Sunday, August 23, 2015

2015 Colorado Caching – Part 3

The next morning we headed north on Highway 550 toward Montrose.  We stopped a short ways out of town in a little camping area where Yancey found one called “The Squirrel Stash”.  We didn’t stop again until we were east of Montrose on Highway 50.  When we turned east at Montrose the sun was right in my eyes and I had trouble reading my GPS.  Consequently, it took quite a while getting through town due to some missed turns.  We picked up some more along Highway 50. Along this stretch a dude tried to show me he could drive his Volvo better than I could ride my Triumph on the twisty hilly road.  After a little back and forth he relented.  I had gotten quite a ways in front of Yancey on this stretch so I stopped and waited at a roadside geocache.  It was shady and he zoomed right past me.  As soon as I got the cache I started after him but I knew I could never catch him.  After a short distance I got stopped at a road construction site.  I tried to call Yancey and as luck would have it he had stopped and climbed a hill to take some pictures just a little ways down the road so we quickly got back together.

Our planned route called for us turning south on Highway 149 west of Gunnison but due to fuel concerns we went on it to Gunnison to fuel up.  We then retraced back to 149.  Highway 149 was a very scenic route in high desert country with almost no traffic.  At South Fork we veered southwest on Highway 160.  We stopped a little ways past South Fork to pick up one in Rio Grande County.  I was relived because we were crossing the corner of Rio Grande County and I was concerned about being able to find one of only two I had lined up.  I believe it was just down the road that we stopped for a sardine lunch and the banks of the beautiful Rio Grande River.

Pagosa Springs
Working the combo
Teen Tribute
We continued south on 160 and went over Wolf Creek Pass and even stopped in downtown Pagosa Springs.  I got a kick out of that but Yancey had never heard of the C.J. McCall song “Wolf Creek Pass”.  What a city slicker!  We picked up an Archuleta County cache there at an Eagle Scout project in a park.  We left 160 for Highway 84 heading south to New Mexico.  It was beautiful country that Yancey particularly liked.  We just made a little loop in New Mexico and stopped for one cache called “All Aboard” on Highway 17 after we had turned back north.  It was a rather clever one that required you to figure out a combination on a lock to access the cache.  There was a little operating railroad there for tourists.
Railway in Chama, NM

We continued north back into Colorado and stopped at a 10,000 foot pass to get a cache that required a hike up the mountain side.  It was a beautiful view and I gave it a Favorite point.  Again it was late when we got in to Alamosa.  Every day we had been on the road in excess of 12 hours.  We stayed at another Super 8 in Alamosa and went to a Mexican restaurant recommended by the clerk at the motel.  It wasn’t up to Yancey’s standards (he’s a real Mexican food aficionado) but I thought it was good.  The only problem is that we got the buffet and as often happens in that situation I ate so much I was uncomfortable.

Saquache County is featured in Dayton Duncan’s book “Miles From Nowhere” that is about communities that are as isolated now as they were in frontier days.  Alamosa is just a few miles south of the Saquache-Alamosa county line.  I had located two caches about 35 miles north of Alamosa that I had hoped we could get with an up and back trip after we arrived at Alamosa.  However, it was just too late.  So we decided we would leave before breakfast the next morning, get the caches and come back for breakfast.  We were on the road before six heading across the sage brush and desert country.  The first cache was a micro sized one just off the highway.  Unfortunately we couldn’t find it.  I’m pretty sure it was gone.  Now I was really worried – just one more chance.  We continued north to the little community of Moffat and I was tremendously relieved when we found the cache at an old historic church there.  As planned, we zipped back down to the Super 8 for a nice breakfast.

Veterans' Memorial
After breakfast we headed east on Highway 160 toward Walsenburg.  We took a side trip on a very washboardy gravel road to get a “Veterans’ Memorial” cache for Costilla CountyOur first cache for Huerfano County was also down a gravel road but we elected to hike rather than ride this one.  The coordinates were off and we almost gave up before finally locating it.  We found one more for this county which was a kind of memorial for a teenager who had been killed.  At this spot we had an interaction with a state patrolwoman who pulled up on the shoulder apparently to meet another patrolman who showed up shortly.  Colorado must give their cops good training in PR because she was exceptionally cordial as was the patrolman we encountered on our trip the year before.

Before reaching Walsenburg we turned northwest on Highway 69 toward Silver Cliff.  This was hot desert country with little traffic.  At Silver Cliff we turned east on Highway 96 and attempted six caches between there and Florence finding only three.  Florence is where the Supermax Prison complex is and it is HUGE.  It’s where they house the baddest of the bad.  I had just read a Tom Clancy novel that told about the place.

We were now on the home stretch for this leg of our mission lacing only El Paso County as we headed toward Colorado Springs.  We managed two caches for that county – one at a lone grave on a steep hillside and the other at a pet cemetery.

Now the fun began.  We got on Interstate 25 and even Yancey said it was about the worst traffic he had ever seen.  It seemed to go for hours – speed up and then slam on the brakes and crawl for a while.  Finally as we got into Denver Yancey put us on some kind of expressway legal for motorcycles and we flew past those poor miserable souls on the regular Interstate.  It was good to get back to Thornton far a day’s rest.


Hallie said...

Lookin' good in those Champion shirts, Dad! ;)

Kathy said...

Get him more Champion shirts!