Northwest Colorado-Tarantula Highway

An Over-Night Getaway – Craig, CO

Sometimes I just need to go for a ride and to get away to check out something new for a couple days so I headed Northwest to see the Dinosaur National Monument.

Day 1

According to the map, it looks like this first day is about 460 miles and will take about 7.5 hrs in the saddle, and it does not include gas stops, bio breaks (restroom stops), or lunch stops. It’s gonna be a good days’ ride and I wanted to get an early start so I hit the road at 8AM. Well, even though it’s been fairly hot day’s lately, the mornings can be pretty brisk, but then if you are crossing over the Continental Divide, it will get downright COLD, even in July! So, I was prepared for a cold ride, what I didn’t see in the forecast was rain and SNOW past Georgetown, CO! Well, I didn’t have winter gloves on, long johns, or even my winter coat with me when the rain started in Georgetown, but then as I got past Georgetown, the rain turned to snow and it was like that all the way to Silverthorn, CO, then the rain finally stopped after Vail Pass! Fortunately it was not a heavy precipitation and there was no accumulation, just wet and cold!

Denver to Dinosaur

I stopped in Rifle, CO to get fuel, warm up and have a snack break. I also put my GoPro Max on to capture some of the ride where I never been before. I could have stayed on the beaten path of HWY 64 which would have taken me right into Dinosaur, CO, but I decided to venture into new territory on County Road 7 / 57 instead. So, anyway, from Rifle I headed up CO-13 N (Government Road) where I ran into road construction (surprise) and they had the road completely torn down to DIRT for at least 10-15 miles (felt like 50 miles) and one lane closed for a portion of that! This put me behind schedule as clouds were building and looked like there was going to me more rain…thank you road construction.

I finally got through the road construction and took CO-13 N to CO-64 W, then after a short distance picked up the road I’d never been on, Co Rd 7. Fortunately it was paved the whole way because there are still a lot of County Roads that are still dirt in Colorado. It was very quiet, very little traffic, and very scenic! I do have to mention, I experienced something I’d never seen before and it was a little freaky! I was riding along and enjoying the peaceful and beautiful ride on the quiet county road, cruising at 60 mph, when all of a sudden I saw these dark objects all over the road ahead. I tried to avoid them as I didn’t know if they were rocks, frogs, turtles or something else smooshed on the road, but I couldn’t get a good look. As I got closer, I notice they were moving! Wow, what the hell was that! Well, further down the road the objects were in the road again but this time, a lot more! I was not able to get around them so I just rolled right over them! I tried to get a better look…they weren’t frogs (not hopping), they weren’t turtles (not crunching), so, what could they be? Well, that cleared up and then further down the road…EVEN MORE! They were so thick on the road it looked black, but it was moving, I THINK THEY ARE TARANTULAS! I never saw them this far North and I’d never seen this many, but I wasn’t gonna stop and get a better look because if they are Tarantulas, I want nothing to do with them! I didn’t want them on my bike, I didn’t want them on me, and I didn’t want any hitching a ride to my over-night stop (or home) with me, so I kept on keep’n on! After a couple more patches of these creatures on the road, the clouds are increasing and I’m getting some rain here and there, behind schedule because of road construction, and the road coming to life, I decided to forego the Dinosaur National Park and go straight to the hotel in Craig, CO. Well, I no sooner got checked in and the floodgates opened! It rained on and off the rest of the day!

Tarantula Highway

I checked into the Quality Inn in Craig, CO for the night. They were very accommodating and friendly and I found out they were locals, so I asked about the road creatures, but they had never seen or heard of it before. Well, as we were talking a couple came in to check in and heard what we were talking about. The man confirmed, they were Tarantulas!!! He went on to say that they are usually more South, where it’s warmer, but up here where it’s much cooler, they will come out onto the warm road to get themselves warmed up from the cold! So, I’m like “What?!”…and he’s like “Yah!” and the wife is like “GROSS!”, and the girls behind the counter are like “EEEWWWW!!!” and I’m like “I’m glad I didn’t stop to get a better look!!”. That was an experience! I’ve got video and pictures (of the road creatures, not this conversation) that I will upload soon!

If anybody can dispute or confirm what these creatures were, if they weren’t Tarantula’s, please comment or e-mail me details. I’ve never seen them this far North, but it doesn’t mean it couldn’t be possible…right?

The hotel was very clean and comfortable, no complaints! The hot tub and pool were open so I went for a dip to relax the ole muscles and tired bones…very nice! There was a Walmart nearby so I went and picked up some food for the evening and retired to my room for some R and R!

Day 2

It is a BEAUTIFUL morning! Sun is shining and not a cloud in the sky! I went down for breakfast and they had individually wrapped danishes, bagels, coffee, hard boiled egg’s, yogurt, etc., so I enjoyed breakfast as watched the news. After breakfast I packed up, checked out and hit the road!

The plan today is to take CO-40 E through Steamboat Springs, Kremmling, Grand Lake and Winter Park, CO (North Central Region). On this route I’ll go over Rabbit Ears Pass from Steamboat and over Berthoud Pass from Winter Park then pick up I-70 E for Denver.

Craig to Denver

Tour Recap

Have you ever heard the term “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”? Well, that’s not to say that the destination isn’t part of the journey, but it means that it’s about the entire experience. The route you take, the things and places you see, the people you meet, and the feelings that it creates. I know, a biker talking about “feelings”, what’s next? Wind therapy on my motorcycle is about freedom, relaxation, the great outdoors, the mountains and what it does for my soul! Whether it’s a 1 day, 2 day, a week a month trip, it’s always about experience and enjoying what I have and enjoying my surrounding!

This was a great over-nighter! It didn’t go as planned, it wasn’t great weather, and it was longer that expected on day 1, but the journey and the experience of “road creatures”, talking to locals, and traveling this beautiful state made this trip one to remember and created memories for a lifetime.

This trip was created from using all the resources available on this site, from planning the ride, booking the hotel and checking weather!

So Plan a trip, take a tour, or just get out on a short ride for some “wind therapy”, but make this site the place to go for a “one stop shop” on your journey to becoming a Motorcycle Touring Enthusiast!

As usual,

Be Safe, Have Fun and Ride On!

Short Shot

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2 Replies to “Northwest Colorado-Tarantula Highway”

    1. It was a cool Ride! Especially going over the divide in snow conditions! The Tarantulas were a surprise! Thanks for stopping by and commenting Sausage Fingers!

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