26 Aug TAT DAY 26: Cotopaxi CO to Lake City CO (304km/188mi)
Wow, another wonderful day of riding with beautiful views. Colorado is delivering on expectations. At lot of the scenery reminds us of parts of New Zealand but on a much bigger scale.
Lots of elevation gain, through forests, which then top out with lovely views. Quite chilly throughout the day, rain jacket and heated grips on again. At one point it dropped to about 10 deg C (50F) most of the time it hovered around 17 deg C (62F). Interestingly enough, the little temperature recorder in Sims tank bag was getting much much higher temperatures compared to my fish tank thermometer. Goes to show how much wind chill affects the temp.
We had to stop at Salida to do some supply shopping at Walmart. It looked like quite a nice town and it would have been a good place to overnight. Shopping in foreign countries is always a fun experience for me ( Simon always stays with the bikes) lots of new stuff to see. Today was especially exciting because they had a coin machine. All those dimes and nickels? that I had accumulated in my tank bag after each gas stop and which weighed a ton, netted me a whole $4.88. That’s like a whole tank of gas in Grom terms. Unfortunately none of the petrol pumps like our foreign cards, so we have to do the silly gas station shuffle every time we top up hence th accumulation of small coinage.
We were a bit anxious about our first 10000ft pass (Marshall Pass), but the Groms ate it up. Oklahoma was harder. We assume tomorrows passes will be more challenging.
Heaps more gravel after Marshal Pass, some of it we had trouble keeping our speed down on. There was one odd section of Sams track that looked like it went through an unused overgrown track, but after having a bit of a nosey down it, we skipped that.
Again lots of traffic on these roads and for the first time we are seeing lots more bikes. Everyone is very courteous on the road and most pickups will move over and slow down for you to pass.
We had been lucky most of the day staying ahead of the storms but around 50km before Lake City, we hit rain which rapidly deteriorated into thunder, lightning and hail. Since we had been wearing our rain jackets all day, our top halves remained dry, but our bottom haves were rapidly soaked before we could get our rain pants on. Lovely. The ride into Lake City was through some really interesting valleys. Its a pity about the rain, we would have loved to have been able to enjoy it more. Just before Lake City, the rain sort of eased off a little so that when we saw a sign for a look out point we took it. And boy were we glad we did. The view was jaw droppingly spectacular. Photos don’t do it justice, the way the sunlight fell on the distant mountains was just beautiful.
We have ended up on Lake City. Cold and wet. Camping was not an option.