Blue Lake Campground, CO – Poncha Springs, CO
Miles Ridden – 172
Total Miles – 2,564
Today’s Travel Time – 11.5 hrs
Animal Totem – Horse
What I learned today – Colorado days are long!
We woke up early and skipped our usual oatmeal breakfast in order to retreat from the cold as soon as possible.
After about 40 minutes we came into La Veda for a very scenic gas stop.
A mile down the road was Paradise Coffee, and were we ever happy to see that place! Warm and hospitable with delicious chai and blueberry muffins (I had to get an extra one for the road). After using their lovely bathroom to brush my teeth and hair, wash my face and strip off extra layers, I finally felt awake and like a semi-normal person (as normal as one can feel when living off a dirt bike that you are riding across the country). A running joke is that being on the TAT is a little bit like practicing to be homeless- except we have a credit card ☺️
The rest of the day was amazing riding through some truly beautiful mountains- I think my mouth was hanging open in awe at least half of the day. The photos really don’t do it justice.
We stopped for lunch in Westcliffe, a cute little ranch town at the edge of the Sangre De Cristo mountains, where at the table next to us were three cyclists, and one just happened to be a life coach as well! We had fun chatting with them and after lunch began researching the passes that would come the following day on the way to Telluride. Unfortunately we found that most were still socked in with snow, but we decided to continue on the TAT for as long as we could.
During the afternoon we were on a beautiful road that wound towards, away from, and then up through the mountains where the air turned chilly again and the views were incredible.
There’s nothing like coming around a curve to see another view that takes your breath away.
As was seeming to be par for the course, we came down off the mountain as the sun was dipping behind the hills. After last night’s camping at high altitude and the long day I was feeling a little squishy so we decided to head to the lodge at Poncha Springs, complete with a hot tub in the courtyard. Unfortunately Mimi’s Cafe was closed (Mimi is what we call Stefan’s mom ☺️) so after a nice Italian dinner we watched the moon rise over the Rocky Mountains and tucked in for the night.