Flatlander goes West4
October 2, 2012 by cleanwatt
6 days & 2400 miles later & I’m in California.
First couple days were spent in 6th gear on I-80 blasting through the Midwest. A drive full of country I feel I’m adequately familiar with. Camped in fellow rider’s yards Monday night in Nebraska, and Tuesday night in Colorado. Spent Wednesday morning in Fort Collins with a stellar breakfast before getting a later start heading into the mountains.
Last fall, I had the pleasure of spending some time with my folks near Crested Butte during the peak of the aspens changing color. To date it has been a stout contender in my private contest of “Sweetest Place Ever, Anywhere”. So, being later September I figured it would be daft to not sample some mountain passes and hopefully get lucky enough with the aspens again.
Grinning I headed Southwest from Denver gaining elevation rapidly, and losing degrees proportionally. The literal apex of the ride was Cottonwood Pass, which also straddles the Continental Divide, and sits at 12,126ft.
Light snow flurries made an appearance, so I kept moving. I rolled into Crested Butte close to night fall, and not wanting to make camp in the now steady rain, I stopped in on a couple wee hotels and found one offering a reasonable rate. The first shower in three days felt amazing. Trying to avoid getting sucked into the television, I took to town in search of a warm meal and a couple beers.
Thursday morning carried on with shitty conditions, but I happily kept on up and over Kebler Pass just West of Crested Butte. The aspens made a glorious appearance, and I couldn’t help but think that this is where I belong.
The rest of Thursday was spent slowly exiting the Rockies, and carrying on into the moonscape that is Southern Utah. Definitely going to have to come back here and spend more time.
Thursday evening, after seeing numerous mutilated deer carcasses on the side of the rode, I decided to heed the wildlife crossing warnings and found a place to camp.
Friday morning left the campsite with an indicated 32 degrees on my bike, and in 4 hours was rolling through Las Vegas with an indicated 95.
Carrying on quite moistly by now, I rode on a little Northwest to Pahrump, NV where my Great Aunt Rosie & Uncle Bud live. Had a great visit with them, and was treated to a delicious dinner and an unparalleled breakfast spread the following morning. Thanks again!
Saturday, I found myself on stretches on road I’ve only seen in pictures and was happy to ride for a couple hours into California and only pass a couple cars.
Rolled into the outskirts of LA in the early afternoon, but didn’t reach Hermosa Beach for a couple hours. I couldn’t help but curse the city as I rode through it: the mass amounts of cars, the heat, the endless sprawl. Not understanding the appeal of this place, my GPS directed me onto the Pacific Coast Highway where I crested a small hill to see the Pacific Ocean in front of me, then it made a little sense.
Gonna be bumming around here for a week roughly, chilling foremost, and squeezing in a bit of last minute prep & research.
Thanks for tuning in.
Nice writing, Dylan. Your adventure sounds amazing! I look forward to future posts and pictures.
I concur. Nice writing.
Though it is vague what you meant by “shitty conditions”.
I think earthquakes up to magnitude 5 belong under the “shitty conditions” nomenclature. 6.2 would probably classify as “really shitty conditions”.
Also, Dylan, your bike is missing from a couple of the pics you posted.