Colorado Trip #3

The Big Trip – Day 3

Day three, remembering all the ground I covered up to this point feels like it was a heck of a lot more than just two days but it was just that, two days. Day three I took a ride out into the desert, going south from Cortez down to the four corners of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. It didn’t take long to arrive at the monument there but it was kind of sad that it was on private property and you had to pay a whole $3 to enter. I didn’t spend a lot of time here and there was always someone in the shot so I eventually gave up and took a quick photo of Horo and moved on. In some ways I wish I’d spent a little bit more time and got some better photos but like the previous two days I had a lot of ground to cover and not much time to do it.

Nothing like a straight highway in the middle of the desert. Location: 37°4'21" N 108°46'26" W

Should have got more shots here at the four corners. But this is what I got. Location: 36°59'56" N 109°2'42" W A horse stands in the middle of the road checking for traffic. Not the best place to check, but it's better than nothing. Some horsies running out in Utah. More horsies running!

From the monument I went back up US-160 to US-41 which headed into Utah. Once into Utah the road got a little more more interesting, with some curves and houses out in the middle of no where. After a while I arrived at my turn Ismay Trading Post Rd which would eventually turn into CR-G. This was an interesting road that no one was on, some reasonable pavement and random horses on the road, again there were cattle guards from time to time. The scenery was nice, at times a bit barren, but the closer I got to Cortez the more civilized things became and the more interesting the scenery. If you zoom in on the map and look from point D to point E/A you can probably seen why it became more interesting.

On US-145 north to Telluride. Location: 37°48'8" N 107°55'31" W at an elevation of 3,067 m. A little bit east of the previous photo still along US-145 north towards Telluride. The wind plays with Horos ears again. The wind continues to play with Horo's hair.

I was getting pretty annoyed with the wind, but it started to help me out, look how great Horo's hair flows!

From Cortez I headed on my way towards Telluride, CO up the other side of the San Juan mountains. The last time I visited Telluride I had the most attractive waitress on my trip that time there, I wasn’t expecting to see her again, but I was hoping for more of the same. Plus, it’s a pretty awesome place to visit, like Ouray it’s surrounded by mountains.

Taken from US-145 facing towards Telluride, CO.

The ride up had mixed weather but I did manage to get some nice blue sky for a good amount of it and even some more Horo shots, though as you can see it was quite windy. By the time I reached Telluride it was a torrential downpour, the roads were flooding in Telluride and I wondered what on earth I was doing there. I rode around in the rain trying to find the restaurant I was at previously as it didn’t matter how long I stayed in this rain at this point I was already soaked. Eventually I found it, but the place was packed, which probably made sense everyone ran for shelter when it started to rain. I grabbed at spot at the bar and grabbed a quick bite to eat, hoping to dry up some before I went out to the flooded streets again.

Taken next to the 'finish' of Black Bear Pass, facing south east. Location: 37°55'44" N 107°46'28" W Taken near the finish of Black Bear Pass in Telluride. Facing north west. Location: 37°55'44" N 107°46'28" W

Smuggler-Union Hydroelectric power plant just outside Telluride.

By the time I finished eating the roads were some how nearly dry and the sun was back out. The mountains are weird! I don’t know where all that water went, except down, down a river, down a stream, flooding somewhere else? Who knows! With this new warm sunny weather I hike a bit up the mountains trying to find an interesting shot for Horo but came up pretty blank and just sat on a rock for a while. Eventually pulling her out there and taking a couple of rather mediocre shots.

Horo looks back at Telluride, CO. Sad that we're not even going to walk up Black Bear Pass.

I’ll need to visit Telluride again in the future, there are two passes I’d really like to travel, though they’re not really for my kind of bike (maybe a Jeep). In fact, I think one is just flat out impossible on it. Apparently not! They are Imogene Pass and Black Bear Pass. They both originate in Telluride but go in different directions. Imogene Pass ends in Ouray, going right over the ~4,000 m mountains between the two towns. It’s the easier of the two passes and is passable on a motorcycle like mine, even with stock tyres, however it’s not recommended at all, at the very least a set of knobbies is preferred. Black Bear Pass however is an all together different beast, part of it doesn’t even really seem like a ‘road’. It ends a considerable ways south of Ouray on part of the “Million Dollar Highway”. Here are some videos, the first is Imogene Pass, the second is Black Bear, and the third is also Imogene but is an hour long and at a much more ‘realtime’ pace, though it transitions a bit.

On my way back to Ridgway I came across a certain set of scenery I remember and had to stop in and take some photos. Unfortunately I was kind of an idiot and didn’t take any without Horo in them, well I did but it’s a smartphone photo. If you’ve been reading my site for a couple years and you remember my very first trip to Colorado, you’ll recognize this scenery. If not, here’s the original post, though the best version of the photos apparently were never uploaded, I’ll have to rectify that somehow in the future.

Once again the breeze tries to play with Horo's ears. She's having none of that. Taken a couple kilometers west of Ridgway, CO. Horo gives in to the whims of the wind. Taken facing south west. My favourite photo from Colorado is taken from this place. Does that make this one my second favourite?

Having planned yet another day full of too much everything I entered Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park a little too late, this time however I decided to camp out there for the night so I could spend some time looking around in the evening and morning. This did however mean I didn’t eat dinner because I had no food with me at all. Which turned out to be a good thing because bears. Lots of bear warnings everywhere, great place to decide to camp eh? Also, remember how I mentioned deer? Yeah there were lots of deer here, always jumping out in front of my motorcycle too, no going fast through this park. I quickly set up camp while it was still light out then motored along the road to try and see as much as I could before I went to bed. Horo took a couple snaps of me as I was getting undressed for bed, cheeky.

Taken at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, facing south east. Location: 38°33'2" N 107°41'12" W at an elevation of 2,496 m. Horo didn't like me paying attention to only the scenery and insisted I get a shot of her next to "Colorado's Grand Canyon". My quaint little camp site, with bear warning on the picnic table. Location: 38°32'41" N 107°41'25" W

So it stormed that night. Two storms. Seemed to be in two different directions, and it rained. I choose the best places to camp, bears, rain, and thunder for much of the night. But I did sleep and I woke up quite happy being outdoors.

Horo catches me getting undressed for bed. Cheeky little girl.


  1. Tian says:

    Wow, this was an epic post indeed. You’ve inspired me to plan another road trip! It’s unfortunate that I missed you just as I was gearing up for NDK. That was a good time, and somehow I completely missed all the flooding. Anyway, great photos as usual. You’ve really gotten a knack for sweet landscapes and outdoors photography. Hope to see more!

    • Aka says:

      Yeah, it’s too bad it didn’t work out, but I’m sure I’ll be there again next year or something. Too many things I’d like to ride still.

      Landscape photography is so much easier than people photography lol. You can just keep shooting until it works out, people you have to catch just right or ask them to pose etc… I feel the same way with dolls as well, have to really think out the pose, which I didn’t do too well on the trip. I think I got better as time went on but maybe next time I’ll be good.

      Missing out on the flooding isn’t a bad thing, especially if when you returned your place of residence was fine too.

  2. Smithy says:

    Looks like you had quite the adventurous trip!

    Gorgeous photos of that stunning scenery and some lovely shots of Horo too. Impressive!

    • Aka says:

      It really was quite an adventure. I still think it’s crazy how much ground I covered though on my “Big Trip” part, it was just destination after destination after destination. Was really hard to piece it all together after the fact, the only way I managed was I’d saved the GPS tracks so I could track back each day and break them apart.

      Hopefully next time I go, I’m a little bit more competent with my posing and can make Horo look a little bit more into the trip than sitting all the time. Still, I like the photos, it adds something over just plain landscapes I think.

  3. Rajura says:

    Great pics man!

    Looks like you had you had a great trip!

    I loved the Horo shots… I was kind of scared for her in a couple of them, but I know you made sure she was safe before you left to take them.

    Also, regarding your experience with the kid, I am glad to see there are other males out there that like her fluffy tail almost as much as me.

    Pros of your shots: It’s Horo, shots from behind… loved seeing her tail in all its glory and that she was unabashedly showing it off, new outfits for Horo.

    Cons: Human ears visible at times (that’s the only con… doing pretty good there)

    Oh, and those images are coming your way soon.

    • Aka says:

      Was a great trip indeed! I miss the state already.

      I did try and take as much care as I could with all the placements, but once I walk away there’s no telling what could happen. Would one of her joints give way, would the wind pickup, I am on mountains after all where weather changes rapidly. So many uncontrollable variables, I just had to give way and try anyway.

      As per your con, I’ve actually become to accustomed to the ears being there, that I don’t notice at all or even try to hide them ever. It’s just not something I care about so much at this point. Perhaps in making her ‘perfect’ in the end, but right now I care more about getting her tail attached properly and perhaps better matched to her hair, and shrinking her ears and putting magnets in them so that they’re easier to deal with on the road. The human ears really are the last thing on the list since it’s such a destructive mod.

      Interestingly, the people who seem most disapproving of Horo (and Dollfies in general) are anime fans and figure collectors. They seem to feel the doll is too much of the uncanny valley or RealDoll vibe. Which strikes me as really odd, since every doll meet I attend, and every outing I’ve been on, average people seem so interested and complimentary.

      • Rajura says:

        Wow, that is weird… my philosophy… the more real Horo looks… the better!

        I would that “average people” liked her more than a niche group.

        Keep up the good work!

        • Aka says:

          The more real the better, yes. But in terms of what’s more important to me right now, the human ears are like the bottom of the list. Her tail and animal ears bother me more that they’re not right. The human ears require destructive modification that can’t be undone.

          Think you missed a word in that second line, not sure what exactly you meant. Could go many ways if I try and read into it.

          • Rajura says:

            Sorry tried to go a little long more older style on that comment… read it as “If I had my way, more average people would be interested in her.”

            Also, the “weird” part I mentioned pertained to your comment about people who were seemed more likely to not like the current approach to Horo. Keep up the good work; fix those wolf ears and that tail to your standards.

          • Aka says:

            Ah I see. I’m alright with anime being a niche thing. I don’t think it’d be as fun if everyone knew.

            As for the weird, I think there’s just some stigma about dolls, and they don’t want to be caught liking one.

      • CptNerd says:

        Beautiful job, the few times I’ve been to CO the scenery was fantastic (I was there during the flooding, my great-nephew was supposed to get married that weekend in Estes Park). As for your Horo doll, you have to understand that every person has their own “uncanny valley”: for example, I have no problem with the CGI “Appleseed” movies, but my friend can’t watch more than a few seconds of them, because they fall into his discomfort zone. Your version of Horo is okay by me, but there are some aspects that are just on the edge for me. I have to say there are quite a few dollfies that I’ve seen that I can’t see, they’re just too far “into the valley” for me. But then I was always creeped out by the “sad kids on black velvet” paintings…

        • Aka says:

          I find they’re far less creepy in person. That added dimension I guess really helps. And once I’d seen them in person, I found most of the photos to be less creepy than they were beforehand. I think it’s the unfamiliarity perhaps.

          I suspect I’ll be making a habit of visiting Colorado… I just hope there isn’t a disaster every time. There were the fires, and then the floods… what next?

          Anyhoo, glad my Horo is ok by you! 😀

  4. Otakusan says:

    Have been seeing all your instagram pictures ^^ looked like you had a lot of fun this trip ^^

    • Aka says:

      Started taking the shots with my phone just to get the GPS coordinates of each location. Ended up posting them on Instagram because I couldn’t wait to share haha.

  5. B-Sabre says:

    The air base is Buckley AFB ( and is home to the 460th Space Wing (Air Force Space Command). There’s also Colorado National Guard and Air National Guard units based there.