The Road to Alamosa

Hog

Ah, what a beautiful day for a motorcycle adventure. Clear blue skies, temps nearing 70, and an approaching winter storm in the spring time. What more could a rider and his bride ask for.

After gassing up the hog, we hit the road for Alamosa. Nothing too difficult, just head south on I-25 until we hit Hwy 160 in Walsenburg. Um, one small issue, I-25 doesn’t go by Walsenburg, but there are two exits that head in that direction. My bride pointed them both out to me, but I took neither because I knew where we were going. A couple of miles south (maybe 10, my bride says 20), I exited the interstate and checked my navigational device, which said turn around and go to the second exit my bride pointed out. And so I did. Did I mention the wind was blowing head on to this point?

After taking the correct exit, Walsenburg was a few miles down the road. The story of Walsenburg can be traced back 150 years. Waves of settlers from New Mexico started moving into an area known by the native Tribes as Huajatolla -Breasts of the Earth. The current name of Walsenburg comes from Fred Walsen, a local merchant who had opened a trading post. Fred opened the first coal mine in the county just west of town in 1876. Mr. Wind has not let up yet

With Walsenburg in the mirror, Alamosa was the next stop. The two lane road took us through a scenic stretch of road that was incredibly beautiful. The winding road took us into the high country where we went through La Veta Pass, an elevation of 10,217 ft. We felt the temperature dropping as we made our way up and over the pass, but we never felt the temperature rise. We also didn’t feel the wind lessen either. As a matter of fact, the wind became pretty nasty once we hit the open space of the plains heading toward Alamosa.

Not far from Alamosa is Great Sand Dunes National Park. We passed the turn off on the way to Alamosa. They have the tallest sand dunes in North America. We would have made the turn, but the wind brought the sand to us, so no need to visit the sand.

Finally, we arrived in Alamosa. Alamosa means “cottonwood” in Spanish, and its home to Adams State University. Back in the day (1878 that is), Alamosa literally grew up overnight. In June 1878, the City of Alamosa went from a tent City to a rail center for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. According to local legend, the rail crews were fed in Garland City in the morning then the building was placed on a flat car and the crews were fed dinner from the same building in Alamosa that night. Many of the City’s first buildings were brought in whole on railroad flat cars. Alamosa was incorporated on August 30, 1878.

With our discovery of Alamosa complete, we made our way back to the interstate. While we were enjoying ourselves, some pretty ugly clouds had moved in while we were adventuring. Not a good sign knowing a winter storm was approaching, but hey, we still had the wind to keep us company.

The ride back to Walsenburg was just as beautiful as it was in the opposite direction, just a little colder. La Veta Pass didn’t disappoint either as it was downright frigid. But just like the coolness started, it ended once we closed in on Walsenburg. By the time we were headed toward Pueblo, we were thawed out.

Did I mention anything about the wind? It was terrible all the way to Alamosa and back to Walsenburg. If it wasn’t straight in our faces, it was trying to move the motorcycle into another lane. On a positive note that has nothing whatsoever to do with the wind, we did see 5 elk, countless antelope, 1 deer, and 1 dead 4-5 ft snake of some type. We also traveled 335 miles. We’re 17 miles short of 1,000 miles.

Today’s adventure was pretty great, and as always, I enjoyed the time with my bride. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, so Happy Mother’s Day to my bride and all of the other mothers and mothers to be out there. Hope my bride likes the new snow shovel I got her. Maybe she can try it out when the storm gets here.

Until next week, cheers…

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