Welcome to Colorado

15Jun12

Saturday June 2nd we woke up at dawn and cruised through Chama and onto Route 84. This would lead us to the Colorado border. We crossed the continental divide shortly outside of Chama. It was a nice ride, not too exciting but with plenty of shoulder, prairie dogs and cows.

Mountains near Chama, NM

Prairie Dog

Near the Colorado border

We arrived at the border with cheers.  Yay! A new state on this adventure and our first time returning to Colorado in years. Good to be back for sure.

Descent into Pagosa Springs,CO

The day was hot with lots of climbing. We stopped to eat numerous times, burning up our fuel quickly in the dry sunshine.

We arrived at our destination of Pagosa Springs in 51 miles. We had connected with some couchsurfing.org hosts and we were looking forward to meeting them and being cozy indoors after camping for the last 9 days. We went to the visitor’s center first, checked out the hot springs and river. We lazily sat a picnic table and cooled off.

We stayed with John and Lynne-amazing hosts!  We shared so many laughs and stories. They also had an adorable jack russell terrier named Lucky.  Lynne has a sweet business called Queen Bee Skincare. She has been making skincare products for the last 8 years. Just recently she started selling on Amazon.com, her powdered sunscreen has been selling like hotcakes. She gave us some to try on the road.  It’s been wonderful so far, it feels so much lighter and nicer on our skin than traditional sunscreen.

It came up in conversation that we enjoy landscaping and have done quite a bit in our past. Lynne remarked that she needed some work at her home by a lake in town.  We ended up staying a couple extra days and working.  We made a little money and it was refreshing to get dirty and work-not having worked in 9 months has made us actually yearn for it. We’ve been hoping to make a little money here and there and this was a serendipitous opportunity. Lucky helped us while we landscaped, she was so darn cute digging where we weeded.

Bryan and Debi workin’ it with Lucky Dog

Tuesday, June 5th we packed up, said goodbye to John and Lynne and rode out of Pagosa. As we left town we saw warning signs for smoke from the Little Sand Fire in the  Santa Fe National Forest. We were on our way to Durango, but we took 2 days to get there. We biked about 30 miles total. We took a nice break at the Chimney Rock Farm Stand and then we pedaled 7 miles up Forest Service Rd 622 aka First Fork Rd, it was all up hill and HOT.  We found a nice spot to camp and napped and read for the rest of the afternoon. In the evening we hiked about 2 miles down to the Piedra River Hot Springs.  These rustic spring are located along the river as shallow rock pools. We were the only ones there and we soaked until dark. We hiked back up and slept soundly in the forest. The next morning we leisurely woke up and made breakfast, quickly the air quality decreased from the Little Sand fire and we packed up and high tailed it out of there. It was mostly downhill and a fun way to begin the morning. When we got back to Route 160, the smoke was gone. We continued west and climbed over Yellow Jacket Pass.  On the way down we met 2 Norweigan cyclists. They had been travelling for the last 6 months and told us they had changed 38 flat tires! Wow! We had lunch in Bayfield and then we biked a super sketchy road to get to Durango.  It was specificallly between Gem Village and Durango. If you are reading this blog and wondering about this road, avoid it during rush hours-it’s awful6-9am and 4-7pm. Little to no shoulder and at times guardrails that trap you.  There’s unforgiving high speed traffic. It’s also a major wildlife area and we saw more carcasses than we’ve ever seen. There were high tech wildlife detection signs that we triggered as we road by.  We finished this stretch at about 3pm.  It opened back up as we went down in to Durango.

Chimney Rock

Detour up to Piedra River hot springs

Yellow flowers lined the forest floor

Smoke column from the Little Sand fire rises late in the afternoon

Fuzzy photo of an Abert’s squirrel-such cute ears!

Smokey morning rousted us out of camp

Descent back to Hwy 160

We got on the Animas River Trail once in town. It was lovely as it meandered back and forth across it. There were people biking EVERYWHERE.  We bought a watermelon and headed to our warmshowers.org hosts.

Next up-Durango to Mancos

Pedal on,

Debi and Bryan

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5 Responses to “Welcome to Colorado”

  1. 1 tony rygg

    D-B,

    I’ve been enjoying your reports, especially Moro and Bandelier – – where you seem to have included photos of my foot prints.

    I see you are still full of energy and your tires won’t ozone-out hanging in a hot garage.
    also, an interesting perspective you offered on keeping the tire air inside, I found avoiding tire sherds a good idea too.

    Wishing you best and keep the rubber on the road. –tony

    • 2 thrubike

      Thanks tony!

      Stayed tuned we have some pics from a float trip down the snake river in Jackon, WY area! Hope all is well!

      • 3 tony rygg

        I’ve canoed and paddle rafted (guided) this lovely stretch of the Snake. I look forward to your picts. –tr

  2. Hi Debi & Bryan-
    Amanda & Tim here- friends of Gretchen and Michael’s from VT. We met you guys once or twice at their house. Not sure if you remember us but when we met our plan was to travel around the country in an RV. Well, the plan has come to fruition and we are now officially living in our airstream! Right now we are in the Finger Lakes and heading west from here. We plan to be in mid So. Dakota by the start of August and the Pacific northwest some time in the fall. We have both been following your blog (LOVE the photos) and it appears you are headed north through Colorado. Maybe our paths will meet along the way? Check out our blog watsonswander.com or find us on facebook under the same name. We have greatly enjoyed following your travels and hope we can hang out in person some time soon!

    • 5 thrubike

      Amanda and Tim,

      We certainly remember you – congratulations on your new adventures! Looks like you are having an amazing time. We will be in the pacific northwest this fall too and would love to meet up sometime. Let’s stay in touch and maybe we can make something work out!

      Take care for now,
      B+D


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