Old Colorado, New Colorado

Yesterday, I passed through Vail, never one of my favorite places in Colorado. The last 20 years have been tough on that part of Colorado. 1%’ers have cluttered up the mountains with their litterbox condos and incredibly ugly shopping centers. It’s hard to tell there are mountains around the place. My old haunt, Steamboat Springs, is similarly ratted-out with overpriced housing and trendiness. I don’t see me ever going back there again.

Scott recommended meeiting in Leadville and that turned out to be a great suggestion. Leadville hasn’t been mangled by the weirdness of our deficit economy and it is still a very traditional Colorado town. Colorado’s generally insane drive to contaminate as much of that state’s beautiful and rare assets has bothered me since I was a kid visiting the state with my family. It’s nice to see that not everyone wants to turn the mountains into New York.

2016 Day 7 (1)From there, we headed off on a huge 54 mile adventure to Buena Vista and Cottonwood Hot Springs. This is one of the nicest private hot springs I’ve experienced.  The surroundings are beautiful. The springs are hot enough to satisfy a boiled egg. It’s been a good day. In a couple of days, I’ll be pounding my way back home, so getting to hang with a friend and relax in a place that I like a lot is a gift. Tomorrow, we’re heading for Gunnison and, possibly, Pagosa Springs. After that, I’m aiming my bike toward Denver to North Platt and up into central Nebraska and home. I might take as long as three days to get back home, but I might also decided to pound some super slab and make time across the flyover territory. I think I saw the best Nebraska has to offer on the way out and it might be hard to find a return path that has anything near last week’s ride out.

2016 Day 6 (4)Scott is on a 2014 V-Strom, with ABS and all the Suzuki trimmings. My old rat bike is a decade older and a generation older technology. Hopefully, sometime this trip we’ll swap bikes and I’ll get a feel for what the new model is like.

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