Yesterday’s extra long day left me with only 225 miles to our house in Breckenridge. Many of the roads I’d be taking are ones that I’m familiar with and I had two options, one from Garmin and one from Apple maps. I elected to use the Garmin route.
Seriously, Garmin? What part of no offroad, paved roads only didn’t you understand? I had successfully managed to avoid almost all dirt road riding during the cannonball with less than 2 miles total only to get to the end of the pavement and see 22 miles to the next turn. Knowing Wyoming and Colorado dirt I was reasonably certain I wouldn’t see pavement before then. What the heck, in my experience many of these graded dirt roads are hard packed, smoother than many paved roads and with a posted 45mph speed limit it looked like this would be one of those and I didn’t want to backtrack 30 miles to avoid it.
Came to the intersection with the next road only to discover that not only wasn’t it paved it wasn’t in anywhere near as good a shape as the one pictured above. Narrower, not as smooth and with a 25-30mph posted speed limit and 27 miles to town. In for a penny, in for a pound so off I went. True to my foreboding the road was much worse than the one I had left. Not only did it have washboard surface in many places (ever skied in cat tracks early in the morning before the sun has softened the frozen tracks, if you you know what it was like) but also a lot more gravel. Worst part was a turn at the top of a hill just after a cattle grate with several inches deep gravel and no warning of either the turn or the gravel. For a moment there I thought I wasn’t going to make the turn even though I wasn’t even going the posted speed limit. Have I mentioned that I hate gravel even worse than dirt?
While I had seen a few vehicles on the first dirt road the only one I saw the entire time I was on this one was one truck hauling a trailer full of hay. I have to admit I was glad when after 17 miles I started seeing the occasional ranch house. Another 5 miles and I saw pavement. Then once I reached the town I was able to fill up and saw signs that said 72 miles to Steamboat. Figured I’d get lunch there before the final ride down Colorado 9 home. That too was not to be because the next intersection showed me to be south of Steamboat and Rabbit Ears Pass. Had I known that I’d had stopped at the café about 20 miles back. I knew there wasn’t really any place in Kremling I wanted to eat so started trying to decide between a very good burger at Mountain Lion in Silverthorne or a Rueben at Smiling Moose in Frisco.
In the meantime there was more road construction and dirt. Seems Colorado has decided to line 9 with game fences and provide several game crossing overpasses. The first one south of Kremling was complete. The second one partially in place but from just before that until well after where the third one was going in the road had been scraped down to, you guessed it dirt. With sections down to one lane and flagmen making you wait for a pilot car in between two way sections of dirt.
That gave me a lot of time to figure out what I wanted to do about lunch. By the time I got to the Mountain Lion the skies looked like they were about to let loose so it was really an internal debate about whether to just head home and get something from the freezer or stop for a burger.
Burger won which turned out to be a good thing since before my burger arrived the skies opened up, not with rain but hail. While it was small hail that isn’t what I want hitting me especially when I was wearing a mesh jacket. By the time I finished the hail had stopped and while the sun wasn’t out it wasn’t raining either.
A quick stop at City Market for some perishables I tucked the Sports City into the garage with its sibling scoots.