We made it to Horca (the town with no food for sale) just in time to miss a wee snow blizzard. There are more shops and restaurants closing down in the small towns we pass thru than are setting up. Luckily we had a nights more food so we could stay at the Ponderosa CG on the banks of the popular trout fishing river, the Conejos (or Rabbit river).
We opted to camp as there was a warm guest lounge where Jack the owner said we could hang out. With no fuel left he let us cook on one of the barbies. Even better his wife brought us over a plate each of fish, sweet potato and buns for dinner – I think they liked us. With the fire cranking we even got to sleep in the guest lounge – the tent wasn’t looking too inviting by that stage. We certainly enjoyed our warm respite there and chatting with Jack.
Next morning we headed up valley to Platoro – a fresh dusting of snow on the trees and a wet, soft road. At a small shop Becky invited us in to the house for some hot coffee and we met Tea (her JR) and Hershey (the miniature dachund).
The scenery had changed again as we followed up the valley with big rock walls on either side and lots of flowing side creeks. We were glad to get to Platoro and finally a restaurant. Again we timed it well with snow showers coming in after we arrived.
The highest pass on the Divide Route is Indianna Pass @ 12,000 feet. Even with our fatties, there was going to be too much snow as it is 1000′ higher than the Brazos Ridge so we headed over Stunner Pass then (sadly) diverted down the Alamosa River. It was a beautiful ride down the valley and onto the huge open plains, reminding us of a mirror image of the Canterbury plains and Southern Alps.
We took refuge in a fast food joint in Monte Vista as a rain storm passed then flew on paved roads to Del Norte.
More kindness was shown by Enrique, the manager of the just-opened-today Kristi Mountain Sports who invited us to stay with him and his dog Taco. For dinner we treated ourselves and Enrique at The Three Barrels Brewery and Pizza restaurant. A good end to a long day in the saddle and our second full day in Colorado.