19 June 2017

The Yellow Jacket

Ride the Rockies, Day 2 – Pagosa Springs to Durango via Yellowjacket Pass

Today I realized benefits to being The Lizard's personal sag. I got to bring the good camera and a couple of fancy lenses. I also got to bring the laptop.

I had planned to stick around after The Lizard took off this morning and take the mineral springs aerobics class, since the hotel we stayed at in Pagosa did not have a workout room or exercise equipment. After he and all the other riders in the hotel took off, I decided I'd better hit the road so I wouldn't be a rider hazard on Yellowjacket Pass.

Leaving right away, I got to see my Yellow Jacket again as I passed him. I didn't honk because I know from experience how much it sucks when I'm riding and someone behind me honks. Nearly scares me into crashing every single time. Turned out I didn't need to honk anyway. He saw me, and he waved, and the sweet gesture made me tingle all the way to my toes!

At the end of Pagosa Springs is a beautiful pond that hadn't been chopped yet by the wind that eventually came along. I turned into the residential area to snap a photo of the mountains reflecting in the water because not very many riders were on that section of the road yet, I had a traffic light, and it was completely safe to turn.

I snapped a few photos, then noticed riders reflecting in the water. I moved into position to capture what I thought might be the day's winning contest photo. Ride the Rockies sponsors give daily prizes for the best Instagram shots. I've wanted to participate every year since I've owned a smart phone, but I never had signal!

Unfortunately, the day's theme was friendship, and the shot I got, although dynamite, in my opinion, doesn't really fit the theme. Perhaps I'll capture another great shot later in the week.

I was pretty excited to see my Yellow Jacket ride by again. He didn't see me this time, but I have proof.

I got ahead of all the riders again and stopped to snap a couple of shots near Chimney Rock. I wanted to get the moon in the shot with the rock tower, but the moon wasn't in the right place. So I put it there with a little help from Photoshop...

I also got my first wildlife shot of the week.

I passed Lizard in his Yellow Jacket again, this time en route to Yellowjacket Pass. He saw me, again! He waved!

I arrived at the Vallecito turn-off far ahead of the riders, so I took a small detour to drive along the lake for a while, hoping to get a shot or two.

The mosquitoes were as thick as I've seen them in Yellowstone and in Alaska!!! I could hear the hum of zillions of 'skitters the instant I stepped out of my car. Clouds of hungry mosquitoes tried their best to mess up my shots. I hiked about a mile anyway, shooting as much as swatting, until I couldn't take the bites anymore.

I headed back out toward Durango and hit the turnoff about 500 yards ahead of the first rider. In town, I picked up a sandwich for The Lizard and a southwestern quinoa salad for me, and found a shady spot near the day's finish line to wait for my favorite rider.

Not only does he love the hotels, he loves being able to eat as soon as he arrives instead of parking his bike in the corral, finding a camp spot, going back for our luggage and then hauling it to said camping spot, then erecting the tent all by himself before being able to go find food to replenish his body after a hard ride.

He told me for the first time today that sometimes, he'd have to take a break and just kick back for a while before the tent was up because he just didn't have any more energy. No wonder!

I expected to be able to ride a stationary bike at our hotel tonight, but they don't have an exercise room. I guess that's what you get when you stay in a hotel in paradise, where there is so much to do outside the hotel, you don't need distractions.

So we swam in the pool instead. The pool here is salt water instead of chlorinated. I feel as if I've been to the ocean!

And check out the best license plate I saw today...


  1. haha neat license plate. You sure are taking it all in and getting great shots. Even if you need to photoshop the moon a bit. No exercise rooms but lots to do, not bad trade off.

    1. Thanks, Pat! It was really fun to work on photography and not have to worry about beating afternoon thunderstorms!

  2. I think those are all dynamite shots - and I love how you moved the moon!! you have the power - ha ha!

    1. Thanks, Alycia! I'm a moon-mover. Sicker, snicker!

  3. Is that lupine? (Between the skeeters?)

    Wow and wow. I see why you guys love RTR so much. So much beauty packed into every day's course.

    I think the cyclist reflection photo does say something about friendship - the friendship of water to earth and tree and sky and man. (Hard to express what I mean.)

    Awesome photos as always!

    1. Maybe I should have taken my chances and entered it, Sue! I didn't think of friendship in that perspective until you mentioned it, and you are right.

      This was a most beautiful leg of the ride. I definitely got more and better photos than I would have had I been on the bike!


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

All spam is promptly and cheerfully deleted without ever appearing in print.

If you are unable to leave a comment and need to contact me, please use the email address in the sidebar. Thank you!

Related Posts with Thumbnails