Sunday, July 20, 2008

Flaming Gorge, UT to WY border to Fort Collins, CO

The night temps weren’t that cold, only in the low 50’s but there was a constant breeze blowing so we ended up putting the rain fly on for added warmth. I was snug and warm in the sleeping bag when the alarm went off this morning. I didn’t feel like getting up even though I really wanted to see the sunrise over the Flaming Gorge. I kept looking at the walls of the tent and I didn’t see the sun yet, I was thinking that it would take a while for it to get over the canyon walls but all the sudden at 6:30AM I saw brightness on the other side of the rain fly.

I jumped out of the tent and headed for the canyon’s rim with the camera. The sun was actually already way up there. What I was seeing through the rain fly was the reflection of the sun on the reservoir below. The sun had set to the left of us and I was expecting it to rise to the right of us, I didn’t expect the sun to come up straight ahead just on the other side of the Flaming Gorge. It would have been nice to take some pre-sunrise pictures but unfortunately I’m not a morning person, getting up is always a struggle.

Sunrise over the Flaming Gorge

Deer near our camp site

We packed up and hit the road. We were headed back to Fort Collins today, we were going to stay another week with Jim. We were really enjoying the town and wanted to see more, it seems that a week is just not enough to really experience a place.

A scenic pullout on 44 overlooking the Flaming Gorge

Before heading east I wanted to head north. I’ve been to the Flaming Gorge in 2005 and even then I really wanted to ride around the whole Flaming Gorge, but there wasn’t enough time. This time again not enough time to ride around it, so we did the same thing I did the last time. We rode the curvy 44 to the Wyoming border, turned around and headed back the same way we came, 40 to 14 back to Fort Collins.

Flaming Gorge from the scenic pullout on 44

44 zigzagging along the Flaming Gorge

That's Mike down there on his Tiger

UT/WY borer: This is where we had to turn around and head back to Fort Collins, CO

44 is an amazing road with amazing scenery and curves

Views from the bike along 44

We headed back east on 40 after a lunch stop at the Subway in Vernal and a stop at to get some distilled water to top off the coolant reservoir on the Tiger. It was very hot here, in the upper 90's. I was pretty much sweating all the way to Steamboat Springs. Once in the mountains the temps cooled off. I even got rained on heading in to Walden on 14. It was one of those showers where the sun is shining and the clouds are far away but the rain somehow stil manages to get you. It was a pleasant feeling and I needed the bugs to get washed away, the bike hasn't been washed since the last time it rained.

I arrived at Jim’s at 9:30PM. I had waited for 30 minutes at the comer of 14 and 287 wondering why it was taking Mike this long to get here. I left him a message on his phone. He was only a few minutes behind I thought. I saw him in Steamboat Springs and I passed him while he was layering up just past Steamboat Springs on top of the mountain.

A few minutes after I got to Jim's house, Mike called with the news. He was on 34 riding through Rocky Mountain National Park. Somehow he missed the turn on to 14 and continued on 40. He went a bit out of the way and it would take a few more hours for him to get here. It was also very cold at 12,000 feet at night at the park. He arrived at Jim’s around 11PM with stories of dodging herds of elk at the top of the mountain at the Rocky Mountain National Park.

The whole weekend's route

I did about 410 miles today, the total mileage for this weekend was 810 miles.


Anonymous said...

It's too bad you didn't make it up the West side all the Way to Green River and I-80. IMHO the West side of the Gorge is WAY prettier than the East side.

Anna said...

Now that I live in Colorado I should be able to get out there easily. I’ve been to the Flaming Gorge twice, once in 2004 and once in 2008 and both times was not able to ride around the whole gorge like I wanted to. I hope to do that this year. I love that area and twisty roads.