On Saturday, we had another chilly morning – when I was shaking of the condensation from my tend, it looked like it was snowing. We decided that Morgan’s van wasn’t going to make it over the dirt road passes on our route, so Morgan and Joey drove off on a road trip to eventually meet us on the other side, while Andrew and I set off on the 50 miles of unpaved road that would take us deep into the San Juan mountains. It was slow going, especially when the road turned into washboard and our bikes would rumble and shake like a cartoon character who drank too much coffee. We got many a strange look from hunters passing by in their pickups and ATVs as we slowly – our average was less than 6 mph – climbed the 20 miles to the outfitter town of Platoro, at just under 10,000 feet. Yes, it was hard, yes, it was slow… but it was amazing. Everywhere we turned there was a beautiful mountain view, dotted with yellows and golds as the aspen had just begun to turn, as we followed the Conejos up to its source.
Once we made it to Platoro, we downed a pizza and some cobbler at the restaurant in town (alongside some Amish hunters), and then began slogging our way up the first of two passes on this leg, Stunner Pass at 10,500 feet. We made it to the top, and then began a bumpy ride down into a gorgeous valley to where we made camp at just under 10000 feet. We made dinner, chatted with some of our campsite neighbors, and then bundled up in our tents for another chilly night.