Left Montrose to tackle US550 through the mountains in 50 degree weather this morning. My friend led point through the curves as he was aware of the layout of the road, allowing us both to ride as fast as we desired. Photos were grabbed of waterfalls, elk, amazing views, and of a active mining operation this morning. A side trip to Silverton netted some hot coffee and the best breakfast burrito by the best customer service oriented employee ever met.
Heading back out to 550 to capture more curves almost ended the trip permanently for both of us. A rented RV came into a switchback in our lane nearly missing my friend, went back into their own lane and over corrected, and missed me by just inches as they came completely back in my lane forcing me nearly off the road. The driver of the RV nearly killed us both since he didn’t know how to drive in the mountains. I’ve had close calls like any other motorcyclist, but I could see the guy’s eyes as his fender just missed me at 50+ MPH. By the time we got stopped safely, we were already another curve around the mountain, and traffic was stopped going the opposite direction behind us. We aren’t sure that the guy made that curve, and we were too shaken up to try going back to offer any form of assistance.
Luckily, this frightful experience was the worst of the trip so far, but has given me the chance to do some hard thinking about some things going in in my life and has has cemented some decisions that I have been contemplating recently about life. Sorry, too personal to cover on this blog; but it takes a large weight off my shoulders now, and I’ll have the necessary conversations with the applicable people when I get back home. This morning’s near-collision just goes to show me that life is too short to waste precious time worrying about things or trying to over-analyze things to find solutions to answers that are right in front of you.
I do have to say that up until now the Cherohala Skyway in Tennessee was the best road I have ever rode. However, US-550 through Red Mountain and the other Rocky Mountains comes close to surpassing as the best road ever. The day was just starting though…the best possible ever was about to be encountered later in the afternoon.
The ride got better, bringing us into Durango where we wet our thirsts and headed back out. We said our goodbyes for now in Manacos, where my GPS failed shortly thereafter leaving me lost for the next hour. Fighting the GPS was futile today, and I instead pulled out the paper maps and found my way headed back north up CO-145, where I eventually caught CO-141…which led me to the most exhilarating ride I have ever done for ninety minutes non-stop.
141 has to to be the best road in the world, taking one above and then into impossible to describe caverns of gigantic rock. Seriously…I could ride this road several times a day for the next three decades, and I would still miss 99% of the beauty that it has to offer. Impossible to describe, this is the one road in the United States that all riders should experience. Some examples of the hundreds of photos I took are below.
Keeping this short and sweet for now, I am in Grand Junction and will ride into Utah tomorrow.
Total today was 387 miles. Temps ranged from below 30 up in the mountains with snow on the ground to mid-90s in the desert. Outran one rainstorm in Naturita that was less than a mile away at times, and went nose-to-nose with a curious Husky. And, I live to ride another day. Damn fine day all-in-all.