I stopped for a picnic lunch at Lathrop State Park west of Walsenburg. Lathrop was Colorado's first state park. It's named in honor of Howard Lathrop who was the fist Director of the Colorado Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. The park has two lakes that are surrounded by Pinion and Juniper trees. I ate my lunch at one of the campgrounds overlooking Martin Lake with a clear view of the Spanish Peaks.
Highway US-160 turns west at Walsenberg, crosses over the San De Cristo mountains at La Veta pass, then drops into the San Luis valley. Twenty miles north of the little town of Blanca lies the Great Sand Dunes National Park. After lunching at Lathrop park, I continued west to the Great Sand Dunes. I stopped at the visitors center and bought a commemorative sticker and some books. I Knew I wasn't physically fit enough to hike the dunes, but I was satisfied with taking pictures.
It was a short ride from the dunes into Alamosa where I had booked a motel room for two nights. The town of Alamosa was built by the railroad in 1878; It was built in a single day by freighting in buildings from another railroad town and setting them up on what is now 6th street.
Saturday morning I boarded the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad at the Alamosa train station. The train was comprised of a diesel locomotive and four passenger cars: a club car, a dome car, a regular coach car, and an open-air car. My ticket was for the dome car. Once the train was underway we were free to move from car to car. The train maintained a slow speed so we were able to take in the scenery and snap pictures. The train traveled east over "old La Veta Pass" to the town of La Veta where it stopped. After an hour lunch stop in La Veta we boarded the train for the trip back to Alamosa. They stopped the train at the top of La Veta pass so we could take pictures of the train as it came up the pass. They let us off, then took the train down the tracks about a mile, then brought it back while we snapped pictures as it came up the pass.
View the rest of my pictures
Slideshow does not work on iPad or iPhone. https://picasaweb.google.com/109439245417572714439/SandDunesRioGrandeTrip
I rode back to Denver on Sunday. I had a wonderful weekend. It was a great ride on the motorcycle, and a great ride on the train! I went to places I had never been before and met people I hadn't met before. I put 521 more miles on the motorcycle.
Video of the train on La Veta pass