Day 4

Destination: Estes Park, CO
145 Miles

We were on the road each morning by 8:00 or 8:30 and today was no exception. It was quite cool so we both geared up in leathers and full face helmets. At our first pass, Rabbit Ears, we spotted a few deer. Surprisingly this was the first real wildlife we had seen. We had four more passes to hit on this day, and we hoped Rocky Mountain National Park would offer a glimpse of some elk grazing on meadow grass. Before we entered the park we happened through a beautiful rock canyon outside Kremmling, don’t recall the name, but we snapped a photo there. We passed a huge lake, Granby, before we entered Rocky Mountain National Park, which was STUNNING, and my second favorite stretch of road on this trip. The only negative: the pine beetles have turned much of the lush pine forests from a green to more of a brown-grey hue. We noticed this type of forest devastation often on this trip, but none as prominent in this area. Anyway, the skies began to threaten rain so we took the precaution early to put on our rain gear. Every other turn through the park brought alternating sunshine then very light rain, but we hardly noticed because the views here were so dramatic. The road, mostly without guardrails, was only slightly more dangerous when damp with rain.

By the time we were leaving, we had spotted those elk in the meadow, but with ever more threatening skies, we decided not to stop for pictures. It’s a good thing Bryan only planned 145 miles for this day, because the combination of weather, winding roads, scenery, and creeping tourist cages meant a slow go, with lots of photo stops overall. We spent our last 30 minutes of this day in a downpour! Bryan was riding lead as he did throughout our ride and had pulled into a covered area thinking we should wait out the rain, but I pressed on; and as he had done quite a few times on this trip, realized I wasn’t with him. He soon caught up to me waiting for him on the side of the road. I guess I should mention here that generally Bryan is a terrible follower. He says the reason is because he can’t set his cruise control and maintain a constant speed while following me. He thinks I should stop buying bike bling and have cruise installed some day. I’m considering it… or I could just buy a new bike with it (wink)!

We made it to our lodge fairly early, stripped off our wet gear, and enjoyed lunch while watching the last of the rain we’d see for this trip from the comfort of our covered patio. Mary’s Lake Lodge was majestic, but cozy. Our condo had a private hot tub which we enjoyed all the more due to the miles we had under us so far. We relaxed with a 4-star, 20th Anniversary meal in the elegant Chalet Room, right on the property.

Mountain Pass & Elevation
Rabbit Ears 9,426
Muddy 8,772
Milner 10,758
Fall River 11,796
Ice Berg 11,827

Lake Granby ~ Taken from CO 34

Rocky Mountain National Park

Estes Park ~ Rain