Gunnison-Saguache: Isn't cycling in Colorado grand? - Expanded Slumgullion Tour 2009 - CycleBlaze

July 10, 2009

Gunnison-Saguache: Isn't cycling in Colorado grand?

Lodging: We had a reservation at the traditional stop - Saguache Creek Lodge 719-655-2264 Faith $47.61 includes tax. This lodge is located several miles outside of town. Our reservation was 'lost' when they had a wedding party book the entire motel. We ended up staying at the newly renovated Big Valley Motel right in town. 719-655-2524 Ken and Lorraine. They were also booked full with the wedding party, but let us rent the owner's home for $125. Two bedrooms/one bath.

Looks like another great day outside - thankfully not a cloud in sight.

I ate and left before Jacinto had even gotten out of bed. I guess that's an advantage to having legs like pistons (some guy told him that on Ride the Rockies).

Here I was, on the real Slum. Always a fun ride. I enjoyed each landmark I passed. Yes, that old farmhouse was still there, only with a new coat of paint. There's the spot John Orlowski had the flat tire. Cycling memories are almost always enjoyable.

We had a small group rest stop just after the turn, then we spread out again. North Pass is a gentle pass. It's a long, gradual climb with only two miles from the official bottom to the top.

As I rested briefly at the 2 miles to the summit sign, I could see someone with a back pack and a dog hiking up the pass in front of me. I knew the Colorado Trail crossed somewhere close here. Perhaps this was a long distance hiker? When I arrived at the top, Ken was still waiting. It was a woman hiking, she had been out of food for 'quite a while'. She gobbled down the food we gave her, as did her dog. I had an entire Stromboli from Mario's that I had for the day's lunch. I gave most of it to her. Ken gave Nelly (the dog) a couple of pieces of beef jerky. Ken also gave the hiker a Cliff bar and a package of tuna. She had been on the road eight days and 132 miles.

We rode on into town, Ken quickly out distancing me. I didn't have a strong headwind, but it wasn't a tailwind either. Could be worse - the 30 miles to town passed fast enough. No clouds in sight.

I went straight to the store for a cold V-8. While I was asking directions to the new restaurant, I saw John cycle past. Turns out Ken made us a deal at the Big Valley Motel for the manager's house. $125. for the entire place. It wasn't quite finished or totally furnished. But we were happy. The bikes were under the covered porch. Everyone straggled in. We knew Fred and Moni got wet, but they said the rode into town between two giant, black rain clouds. It POURED in town - they were lucky. We all felt lucky we had just pulled our bikes under the porch when it started to rain.

At the motel cell phones did not work. But if we walked two buildings over to the general store, then there was cell coverage. Interesting how things work in the mountains.

I had read there is a very tasty new cafe in town. ? ? ? There has always been only one place, the Oasis restaurant next to the grocery store. Which we have always liked just fine. Last year the interior was remodeled. I was interested in trying the new place, as Don said it was good. An elderly man leaving the grocery store gave me directions (not that Saguache was so large that I couldn't find it on my own without much difficulty). After getting directions, I went in the store to buy a V-8. When I exited the store, there was the man waiting for me. He had driven past the restaurant, saw that he had given me the correct directions, but the wrong name and returned to tell me the correct name.

John went over to check things out. They were open late enough, but had had a busy day and were running low on food. The elderly fellow especially liked the brisket. John asked - yes, there were three servings of brisket left. She would save them for us. First come, first served. We were warned. But the desire to shower before eating won out. Jacinto and I waited for a turn in the shower and were the last ones to the restaurant. There was nothing left. We should have gone to The Oasis as Jacinto suggested. But I wanted to eat with the group. we ended up paying $6.00 for a chili cheese baked potato - minus the chili. But the price remained the same. John, Ken, and Moni had brisket and said it was great. There were several different homemade salads and desserts. We did fill up, but it was a pretty expensive meal and I wasn't bicycle full, just full. If you know what I mean.

Ken's wife had made arrangements for us to rent the owner's home at the motel. But somehow he ended up sleeping on the couch. Jacinto and I got one bedroom. John and Fred shared the other. Moni chose to set her tent up outside. Poor Ken had to wait until the Rockies game was over before he could go to sleep.

The canyon is a pretty start to the day.
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There were wildflowers around every bend. We have had heavy rain all spring. I've never seen so many flowers.
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The first day of the official Slum ride takes deserted Hwy 149 over North Pass.
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Moni introduced me to the fine art of writing notes with chalk. She informed me I needed to write going up instead of down as cyclists read from bottom to top.
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This woman had just spent eight days hiking on the Colorado trail. She had been out of food 'for awhile'. She and her dog gobbled up the extra food we offered them.
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We were very happy for the covered patio at the motel. We and our bikes were nice and dry as the rain pelted down.
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Today's ride: 70 miles (113 km)
Total: 216 miles (348 km)

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