Since this was to be our last day of mountains Dave created a route that took advantage of as much mountain time as possible – and man did we pack them in! Our days rides began in Gunnison and ended in Pueblo Colorado. We will break this down into 3 sections
The first section was from Gunnison to Canon City as you can see in the map below.
From Gunnison, the ride takes you out in the same terrain that brought you into Gunnison, not too exciting. then you start to climb (see below).
The reason for the climbing is to get over the Sawatch mountain range. At the top is Monarch Pass. We had been hoping this trip to find a cable car or chair lift to take us up a mountain. At Monarch Pass we found one, a tram way to the top of the pass. Here are some pics from the tram way and also at the top.
Here is a view of the road we came up on.
We were surrounded by 13,000 and 14,000 foot mts.
Wild flowers abound at the top!
As you come down from the pass, you ride through the small town of Salida. A ways further you enter the Arkansas River Canyon that takes you into the town of Canon City.
Here is a short video of ride through this canyon.
There was a very short ride we wanted to take in Canon City – Skyline Drive. Skyline Drive is a one-way, one-lane paved road, just barely wide enough for a normal car. The 3-mile drive, constructed by prison inmates sometime early in the last century, takes you hundreds of feet up a razor back ridge overlooking Canon City and the Arkansas River Valley. The views are breathtaking, riding a motorcycle on the ridge is scary and fun. Shear drop offs on both sides keep your knuckles white. Check these 2 videos out.
We just had to do this ride. Very freaky!
The second section of the days ride took us on a remote road form just outside of Canon City to the Wet Mountains and the small town of Westcliffe. This road is called Copper Gultch Road, see map below.
This road is off the tourist route. Most of the road is paved, all but 8 miles.
The road ends up in the Wet Mountain Valley at the base of the Sangre De Christo Range
This section of the days ride ended in the small mountain town of Westcliffe.
The third and last section of the days ride was from Westcliffe to Pueblo where we stayed the night. A great fast riding section between the 2 cities is Hardscrabble Canyon. About 15 mile of super tight twisties and great scenery. Whoever is driving the motorcycle does not have time to look at the scenery!
When we neared Pueblo we could see plumes of smoke over the short mountains (hills) to the north in the direction of Colorado Spring approximately 40 miles away.
This was the start of the fires that became the worst fire in Colorado history with 300 + homes burned to the ground. We spent the evening in our hotel room glued to the local TV news as things quickly went from bad to worse. We could see and smell the smoke from our hotel.