Telluride to Durango


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May 31, 2002
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Dereham, Norfolk, today...
1st September

I sleep terribly. The apartment block I was staying in was apparently home to a herd of buffalo who were addicted to crack, and therefore needed to run up and down stairs every ten minutes to score some more.

I eventually emerge, bleary eyed, and even less enamoured with Telluride, at 0800 to get the bike packed. I’m on the road at 0830 and, leaving the town by the route I entered, decide to take a gravel track off to the right…


To begin with, the track seems to be in good condition, but it soon deteriorates as it heads up the side of the hill. I get to a plateau at the top and decide to turn around. Whilst doing so, I almost dump the bike again, but manage to keep it upright. Unfortunately, in recovering the lurch, I bash my left leg again. Hard.


Still – the view was nice.

I ride back up the 145 to Placerville, then turn right, along the 62 towards Ridgway…


…where I stop for lunch at the True Grit Café…


Apparently the film (starring John Wayne, for those that who aren’t familiar with it) was made in Ridgway. The café is full of all sorts of John Wayne memorabilia – and serves a pretty good salad.

Ridgway is also home to an abandoned Studebaker Hawk – this one died after being shot, apparently…


I’m soon back on the road, heading south towards Ouray on the 550…


Ouray nestles on the floor of a deep valley…


I ride through, climbing up the series of switchbacks towards Red Mountain Pass…


It’s a beautiful road, the temperature is about perfect – life is good.


Here they’ve built a protective tunnel over the road, where they clearly have avalanche problems during the winter


Soon Red Mountain comes into view – can’t imagine how it got its name…


I crest the pass at 1300 – 11018ft – the highest I’ve been on this trip, I think…


I get into Silverton, a pretty little town, although it advertises itself as a ‘living museum’. I fill up with antique fuel and move on.


My leg is starting to get more painful, so I pull into the Hampton Inn at Durango and stop for the day. The receptionist asks if I’m there for the big ride tomorrow. In reply to my nonplussed look, she explains that there will be a rideout of several thousand Harley Davidsons starting in Durango tomorrow.

I think I may be heading in the other direction :D


2nd September

I wake after another bad night’s sleep – my leg is hurting and, as usual, I take a couple of ibuprofen. After a while it feels better, but it’s pretty clear to me that I need to rest up for a few days.

I pack the bike and I’m on the road just after eleven, heading west along Highway 160 towards Mesa Verde National Park. It’s a warm day, and Durango & the surrounding area is swarming with Harley Davidsons – most of whom are tribal enough to ignore me when I wave to them – sad gits…

I arrive at Mesa Verde just before midday…


…and follow some of the ubiquitous Harleys up into the park.

Native Americans lived in this area over 1400 years ago. They lived in Mesa Verde for over 700 years, but, within the space of a couple of generations, in the late 1200s, they left their homes and moved away. Their homes are impressive…


…built into and under the rock formations of the Mesa.

Unfortunately, it’s a fair clamber down to the ruins and I decide to take heed of the signs warning off people who don’t feel up to the descent. My leg still feels way too weak & uncomfortable to risk the climb…


I decide to find somewhere to rest up for a while – if my leg isn’t feeling better in a few days, I’ll have to go and see a ‘doc in a box’ again…


I ride into Cortez, and find a room in a cheap motel – I initially book the room for 2 days, but make sure I can extend my stay if necessary. This is a public holiday weekend (Labor Day), so keeping off the road is a good plan anyway.

Whatever happens, I’m going to stay off dirt and gravel roads for the next couple of weeks. Ironic, really – this area has some of the best gravel roads in the western USA…



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