Monday, May 31, 2021

A rainy ride through the Rockies

 The weather forecast wasn't great, with rain and intermittent thunderstorms forecast for the entire day. We opted to leave Pagosa Springs before 8am and wore all our warm clothes, liners, and rain gear as we rode east on US 160 through the Rio Grande National Forest.

We wanted to get over Wolf Creek Pass, at 10,857' at the top of the Continental Divide, before bad weather hit. Originally a 12' wide dirt road constructed in 1916, it's now a multi-lane paved highway with maximum 6.8% grade. 


Although the ski area on the east side of the summit is closed for the year, there's still a significant quantity of snow. We missed the rain, but the temperature dipped to 42 degrees as we zoomed down the mountain into the San Luis Valley, a 122 mile long, 74 mile wide high mountain valley home to small towns and agriculture. 

We turned northeast on Colorado 112 for a short stretch before heading north on US 285 through the valley with the northern part of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range to our right. The clouds dropped down below the tops of the mountains and we rode in and out of rain the rest of the trip.

We ended the day in Buena Vista, a beautiful mountain town at about 8,000' with normally gorgeous views of the Presidential Peaks. The weather should clear up tomorrow and we'll be able to see the mountains as we continue our ride north.

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