After meeting up with Wade we planned to hit up Blackhawk or Central City for lunch then we were off to a B&B/Hostel in Winter Park.
We eventually succeeded in achieving the plan, but not without drama...
We needed to go a few miles east on I-70, but traffic was really
terrible. We waited around a while and both started to bake. Some creative lane selection was employed to get us to the next exit. The Zumo's (aka Jill) avoidance feature was utilized and it promised to route us to Blackhawk without any more I-70 nonsense.
We rode up the road at the next exit as instructed by Jill. Several miles of a nice twisty mountain road - all good so far. Then Jill says turn right, I didn't see any road to the right, doubled back and found that se was talking about a tiny dirt road. Not the what I wanted all loaded up. I figured it was slated to be paved and Jill never got the news that it wasn't:O
We pressed on, Jill re-routed us yet again. The next re-route was also a dirt road, no other means of connected with our intended route were shown. We decided to go for it. The road was narrow and rocky, we pressed on. The "road" got steeper, the front floated a bit on some sections. The rocks got bigger - line selection became critical, then ruts started to form. By now we are on something that's more of a full-blown ATV trail. The Bandit is pretty versatile, but a hard core off road machine it isn't. The trail got worse, we gave up and turned around.
The previous dirt road was starting to look really good, at least it was graded. We gave it a shot.
After a few miles of very steep, but graded dirt road it turned to ATV-trail two-track. We pressed on a bit further but that eventually died out, leaving us fully loaded on the bandit in the woods on a dead-end atv trail. The map showed a small road continuing but it simply didn't exist
Those two roads were the only option to get where we needed to go other than I-70, so after a 3-hour off road bandit tour we were back where we started. Traffic on I-70 was a little better, but not a lot. We pressed on.
Eventually we made it to Blackhawk for dinner. The Central City Parkway and rt 119 (I think) was ultra-scenic and a very nice ride. We also appreciated the looks of Central City and Blackhawk. The food was pretty good and very cheap (gotta love Casinos), but the wait service was slow, rude and stiffed me by $3 on my change. :angry:
Pilette has wanted to try her hand at Gold Prospecting for years and now was her chance. We'd read good things about Vick's on-line and decided to give it a shot. From the road it didn't look like much, actually looked a bit sketchy, just a couple of beat-up trailers and some junk laying around. We bravely entered. We have pics, but they are on Pilette's camera. Jesse ran the place and was a very cool mountain-man of a guy. Lots of good stories. Pilette panned for gold and even found a little, though I'm sure less than the $10 they charged to try, but it was cheaper than the movies and way more entertaining.
From there we made our way to Fraiser just outside Winter Park. We'd booked a room at the Rocky Mountain Inn and Hostel. The only non-free accommodations of the trip in fact. I didn't expect too much as it was less than half the cost of anywhere else I could find in the area and there was the hostel bit in the name. As it turned out the place was fantastic. We had a huge in-suit room with a very large comfortable bed and a balcony looking out onto a scenic mountain meadow with the mountain itself as a backdrop. There were railroad tracks near-by, but the train only went by once and it wasn't late so no worries there. There was a grocery store across the street where we procured food and supplies for a low-key Pilette Birthday Celebration - cake and ice cream! It was good, we kicked back at the Inn and enjoyed ourselves and good company of some fellow travelers. I think I ate a whole pint of Ben and Jerry's - YUM!