Saturday, June 20, 2009

Crawford to Steamboat Springs, CO

It was a cool and cloudy this morning but it was starting to clear up by the time we were getting ready to leave Crawford State Park.

A cool and cloudy morning at Crawford State Park

Sandy finds her cold Red Bull which she left outside the tent overnight

The Ducs can't wait to go for a ride

Sandy and I were heading to Steamboat Springs but we weren’t sure exactly where. We couldn’t get a good cell signal last night and couldn’t get a whole lot of info about the campsite or even get directions to where we were supposed to be going today. We would have to stop in some town on the way and make a phone call.

A scenic stop on 133 near Paonia

Looking in the direction of McClure Pass at 8,755 feet along highway 133

Great pavement on highway 133

A scenic stop east of McClure Pass on highway 133

Today was the last day that Sandy and I would be riding together. Tomorrow she was heading to Denver to visit with her aunt. But my ride wasn’t over, not by a long shot. This afternoon Dalton was meeting up with us in Steamboat Springs and starting tomorrow we would be riding for the next 8 days. Tonight the three of us would be camping together.

Following Sandy on highway 133 heading east

Dark clouds in the east

Sandy and I took off north on 92 from Crawford State Park and turned east on 133, which has some nice curves and scenery but there was a bit of traffic on this road today. The skies were looking very dark to the east and by the time Sandy and I pulled over for a late lunch at Eagle and to finally make some phone calls about tonight’s campsite, it was already starting to sprinkle.

Lunch at the Eagle Diner off I-70 in Eagle, CO

Lunch at the Eagle Diner was amazing though, the best black bean veggie burger I have ever had and some awesome curly fries. I will definitely have to make this a food stop if I’m passing through here again. By the time we were ready to start heading east again on I-70 we had a campsite reservation in Steamboat Springs at a private campsite. We had to get on it though, it was already getting late in the afternoon and we needed to get to Steamboat Springs before Dalton to pick out our campsite. They had three tent sites still available.

My supper yummy black bean veggie burger

I highly recommend the Eagle Dinner, great food and service

We finally got off the interstate and headed north on highway 131. I have never been on this road before and had wished that the weather was nicer, since this road was awesome. Great curves, great scenery and good pavement. The rain was off and on while we rode 131 heading north. At times it would stop and then a few minutes later we would get poured on. But at least the traffic was light and we were making good time. Then, we ran in to construction. This wasn’t something new. We have been running in to construction every day of this trip and almost every day we would ride a road that suddenly had a “pavement ends” sign posted but the dirt or gravel section was always short and the surface was hard, with some gravel but mostly dirt. This was to change on highway 131 as this was the worst construction road I have ever been through on a bike in all the years I've been touring.

The construction on 131 started OK, the pavement ended and the dirt and gravel started but not too bad. There was no end in sight to this construction, curve after curve as far as we could see, there was dirt and gravel ahead of us. Then the dirt ended and the gravel got bigger and deeper and the riding got very difficult with the loaded down sport-touring bike. Sandy and I kept moving, but I was got worried when twice I almost lost control of the bike when the front end of the bike started to shake and loose traction in the very deep gravel trying to go around and though some enormous rocks. After what seemed like forever we finally reached the pavement on the other side safely but this was definitely the scariest off road excursion I have ever taken on a street bike. The worst part was that this was a great road and we were supposed to ride it back down tomorrow, but there was no way I’d ride through that many miles of deep rocks and gravel on the loaded up ST3.

I just love the curves of highway 131 north of I-70

Nice scenery and good pavement on highway 131

131 under construction, this is the nice part, just dirt, not a lot of gravel yet, that's further north

The rain continued as we reached the Steamboat Campground located in the Yampa Valley on the west end of Steamboat Springs right off highway 40. At $27 per night for a basic tent site, this was an expensive camp site but this place did have many amenities including a swimming pool. All we really cared was that we had showers.

Dalton, Sandy and I setting up our tents at Steamboat Campground in Steamboat Springs

Brats, baked beans and wine for dinner

This is my favorite kind of camping food

Yampa River at the Steamboat Campground

Sandy and Dalton at the Yampa River's edge

Unfortunately the road through the campground wasn’t paved and the rain turned the dirt to mud. Sandy and I had a choice of three tent sites but when we rode through the campground we could barely make out the camp site numbers, so we came back and had one of the people who worked there lead Sandy through and pick a camp site while I waited in the rain. By the time Sandy came back to the parking lot so we could pay for the camp site, Dalton pulled in.

After setting up our tents Dalton busted out a bottle of wine to celebrate the last day of Sandy’s ride and the first day of ours. He also brought some brats for grilling and some baked beans. The rain was nice enough to stop while we were setting up camp but through dinner it was drizzling off and on and by 9PM it was starting to rain again so we called it a night. The rain continued to fall most of the night.

Our 106 mile route today: highways 92, 133, I-70, 131 and 40

1 comment:

Paul E said...

Beautiful pictures as usual Anna, and great story.