Tuesday, August 18, 2015

2015 Colorado Caching – Part 2

Just a tin can?
I don't think so
Sunday morning Yancey and I set out on quest for the counties of the southwest quadrant of Colorado heading south on Highway 67.  Once we got out of the Denver traffic we had beautiful riding.  One of our first caches was a very interesting one in the community of Woodland.  What looked like just a rusted and flattened tin can actually had a pill bottle attached to its bottom fitted into a recess in the ground.  I doubt if I would have found this one but Yancey did.

Snair Cabin
Hartsel Days
At Woodland we turned west on Highway 24.  We stopped to get a cache at the “Snair Cabin” which was a cabin furnished just as it had been over 100 years ago when it was sturdily built and crafted by a wagon maker.  We stopped in Hartsel to get one at the old Hartsel school.  It just so happened that they were having Hartsel Days this weekend and things were really hopping.  We had to leave hurriedly to avoid being part of the parade which was about ready to start.  Just before reaching the town of Buena Vista we logged a cache called “John Denver’s Motorcycle”.  John’s motorcycle had been sold at auction but there was an interesting piece of machinery at the cache location.  We turned west on Highway 82 near Twin Lakes Reservoir and had lunch at a beautiful cache site called “Rushing Waters”.
NOT John Denver's motorcycle
Rushing Waters

We continued northwest picking up a cache or two before stopping in El Jebel to get one for Eagle County.  I had found a cache in this county long ago but it was before the date that the 64 County Challenge was posted so by its rules I had to get another one.  At Carbondale we turned south on Highway 133.  As it was getting late we didn’t stop again (except to put on rain gear) until Hotchkiss where we got our Delta County cache.  As it was now raining and we had our cache for Delta County we didn’t stop again until we reached our motel in Delta.  If you have proper gear riding in the rain isn’t too bad but stopping to get geocaches is.

It was raining in earnest when we reached the Rodeway Inn in Delta.  I had always thought that Rodeways were fairly high quality motels but this one was somewhat of a dump.  We did find a covered walkway at the end of the building to park our bikes out of the rain.  In view of the weather we had pizza delivered.  It was Philly Cheesecake and really good.  We had enough left over for our lunch the next day.

The rain quit during the night and it was dry in the morning as we headed northwest on Highway 50 toward Whitewater and Mesa County.  At Whitewater we turned south on Highway 141 all the way down to Dove Creek.  We saw some truly spectacular scenery on this road.  Much of it reminded us of our Utah trip a couple of years earlier.  We stopped for lunch at a cache called “Gyp Gap Rockshelter” that required a hike up a boulder strewn hill.  There was a small tree at the cache site that gave us shade for our lunch.  After we passed through Naturita and turned south toward Dove Creek we wisely returned to Naturita to gas up.  We were in desolate sparsely populated country.

We picked up several caches along this route and just past Lewis we turned east on Highway 184.  At Mancos Highway 184 merged into Highway 160 which took us southeast into Durango

Bolts gone
Bolts replaced
We stopped in Durango for gas and I always have to remove my tank bag in order to access my gas tank.  After doing so I noticed the two bolts that hold down the front of my gas tank were missing.  Before leaving home I had loosened those bolts in order to raise the tank just a bit to run my GPS cable under it.  Either I hadn’t tightened them back enough or more likely had forgotten altogether.  I inquired of a local and was told there was a hardware store just down the street.  I removed a bolt from one of my blinker lights that I thought was the same size as the ones I lost and took that into the hardware to find a match.  Luckily, in short order I found just what I needed and we were on our way.
Bear Creek Falls

As we headed north on Highway 550 out of Durango toward Silverton it began to rain.  We discovered this was pretty much an everyday afternoon occurrence.  Highway 550 between Durango and Ouray is called the million dollar highway.  It is a fantastic piece of highway and a local told is it was rated the 5th best motorcycling road in the US.  Unfortunately the rain ruined most of the uphill part for us.  However, it dried enough on the back side to allow some aggressive and fun riding.  On the way down we stopped at Bear Creek Falls which was absolutely spectacular.  We stopped at the bottom in Silverton to get a cache called “The Tree Farm”.  Incidentally, the big mine spill disaster occurred the day after we left Silverton.  We stayed at the Timber Ridge Lodge and were treated like royalty.  They gave us a thank you card, a small box of candy and called me a few days later to thank me for staying there.  That guy really knows his PR. 

Ouray is very much a tourist town and reminded me a little of Red Lodge, Montana.  We hiked down town to a restaurant the lodge owner had recommended and had a very good meal.  It was dark by the time we got back to the lodge and we had no trouble sleeping that night.  Yancey even gave me a break on the snoring. [To be continued]  M/W

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