Rocky Mountain High……..
Finally we made it out of the unbearable heat of Texas and into the cool mountain air of the Rocky Mountains 🙂
After a couple of days travelling through New Mexico we were happy to cross into a state where we knew we would be greeted by amazing views and great roads!
Because of the cooler nights we were back in the tent which also meant back to nature……the 1st night in Colorado and we were given a warning notice at the campsite as a bear had been seen on the campground in the 24 hours before we arrived…oh great!!!
We spent the first few days riding through the San Juan National Forest…..very picturesque!
We were aware that the state of Colorado was experiencing the worst wildfires in years, so we were not surprised to ride by one fire in the San Juan area.
We spent another couple of nights camping in Ouray (sharing our campsite with deer and also a little chipmunk who decided to venture into out tent).
One of the main reasons to stay in Ouray is the scenic byway road between Ouray and Silverton, known as the ‘Million Dollar Highway’. The road climbs up over the red mountain pass over 11,000 ft. It’s a great road, but with quite a few areas without barriers and drops over the edge that make your stomach turn, I was nagging Dan a lot to be careful not to go over the edge…as if he didn’t know that!
Next up was Colorado Springs and more amazing views en route.
The area around Colorado Springs was badly affected by fires, a couple of days before we arrived over 30,000 people had been evacuated, including the hotel which we checked into. There were people staying at the hotel who had lost their homes to the fires and the receptionist described the scenes on the nearby mountain side not far from the hotel as ‘Armageddon’. Although over 300 hundred homes had been destroyed it was obvious from all of the banners and signs around town thanking the firefighters, that things could of been a lot worse! A local ranch known as ‘The Flying W Ranch’ was destroyed – this was a big tourist attraction we had planned on visiting following tips from people we had met over the last couple of months.
We were in Colorado Springs for Independence Day, although the usual firework displays were cancelled due to the state wide ban on fireworks. We spent the day riding the bike up Pikes Peak to take in the views. At over 14,000 ft it was pretty cold at the top!
Whilst in Colorado Springs we had to take care of some necessary work on the bike (well Dan had to….I know nothing about oil changes!).
First up we sorted some new tyres at Apex Sports on recommendations from a biker forum. They were really helpful and bumped us up the queue as we couldn’t wait around for days. Dan had to take the wheels off in the car park though which was pretty funny.
He also arranged for us to borrow a local bikers garage to do the oil change…..people are so friendly and helpful 🙂
Next up it was time to head north out of Colorado through Eastern Wyoming and into South Dakota to visit Mt Rushmore. We found a cheap motel in a town called Hot Springs so we didn’t have to camp. It was the cheapest place in town and after dark when we turned out the lights we noticed the red lights outside all of the motel room doors……had we checked into the town brothel??? Oh well, at least it was a bed for the night 🙂
On the way to Mt Rushmore we spotted a field full of prairie dogs (which remind me of meerkats!). So cute!
Finally we made it to Mt Rushmore to take a few snaps of the famous presidents….it was pretty cool to see.
Nearby Mt Rushmore is the ‘Crazy Horse’ site. This was started in 1947ish and is still being worked on today. It’s got a long way until it’s finished – eventually it will lock similar to the sign below.
We’re back in Wyoming now, heading for Yellowstone National Park and then we’ll be heading down through Utah. Time seems to be flying by….we’ll be in California before we know it!!!