We reviewed our itinerary and decided to take a few detours today. We decided to take a look at Black Canyon, west of Gunnison, Colorado before turning back east to Salida.
Black Canyon is so named because it is so deep, steep and narrow that it is hidden in shadows for much of the time. The road out there ran along the shore of Blue Mesa Lake formed by a dam at the entrance to the canyon.
The road along the north rim was a spectacular ride. We stopped at a scenic overlook and walked to the best photography points.
We met another biker, Bill at the overlook and spent some time chatting with him about different motorbikes and journeys on two wheels.
From the overlook we rode on further up the road which climbed as it twisted to provide magnificent views over the San Juan Mountains. We eventually turned around and retraced our steps. This was no burden - rather, it was a joy as the road was a biker's dream.
These two riders helped us with a better map.
Back in Gunnison we stopped for lunch in the main street. Here we met Fred and Freda, a lovely couple travelling on their Harley Davidson. They recommended we eat at the W Cafe, and in particular to have the "special" (scrambled eggs, fries and toast) with a side of green chilli.
We took their photo and their advice. It was a great choice. We're determined to try some of these recipes back home.
After feeding the bike, we set off for Salida - not by the direct route, but via a loop south through Sagauche. The road initially followed a small river through a small canyon that in places was barely wide enough to accomodate the river and road at the same time. We crested North Pass at 10149 ft as we crossed the continetal divide for the nth time on this journey (we first crossed it - several times - up in Yellowstone NP, Wyoming).
Riding on, we saw dark clouds and rain off to our left. We stopped at Saguache for a break and coffee, hoping the rain would go away.
We were glad to eventually arrive in Salida where we rode around the town and discovered the historic downtown area which was full of charm - and doing a lot better in tough times than some places we have seen. For the second time in two nights, and only the second time on this journey, we have checked into a motel owned by Polish people. They have a lovely dog, Sandy.