Friday, April 22, 2011

Getting Stuck in Frisco CO.....

....was not as bad as I thought,once I got a few cups of coffee in me and thawed out as I made my way up to the bar at the 5th Ave Grille in Frisco,Colorado.As I unceremoniously deposited my snow covered helmet and my shivering body(it was 18º out) into a comfy bar stool and after getting the "Are U Nukin Futs" looks from two ladies sipping their wine at the horizontal slab,Johnny kept the coffee coming for me as I thawed out from refridgerator cold back up to room temperature.

Owner Seth Zelen with Johnny.

I pulled into Frisco simply because I couldn't ride any further.It takes a lot for me to be stopped by weather,I can pretty much ride in any weather except ice,I can ride in cold as low as zero all day long,i'll be cold and shaking,but i'll ride it if I have to no problem,but coming out and up past Vail on I-70 it started to rain a little,which then turned to snow the higher up to the Eisenhower Tunnel I got,which in turn caused a snow and ice build up on my helmet visor,which in turn necessitated opening the visor to be able to see out...........and at 40 mph with wind gusting to 25 mph and near white out conditions the snow coming in through my open visor felt like a hundred pins being stuck in my eyeballs.I had to stop riding.I couldn't go any further safely.
I came up on an exit that I could barely see,I nearly ran off the road thinking it was the turn but it wasn't,finally got the exit and gently and carefully rode downhill and into Frisco and ran smack into the 
5th Ave Grille.

My helmet and jacket blend right in............kinda.

After about my sixth cup of coffee Seth bought me a staff dinner that he had prepared for the staff that day,homemade spaghetti and meatballs,and for someone who doesn't eat meat,he makes a killer meatball.That doesn't sound quite right..........oh well.

Thank you again Seth for your hospitality.

I ended up camping on Seths recommendation at the back of the church grounds in a little kids playhouse.It was shelter from the storm,good enough for me.
The little kids house behind the bike was perfect..........and free.

The next morning I waited until lunch to head up to the Eisenhower Tunnel,it was a cold and windy ride but I got through to Denver and on up to Boulder,piece of pie.....

Before I got to Frisco,back on 133 as I headed out over McClure pass from Delta toward Carbondale the weather started to turn a wee bit,nothing to look at and go Uh oh,no,just little things like a quick drop in the mercury or the wonderful smell of rain approaching that you get accustomed to being on a motorcycle for more than a year or so.All part of the adventure(he said reassuringly to himself)as he daydreamed of Florida beaches with warm sand and the sound of the waves lapping up on the shore..........

View Larger Map

The route I took back up to Boulder from my stay with The Pope in Durango was 550 north through Silverton,Ridgeway,Ouray then on to Montrose and Delta.A beautiful scenic ride,over snow capped mountain passes,the air as crisp and clean as it gets.I have travelled this route many times before when going to Ouray Ice Park for the winter Ice Climbing events.

Ouray Ice Park,Ouray CO.

With snow storms looming up ahead of me,it just made the view more interesting,and as purple blue clouds loomed on the horizon,I was reminded of these thoughts,"If we had no winter,the spring would not be so pleasant;
if we did not sometimes taste of adversity,prosperity would not be so welcome".
As seems to be the case as my journey begins to extend from months into years,the less I plan ahead and prepare for,the more interesting and eventful the outcome seems to be.I stopped planning at the end of last year,and since then it seems like I left a 500lb weight behind.
Meeting adversity on the road will either drag you down,OR,will bring out the best in you,the person you didn't realize you thought you were.
How we deal with adversity makes us who we are.

Georgetown Lake,Georgetown CO.

As I travel north from Durango on 550,I came across the 12 ton,16ft tall "Christ of the Mines" shrine,linking the towns mining heritage with the present.The shrine is a reminder of the importance that the mining industry was to the town of Silverton.Though the mines are now closed,the legacy still remains.The statue is sculpted from Carrera marble,the same marble that Michelango used for his "David".

 As 550 winds north out of Silverton to Ouray,you are now on whats is known as the Million Dollar Highway.The origin of the name "Million Dollar Highway" is disputed,but several legends include that it cost a million dollars a mile to build in the 1920's,and that it's fill dirt contains a million dollars in gold ore.
The Million Dollar Highway stretches for about 25 miles between Silverton and Ouray on Hwy 550 in Colorado,but it's really the 12 miles south of Ouray through the Uncompahgre Gorge to the summit of Red Mountain Pass which gains the highway it's name.This stretch through the gorge is hairy as all hell,and thats on a good day.Steep cliffs,narrow lanes,off camber curves,no guardrails and lots of "S" curves used to gain elevation,it's not a road for the weak or timid,or those suffering from vertigo.Going north,as you look at the picture above,there's nothing but a sheer drop of a thousand feet or more to your left,so imagine these roads in Winter.

Hence the reason for this plaque,halfway down between Red Mountain Pass and Ouray.

Just by the Amphitheater north of Ouray.

In Rigdgeway,from the movie of the same name.

That concludes this episode of "Travels with Murph".
I hope you are enjoying the trip as I am enjoying re-telling the adventure in pictures and narrative.I have heard from some followers of the blog that if it were not for my adventures,they wouldn't get out at all,and for you,I am touched and honored to be your guide.

So 'till next time...........



Charlie6 said...

Outstanding writeup and photography Murph!

I bet your thoughts strayed towards that future sidecar rig of yours during your Frisco time.

Very accurate description of what its like to ride in driving snow, visor useless due to ice buildup and fighting to see through the pin pricks of ice particles. Glad you got off the slab safely and into the warm reception of the Fifth Avenue Grill.


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Diesel said...

Think I sat at that same table inside the 5th ave grill on a snowboarding trip a while back. Frisco is a pretty cool town and centrally located amongst a few of the heavy mountain resorts. There's a VERY good Italian place just across the street from the Frisco Hotel (a block down from the 5th) if your ever back through there. Stay warm (and vertical!) my friend.

Brady said...

I'm with Dom, those are some pretty mean photos, particularly a your bike covered in snow. I have to guess you're wearing some heated gear to ride like that in cold weather. If not, I feel like a huge pansy in your shadow. My hands went numb riding through West Virginia not too long ago. I installed heated grips the next week. Glad you made it out alive. CO looks like a great place to visit. I may just get there this summer.

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

Murph's Spot said...

Brady,Thank you,glad to have you along for the trip.
And no,I don 't wear heated gear,I just never bothered to get it.I just grin and bear it.I do have heated grips on the bike,but thats it.
Great bog of yours too,i'll take some time and go through the whole thing.