Ride to the Gunnison

Albuquerque – Navajo Lake – Durango – Silverton – Montrose – Gunnison – Crested Butte – Lake City – Creede – Blue Creek Lodge – Alamosa – Madrid – Albuquerque

Ride to Gunnison with overnight at the KOA, then overnight at Blue Creek Lodge—Took I 25 north to US 550, then north om US 550 to NM 537, then north on NM 537 to US 64, then west on US 64 to NM 539, then north to the damn, then north on NM 511 to Durango, then north on US 550 to Montrose, then east on US 50 to Gunnison, end of first day. North on CO 135 to Crested Butte, then back to Gunnison, then west on US 50 to CO 149, then south to the Blue Creek Lodge end of day two. East on CO 149 to US 160, then east on US 160 to Alamosa, then south on US 285 to NM 599, then south on NM 599 to NM 14, south on NM 14 to I 40, then west on I 40 to Albuquerque.

The ride was 870 miles with a saddle time of 17 1/2 hours.

July 27 – 28 – 29, 2012

Google Maps
I got invited to join a group heading out for a three day trip into the mountains of Colorado. These guys have been riding together for years and they have seen a lot of highways pass under their wheels. We started the day early and headed north up US 550 past Cuba to the Casino at the junction of US 550 and NM 537.

We filled up with gas and were going to eat at the Subway, but it wasn’t open yet. After talking for a few minutes we started north to Navajo Lake.

At the damn we stopped for pictures and then continued on to Durgango for breakfast.

In Durango we ate at the Carver Brewing Company, there we met up with Mike. Mike had started his ride a day earlier, so he could visit Mesa Verde.

It was a good thing that Subway don’t open till later, because the breakfast at Carver Brewing was much better and worth the wait.

After breakfast we started north up US 550 also known as the Million Dollar Highway.

There is no way I can describe the brilliant, gorgeous appearance and coloring of the mountains this highway passes through.

About 47 miles from Durango the highway drops into Silverton, an old mining town.

After a quick stop, we continued north on US 550 through the Uncompahgre Gorge and over Red Mountain Pass.

Just south of Ouray, we made a small detour to the Amphitheater campgrounds, where you can look down on Ouray.

From the overlook you could hear music playing from one of the bars.

We stopped for gas in Montrose and then made our way east to Gunnison and our camping spot for the night at the KOA.

The first thing we did was stop and set up our camp before going into town for dinner. The Gunnison KOA is very nice, one I going to be staying at again.

Our restaurant selection for dinner was the Gunnison Brewery, it was small and loud. The service wasn’t very good, our waiter was MIA for most of the night. We all had the fish and it was very good.

From our table we could see our bikes parked out front. We had three Valkyrie parked next to each other and every so often small groups of people would surround our bikes. Then they would start pointing and talking about them.

It rained most of the night and we woke up to a wet camp. Wanting an early start, we packed our gear wet and headed into to town for breakfast.

For breakfast we went to the “W” Cafe, it was busy even at an early hour and we had to wait for a table.

The food and service were both excellent at the “W” Cafe. As we were leaving a large group of riders from Denmark on rented bikes pulled up and we talked with then for a little while.

I split off the others and took CO 135 up to Crested Butte.

Then I rode back to Gunnison and went west on US 50 along the Blue Mesa Reservoir.

After I started south on CO 149 it really started to rain. I stopped in Lake City, but it was raining so hard I didn’t want to get my camera out.

After I made it over the pass the rain let up and I stopped for a snack and watched something large in the distance. I never did figure out what it was, but I think it was either an elk or a moose.

Then I spent a few minutes enjoying the falls before riding to Creede for a late lunch.

Ate my lunch at the Big 6 BBQ, it’s a place I’d eaten at last year and really enjoyed. Had the hot links with some smoked potato salad and cold-slaw, it was very tasty.

After I left Creede the sky opened up and tried to drown me. Couple of cars tried to pull off the the highway, but with the small shoulders they were still on the road. Having part of your vehicle sticking into the road with rain caused poor viability, is just a bad idea.

It was raining as I set up my camp and let up after I was done. It was about an hour and half before the rest of the group made into camp. We ate some pie and spent the evening swapping stories on a picnic table next to the lodge. It rained off and on all night and my air mattress  leaked, but I still got a good night’s rest. I was packed and ready to roll around 7:00 Sunday morning.

Was going to ride straight home, but hunger starting poking me. So I stopped at one of my favorite places, the Campus Cafe in Alamosa. As usual the food was very good.

I made good time heading home on US 285, there was no traffic on an early Sunday morning.

When I got home my wife helped me dry my gear before packing it away. Had a shower and was back out the door by 12:30. It was Sunday and my wife had plans for me.





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