John's alarm went off at five am, but as is so often the case, one always sleeps fitfully the night before a trip, so we were both awake. He left in plenty of time to get to the airport bus and some of you may have noticed his comment on the blog indicating he made it safely to Los Angeles.
Because I intended to visit BMW Motorcycles Denver and they only opened at nine, I dawdled in getting ready and enjoyed the unusual time of leisure, using it to look ahead for accommodation. I also spent quite some time looking at the weather forecasts and trying to figure out potential routes back to Portland. The weather we had fled from in Gunnison had dropped snow on the mountains down to about ten thousand feet, but later this week it may get down to six thousand feet, and lie up to twenty four inches deep 'if the storm sets rights' as the special advisories say.
Without having made a decision I went down to BMW to acquire a few small items I needed. They need a lesson in customer service, those guys in Spares. So I took my things and headed for the hills. Well, mountains. And what a sight greeted me as I swung west. The range was beautifully powdered with the snow of Sunday, rising majestically along the horizon. Taking the byways to Leadville was a distance of over 170 miles so I stuck with the interstate until twenty miles to go, stopping in Georgetown for a break and Lake Dillon for lunch. (Fantastic mushroom and cheese burger).
One thing that Colorado seems to have plenty of is historic steam trains. Durango, Georgetown, Chama and there is one in Leadville, too. And there are more. I am told that Chama is out of this world.
And so off the interstate for the last twenty miles to Leadville, with the roads sweeping around the mountain bends, with snow everywhere above 10,000 feet. Magical! I checked in to the motel and rested, trying to make up for the night before.
I roused myself to go into the town (very pretty) to have dinner. It was 14 C when I left at 6.30 pm and when I returned a little over an hour later it was down to 7C. Overnight forecast is for zero!
Tomorrow I will ride Independence Pass (12,095 feet) and probably be compelled to make a decision on which way to go. Watch this space