Colorado Trip #3

The Big Trip – Day 4

Possibly due to my discomfort, possibly due to the cold, possibly just luck, I woke up early enough to catch the sun rise over the canyon, so I quickly went out and took some shots. Like everywhere on my trip, I probably could have spent a lot more time there. There’s lots of hiking, you can even hike in the canyon itself, and I’m sure there’s plenty of great angles one could get everywhere. But I got some good shots and then carried on my way to one of the better roads I rode on, US-92 towards Crawford, CO.

Sunrise over the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

View down into the canyon at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

A bird perched at the edge of the canyon before he takes off. The same bird flies overhead. Once again the same bird flying over the canyon. Taken further into Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. I believe these are part of the 'painted walls' at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The shadow from sunrise is cast down into the canyon at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Looking down into the canyon at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

On the map above it looks like a tiny portion of road and kind of uninteresting, but if you zoom in on the white circle and follow the road up to point B you’ll probably see why I liked the road. For a good portion of it’s just tons of fun, curves all over the place, elevation change, it follows the canyon I slept next to and then yes, gets rather boring. But on this fun stretch of road I got a bunch of fun photos of Horo, and also remembered that my motorcycle boots are not for rock climbing. I climbed down into the canyon a bit from one of the rest stops/outlook points and then realized I couldn’t get back up, or well, it was exceedingly more difficult than I was expecting it’d be since I couldn’t twist my feet as you’d normally be able to do in running shoes. Luckily I got out, and luckily the wind didn’t pick up and blow Horo off her perch either. One thing I’m annoyed with with Dollfies though is how they can’t look up by default. Which is why Horo’s looking the way she is, it works, but I wanted her to look out more than down, but c’est la vie.

Looking down at the Gunnison river from a viewing point off US-92. Location: 38°27'13" N 107°24'54" W.

Horo climbs out to get a view down into the canyon. Closer view of Horo climbing around the edge of the canyon.

Peering down into the canyon.

Side view of Horo looking down. It's very high!

A photo taken from a little ways down into the canyon. I almost got stuck here thanks to my motorcycle boots. Horo as seen from below, a small ways down into the canyon. Getting closer! Closest! If only Horo's hair would stay where I put it!

I stopped for gas in Crawford (I think) and another guy came rolling in on a BMW, we chatted it up for a bit and he recommended I stop for lunch at a place in Redstone called Crystal Club Cafe. Redstone was a small place just south of Carbondale, CO, and that man was right the food at Crystal Club Cafe was pretty good. I got a wrap filled with nice large pieces of chicken and it was just super good. I was also pretty super hungry having not had dinner or breakfast and only some snacks at the gas station, but I stand by my word and say it was scrumptious.

Gross bug juices all over my lens! I couldn't see!

The ride to Carbondale from Crawford was quite nice, there were some mining operations, and lots of bikers. Unfortunately every single wasp in existence was exploding on my sun glasses. I like to keep the visor open on my helmet as I get good air flow that way and stay cool, but I had to close the visor. This did not help. Sure, the wasps were no longer exploding on my sun glasses, instead they were popping in to say hello in my helmet, up close and personal with my face. Luckily I have a modular helmet with a flip up chin guard, so I’d quickly throw the chin up and get the wasp out of my face. I don’t know what it was about this section of road, this day, or my bike, but my milkshake brought all the wasps to the yard.

Looking down on the valley below along Aspen pass. Different part of the Aspen pass. Unfortunately I didn't get the coordinates for either photo.

From Carbondale I took a right and headed back down towards Aspen, CO, which was full of rich peoples private jets looking all super immaculate and shiny, but more importantly, Independence Pass. Yet another mountain road, this time it was paved! But it couldn’t be like any other paved road through the mountains, no it had to drop to one lane for both directions of traffic! Around corners! It was magical, I loved it, and that’s not sarcasm, it felt like Europe and I’ve never even been. Super narrow roads but awesome scenery. Eventually it opens back to to a proper two lanes and is more safe.

Mountains that looked a lot like the Coors Light mountains. Especially from angles I didn't photograph due to time constraints. Doh! A disappearing mountain! Thanks modern strip mining!

Independence Pass wasn’t the last mountain pass of the day though, next up was Loveland Pass. Unfortunately at this point of the trip the weather gets worse and my time limited as I still needed to make it back to the suburb of Denver for the night as planned, this meant less (almost none) photos. But I did snap a shot of a mountain disappearing (mining), as well as a shot of what looked like the Coors Light mountains (from a bad angle).


  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.