McClure Pass and rainy lazy day

Written by admin. Posted in 2010 Stories From the Road

“Where you guys going?”

We were sitting around a table outside the motel room telling lies and drinking beer when the good looking fellow riding a dresser asked the question.

“We aren’t going anywhere tonight.” Jeff said with laughter.

Good thing too, we were already in no shape to ride.

“Where are you going, Sturgis?”

“No, I am headed home to houston, I have been to Alaska and on my way home now.”

We told the fellow why we were there and that tomorrow Jeff, Mitch and Bill would be going home and that I was; well going somewhere but would end up in Sturgis eventually. Hearing that he was from Houston, I just had to ask what he did for a living and sure enough he was involved in the oil and gas business. We talked about his company and I told him about our company. See, even when I am out travelling trying to be lost to the world, I can’t quit working and selling. I didn’t push it, but he did ride back to Houston with my name and email address. He also said he wanted to get his story of his ride out on the web someplace. I am hoping he makes contact so I can read about his ride. He did have a comment that I found amusing.

“I am ready to get home, I have had enough scenery.”

I enjoyed riding with Jeff, Mitch and Bill and our riding styles were very compatible, but I usually ride alone and after two days I was ready to take off.  Bill had headed back to Moab early in the morning before I had even gotten out of bed, he was not going to miss church. Jeff and Mitch headed south and I said my good byes and headed north, well kind of north and then east.

I have a map of Colorado mounted in my shop with the roads I have ridden colored in and my goal is to ride all of the paved roads in Colorado. I had a few in mind this morning and couldn’t wait to get started.

Gas up in Delta and then turned right and headed back towards Hotchkiss. It was feeling great to ride alone in the cool morning with overcast skies. To live in modern times with the ability to see so much country in such a short span had me feeling lucky. My thoughts wandered to the days this part of the country was explored by other than the people native to the area. It happens a lot when I ride and take in the scenery. I can’t ride by and not stop at historical markers though and part of the reason I never make good time.

Those poor guys had to ride mules to explore!

I eventually made my way to McClure Pass, considered one of the lowest passes in Colorado at only 8763 feet but you wouldn’t know it by the surrounding mountains and the awesome terrain. It felt like 10000 feet to me. McClure pass was named after Thomas “Mack” McClure who had a stage stop near hear sometime around 1884. I can’t imagine trying to pull these hills in a stage coach with real horse power!

The rain started coming down after Icrossed the pass, but I was feeling good and it didn’t bother me. I could tell by the clouds behind me it was raining harder so I was in front of the main storm. I was a little concerned because of all the flash flooding the news had been talking about for the last couple of days and the Crystal river was anything but Crystal, it should have been called the Red river with all the red mud in it. Even with the rain, the road was great!

I took that picture with the camera pointed behind me at the clouds and storm I was trying to outrun.

I had decided I wasn’t going to make Independence Pass today and was starting to wonder if I would even make Glenwood Springs before the rain got so bad I couldn’t ride anymore. I was crusing along thinking I shouldn’t stop anymore when I came across this.

I had to turn around and check them out. The Redstone Coke Ovens and the beautiful town of Redstone. I live and Colorado and try to read about everything I can, but have never heard of Redstone. The town was founded by John Cleveland Osgood who started a mine and ran the coke oven operation which turned coal into high grade coke which he then sold to the largest employer in Colorado at the time, Colorado Fuel and Iron. CF&I was getting rich by supplying the rail companies all of their steel. Ol John Osgood was a fairly large employer too with 550 people. John believed that if his workers and their families enjoyed good living then they would be happy workers and not strike. In order to keep them happy he built the Redstone Inn for the bachelors and 84 Swiss chalet style homes for the married men. He also had electricity, indoor plumbing, schools and medical. He was eventually bought out by a fellow named Rockefeller who shut the company down. There is a lesson in there somewhere?

While I was checking out the history and the sights of Redstone the storm caught up with me.  By the time I made Carbondale, the idea of doing Independence Pass today was history. I pulled into Glenwood Springs and the lady at the motel desk handed me a towel. I used it to wipe the rain off, but I couldn’t wipe the smile off if I tried.

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Comments (6)

  • singstothehorse


    Did you get to see the Redstone Castle? it’s on the east side of the highway, just across the ‘creek’ from very near those coke ovens. For the readers interested, here’s a link to that location, a beautiful site in that tight little valley!!!

    ?”had enough scenery, Two Feathers?” we sure hope not, not yet!


    • admin


      Never enuf scenery for me! I missed the castle and regret it, must go back!


  • Mashe-wea


    What a beautiful day for a ride.. Need to feel the wind in my face again it has been much to long… So for now I will ride thru your stories. They keep me going!!


  • Warrior Stripes


    I enjoyed hearing about the Redstone Coke Ovens! So many stories in CO that as soon as you have heard them all another one pops up. Keep exploring…. while the rest of us can “make time” you can get all the interesting details and tell us about them while we relax at our final destination. 🙂


  • Swiftwater


    I am totally into the Redstone Castle. What an interesting bit of history of an early industrialist. The squaw and I are planning a trip already.


  • Seago


    I am really enjoying Your trip! It’s nice and very exciting! Not many would take time to share this much in detail. Once again Thanks! This is great. This will be my vacation for this year.
    Once Again Many Thanks for the “Sharedom”!!


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