Cortez, CO to Colorado Springs, CO (Day 12)

September 1st
Miles 3800-4157

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In three days I’ve gone from the scorching heat and mini dust storms in the Mojave desert to the green alpine forests (and rain) of the Grand Canyon to the sedimentary rock formations and deserts of a Navajo reservation and now finally up and over the impressive rocky mountains. One crazy thing of it all has been the shifts in weather; today, from one side of the Rockies to the other, I experienced an over 30 degree change in temperature in only a few hours, from the low 50’s to the mid 80s in Colorado Springs.

The road I was on most today (and yesterday as well) was rt. 160, which has become by far my favorite road of the trip so far. It goes through lots of different scenery, from straight endless roads in the desert to windy roads in the mountains. I much preferred this way over the Rockies then the way I took going west, which was on I-70. As you’d expect from an interstate, 70 was a lot busier which made the many turns and steep climbs and falls of the mountains much more stressful especially when someone is ripping by you at 80 miles an hour. 160 was much more liesurely. There was a bit of a climb but then once it was in the mountains it pretty much stayed up until the end, so the road went through some nice mountain fields at an elevation of around 7800.

I’m guessing 160 is a pretty popular motorcycle road because I saw tons of bikes out today, which was also probably because it was labor day weekend. I saw maybe around 150 bikes on the road today, some in big groups of ten or more, some just one or two. I even got absorbed into a group at one point! I was driving through a town behind some cars, and out of a gas station there were around 10 bikes waiting to pull into traffic, half of them pulled in front of the cars I was following and the other half had to get in behind me. Then the front half of the group started driving on the shoulder to let the cars pass and rejoin their group. And so all of a sudden I found myself second in a big group of bikes, which I stayed with for about 45 minutes before they pulled into a gas station. Definitely nice to have company!