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Good-Bye Ouray

“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”

― John Wayne

Mr Wayne had a way with words didn’t he 🙂

Yup, more John Wayne – after all, I have been in Wayne country now for a couple of months – rode with him in Monument Valley and on to Moab and finally into True Grit Country. But, time to saddle up and head off on my own for new parts…

So, after a month and a half exploring this area, and feeling like I still barely scratched the surface – still so much to see and do – it’s time to move on. This sure has been a very special stop.

As I posted before, this area is the Rockies of your dreams and I could have stayed, as my friends P and L do, all summer. Now I know why they do.

So, with very mixed emotions, I prepared to pull up the levelers and pull in the slides and prepared to hit the road – after all there’s a great big beautiful country out there

Yup – – you know the drill 🙂 time to start whistling “God Bless America Again”

Like the Duke said “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life…”. I guess he didn’t read the “Now” books…probably would say the hell with Eckhart Tolle…

Decided, though, to hit the town for my last night – Ridway was having a summer concert in the park and I thought I might check out the True Grit Café

Fact is, they tell me John Wayne used to go into that café while shooting True Grit. Glad Duke cannot see it now – a tourist dive – took a look and walked out.

Headed over to the micro brew and pizza joint that my new fishing buds at Rigs told me about. Colorado Boy is a tiny micro pub in a wonderful 1915 brick building in the old section of downtown Ridgway. The brewery is in full view from the antique oak bar, so that you can even watch the brewing process while enjoying your pizza. And, they’re a “green” pub – electricity is from wind power; the hot water for brewing comes from solar on the roof; and, all the waste brewing grain and yeast is fed to local cattle. Very cool indeed!

I was told they usually have 5 or 6 of their ales on tap, as well as cask versions of real ale – I went with the special – Summer Honey Ale. Good beer and good pizza – a nice Ridway dinner to wrap things up in these parts.

One of the fishing buds – Art – stopped by and I got to hear more of his story – turns out he’s 75 and fulltiming himself – heads north to fish the Rockies and then back to Texas to play golf in the winter. Not a bad life.

Headed down to the concert after dinner and caught some of the concert – Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds with The David Starr Band –

everyone was having a damn good time

Didn’t stay too long as weather was coming in and I had an early start in the morning.

Was going to be running East on US Hwy 50 from Montrose to my next stop – Salida, CO

Needed to be sharp for the drive –

When MapQuest showed 3.5 hour drive to cover only 150 miles, I took a closer look at the route – was going to be an interesting run – much of it over roads where the speed limit would be between 30 and 45 mph – winding up and over switchbacks over summits, through wonderful scenic valleys but on S-curves all the way, through gorges where I was only doing 30 mpg – and – then the final assault…

The Bunkhouse got to climb it’s first true mountain pass – Monarch Pass – a climb up the continental divide along the Sawatch Mountains, topping out at 11,312 feet with panoramic views of 14,000 foot peaks all around – peaks that I couldn’t “peak” (pun intended) at , due to the white knuckle driving – at least they had guard rails in come places –

And, better yet – the up hill side had two lanes – yup – yours truly rode the middle of the two for much of the way 🙂 … seven miles up winding switchbacks…the Bunkhouse hardly broke a sweat – can’t say the same for the driver…

Took a break at the summit to take in the views…and, to think about the descent

What goes up must come down –

But the destination was going to be worth it – Salida, CO – another “adventure town” I had read – at the base of Monarch Pass lies the sunny Arkansas River Valley, with everything you need to make your visit complete. The towns of Salida, Poncha Springs, and Buena Vista have great restaurants, galleries, shops, and a variety of outdoor possibilities –

off-roading, fly fishing, kayaking, rafting, hiking

Sounded like my kind of place

And, I would be “boondocking” – time to unplug and get my monies worth out of those solar panels I had installed – camp “free” on public lands and get back the benefit of my tax dollars – look at a 14er from my window

More on all this in the days to come

Time now for an adult beverage and watch the sun set over Mt Shavano – a 14er – seems not one I would summit though – rated “most difficult”

Time to contemplate WWJWD – “What Would John Wayne Do”

a few more quotes from the Duke to live by:

• “If you’ve got them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow.”

• “Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid.”

• “A man ought to do what he thinks is right”

• “Never say sorry – it’s a sign of weakness”

Might have to look around for an easier 14er…or…maybe not…WWJWD?

“Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.”

All for now…take care…see you down the road

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