Smoke ’em if you got ’em


Yes, I shot it through the windshield. No cyclists were harmed in the making of this image,

Yes, I shot it through the windshield. No cyclists were harmed in the making of this image,

“Do not scorn day trips. You can use them to avoid nervous collapse.” — Jim Harrison, “Going Places”

We had a rest day in Le Tour on Monday, and Tuesday’s stage looked like a snoozer, so I abruptly decided to get the hell out of the scorching Duke City for a short road trip, the idea being to scout out a post-Interbike tour.

Mister Boo requires a bit of oversight, and I don’t like to impose on the neighbors, who have other things to do besides baby-sit a geriatric dog, so I wanted to keep my excursion short and sweet. Salida, I thought. Good cycling town, serviceable eats, haven’t visited in a while, not too far away.

Naturally, as soon as I pulled the trigger on the hotel room, the Hayden Pass fire erupted.

I will never be smart.

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14 Responses to “Smoke ’em if you got ’em”

  1. Sharon Says:

    I love Salida. Sad to hear about the fire. Several friends are staying there now. I’ve started my 3-week ride from Seattle. Stevens Pass was a whopper of a climb, at least for me it was – 5112 total feet of climbing. The bulk of the climbing in the 72-mile ride was about 8 miles of 6-7% grade before the Pass. We’re leaving Lake Chelan today. Weather in the 70s and the scenery is spectacular. Beautiful country.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Salida’s a cool little town, all right. Lotsa bikey people.

      Stevens Pass sounds like a bear. 5,112 feet of up? Yikes. I’d be calling for my mommy about a thousand feet into that one. I was struggling today on a 7.5-mile climb that only gained 1,500 feet (Poncha Pass).

      In my defense, I will note that there was a pretty stiff headwind. Waah. Maaaaamaaaaaaaa. …

      Have fun on your ride and tell us all about it when you get back to the ranch.

      • JD Dallager Says:

        POG: Good to see you back in Colorado! Salida is a great town……arts….bikes….white water…..small town feel….great eats…..what’s not to enjoy?

        Might I suggest Amica’s or Laughing Ladies for the culinary exploits?

        Great MTB’ing area for those of that persuasion.

      • Sharon Says:

        We will be in Salida August 27 to Sept 3. If that happens to coincide with your trip there, would love to meet up for a ride to Villa Grove via Poncha or similar. I like the pass on 114 quite a bit – gorgeous. Keep us posted if anything works out!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Amica’s favors a bicycle motif.

        Been there and done that, JD. I remember Amica’s from when it was an Il Vicino, waaaaaay back in the day. Alas, Laughing Ladies — like many local eateries — stays closed Mondays and Tuesdays, and I’m on a short leash.

        Sharon, any trip I make will probably have to be after Interbike, which runs Sept. 21-23. Though come to think of it, August is also a great time to get out of Albuquerque. Especially when the monsoons fail us. I’ll keep you posted.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    This is a good website to track wild fires. Not sure if I have provided the link before. If so, sorry.
    How long a tour are you planning? Difficulty? Inn to inn or camping?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, Pat. I think I’ve stumbled across that one before. Very useful indeed.

      I’m thinking it would be fun to tour from Albuquerque to Salida, or maybe Weirdcliffe (I could always tack Weirdcliffe onto a Salida ride if the place hasn’t burned down by then).

      Definitely inn to inn, but I’d take light camping gear along just in case my legs fail to keep pace with the itinerary. I was considering:

      — ABQ-Santa Fe, 60-67 miles (depending on whether I follow I-25 or NM 14). It would be amusing to make it a multimodal trip by taking the train from Duke City to the City Different.
      — Santa Fe-Ojo Caliente, 50 miles.
      — Ojo-Antonito, Colo., 60 miles.
      — Antonito-Alamosa, 30 miles (kind of an active-rest day).
      — Alamosa-Joyful Journey Hot Springs, 50 miles. Valley View Hot Springs is in about the same neighborhood but would require an uphill finish on a dirt road.
      — Joyful Journey-Salida, 33 miles (climbing the easy side of Poncha Pass, and then it’s all downhill from there).

      If I were to tack on a leg from Salida to Weirdcliffe I’d need to grow a third nut. It’s only about 47 miles but US 50 is a whole lot of no fun at all in stretches.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Hey, if someone meets up with you with a car in Salida, I might be tempted to join the party. Then again….does it mean I have to train?

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        The mileages sound damn reasonable. So, I assume there is some climbing involved. Do you want some company? Are you riding round trip?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Company would be great … but like Khal, if I do ‘er, it means I have to train. Ow, wow, yow, zow, etc.

        A round-trip ride would be ideal, but being an oldster of the geezer persuasion, I might have to arrange for return transport. Perhaps a nice hearse.

        I’ll keep you posted as this project comes together in what remains of my mind. There is some climbing involved, but nothing drastic — just those long, gradual grades that break your spirit meter by meter. Also, a couple stretches of poor shoulder, and some significant dead zones for AT&T cellphones.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Train? We don’t need no stinkin’ train! Well, the Duke City to Fanta Se (as Khal says) train trip might be unique. Anyway, a round trip would probably kill me too, so one way is great. I would be happy to help with logistics. Now if Khal and you can get a week off from those high pressure gigs……….

  3. khal spencer Says:

    I’m not surprised at smoke on the horizon. God, or whatever deity you prefer, really shut down the monsoon season. Its going to be a bad summer.

    Only problem we had with Salida was the lack of dog-friendly hotels. We found one on the outskirts of town and I would never recommend it to anyone unless the other alternative was Gitmo.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      For real, K. We had a short thunder-slash-hail storm the other day, but a monsoon season this does not make.

      Salida reminds me a bit of Durango, lodging-wise. Boy, have I ever stayed in some shitholes in Durango. Now I consider a Hampton to be slumming.

      • khal spencer Says:

        We always managed to drop a king’s ransom staying in Durango. With The Mortgage now with us, I think our “vacations” will be in Chez Fanta Se.

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