Monday, November 30, 2015

Tour of Desolation and Disapointmen

Hello fellow two wheel enthusiasts,

Here is a narrative on the "Tour of Desolation and Disapointment" (I would like to change the spelling, but this is the way the sign was spelled).

Where -  Dove Creek to Norwood, 70 miles
Norwood to Old La Sal, 65 miles
Old La Sal to Dove Creek, 62 miles

When -  Nov. 6th, 7th & 8th - 2015

Being the first weekend in November we new that the possibility of cold weather could be part of the experience and I was hoping that I had brought enough with me on the bike. We did have my family sweeping the route later in the day and they were able to carry some extra supplies as well.

There were 5 of us on the tour and 3 of us were ready to go knowing that were had about 70 miles to go while the other 2 went to the coffee shop waiting for the day to warm up. By 9:30 we had met a Adobe Milling, where the cars were left, and three of us took off.

The route north from Dove Creek to Egnar looks straight forward but the whole time you are going through dips and climbs until the edge of the Disappointment Valley where you descend for the next 5 miles to the bridge crossing the Dolores River. After that the route gradually climbs through the open expanse of the valley traveling to the east with a view of Lone Cone off in the distance that we used as a landmark as we pedaled through the day.

Just as we decided to take the dirt shortcut to Redvale, the other 2 caught up and we all took the same route until we reached Hwy 145 where we turned right to the East for the last 7 miles to Norwood arriving just around 4:00 in the evening. I should have used my warm booties because my feet were a bit cold by the time I got to the motel and they sure had that tingling feeling in the shower. We had 3 options for eating out that night and we picked the pizza shop which suited us just fine. Accommodations at the Backcountry Inn were clean and recently built but don't expect many frills.

Day two started at the Happy Belly Deli which was very busy serving the hunters who were gearing up for a day of driving around in a muddy trucks drinking, by all visual accounts Bud Light Beer, and looking for deer to shoot.

Again 3 of us took off earlier than the other 2 leaving at 9:35 descending west on Hwy. 145 retracing our route back to Redvale and then further through Naturita to the intersection with Hwy. 90. You then head south for a little before turning west and making it over a small pass before looking all the way down the Paradox Valley to the La Sal Mountains where our final destination of the Mt. Peale Inn sits on the south flank.

They next 24 miles included some of the most scenic of the trip as you made you way up 2 separate climbs interrupted with a scenic canyon with dramatic red walls on either side.

The Mt. Peale Inn was an oasis of comfort situated on the South East side of the La Sal Mountains where they had our accommodations ready for us in the lodge. No one was there upon arrival but the note on the door welcomed us in as if we were coming home.

Day three took us through the Lisbon Valley where one of the largest open pit mines in the area exists. After leaving the inn you climb over the high point of the ride at about 7,600' and start down a hill for the couple of miles as you get into "New" La Sal. Keep going past and turn at the Lisbon Valley Hwy. Heading south for the next 20 miles were some recently resurfaced roads all the way until you climbed "3 Step" up to Summit Point.

At this point of the ride I was starting to "Smell the barn" but we still had 33 miles to go over a landscape that had continuos hills and valleys until we reached our final destination.

In conclusion this would be a great training ride for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic or a short vacation. The roads were in great shape for most of the ride and the traffic was minimal and polite.

As for the time of year, it was a bit on the cold side for us but I would not want to be out in the area when the heat is over 90 degrees.

Let me know if you are interested, I could see doing it backwards also.


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