Colorado Trip Log Days 9 & 10

Days 9 and 10 were both shorter days but no less scenic than the previous. Though, perhaps a little less photogenic? I just don’t feel I managed to capture much of it at all.

Day 9

After staying the night in Durango, CO at the southern side of the San Juan Skyway we decided we had to drive the eastern side of the byway back up to Ridgway. Working a big loop around the 14,000+ ft / 4,300+ m mountain peaks in the area. The start of this drive didn’t seem as scenic as the west side but after working our way along it got better and better, though perhaps didn’t quite live up to the west side’s views. However the road was far more fun to drive, if only I was driving a fun car rather than a big sedan. Though, it’s probably best I wasn’t, a lot of it is dangerous and a mistake at high speed would send you off a very steep and long fall. If you’re lucky, the trees would catch your fall. Eeeek… It always surprises me where they decide to put guard rails along these roads, they seem like they were the safest places for the people working to erect the structure rather than making the most dangerous parts of the road safer. Oh well, adds to the excitement of the journey.

We stopped for lunch in Silverton at a local brew pub with an old truck of some kind parked out front. Sadly there was no hot waitress here like the one in Telluride on the west side but I suppose that was ok. There was still some neat scenery like a raised old yellow taxi, except it was painted brown. Which was a good indication of the kinds of roads that might be in the area if you strayed from the byway. There were lots of raised commercial vehicles in the area.

The rest of this days journey was pretty uneventful, just made out way out to Salida, CO and stayed a local motel. Which just might have been the most religious place I’ve been this side of a church. But it was cheap and fairly reasonable.

Day 10

This might have been the coolest day of the trip both literally and figuratively. Pikes Peak, 14,110 ft / 4,300 m above sea level. At the base of this mountain in Colorado Springs the temperature was 77°F / 25°C, but atop the mountain 8,000 ft / 2,400 m above the temperature dropped considerably to just above freezing in the sun with some rather high winds.

I wanted to get a picture of Horo up here, and while I managed to I nearly slid off a cliff because the surface I was situated on was just loose rocks and sand in addition to the wind blowing me around. Definitely not my best judgement call, and the picture isn’t even good so bleh. The second picture is a lot more safe and warm and conversely a lot less interesting.

While up there KB9SKW hammed it up for a couple hours making quite a few contacts all over the eastern United States. You’d think during this time I’d have managed to get a really good shot of what 14,110 ft / 4,300 m looked like, but nope. Regardless, it was neat how well the radio worked up there and how clear people were from so far away, even managed to talk to someone from where I used to live.

The top of Pikes Peak is quite a bit larger than I thought it would be, enough room to park many cars, a cog-train and a visitors center. As well as some building covered in radio towers and what not. I still wonder how they do the race up the mountain though, where do the visitors all park their cars, where do the competitors park theirs etc..

The drive down from the mountain was a bit quicker than the drive up, and worked the car just about as hard as the drive up. With grades hitting something like 16% according to the GPS you were required to put the car in low gear and stay off the brakes as much as possible, lest they overheat and you careen off the road. I’m not sure how much of an issue that is with modern cars and brakes, but there was no need to take the risk anyway.



  1. Persocom says:

    Beautiful shots again, and you know that Horo from within the car one is actually pretty cool in itself, it’s almost like you’re flying at that height. I would be slightly weirded out by that motel in Salida. Pike’s peak is breathtaking, quite literally. Unfortunately I’ve only seen it from below, while my wife has been up it. Guard rails are strange like that, I suppose they’re put in places people are expected to frequent, but there are quite a lot of dangerous roads. What really blows my mind is that people actually race up and down Pikes Peak every year.

    • Aka says:

      Hmm true, if we’d pulled the car up a bit more or I angled the camera differently it would have just been sky. But then that could have just been any hill heh.

      Yeah, the motel was a bit strange that way, and full of hunters too. Lots of guns and religion… eeeeeee!!! But we got out safely.

      You should really go up Pikes Peak, just don’t run. The air really is thin, I was fine walking around, but if I walked quickly up hills and what not even at 10,000 ft up I felt pretty winded. Seemed I had to take everything a bit slower than I usually would. Additionally, the car you drive up in is going to lose TONS of power. We’d floor the car and it would barely accelerate up the hills. It was funny, but pathetic as well.

      I love watching the race up Pikes Peak, and now I understand why they need such high horsepower cars, they lose so much of it by the top. Additionally, I now understand just how scary it would be to drive that fast up the mountain.

  2. Rajura says:

    Woah, they have a Grumpy’s out there?!?! We have those over here!

    Glad to see Horo safe and sound!

    You gotta avoid those dangerous shots… we would like to keep Horo (and you) around… seriously be safe.

    • Aka says:

      I have no idea what a Grumpy’s is, I was more interested in the taxi haha.

      The dangerous shots should have been the best 🙁

  3. Wow, I haven’t visited your site in a while. Looks like had a pretty awesome trip in Colorado? Man, I live in the US and I’ve never been there ^^; Looks pretty amazing though.
    Good thing you didn’t lose Holo in that one shot, or worse fall yourself xD I know getting a good shot is tempting but you gotta be careful 😛
    Lots of nice photos here. Going to check out your previous day entries as well!

    • Aka says:

      The United States is a big country. So is Canada for that matter. It’s hard to go everywhere, but I think I’m going to try travelling much more, it’s so much more fun.

      I’m so glad I didn’t lose Horo… the wind was pretty strong and she kept falling apart since the accident (Day 5). Her hair would just come right off, she’s fine if she’s on a shelf I think, but any movement and it drops.

      Thanks for the compliments! I’ll try to maintain my safety as best I can in the future, Horo’s as well of course.