Day Four - Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah (329 miles)

Unbeknownst to us we were about to embark on a day that would make the whole trip worthwhile. Heading south on U.S. 50 we progressed towards Montrose where U.S. 50 turns east, and straight ahead lies U.S. 550; otherwise known as The Million Dollar Highway. As you pass through Montrose and head towards Ridgeway the San Juan mountains loom in the foreground. After gassing up at Ridgeway we began the best 100+ miles I have ever ridden. The trek to Ouray just whets our appetite for what was to come. The town of Ouray looked like a fantastic place to spend some time. The town was founded by miners in 1875. It sits 7800 ft. above sea level, and does not get much sun in the winter due to its location at the bottom of the north slope. Just south of Ouray lies Red Mountain Pass, the highest pass on the Million Dollar Highway at 11,008 ft. This pass is what prevented the railway from coming through this area. The road was originally built in 1883 as a toll road for wagons, primarily traveling to the silver mines in Silverton, and Durango. In 1921 a Model-T could travel from Durango north to the top of Red Mountain Pass but could not get down the steep, treacherous road to Ouray just 12 miles away. So they spent 1 million Harding-era dollars to complete this 12 mile stretch, and that is how the road got its name. As we crossed over Red Mountain Pass and down into Silverton we were awestruck. In Silverton we ate lunch with some other bikers, and watched the narrow gauge railroad take tourists down to Durango. We continued south over Molas Divide, and through the Purgatory ski resort. We rode through Durango but did little sightseeing. We did stop at the local Radio Shack where Steve replaced his CB with a new one. After Durango we had planned to go to the four corners region but it was getting late and we set our sights on Moab. Heading west on U.S. 160 we began some serious canyon carving, and made Cortez in no time. At Cortez we got on U.S. 666 (what a name) and headed northwest . After dinner in Monticello, UT we headed north on U.S. 191 and in to Moab. Moab is a cool little town, the mountain biking capital of the country (world?). Our luck would once again hold out as we found an older motel with one room left just as we were about to think about riding on to the next town. They intended to keep this last room vacant due to a leaking roof. Needless to say we jumped on that at a discounted price. After some local brews, and grub from Eddie McStiff's brew pub we called it quits. Every road we traveled on this day was superb, from The Million Dollar Highway to the canyons in Utah, what a day!


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