May 9, 2013
No! The other way.
People who ride motorbikes any distance at all are an odd lot indeed. One of the Holy Grail of motorcycle riding is to ride the Gold Road in Colorado or as it is commonly known- Hwy 550. Hwy 550 starts somewhere in New Mexico and wanders north through Durango, Silverfork, Ouray and then Montrose where things return to high desert sanity. The attraction is the steep grade, switchbacks and the guard-less road that is right on the edge of a deep canyon. Why it is called the Gold Road is a matter of debate like a lot of these things are. It once was a toll road so it took gold to get to use it. It was paved with rock that contained a lot of gold ore. Gold miners used it to get to the gold fields. Whatever the reason it is called the Gold Road, every motor cyclist worth his salt has to ride it at least once. I know it is/was on my bucket list.
So on a cold and wet Thursday morning, Mario and I headed up the Gold Road to Silverton duplicating a trip that we took the day before by train. As we climbed in altitude to 10,000 feet the weather, which is always precipitating something or other, started spitting snow. But the temps stayed a balmy 37 degrees and the roads were well sanded and up we went.
We got to Silverton and found it pretty much as we had left it the day before. We pushed on to Ouray and on this part of the trip the scenery really improved immensely. The weather did not improve and it rained off and on. When we reached Montrose, which is practically lowlands at about 6,000 feet, we stopped and had a good breakfast and realized that we had ridden the Gold Road and it was quite unremarkable. Ho Hum. Another check mark can be made on the Bucket List. All that is left is to dance the Tango with a $1000 a night hooker in Paris.
After breakfast we pushed up to I -70 and headed East towards Denver. This is a really great stretch of interstate following the Colorado River. The eastbound and westbound lanes are at different heights so everyone gets a view of the river. And you thought the government was wasting ALL of your money.
We eventually turned north on highway 131 towards Steamboat Springs and things got really pretty. It also started to sleet intermittently but what the hay- the riding was fantastic. We arrived at Wyndham, Steamboat Springs and checked in to a very nice room with a fabulous view of the ski resort.
After dropping our gear we headed to the Rusty Porch for drinks and dinner and had a nice evening with our new best friend Ben. Ben is a young man from around here and he gave us some good tips on where to ride while we are here.
We retuned to our room and found that it had been ‘tossed. Really! Just like in the movies. Stuff thrown all over and we could only ask “why?” Nothing seemed to be missing. They did not steal our over ripe bananas and all of our really expensive motorcycle stuff is all in place. Weird. Just one of the things that make these trips memorable.