23 June 2017

Delta Dawn

Ride the Rockies, Day 6 – Montrose to Gunnison via Cerro Summit and Blue Mesa Summit

Back in 2003, Ride the Rockies traversed the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison for the first time. Now the tour has crossed that highway several times. That isn't today's Ride the Rockies route, but it was my route. I want to stay off the road where the cyclists will be, as much as I can, plus, I wanted a little trip down memory lane.

Some of my favorite memories from my first RtR are the messages "Agent Orange" would paint (in neon orange) onto the road to amuse weary cyclists. One such verse described a junkyard full of weathered vehicles as the place where SAG wagons go to retire. SAG wagons are the vehicles driven by volunteers to help cyclists along the route. SAG stands for Support And Gear.

In Delta, I discovered an open air sort of old vehicle museum, and I missed the sunrise, taking so many photos of the rusty old cars. Can you imagine any of these babies as SAG wagons in their heyday?!?

Then I passed a sign that pointed the way to "Gunnison Gorge." Sounded photogenic, so away I went. I never found the "Gorge" on that long, dirt road, but I saw a whole bunch of shy quail who wouldn't pose. The mourning doves were eager models, though...

I also found someone's idea of a remote picnic ground.

Outside of Crawford, I couldn't resist snapping a few reservoir photos.

My plan had been to drive to Delta for sunrise, then to Hotchkiss and Crawford, hitting the Blue Mesa ahead of the cyclists. I took too much time getting to the Blue Mesa, though, and couldn't watch any scenery while driving the length of the reservoir right alongside cyclists.

When I am The Lizard's private support vehicle during the Triple Bypass, most of my drive isn't quite as intimidating because much of the cycling route is bike path. No cars.

Driving alongside RtR riders is scary sometimes because the roads are so narrow. Some don't have much of a shoulder. I never want to do anything to endanger cyclists, so I don't have photos from any of the time I spent trying to drive carefully with the cyclists just a few feet from my car.

The north rim, however, had no cyclists and practically no other traffic. I had the canyon mostly to myself, and wildflowers were sensational. I couldn't stop taking pictures!


For the first time all week long, I was able to pull over safely and snap a couple of photos of My Lizard riding. Being able to snap this photo definitely is one of the highlights of my week!


  1. Got the thumbs up for the win. lmao that looks like a hillbilly's picnic area. Bet they get soggy when it rains. Those old cars probably have lots of stories to tell.

    1. Weren't those cars awesome, Pat? I loved being able to visit the North Rim again!


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