Thursday, May 15, 2008

Day Fifteen....

Cool.....snow in mid-May.

Took off fairly late from TJ's place in Denver at around 1PM and had originally figured to go straight South down I-25, but looked at weather radar on the 'Net and figured it looked
pretty safe heading SouthWest on U.S. 285 towards Fairplay. Saw a FEW splotches of precipitation on the radar map on this route, but they appeared to be rather small and isolated. Figured after hitting Fairplay, continue on to Buena Vista, through the San Luis Valley and spend the night in Alamosa, Colorado.....about 250 miles from my starting point.

Didn't happen......

REMIND me NOT to pursue a career in meteorology. Can't possibly figure out why, either.....since I nailed an "A" in that class at Metro State!

Left a warm, sunny sky in Denver in nothing but my thick hoodie and no gloves. By the time I hit Conifer, Colorado (about 30 miles SouthWest from Denver and about 2500 feet of elevation gain), I hadta change into full gear (well....for what little I brought on this ride, full gear) meaning putting on the Carhartt, donning the gloves, pulling on the waterproof Columbia shell pants, and taking off the Teva sandals in favour of hiking shoes.

As I was approaching Bailey, Colorado (elevation 7750 feet)......... started to snow.......

....and it WASN'T a coupla flakes, either.

This scenario was beginning to have "suck" written all over it! THIS was
thee fucking reason WHY I didn't head due East From Portlandia and try to navigate the Northern Rockies of Montana in early May!!

This was a lot of fun, as I was trying to analyse whether the black pavement in front of me was -

A) - wet

B) - slushy

C) - ice!

Made it to Bailey, hid out in a diner, had a cup of chili and a few mugs of hot cocoa and waited out the snow forra hour or so.

I laff at the fact that I got a sunburn riding in shorts and a T-shirt a few short days ago.....

I took off from Bailey, and the sun came out, but the air temperature was still bitter. Made it to Fairplay, saw a gas station, and ran to use the bathroom.

Didn't hafta relieve myself at all......

....rather, hadta run hot water over my fingers.

I didn't bring my North Face psycho-ass Arctic gloves on this adventure....instead stuck with the standard TourMaster riding gloves that a friend and former co-worker gave me.

"Well, hell" I reasoned, "I'm going into the desert and Southern Texas, and then the Gulf Coast! And,'s MID-MAY!!! Can't get
that cold in Colorado. I mean, come on! It's South of the 40th Parallel north....."

Wrong again......

Eventually made it to Salida, Colorado around 4:30pm. WAS thinking about gunning it to Alamosa, but I've always had an enjoyable time in Salida (on several occasions, various friends and myself would run away from Denver and spend a fun weekend in Salida back when I used to reside in Denver), plus I found the coolest motel I'd seen so far on this trip.

I mean, I had stayed in a cute little cabin-ette in Pagosa Springs, but this place was wood throughout, but had Wi-Fi,
full kitchenette (with a small stove), cable TV (which I'm watching as I type this and, sadly, witnessing my Rockies getting their asses trounced by the Aridzona Diamondbacks) and about four times the square footage of the Pinewood Inn (in Pagosa Springs). I mean....the Woodland Motel in Salida used to be my sacred haunt, but shit....this place was thrity-nine buxx a night!!

When in Salida....hit The Mountain Motel......can't recommend it enuff! I hit an absolute gem that isn't even on yet.

Will be soon....


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Quite surprised at my tyre wear.
I mean, if you hit "Older Posts" on this blog and go to thee very origins of how this blog started (back in early April of 2007 - when my skooter was writing this and bitching about how I had ignored the rear tyre tread depth), you'll discover how I had Honda of Tillamook, Oregon replace the flat rear tyre with some shite, totally generic tyre that was dirt cheap, but ended up lasting me, like, 2000 miles before showing quick tread wear.

Dropped a few buxx and got a Dunlop K488 for the rear wheel before I took off from Portlandia....

....and here it is:

Oh. Forgot.....

......this is after riding 2600 miles......

Gonna TRY to make Albuquerque tomorrow.....we'll see what the weather conditions say about
that idea.....



HRD said...

Please tell me you didn't hit Salida and NOT go to the Vic? Please?

Buannan said...

Snow in May in the Rockies...not uncommon at all. In fact, if you hit any altitude at all coming back, expect to hit snow. The only somewhat safe time is from mid-June to about July 10th. Even then, anything is possible, especially with the year we've had so far. At the very least, you can expect thunderstorms pretty much every evening/night.

But, you aren't coming back through Montana or Colorado, are you?

Steven J. Willett said...

Hi Ernie,

Sorry I haven't logged into the blog earlier, but I've been busy with the start of our first semester here in Japan. Unlike you, we're enjoying the two or three weeks of good spring weather before the rainy season starts. Not much to report since our long conversation on the plane. I'm flying back to Keizer on July 30th for a two-month stay during our summer vacation. I'll fly to Toronto on Aug. 20th to give a paper at the NASSR (North American Society for the Study of Romanticism) conference and then return to hold a family reunion before heading back to Japan and the start our our second semester.

Looking forward to your future adventures.



CN250 said...

- Naw.....sorry. Didn't even see if The Vic was still in existence. Colorado's evil smoking ban has pretty much had me going to thee one bar that had a heated, quasi-outdoor smoking area, sooo.....

- Yes, but it has been a while since I'd resided at altitude....and I had forgotten, so that was my mistake, failing to realise that it IS common for it to snow in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado in mid-May. In my half-assed defense, however, Bailey is at only at 7500 feet. Usually, by mid-to-late-May, snow almost always ends up falling at 9,000 feet and above, sooo......

Coming back through Wyoming (subject to change), BUT it'll be mid-to-late-July at that time.....NOT looking forward to the winds....

Are you still in the Pacific NorthWest?

- Steve, how are you? GREAT talking to you during that Tokyo flight and I'm honoured that you popped in on this blog. Keep me posted on what you are up to, and I hope I can provide you with a few more laughs!!!