Old 02-01-2014, 06:04 PM   #39
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I read on someone elses ride report

that Shiprock was visible from Far View Lodge and I had my eyes peeled. I shrieked like a schoolgirl when I spotted it, scaring LA badly enough to jump and make the car swerve and earn a second Hissing Kitty Stare for the day. We'll go have a closer look at that magnificent and sacred rock formation in the next few days. It's there in the haze, right in the middle.



Step House is a self guided tour. We took off in earnest.



Here are the remains of some steps



but that's not why it's called Step House. The remains here demonstrate a transition from dwellings built entirely below ground to half under and half above ground. I unwittingly caught a place where ancient tools were once sharpened in the foreground here.



Graffiti from yesteryear seems more aesthetic but likely carries similar messages.



We climbed around and all over. It was nice and cool in the shade.



LA went back and snagged a pamphlet. We later discovered you are expected to pay for them. Oops. Hey, I left some quarters back at the showers, didn't I?

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Old 02-01-2014, 06:27 PM   #40
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We made our way back to the tram stop

for our Long House tour. We stayed right on the heels of our tour guide, avoiding most of the crowd.



These ruins are actually bigger than the more popular Cliff Palace.









I'd love to be here alone and let my imagination run wild. The rancor of the crowd sort of takes away from the experience.



A nice look down into a kiva with all structures intact or nicely restored.



Hard to imagine this place crawling with families (not tourists). And then they just vanished kind of abruptly and no one really knows exactly why. I hope that's what they say about me someday. "Mr. Breeze" ~ Lynard Skynard

I love this stuff.





We could have stayed much longer, but the tour guide said it was time to go. It takes a long time to dive out of the park from Wetherill Mesa. We were tired and maybe a little dehydrated and I was driving, maybe a little too fast, thinking how good it would be to just come over here on Red and ride the roads out when LA started nit-picking my driving.

It pissed me off and I pulled the old, "you wanna drive then?" The opportunity was hanging there, palpable, just above the console, for one of those spats where you say stupid stuff, raise voices, start swearing and talking about in-laws -- but it passed. And I slowed down. Way down. Then she suggested I speed up and gave me the third Hissing Kitty Stare for the day.

We finally found a happy medium and made it back to camp and the cooler with the good stuff in it. Our Coleman stove died that night, we were anticipating this and had a brand new one to take its place. So long, old friend.



I should have taken the Garmin.
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:50 AM   #41
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Day 5, August 14, 2013, A Loop Around Sleeping Ute Mountain

350 miles, ~11 hours

The plan: LA will follow me for half a day and then high tail it back to camp the shortest way she can find, I'll continue to adventure along the backroads for the rest of the day.

I was chomping at the bit, it was sunny, the road was calling....but there are priorities that some guys just don't understand, but the fact that this was going to be an epic day was palpable.



So I waited patiently



This is a small, decorative version in somebody's drive. I barely got the picture as a rather large dog was bearing down on me down the long driveway. Defending his territory.



Heading back toward Mancos and US 160.



A fine picnic and a really close call happened up there yesterday. Some experiences leave a lasting impression.....

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Old 02-02-2014, 09:08 AM   #42
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Heading south

on US 160 on the east side of Sleeping Ute Mountain after passing through Cortez, CO.



Wave back at me. It's not that difficult to be friendly to a fellow rider. Wave or not, I know you're having fun even though you are likely confined to the pavement

.

Following US 160 as it angles westward. Ah, Shiprock, we shall meet tomorrow. Boy, it's desolate between here and there.



It's heating up nicely this morning.



Lonely and gorgeous out here. "but I wouldn't want to live there..." ~Owl City -- The Real World





And our first destination.







LA checked out the trinkets and stuff while I waited patiently for the second time today and it was making me virtuous. God Bless America.



They wouldn't let this guy take his dog in and he was unhappy about it and told me so. I had to take this pic, and it does not do the dog's set up justice, but he was traveling in style. People love their pets and love to talk about them. As a veterinarian, you learn not to tell it to people because they all instantly believe you want to hear everything about their little creature and then commence telling you. People Love their critters dearly. The Human-Animal Bond is a very strong one.

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Old 02-02-2014, 10:45 AM   #43
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We left the Four Corners Monument

and continued west on US 160 and then turned north on Red Mesa Road, heading for Montezuma Creek, UT.



Is that a windmill over there?



The topography gradually changes.





Sleeping Ute Mountain as seen from the west. We're halfway around.



More gradual change. It's a sensory overload.





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Old 02-02-2014, 10:53 AM   #44
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Weather Update

We received 5 inches of snow last night and this morning.

A round of applause for the weatherman.
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:05 AM   #45
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We stop

for a quick BBQ tortilla confection and some water here in Montezuma Creek, UT before heading west toward Bluff, UT on SH 162. It's nice having cold water from the cooler as it is scorching hot outside.



Alas, more scenery changes





At Bluff, UT we join US 163 and continue west until reaching the entrance for Valley of the Gods. Immediately after turning in there was a short sandy wash and the sand was deep enough for me to question proceeding, but we rightly decided to keep truckin'.









Trust me, it's hot.







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