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July 4, 2019

4th of July: Fremont Pass(11,318'), Independence Pass(12,095'), Trout Creek Pass (9,346'), Hoosier Pass(11,539')

Above: Clinton Gulch Reservoir.

So today, I rode all day, from about 12:00 noon until 9:30 p.m. My GPS says I went roughly 350 miles in 7 1/2 hours. Started out heading West on I-70. Gridlock on I-70 at Floyd Hill was expected, but this time, the traffic was backed up all the way to CR-65. They were just parked on CR-65. So, of course, I just got in the other lane, and rode into oncoming traffic, basically. Then, going up Floyd Hill, I just rode on the shoulder. Then, down Floyd Hill, I rode on the shoulder. After Floyd Hill, the traffic pics up and we're going like 45 mph at least.

This time, I went west on I-70 past Breckenridge, and then turned south at the exit for Leadville and took Colorado State Highway 91 from Copper Mountain down to Leadville. I crossed the continental divide first at the Eisenhower Tunnel. Then, the second time I crossed the continental divide today was at Freemont Pass (11,318').

Then, down into Leadville. At Leadville, I run into people riding 4-wheelers (ATV's) and dirt bikes in the streets, in the parking lots, etc. I'm like, "the cops don't stop y'all for riding ATV's down the street?" They're like "well, have have OHV permits, and as long as you don't ride on the main roads, they won't harass you". Pretty cool town, I guess.

South out of Leadville, and I see signs for the airport. I flew over the airport countless times, so I turn off to check it out. But the airport is very small, with only a few helicopters there. It seems like the airport I remember was larger? OK. Now that I look at it in Google Earth, I was just at one end of the runway. It's much larger than it appeared when I was sitting there on the tarmac near the north end of the runway.

Then, south out of Leadville to Colorado Highway 82 to Twin Lakes, where I stop for lunch. Now west to the summit of Independence Pass (12,095'). Then, down into Aspen. They had some sort of 4th of July Parade today, but thankfully, it was over before I got there.

From Aspen, I try to drive up to Maroon Bells, but they stop me because? So, I get turned back. But then they let the next person through. Then I double back and asked why they let that guy through. Apparently, if you're handicapped, or have a baby under 2 years old then they let you drive up. So apparently I need to get a handicapped sticker.

Then back over Independence Pass, then south towards Buena Vista on U.S. Highway 24. At some point, I pass a sign that says something about a railroad trestle. So, I turn east and cross a small river, and then the road follows the creek/river south towards Buena Vista. There are several campsite along the way, with lots of campers. And then, I come to a couple of tunnels that were blasted through the rock for the dirt road to pass. This was a pretty cool little path into Buena Vista. I've never taken it before. Never knew it was there. This is County Road 371, and it follows the Arkansas River, and then eventually it ends in Buena Vista, which is a cool little town. I don't think I'd ever driven through this little town before, but it's pretty neat.

At Johnson Village, I turn onto US Highway 285, and stop for gas. It was outrageously expensive in Aspen ($4.50 a gallon I think). So I gas up and now heading back North and East on 285.

Then, I summit a pass I'd never noticed before...Trout Creek Pass (9,346'). The pass sits atop the southern end of the Mosquito Range on border between Park and Chaffee county.

Now, I head up US Highway 285 towards Fairplay. To the east, massive storm clouds, and it starts to rain on me some, albeit very lightly. I decide that I'll go north out of Fairplay, over Hoosier Pass, to Breck, and then back home on I-70. I do this for two reasons. 1) It looks like there will be less rain/storms if I go North and then East. 2) I will get to cross the Continental Divide 2 more times today.

I roll north on Colorado Highway 9 out of Fairplay. Then, north over the continental divide at Hoosier Pass (11,539'), on the border between Park and Summit counties. Then down into Summit County, to Breckenridge, to I-70. Stop in Dillon for more Gatorade (3 gatorades for $4.00). Then back through the Eisenhower Tunnel, and down I-70 to Idaho Springs where I stop to eat. Then I ride home in the dark (24 miles).

So, this is roughly where I rode today.

One of the things I couldn't get over is that, everywhere I look, I'm seeing these massive sections of forest wiped out by avalanches this year. Everyone I ask, of course, is sticking to the Religion of The Coming Ice Age....errrr....Global Warming.....errrr....Klimate Change. But, one thing is for sure...we had a MASSIVE amount of snow this winter, causing avalanches that wiped out large sections of forests in the Rocky Mountains.

Above: Trees wiped out by massive avalanche south of Copper Mountain.

Above: Robinson Tailings Pond.

Above: Fremont Pass (11,318'). It forms the continental divide on the border between Lake County and Summit County.

Above: Independence Pass (12,095'). It forms the continental divide on the border between Pitkin and Lake counties.

Above: The summit at Independence Pass.

Above: Independence Pass.

Above: Independence Pass.

Above: Trout Creek Pass (9,346'). The pass sits on the southern end of the Mosquito Range on the border between Park and Chaffee counties.

Above: Old courthouse in Fairplay, Park County, Colorado.

Above: Hoosier Pass - on the border between Summit and Park Counties.

Above: Sunset over I-70 near Empire, Colorado.

Posted by Rob Kiser on July 4, 2019 at 10:14 PM


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