David Johnson's Travel Blog
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07/25  Between a Rock and a High Place
07/26  Cinnamon Pass
07/27  3250 Miles
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Between a Rock and a High Place

2014-07-25

tl;dr: I made it through Coal Bank Pass, Molass Pass, Silverton and up to Animas Forks on the Alpine Loop.

So this is basically what took me three months of peddling to prepare myself for.

I spent the morning peddling up to Coal Bank Pass and then to Molass Pass on narrow roads congested with RVs driven by utter retards (and, by the way, if you drive an RV, I'm probably talking about you.) There were also a lot of semi trucks and every fourth pickup was towing a trailer wider than the vehicle.

Needles Country Store provided me with a microwaved breakfast. The owners kept hummingbird feeders stocked. As I watched, a dozen of the little birds fought for feeding rights. I was told sometimes there are three times as many.

I eventually made it to Silverton where I stopped at Tourist Information and asked, "If I take the southern route through Cinnamon Pass over to Lake City on a bicycle, will I hate myself?" This is a jeep trail. The information monger replied, "Oh, yeah." But as I was eating a tourist-priced (but good and filling) lunch at Mattie and Maud's, I was informed that Highway 550 out of Silverton (which is the only other route available) becomes so narrow that semi trucks take corners with their trailer tires hanging off into space. Nope. I am not dealing with that. So I purchased a small $5.00 jar of peanut butter at the only grocery store in town and headed for the Alpine Loop.

One nice thing about Colorado is I have no need to lock my bike up. I don't worry about people stealing my stuff, because everybody else is rich and has better stuff.

One uncomfortable thing about Colorado is the need to constantly add and remove layers. Depending on elevation, time of day, going up or down, intensity of drizzle, etc, I find myself adding and removing layer upon layer of clothing a dozen or more times day. Also, I have to stop in order to drink water because I'm huffing and puffing so much.

The dirt roads out of Silverton are choked with jeeps and four-wheelers and other all-terrain vehicles. At first they ignored the guy on the bike. As I made it farther along, they would wave. At about ten miles up into the mountains I actually started receiving gestures of respect.

Eventually I made it to Animas Forks, a ghost town that some society is attempting to restore. It is kind of neat. I set up camp not far from there. Apparently, there are mosquitoes at 11000 feet.

rocky mountain horses






hummingbirds


mountain geese


and bad RV drivers


Coal Bank Pass Elevation 10640


mountain flowers


Twilight Peak


this is what I have to deal with






from Molass Pass Elevation 10910


Silverton (all of it)


downtown Silverton


Welcome to the Alpine Loop


Eureka Gulch


Four Wheel Drive Recommended








an abandoned mine


last winter avalanche still hasn't melted away


marmot




Animas Forks ghost town


hallway to the bathroom



contact me at le@liverworks.com
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