Author Topic: Dolores to Pueblo CO  (Read 4773 times)

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Offline Tim

Dolores to Pueblo CO
« on: September 23, 2011, 12:01:23 pm »
Hi my name is Tim Tuomey and I'm currently in charge of a charity benefit ride that will run from April 12 to June 21st of 2012.  All of my information is on my site at www.opawakening.com.  

This is my ride page for my question - http://www.opawakening.com/Pages/PHASELINEAKenwynInfo.aspx

This thread is not intened to pitch the group but hopefully clear up some confusion and concerns I'm having about this portion of my ride.   Last night I ran into a TA rider in my small town of Miwuk Village CA.  I live in the Sierra so I'm very much use to the Mountains and what they can offer.  But when talking to this rider I told him about my plan to be in Dolores CO in early May and he said you'll never make it.  Now I've been lurking on this site and from what I can gleem this portion of the ride shouldn't be that bad even taking into consideration the month and altitude.  I will be self contained and will be prepared for the worse.  

So here is my question.  How bad was the roads from Dolores CO to Pubelo CO taking route 550 to the 50 (Dolores, Montrose, Poncha City and Pueblo)?  Also is there a southern option I can take from Cedar City through Northern AZ / New Mexico and up back to Pueblo.  


I've been to the Crazyguy's bike site and its kinda hard to pull information regarding this nich question.
Thanks
Tim


« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 12:20:20 pm by Tim »
A Ride Dedicated
to
The Unconditional Sacrifices Made Every Day.
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Offline John Nelson

Re: Dolores to Pueblo CO
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2011, 12:15:15 pm »
It's doable, with risks. Your route goes over both Lizard Head and Monarch passes. Both passes are all-season routes, but are subject to temporary closures. In May, closures are possible, but not highly likely. As long as you have cold-weather gear for the descents, and have a few spare days to wait out possible closures, you'll be fine. There will be snow up there, but the roads should be clear unless it has snowed recently.

Note that all of these roads have been used by the Ride The Rockies tour, so they're all possible on a bike (some busier than others). I suggest you might want to follow the TransAm route from Canyon City to Pueblo to avoid some traffic on US 50.

Offline Tim

Re: Dolores to Pueblo CO
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2011, 12:19:25 pm »
John thanks for the quick response.  I have many balls in the air with this project and I need to lock down a route and alt route for purposes of media and route awarenss.  Good beta. 

I'll be carry all foul weather gear (goretex, layers, etc). 
A Ride Dedicated
to
The Unconditional Sacrifices Made Every Day.
www.opawakening.com

Offline tsteven4

Re: Dolores to Pueblo CO
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2011, 09:41:11 am »
Tim,

Quote
How bad was the roads from Dolores CO to Pubelo CO taking route 550 to the 50 (Dolores, Montrose, Poncha City and Pueblo)?

Those are some mighty fine roads!  I might be biased, I live in CO.  May is a bit early, but those passes should be open unless you are very unlucky with a late storm.

I think your route goes over Molas Divide (10,910), Coal Bank Pass (10,640), and Red Mountain Pass(8,97011,018) on US550 instead of Lizard Head Pass(10,222) and Dallas Divide(8,970) on CO145 and CO62.  The Western Express Route goes through Dolores to Pueblo, and takes CO145/CO62.  The Great Parks Route goes through Dolores to Durango.  ACA doesn't have a route from Durango to Ridgway were CO62 and US550 join, but this section of US550 is some mighty fine riding.  Either CO145/CO62 or  US550 to Ridgway are good choices, I have done both multiple times.  Its a bit of a toss up but I think I would prefer US550.  On either of these branches traffic is low, with the exception of moderate traffic from Cortez to Durango and the first 15 miles or so north of Durango, and a 9 mile section west of Telluride.  Another advantage of the US550 branch is that you take a side trip to Mesa Verde National park.  It is a bit of a chug up into the park (but nothing compared to all those passes), but I think it is well worth it to spend a day touring some of the cave dwellings.

North of Ridgway traffic is moderate until just before Montrose, then high in town.  This is my least favorite part of your route in CO, but it is ok.  Traffic becomes low again after Montrose through Poncha Springs.  I haven't ridden the section east of Poncha Springs.  The TransAm goes through Pueblo, Canon City and Parkdale, with moderate traffic around Canon City.  The Western Express goes south of Canon City through Silver Cliff and Westcliffe. The Western Express route looks a bit less busy around here, traffic is denoted as low or very low.

You can see traffic volumes on the Colorado Bicycling and Scenic Byways map here: http://www.coloradodot.info/programs/bikeped/colorado-bicycling-maps.  Note in the fine print on that page that they will send you a paper copy.

You can see the ACA routes here: http://tsteven4.qwestoffice.net/.  The Web links are a bit slow but you may like that option best, you can select google maps as the background.  I won't send you a paper copy, you but the ACA will for a few $.

I would expect cold nights in the mountains.  For example in Silverton the average low for May is 26 deg F, the average May snowfall is 4", average snow depth 0".  You can see climate history here: http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/summary/Climsmco.html.

Happy Trails,
Steve
« Last Edit: September 26, 2011, 08:16:33 pm by tsteven4 »

Offline John Nelson

Re: Dolores to Pueblo CO
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2011, 07:35:12 pm »
I think your route goes over Molas Divide (10,910), Coal Bank Pass (10,640), and Red Mountain Pass(8,970) on US550 instead of Lizard Head Pass(10,222) and Dallas Divide(8,970) on CO145 and CO62.

The route notes say that it goes through Rico.

The top of Lizard Head Pass is one of my favorite places on earth.

Offline Tim

Re: Dolores to Pueblo CO
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2011, 11:49:57 pm »
Steve
SWEET!  Thanks a million.  Thats great beta.  I may ping you closer to my launch date to follow up.  If you have a moment can you send me your email address to timtuomey@opawakening.com.  Promise not to take to much of your time but just a ping on weather and ground cover. 

Thanks again for the info

Tim
A Ride Dedicated
to
The Unconditional Sacrifices Made Every Day.
www.opawakening.com

Offline Tim

Re: Dolores to Pueblo CO
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2011, 11:55:49 pm »
Sweet Jesus!!!  I just overlayed your CO Dolores to Pueblo on to my Google Earth.  Great work and it'll help. 
A Ride Dedicated
to
The Unconditional Sacrifices Made Every Day.
www.opawakening.com

Offline valygrl

Re: Dolores to Pueblo CO
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2011, 12:34:35 am »
I live in CO as well.  I disagree, I think it's too early for that route.  Push it out a month or two, and it will be fun.  Do it in April-June, and it'll be a freezing cold slog.  I see you are doing it "for a cause" but I don't see why that would mean you would have to make it a death march or choose a route that's inappropriate for the time of year.  Especially if you are on a limited budget, short time frame, or for some other reason are unable/unwilling to wait out bad weather and/or use hotels when the weather is bad.

Your original route or the one tsteven suggests are both good routes, tsteven's is more scenic but has higher mountain passes.  You could also go through Durango and keep heading East to Pagosa Springs, and then over Wolf Creek Pass (hwy 160) - one of my favorites.  At least that way you stay lower for a few more days.

That's all moot, though, because you're gonna freeze around Cedar City - doesn't the Western Express go over a 10k foot pass there?

If you must start that early, southern tier makes more sense.

Offline Tim

Re: Dolores to Pueblo CO
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2011, 01:33:00 am »
All good points.  Another alternate route is to take something south out of Cedar City to Northern AZ and NM.  But still working out the details on the final route.  I agree as last year's La Nina was brutal.  Also I really cannot make to many changes my time frame but I can make changes to the route.  If the winter and spring are showing passable conditions I do like the idea of your 160. 
A Ride Dedicated
to
The Unconditional Sacrifices Made Every Day.
www.opawakening.com

Offline tsteven4

Re: Dolores to Pueblo CO
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2011, 08:15:10 pm »
Nothing bad can be said about Lizard Head Pass or Wolf Creek Pass(10,850), I just think the Million Dollar Highway http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_550 edges them out.  All three are quite nice.   I agree that May is a bit early, but I think it will be doable, and we are talking about a U.S. Marine.

Here are some records for the state of Colorado:
Highest Average Annual Precipitation         45.35                       Wolf Creek Pass 1 E
Record Maximum Winter Snowfall               807.0         1978-79       Wolf Creek Pass 1 E
Highest Average Annual Snowfall              434.8                       Wolf Creek Pass 1 E

Good call on cedar breaks valygrl, almost 10,600.  A deviation from the Western Express may be required, the road may not be open.  http://www.nps.gov/cebr/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm

Also note that Red Mountain Pass is not 8,970 as I stated before and the CO bicycling map erroneously shows, it is 11,018.

Tim you can see photos of all three of these variations here: http://tsteven4.qwestoffice.net/gallery/index.html?albumid=5361805162126665921&si=1

Offline Tim

Re: Dolores to Pueblo CO
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2011, 11:06:32 pm »
IF I continue east past Cedar City I was actully going to go south of the Breaks NP on the 14 thru Duck Creek to the 89 and North...   Granted that doesn't really help cause I hit 9,980ft as I head south on the 14.  As the months mark down to the launch date I'll have to adapt and adjust my route almost on the fly.  Stay tuned.
A Ride Dedicated
to
The Unconditional Sacrifices Made Every Day.
www.opawakening.com