Day 9

Today’s ride was awesome. It started out winding through a valley in between two huge mountains then slowly climbed up the one mountain. I turned off that road and started climbing even higher. Above 10000 feet the road was getting worse and worse, for cars. By 11000 feet it was getting quite narly. There were patches of snow on the side of the road. I climbed a little higher and the snow was in the road. By 11782 feet it the road was completely covered in snow. Hancock pass was impassible. I turned around and within a mintute I ran into three bikes and an atv. The atv could not pass one of the snow patches in the road. They were ready to turn around. We went down the mountain together. Some other atvs at the bottom told me that Hancock pass is about 12100 feet. I was so close.

Since the main route was snowed in, I had to take a lower pass that was 50 miles away. Old Monarch pass was only 11315 feet above sea level. This pass also marked the continental divide. I attempted to backtrack on the route to Tomochi pass but after riding some narrow hilly rocky roads towards it, the road was closed. There was a gate across the road and a bunch of signs saying it was private property. I wonder if the route over Tomichi pass is ever open. Even though I climbed two mountains and had to turn around each time it was still worth the time. The roads were a lot of fun.

Continuing on the route I came to a sign that said “Historic Stage Coach Route.” It explained that motor vehicles were only permitted on trails labeled with an arrow. The sign next to the gate said private property next .2 miles, please close gate. Everything said it was okay to ride, so I opened the gate, pulled through and closed the gate behind me. I rode through about 5 more gates like this before finally coming back out onto the road. I did not realize until I just looked at the map that this was part of the trail.

The day ended with coming down into Lake City, CO, where I am camping for another night. I think i’m at about 8650 feet. Hopefully it isn’t too cold.

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3 Responses to “Day 9”

  1. marty Says:

    hope that signals a turning point in your luck (as i knock on wood to not jinx you too much…)

  2. Uncle Tom Says:

    Go Pat Go!

  3. Mike Says:

    When I moved to California, one of the times (out of two) that I made the drive out here I got stuck in Wyoming in a similar fashion. On I-80 they have huge gates that come down when the wind is too strong. They look like railroad crossing arms right across the center of the expressway. Everybody had to pull off and hang out on the exit ramp until the wind died down, but I got impatient and charted a ridiculously dangerous course of my own. The wind gusts were so bad I was going about 20mph tops for about 2 hours, but I finally made it back to I-80, and when I looked in my rearview mirror I saw the same arms still blocking the road going back in the direction I’d come from.

    Of course, had I been on a motorcycle instead of a car, I could’ve just ridden between the roadblock arms. I can’t imagine those winds would be that enjoyable to ride through on a bike, though. Sounds like snow is more your concern so far rather than wind anyway… Hopefully it stays that way (or, better yet, you have neither snow nor wind to contend with…).

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