Posts Tagged ‘Salida’

Smoke ’em if you got ’em

July 12, 2016


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.

Hope (hot) springs eternal

August 14, 2010

So the other day I decide I’m sick of hanging around Bibleburg and need a road trip. I’ve been wanting to scope out a route for a lightly loaded, weeklong bicycle tour of some Central Colorado hot springs, so off I went — on four wheels, not two — to examine conditions on the ground, as it were. Call it a recon mission. I don’t like surprises as much as I once did.

The view from the top ponds at Valley View Hot Springs.

The view from the top ponds at Valley View Hot Springs.

The first leg, down Highway 115 to Dakota Hot Springs, is dicey in spots but not terribly so, and only 40 miles, which would make for a nice shakedown cruise. The second leg, 67 miles from Highway 50 to Salida, is something else altogether — practically no shoulder and lots of heavy truck/commercial rafting traffic from Texas Creek to just outside of Salida.

There was a “Share the Road” sign just past Cotopaxi, but that’s not much of a shield for a knight-errant battling diesel-powered dragons. One fuck-up in the wrong spot — by you or somebody else — and under the wheels or into the guardrail you go.

In Salida I calmed my jangled nerves at Amícas with a Ute Trail Pale Ale and a Pan E Salsiccia. Amícas used to be a Il Vicino back in the day, and the menu, beer list and ambiance remain pretty much the same — good food and beer at reasonable prices. Plus they support cycling.

Then it was back on the road to inspect the third leg, 41 miles to Orient Land Trust and Valley View Hot Springs. It’s another short route, but not without its difficulties — day three starts with the gradual seven-mile ascent of Poncha Pass, which tops out at just over 9,000 feet, and ends with another gentle seven-mile climb, on a gravel road, to OLT.

This is where I spent Wednesday night, camping at Valley View and watching the Perseid meteor shower, a light show dampened somewhat by high clouds and a gentle rain. Thirty bucks gets you something like 36 hours of soaking in your choice of eight pools plus a night’s lodging on the ground, in your tent. Pricier options include a bunkhouse, cabins and the Sunset House, a motel-type deal.