Valkyrie Road Trip Day 6, August 26th, 2004
Eldora, Colorado to Richfield, Utah

On August 26th I headed south out of Eldora on route 119, which
winds through very high mountain country, with lots of switchbacks and
hairpin curves. This is a really beautiful road that I would recommend
highly to any motorcyclists riding through this part of the country. The
weather was downright chilly, but mostly clear, with powder puff
clouds moving through the sky incredibly fast. Route 119 takes you through
the notorious gambling towns of Black Hawk and Central City,
unsightly blights on the face of the pristine Colorado Rocky Mountain
wilderness. I cruised past the huge gaudy gambling casinos shaking my head
at the ugliness of it all. Beth had warned me to beware the drunk
drivers who had just lost their life savings gambling, but the roads were
virtually empty of traffic.

Blackhawk, Colorado. Gambling in Paradise

In a half hour or so I got to the short access road branching west off of
119 that winds through a deep canyon and feeds onto Interstate 70. I
had decided the night before to head west on the interstate to make
good time on the initial leg of my return trip home, and in an attempt to
clear the cold front that was bearing down on Colorado. Once on the
interstate I headed west through the towns of Idaho Springs, Lawson,
and Empire, and then climbing up through the Loveland Pass to a
breathtaking 11,990 feet altitude above sea level. I mean breathtaking quite
literally! It was hard for me to catch my breath, and I did my best to
take long, deep breaths just to keep from getting dizzy.

Loveland Pass, Colorado

The temperature dropped substantially as well, and small light rainsqualls added
to the magic of the moment. On through Dillon, the altitude thankfully
dropped considerably, but then heading towards Vail, the Vail Pass
boasts a 10,666-foot altitude, and the temperatures dropped drastically
once again. The chill was beginning to seep in through even my
warmest riding gear, and I began to pray for a warming trend, which was
graciously granted by the powers that be. As I rode through Vail and
the White River National Forest, the altitude dropped more and more,
and the sun emerged more powerfully, warming my chilled bones. This
entire bone chilling ride was absolutely beautiful as far as the scenery

Some of the mountains in Western Colorado are incredible!

is concerned, the Rocky Mountains in all their widely varied disguises
keep my jaw hanging opened, and made the cold that much bearable.
Onward through the towns of Rifle, Parachute, De Beque and finally
Grand Junction, Colorado, where the Rockies Mountains turn into
reddish brown and ochre Mesas of absolute splendor. At the Colorado,

Leaving Colorado

Utah border, the vista of beautiful Utah stretched out before me,
basking in warm sun, and beckoning invitingly. The weather got sunnier and
warmer every mile I rode, and my spirits were never higher. This was
an utterly sublime part of my ride. The Valkyrie too, seemed to be
happier with the lower altitude and warmth, and was running like a
charm, cruising effortlessly at 95 mph through the desert mountain
panoramas. Through Thompson and into Green River, past Grand
Valley, the Book Cliffs, Gray Canyon and San Rafael Valley, the scenery

Beautiful Mountains in Utah!

was constantly morphing, the light and colours playing beautiful tricks
of depth perception on my eyes. After Green River there is a profusion
of small rest stops, or lookouts, because the scenery is just so fantastic.
I pulled over at almost all of them, soaking it in, loving it! There is a
substantial stretch with no towns or gas stations, just beautiful Utah in

Canyons in Utah

all her glory. The Coal Cliffs jut dramatically up out of the desert
landscape announcing the next mountain range, the Fishlake National Forest,
and gorgeous high peaks like Mounts Terrel and Mussina punctuate the
scene with grandiose splendor. As I rode through the beautiful twisting
roads of the Fishlake National Forest, the light gradually began to
wane, as I headed down into a beautiful fertile valley and into the town of
Salina. Making a small navigational mistake, I decided to continue to
Richfield, which would cause me to backtrack the next morning, but
nevertheless I got myself to a good cozy hotel, enjoyed an exquisite
filet mignon steak dinner, and fell into a deep and well-deserved slumberů..

The Valkyrie, at home in Utah!

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

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