(Posting a day late due to internet down in C.B. last night)
This morning I left the campsite at Blue Mesa at about 8:30. I didn’t eat more than a granola bar because I figured if I got going I could get a late breakfast in Gunnison.
US 50 had hardly any traffic at that time of the morning and it was actually kind of pleasant. It was kind of an overcast day, though, so I couldn’t get any really good pictures. Here’s a view of the Marina where I camped the night before from the opposite side of the res:
I got sprinkled on just a tiny bit but no biggie.
Around 9:30 traffic picked up quite substantially, with a lot of commercial trucks. My guess is that all of the deliveries to the Gunnison area leave Grand Junction at the same time every morning and eventually they catch up to you. US50 has a nice shoulder but I was still glad to have my Portland Design Works Danger Zone taillight. That thing is so freaking bright, and the peculiar way it flashes makes motorists notice it from a looooong way off.
I think I had a slight tailwind, and I pulled into Gunnison at about 10:45. I stopped the the W Cafe for breakfast. I was hoping to find a place that would still serve breakfast, they serve it all day long! And it was packed. Obviously the right choice. Sausage and cheese omelet, and a truly gigantic portion of hash browns.
So after a stop at the grocery store I’m feeling pretty good pulling out of Gunnison at 12:30. It’s still overcast but the clouds don’t look like thunder-type clouds. Also, the clouds were keeping everything cool, which was a nice change. Heading north towards C.B., I swear there was more traffic on that road than there was on US50! A few miles out of town, Ohio Creek road forks to the left. This is a beautiful, flat, paved road through a very scenic valley. It looked like there’d be some good weather up ahead:
After about 20 miles of pavement the road turns to gravel. The sky was getting uglier although still not looking severe. The road was nicely graded. After a mile or two I came to a parking area for horse trailers with an outhouse. It was starting to rain so I took shelter under the outhouse overhang for awhile. I probably should have kept riding because when I finally did start again, I got caught out in much harder rain. It was all aspen forest, which doesn’t block much rain. Eventually I found a nice cluster of fir trees to take shelter under.
I had to walk a couple of 10-11% grades which I didn’t mind too much because it helps to stretch out my calves. The pass was not marked but the road started going down and in less than a mile I was back at the junction with Kebler Pass road that I had been at 3 days earlier.
Unfortunately this road was really wet and muddy and everything was a mess after a 7 mile downhill. But the hotel has a hose outside for washing bikes. And a hot tub for me!
Look at that stem clamp! Can you believe we used to ride crap like that?! And the juxtaposition with the modern aluminum OnOne handlebars is just too much.