Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Salida to Tomichi Creek Trading Post Campground
After a rest day in Salida, I made a quick stop at Absolute Bikes before I set out. This shop is actually showcased in Ride the Divide and was another "must do" such as Pork Chop John's back in Helena. From the shop and nearby Safeway, I took what seemed to be a really nice bike path which would lead to the junction of Route 50 and 285. It seemed to head in the right direction until it randomly stopped in the middle of nowhere. Do I go forward or do I go back? Thankfully the neighborly hound was the only one perturbed by my foregoing the no trespassing sign as I trekked the bike and trailer separately through his back yard. From there is was a breeze to 285 where I stopped for my first tamale goodness and breather before the 5 mile climb on US Highway 285. Although it was only 10:00 in the morning, the sweat poured from my face as I hugged the break down lane to the start of FR 200. From there I had a choice, a 2000ft to climb over 7 miles or 12 miles, choosing the later for ease. A well graded path and decent conditions lasted for three hours until I reached the top of Marshall Pass at 10,842ft and 16th Divide Crossing. Its 3% grade is due to the Denver and Rio Grande Railway which once connected the Gunnison and Arkansas Valleys. On the way, I was kindly given a bottle of water by passing ATV tourists. Not that many people do this ride each year, but its seems that those that do are often (as I have found) treated like wild animals. Everyone wants to feed us, take pictures, need to touch the bike. Maybe I just think the ride is normal. Back to the trail..the top of Marshall Pass was nice and cool, reached the snow line and it was an easy decent to the primitive designated campground. I choose to for go this option and head 10 miles further to the next town with camping facilities. Since this would take 10 miles from the ensuing 58 mile day. Simple camping with warm showers soothed any pains and it was overall a relatively easy day.