North La Veta Pass at 9413 feet. It looked like it would be fun to ride, but I had my sights set a little higher. I drove near the southern end of the Great Sand Dunes National Park, south at Alamosa to Antonito, where I got on CO 17 and over LaManga Pass and Cumbres Pass. I found a place to park near the New Mexico border, got organized and started my climb back over both passes.
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad prior to my trip. It's a narrow gauge steam engine train that carries passengers between Anonito, CO and Chama, NM. I thought it would be fun to see it but had no idea of the schedule, so I didn't expect to see it on this trip.
On my way up LaManga I felt my back tire getting soft. I only had one spare tube with me, but two CO2 cartridges, so I used one of them to fill the tire, hoping I could finish the 2nd climb before changing the tire. It didn't last that long. So, I stopped on the side of the road, and removed the rear wheel (why always the rear?), replaced the tube and filled it up, being careful to not get a pinch flat. I enjoyed a nice ride up LaManga, took some pictures and headed down again.
They dropped me at my car, and after thanking them I was on my way to Chama, and northwest to Pagosa Springs. Scott, the mechanic was setting up shop and fixed my flat for me while I checked in with the SherpaPacker and greeted many riders, volunteers, and organizers who I now consider friends. I left everything in my car that I didn't absolutely need, and tried to prepare for the morning. Rain was forecast for the afternoon, so as usual, it was a good idea to be up and off the mountain early. It felt really good to crawl into a sleeping bag in the cool mountain air. Let's get this thing going!