Fall 2011 Color Tour / Taos to Lake City

Warren Barta

Drove to Taos under heavily overcast skies, had lunch, and were off by about 12:30. We rode the "high road" from Taos through the old villages of Las Trampas, Truchas, and Chimayo to Espanola. Saw a 250 year-old adobe church at Las Trampas. Tommy broke a spoke on the climb up out of Taos, but we reached Espanola okay. We stayed at the deluxe "Santa Claran", a new hotel-casino combo in Espanola. No bike shop in Espanola.

- Day 2 – 70 miles of cycling: The General Manager of the hotel-casino complex drove us to a bike shop in Santa Fe (and drove us back) so we could get Tommy's bike fixed. We got on the road about 12:30 and rode to Tierra Amarilla (12 miles south of Chama, NM). Arrived at dark and stayed in the guest house of Tierra Wools, a weaving school and wool products shop in Tierra Amarilla. This was the hardest day - headwinds and a lot of ups and downs.

- Day 3 – 58 miles of cycling: Tierra Amarilla to Pagosa Springs. We enjoyed beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, and no headwinds; excellent day. Got into Pagosa at about 2:30, found a cheap motel and watched the Bronco game with beer and food at a sports bar.

- Day 4 - 62 miles of cycling: Pagosa Springs to Creede over Wolf Creek Pass. Gorgeous scenery, aspens turning, no headwinds, great weather, what can I say? Stayed at the "Old Firehouse Inn", an 1890's building in Creede that is now a bed-and-breakfast and a restaurant. Creede is a cute old silver mining town. Good beer, food, Monday-night football, and, later, live music at Tommyknocker's tavern.

- Day 5 – 52 miles of cycling: Left Creede at 9:00 A.M. It was chilly at the start - Creede sits at 8900 ft elevation. We headed north over Spring Creek Pass, and then Slumgullion Pass (11,500 ft). We enjoyed stunning scenery - aspens near peak coloration. During the last 10 miles, we dropped from 11,500 ft elevation to about 8,700 in Lake City - what a rush! Andrew was waiting for us in my car. We had lunch and were headed home by about 2:30.
Creede was a highlight for me.

That's it--great fall color tour!

25th Anniversary Issue - Vol 4 Issue 5, 1 October 2011

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