Camped at Junction Creek for two nights, waiting for the other kiwis to find us. The second night we only paid half price, because the Camp Host was convinced I was a "senior" (over 62). Sounds a good deal to me....
We had decided to get the bikes a service, so visited the good folk at Hassle Free Cycles. Cody did a great job, and is a young very enthusiastic cyclist and bike mechanic. Say "Hi" to him if you visit. His first question to us was "Did you guys bike Phil's World yesterday?" Cody and his mates had ridden there last night (finished at midnight in the full moon), and his mate had run over a Brooks saddle cover.....damn, I had written that off as lost.....
Then, I heard a kiwi accent. We meet Paula Dunn. From Chch. Used to work for St John. Knows lots of Cheviot folk. Ju and Paula were off chatting like long time buddies.....small world?
We had planned to ride Horse Gulch, but weather forecaste is for rain, so we are advised to ride Colorado Trail and Hoffheins Loop today as it'll be too wet tomorrow. The ride is about 25km, with a
climb up to a plateau. Our new mates from Michigan (they have driven 24 hours straight to ride here) are worried about the altitude, but for once we are good. All those high days riding are paying off. We feel no effects, but the Michigan boys are knackered.
Then it's off to Ted and Mora's for dinner.....and a hot shower (unexpected luxurious bonus). A lovely evening, great food, very interesting chat, wonderful people and new friends, and.....the pallet bonfire...Yeha. Thanks guys. A definite trip highlight meeting you all.
We have made contact with Graham and the other kiwis, and meet up with them after doing some laundry (and meeting some dodgy Mexicans, who had apparently had their tent shredded by a bear last night). The plan is to ride Horse Gulch together this afternoon......
And then the storm hit. Thunder, lightening, hail stones as big as marbles (how our windscreen didn't smash....) We all sat around chatting, doing email and stuff, while the surrounding country got hammered. Ted and Mora had had their vegie garden trashed by a hail storm earlier in the week. This storm caused a huge averlanche of mud on
the north bound highway, heaps of water on the streets, and snow on the mountains. Sorry Paula, we could have come for dinner after all, as the road out of town was dodgy. So no riding at
Horse Gulch, and no more riding in this area for a few days.
When the rain subsides, Ju and I finally head out of town, via "Wendys" where I witness a family of three tuck into their second helping of burgers, fries and cokes, but not before taking out all the lettuce and tomatoes from the burgers..... We ended up on a siding in the Durango Ski Mountain village. Great sleep, but a little chilly.
We awake to snow on all the surrounding hills, and only metres away from the van. We get to drive over three fantastically beautiful passes, yellow and orange trees covered in snow, surrounded by incredible picturesque conifers also covered in snow. As I write, Ju is outside in the snow, cooking up bacon and pancakes (all for herself), hoping that this final pass above Ouray will clear enough for the great views we have already seen this morning. Probably no riding today, but spectacular anyway. Heading towards Friuta.