Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Day 26: Cortez, CO - Alamosa, CO

I like Colorado.
Ignore, if you will, the rubbish in the foreground and concentrate on the luvverly mountains...
Breakfast was nice too.  The omelettes were, as befits cheese omelettes, dead cheesy.  Back onto US-160 and over those ^^^^ mountains to Durango.  It came as no great surprise to find the descent into the latter Spoiled by Roadworks, just like Page yesterday chiz.  Hordes of roadies about though, even though it's a Tuesday.  One brave chap was on a recumbent and using the shoulder on my side of the road against the oncoming traffic.  Not as daft as it sounds as he was climbing out of Durango and the shoulder on "his" side had been co-opted by the Kings of Hi-Viz.  New Half Man Half Biscuit album is due out next month.

Ah!  There is Wal-Mart.  Shortly afterwards my wallet is thinner to the tune of a brace of twenty-dollar bills but I now own five new pairs of boxers and a pair of trousis coloured such that sand, dust and similar will not show.  On them.  Then back east on 160.  Lots of traffic does not bode well for Things to Come.  Doubly so when Git Truck Driver pulls out in front of me in a manner very similar to the day I went to Scottsbluff in 2011.  Except that this time we got over the crest of a small hill and found a line of stationary vehicles queueueueueuing at yet more roadworks.  Cars, heavy wagons and motorhomes.  Uck!  Do I really have to follow this lot up the Wolf Creek Pass?

No I don't, as it turned out.  I stopped to fill up at Pagosa Springs where, it seems, everyone else turned south on US-84 for New Mexico.  Also the west side of Wolf Creek Pass has two uphill lanes all the way to the top.  The east side is a different matter altogether.

Looking west from halfway up Wolf Creek Pass
They have replaced the sign robbed by pikeys when I was up here in 2011
Trees, mountains and alpine meadow at the summit of Wolf Creek Pass
Disappointingly, the pass turns out to be named after some bloke called "Wolf" and not because the area was chock-full of wullufs in the past.  Down the other side towards South Fork (no, not that one) and the first new Bridge Action for quite some time.
River is the Mighty Rio Grande!
Finally things flatten out big-stylee in the form of the San Luis valley.  This is hemmed in by the San Juan mountains in the west and the Sangre de Cristo range in the east and is mostly full of potatoes1.  Except in the top right-hand corner, where you'll find this:
A great sand dune, Great Sand Dunes National Park
Alamosa is off to the left a bit.

On courses, and horses for them: Both on the way to, and back from, the above-mentioned sand dunes, Emily sent me along this road:

While the San Luis valley is not exactly short of dead straight and dead flat roads like this one, I strongly suspect that somewhere along here was where numerous HPV speed records were set before we went to Battle Mountain.  It's pretty narrow in comparison with the NV-305 we all know and love and twenty+ years have not been kind to the surface; it's rougher than the BEAR's arse.

I think I have worked out how to embed the video Mr Warren Shrimpboat posted on YouThing

The comment "the envelope of speed for mankind has come to a close" looks a bit previous in the light of subsequent history.  More than thirty riders have gone faster than Cheetah's 68.7 mph at Battle Mountain (I got a headache when trying to count the tandem crews, especially as Fast Freddy has done it in a tandem and solo).  Also, look at the size of the thing I reckon it's taller than Teagan...
I am wearing the above on a T-shaped shirt today.  I wonder whether that counts as heresy round here...
  1. All fakts are korekt for a change

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