|09-07-2016, 10:00 PM||#1|
the ugly one....
Colorado - we aint got a lick of sense
A couple of years ago, we discovered the beauty of the high passes around Silverton, Ouray, and Lake City:
So, in 2014, a friend and I decided to go back. Have to have pie:
Routes in UT were added:
We discovered Moki Dugway and Valley of the Gods
After scouting around CO a little, we went back in 2015 with a few friends, old and new, to tackle the Alpine Loop:
Had to take a new friend over the Dugway:
After meeting up with everyone in Dolores, the plan was to hit the Colorado BDR. We left Dolores and headed up into the hills on our way to Telluride.
After some good pizza:
we headed towards Silverton, by way of Ophir Pass
This year had even more friends want to go
|09-07-2016, 10:02 PM||#2|
the ugly one....
After Ophir (nicknamed Oh, Fear!), we spent the night beside the Million Dollar Highway, prepping for the next day's ride up Corkscrew Pass:
(got to love dispersed camping in Colorado!)
Corkscrew Pass road started off a little muddy, with a couple of creek crossings. Once you got to the top, you knew it was worth the trip!
The weather started coming in, which comes in to play shortly.
The next pass on the list was California. Leaving Corkscrew, you head down the mountain for a while, to an intersection of dirt roads. Left was California, right to Silverton. Left was also into the on-coming storm!
The climb up to California was rocky and rough and tough! Not being the best rider in the group, once I got my momentum up I just kept going. I figured that the rest would catch up quickly.
I bounced to the top of the first peak, Hurricane, and waited for a couple of minutes, my eye on the weather.
Lake Como, and Poughkeepsie Gulch
Looking back up to Hurricane
After all of a couple of minutes, I took off again. No way I wanted to be caught up there in a storm!
Next up was California Peak:
(carrying my Flat Jesse t-shirt, trying to win a motorcycle)
Next stop - Animas Forks and shelter!
I sat out the little bit of rain we got, waiting on the rest. While sheltered in one of the old buildings, a local 4x4 guide came by, wondering if the bike was mine. When I said "yes", he asked me if I ever considered riding a smaller bike up there. "every 30 seconds" was my answer.
About 40 minutes later, the rest of group puled into Animas Forks. it wasn't until months later I would see what had kept them. One of the group, Chad Warner, did a series of videos of the whole trip and one of them focused on that one hill climb. Bikes were dropping all over the place, which explained the delay in catching up!
|09-07-2016, 10:07 PM||#3|
the ugly one....
Here is a link to the video episode for Hurricane Pass hill climb:
we regrouped and rode down into Silverton, choosing to hotel it for the warm shower and soft bed. The bikes had suffered, but they are supposed to:
The next day was supposed to be Engineer Pass, over the Alpine Loop to Lake City. Having done that one already, and seeing rain clouds again, Will and I chose to go around the long way to Lake City. The COBDR showed a "bail-out" route, bypassing the Alpine Loop. It proved to be a good ride, too.
We rode up 550 to Ridgeway, and headed east up into the mountains. Not quite as high, or as steep, as Engineer Pass. But, great scenery.
Lake City for lunch
great food - 4 stars!
Camping at the Lake (in Lake City)
|09-07-2016, 10:11 PM||#4|
the ugly one....
The next day we headed back over towards Ouray, as 4 of the guys were up for doing Imogene Pass. Imogene runs from Ouray to Telluride, over a peak 13000 feet high. Will and I had to hit the road to get back to our respective houses, so we had to beg out.
It looks like he and I missed out on a good one:
|09-07-2016, 10:13 PM||#5|
the ugly one....
As I mentioned, Chad did a whole series of videos of his trip, which started in Ohio and was mostly about riding Route 66. The episodes filmed in the mountains of Colorado piqued my interest, especially since I felt like I had wussed out on Engineer and Imogene. So, when my friend said he was going back this year, I just had to go to.
The plan was to meetup in Denver, which turned out to be near Denver, instead. The group was going to be the same as last year, plus a new rider from around SoCal. I guessed I talked the trip up too much . People were asking to tag along!
Gary and I headed out on a Friday, first night in Mesquite (cheap hotels). We headed up Hwy 14 out of Cedar City on Saturday, passing by Bryce Canyon so we could take one of my favorite roads - Hwy 12 thru Escalante!
After passing by it several times in the past, I was finally able to take the Burr Trail.
This road cuts over from Hwy 12, to Lake Powell. It starts off paved, before becoming some great gravel. As you approach the lake, it becomes paved again.
This year's newbie:
with his initiation to big bike hard!
one must not fool with their brake pedal while riding down the switchbacks. It's ok, I asked him if he was alright before I took the pic.
After a few miles on good gravel, we reached pavement again.
you can just start to see Lake Powell on the horizon.
We reached the lake only to discover we needed to take a ferry to continue on in the direction we had planned. The ranger at the entrance didn't really know the schedule, but what the heck. nothing ventured, nothing gained.
as it turned out, the ferry was still running and we only had about a 30 minute wait to catch it.
After crossing the lake, we headed east, finishing the day in Monticello.
Some scenery as we headed north the next day, towards Moab.
Gary was jonesing for some more dirt, so we took a side jaunt along the Dolores River
The first pass we all did together was Webster Pass:
where we ran into a slight obstacle:
the road down the back side was still blocked with snow. But, if we are stupid enough to ride big bikes in those mountains, we are definitely stupid enough to try to ride thru the snow. All we had to do was ignore the 800 foot drop if we lost control at the bottom of the snow bank.
|09-07-2016, 10:14 PM||#6|
the ugly one....
We actually had fun using our bikes for toboggans and no one died. It may have felt like we did, after wrestling those bikes through the snow bank.
At the bottom of Webster, was the turnoff for Red Cone. Will had had enough, so he was going to take a nap and wait for the rest to play up Red Cone. I took one look at the climb at the beginning, and the rocks, and figured that since I didn't have crash bars, it might be good to nap as well.
Turns out we were the smart ones. 15 minutes after the others went up Red Cone, two came back and took to fixing oil leaks. Both caused by the road conditions (rocks!).
While we were observing the road side repairs, we heard another bike coming. It was Jim. I've never seen Jim give up on a road, no matter how bad the conditions. So, this one shocked me. He immediately laid down and fell asleep. But, not before telling us how he had spent about 40 minutes trying to pick his bike up. Wasn't the weight of the bike, it was the fact it was laying half off the side of the mountain, blocked by boulders.
As Chad and Stephen finished up their repairs, we heard the other two coming down the hill. I knew they had given up, as Red Cone is one-way, connecting to Webster. Unfortunately, that connection was uphill from the snow bank. There just hadn't been enough time for them to repeat the loop and the ski-slope.
A gaggle of big bikes in Leadville for the night.
Heading west out of Buena Vista the road up to the Continental Divide rivals some of the best in the Alps.
So, riding up boulder laden, steep slopes isn't much of an issue for these guys. However, the flat, easy stuff seems to be a challenge:
Suggestions: when riding in a group, pay attention to the guy in front of you. No bikes, or riders, were harmed during the filming of this carnage.
We ran down thru Tin Cup, heading for Pitkin.
I channeled the rain avoidance skills of my Tennessee friend to keep us out of the wet.
Back to Lake City
|09-07-2016, 10:16 PM||#7|
the ugly one....
The next day, after spending the night in Lake City, we headed over the Alpine Loop to Engineer Pass. First up as Cinnamon Pass:
There were a couple of puckering moments, mostly caused by passing 4 wheelers in the rockiest/steepest part up to Cinnamon.
The Loop has its own "sheriff" patrolling the roads. As we were taking pics at the top, he pulls up and starts chatting. A few minutes later, 3 bikes we had passed earlier pulled up and were immediately directed to show license and registration. Not sure what the offense was, you really cant speed.
We came down off Cinnamon, stopping for a break in Animas Forks
before heading up to Engineer Pass
where I promptly lost the other 7 guys. From the Engineer Pass sign, I could see another pull-off I hadn't noticed on the way up. This seemed a more popular place as it was full of jeeps and my missing 7 guys.
it had a better view of the red hills above Engineer.
|09-07-2016, 10:18 PM||#8|
the ugly one....
We hadn't really planned too far ahead, so after finishing the loop back in Lake City for lunch, we took a vote and headed to Silverton for the night. This would be the third trip across the loop in the same day.
No one wanted to shell out for a motel room (cheapest thing on a BMW- the owner), so we searched for local camping spots and found one a few miles up the road, towards Ouray.
Given that it was too dark for pics, I don't have any of Dennis dragging half a forest in behind his bike, for firewood. We really enjoyed the BBQ we picked up in Silverton, then hit the tents as it started raining. We needed the rest for the next day - Imogene Pass. This is one I didn't do last year and Chad's videos showed that they had had some "fun" making it over the top to Telluride. I wouldn't say I was looking forward to it, but I needed to redeem myself from begging out of it last year.
After missing the cutoff and doing a quick side street loop, we headed up the road towards Imogene. The first section isn't much at all. More like an unpaved road thru a subdivision. There is a cool section where the mountain tunnels over the road, but other than that it's pretty tame.
Until you reach a little sign that reads "Imogene Pass". You turn off onto a narrower dirt road and are immediately faced with a creek crossing. That graduates into a solid rock section of road, thru the pine trees. When you think solid rock, you might expect smooth riding. Not on Imogene. It is off-camber, rough, and even with "steps" to get over.
I was hanging back, keeping an eye on a slower rider, and when we caught up with the fast guys, it was at a rock step. Laying in the middle of it was one of the guys (not hurt), and the others were trying to get his bike up. This gave me and Will and opportunity to scout the best route up the step, which we did with little drama.
I rode past the group, mostly to get out of the way of several jeeps waiting to descend. There was another river crossing just ahead. This one looked deep and I watched some descending riders go thru it, almost up to their knees. As they passed, they warned us of a traffic jam of FJs coming down. We picked the weekend of the 10th annual FJ roundup, to climb over to Telluride. This should get interesting.
Due to all the fun of picking up bikes, crossing rivers, I didn't get any pics of this section. I had also switched on my ol weather avoidance mode, which makes me ride away from the rest of the group. Now, if it was just 2 or 3 of us, I would stick around. But, we had rain and lightning the night before, and it was looking to start up again!
Gary and I fought our way thru the FJ parade (uphill) and didn't pause until we were just below the main summit.
The view towards the summit.
Looking back down into the valley, waiting on the other 6
Looking towards Telluride, from the Imogene summit. You can see the storm coming in from the left.
We made it!
Gary and I took some pics, then walked over to watch the others coming up. It was obvious they were having some issues with the section just below.
That section was probably the hairiest part in the passes that I had been on, but we had lucked out coming up. That, and a little bit of coaching from the great riders I was with.
While we were standing there, the first lightning strike sounded off!
Then, the rain and hail started. The lightning got closer and closer, so Gary and I jumped down over the side to minimize our exposure. We tried to become one with the dirt, hoping not to feel that tingly feeling they say you get, just before the bolt hits! It was too late to take off down towards Telluride, so we waited there, water running down through our gear, until the first two riders came by. I heard them yelling something like "the heck with this!" as they disappeared over the side towards Telluride. We mounted up and slid, swam, bounced and held on as we descended off the mountain. We finally reached a meadow a couple of thousand feet below the peak, where we pulled over and waited. One by one, the rest of the riders started showing up.
Will's bike suffered a little bit:
(he was to later leave it in Dolores, and fly back to Baton Rouge)
Probably from this:
This was a look back up to the summit about 30 minutes after we had come down
No trace of the storm, at all!
We finished the road down to Telluride with no further issues, stopping to take pics of the falls behind the town (at the bottom of Black Bear)
This is a very special, moving picture for me. My long-time friend is spreading the ashes of a great friend of his. This is the reason we tried so hard to meet up on top of Imogene. It was to be a special place, for a special friend. The weather didn't allow it that day.
|09-07-2016, 10:19 PM||#9|
the ugly one....
Bittersweet end to the day, as several of us were taking off that night, or in the morning, to go back home. Will to Baton Rouge, Gary and Stephen to Orange County (SoCal), me to Camarillo and Dennis to Idaho (he hadn't had enough yet
Another great visit to Colorado.
|09-09-2016, 06:26 PM||#10|
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: The Vineyard at J&D Ranches
Bikes: 1150GS, 650 KLR, VTX 1300
Nice ride report there dude...
Those pictures were awesome...a lot of them triggered memories of rides up those passes...days gone by.
Hope to see you next time you are in the hood.