Day 17: Westcliffe to Trinidad

I was out of chain lube and I was kind of starting to need an oil change.  I wasn’t entirely sure how this oil change would go either.  Since you can Google anything these days I did just that; and if you add “” to the end of whatever you so choose to type, you basically end up with pretty solid results. “How to change oil on the road”

The results ranged: Go to a shop and pay, see if anyone on the forum lives in the area has a garage you can use, pull up to an auto parts store and ask if you can just do it in their lot or the classic, drop the plug in the middle on the woods, no one will know.  The last one always had the disclaimer “JK” at the end; somehow I doubt that was a joke though.

I decided to try an auto parts store. Conveniently there was a NAPA next door to the hotel I was staying at. I walked over and asked the guy at the counter if they took used oil. They didn’t. Oh well, I’ll just try again in another city. I bought this chain oil though:


I had never used it before but it was totally disgusting; I’ll be buying it again.


I checked the site one last time to see if there were any comments about bad tracks for the day’s sections and there wasn’t.  However someone said at the end of the first dirt section you would turn onto a road. The tracks had you turn off this road about 1 mile before Bishop’s Castle and it was worth the detour to go see it.

If you’re wondering if this was a marked waypoint in the GPSKevin tracks you really haven’t been paying any attention to this story at all have you…

I set off and the tracks were pretty similar to the day before. The first dirt track wasn’t very long and I was on my way up to Bishop’s Castle in no time.  It was pretty cool, but I was running behind because of the failed oil change attempt so I snapped a few pics and moved on.





I started up into this pretty popular area; there were campgrounds and recreational areas every few miles. I was behind a lot of cars and SUVs.  Most let me pass but the people from Texas felt that their pace was the correct pace so we both did 11 mph and one of us ate dust the entire way.

The misery ended when we encountered a rocky section and he approached it from the far right hand side of the trail.  I bounced up over the rocks on the left and that was the last I saw of him.

The trail ended up heading up into some elevation again with great views before it wound down into La Veta, Colorado.






I could see La, Veta way off in the distance and there was a storm hanging around above it.  I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before I ended up drenched again.  This time I was smart enough to pack the rain gear on top of the rest of my stuff.



While in search of a gas station in La Veta I’d accidentally blown the turn for the regular trail.  I realized this after I’d finish filling up.  I’d blow it by a couple of miles actually; but I was right on the scenic trail. I decided the heck with it and took the scenic trail. It lived up to its name:



It wound down through a number of small mountain towns overs the next 30 miles or so. The rain had held off, it even started to look like it was clearing up until I started climbing again.  At this point I decided it was time; let’s get the rain gear on.

The road had been tarmac since Le Veta but it finally took a turn off-road.  The road went up through a National Forest.  It was multi use so the road featured things like a side by sides, SUVs, big pickup trucks going way to fast and a Volvo that was just getting by.  This bull was staring right at me in the middle of the road; since I had nowhere to go I decided to grab a picture of him. Of course he moved right as I got my iPhone out.




I got my first close call around one of the switchbacks when a guy in a Ram pickup pretending he was racing Pike’s Peak blew the turn wide into my lane. We were all good though after a full brake fishtail and a one finger salute.

The road finally peaked and there were a decent number of campgrounds up there.  I followed the road down the other side.  This side was a little rougher than the side I’d come up which explained the sharp decrease in traffic.





The road wound on and on down toward I-25, crossed over it and just like that I was out of the mountains…


and onto the plains.


And it started to get HOT.

I pulled into Trinidad, CO.  I wasn’t excepted the town I saw.  If you Google the town there is supposed to be all of these historical things there.  The town I encountered looked more like the Hill District of Pittsburgh than it did historical Annapolis.

I pulled over and tried to search some places to stay on my phone.  Again though, Verizon’s reception in Colorado left much to be desired and I was having a hard time finding anything.  I knew I’d found an RV Park with a $49 motel in it when I was on the hotel’s WIFI that morning.

I decided just to ride around looking for it. I knew it started with a “C” and was the only one in town.

Finally, I found it.

I pulled up and walked into the office.  The lady behind the desk had a bad case of Meth mouth and asked if I’d like to see the room first.  I said no.  As I walked out couldn’t help but get the sense that I was making a huge mistake…

The room was sort of interesting.  It was definitely a drug den at some point in it’s life.  They’d put up a drywall wall between the room I was in and the one next door.  They finished off the job by putting a random door that opened into said sheet of unfinished drywall; it was a nice touch.  They’d bought it at Lowe’s for the record.

There was no door between the bathroom area and the bedroom. The toilet itself was in an old closet to which there was no door;  I’d hazard to guess that the door that opened to the unfinished drywall may have been the closet door in a previous life. The shower had a new shower head but when I turned on the water rusty water came out of the tub faucet. I’d let shower run for 5-10 minutes before entering though, just to be safe. The water smelled fine. The room in general smelled kind of musty.




On the plus side everything was clean and new.  The sheets were clean, the mattress was obviously brand new and the place even had inspiration quotes on the walls!


I decided to find some fast food or something and it looked like there was a combo gas station/Wendy’s a couple of miles up the road. Perfect, I can fill up my stomach and my bike.

I passed a Days Inn and an O’Reilly Auto Parts on my way to Wendy’s.  I Googled both.  The Days Inn was super nice and they knew it; $195 a night and O’Reilly’s took used oil.  I decided to try the whole oil change thing again in the morning.

Oh and my Gatorade I had strapped in my net thing got loose and went for a nice slide on the road at 50 mph.


It never did rain by the way…Mileage: 188







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